Friday, May 20, 2005

If you're missing...

I've been thinking about doing a column offering viewing suggestions for this summer -- on TV or on DVD -- to compensate for the lack of new episodes of shows. Not sure when I'll get to doing the story for the paper, but I thought I'd do some occasional postings here until then.
So, for starters, if you're missing ''The Office'' (either US or UK versions), give a try to ''Knowing Me, Knowing You'' at 11 p.m. Saturday on BBC America.
BBC America has acquired a package of programs involving Alan Partridge, a self-absorbed and obnoxious TV personality played with great skill by Steve Coogan. (And, if you get to like Coogan, check out the movie ''24 Hour Party People'' on DVD.) ''Knowing Me, Knowing You'' is the name of the fictional talk show where Partridge struggles to make the nation accept his catchphrase (one of the lousiest ever), is unaware of his utter lack of charm, is mocked by his guests and steers ever closer to disaster. Subsequent programs follow Partridge's declining fortunes following the talk show.
It is bitter, it is brutal and it is every bit as hilarious as ''The Office.'' The British have a real knack not only for portraying horrible characters but for never letting them show any redeeming qualities. But somehow, we as viewers every now and then feel a bit of sympathy for these guys, if only because no one should be this clueless. And we're were not feeling sympathetic, we can enjoy the ridicule.

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