Anglophile alert: I am huge fan of British culture. I grew up on a steady diet of British comedy and I’ve never ever looked back. I don’t get the whole “it’s British humor” as an excuse for not finding something funny, because that shiznit is effing funny. American humor is funny; British humor is funny; EVERY KIND OF HUMOR IS FUNNY.
True story: my husband and I went to London for our honeymoon, and on the second day we both came down with horrible food poisoning. We took a day trip to Bath and ate at the English equivalent of a Chili’s, and each had half of the other’s entree. The next day we woke up and were dead. Nothing says love like being trapped in a closet-sized hotel room, sharing turns at the toilet. Also accidentally hitting the “bidet” button and spraying yourselves in the face. Sexy.
Even then, my love for British television was not diminished. Here are seven hilarious series that are all available to watch for free on Hulu.
PS. I used Misfits for the header pic even though it’s not on this list. Paul did a similar post awhile ago and included Misfits, so I decided to give it a rest. You don’t need to see Misfits on another list. We can all acknowledge it’s the Heroes we wanted Heroes to be, so let’s move on with our lives.
David Mitchell and Robert Webb are two of the funniest guys around, and Peep Show is one of their many projects showcasing their talents. The show follows the trials and tribulations of two twenty to thirty-something guys living together in London, often giving us the inside scoop into what’s going on in their minds, complete with voiceover inner monologues.
The Inbetweeners follows a group of adolescent boys attending high school (comprehensive) in a British suburb. The main character is wonderfully snarky and his three friends fulfill some classic teen archetypes whilst still maintaining some very real humanity. For teenagers and anyone who ever was one.
From the creators of Peep Show, this series follows a group of freshman university students sharing the same student housing. Once you’re done with The Inbetweeners, see what happens to Joe Thomas once he matriculates into college life. Robert Webb, Jez of Peep Show, is delightful as a hapless geology professor with the twitter handle @DanDanTheGeologyMan.
Incidentally, the actual twitter account does not deal with inside jokes from the show. Poor showing, guy who runs @DanDanTheGeologyMan.
Shameless crush alert: I’m in love with Tom Hollander, the actor who plays the titular “Rev.” This series follows a rural Church of England priest who finds himself the vicar of an inner-city London parish. He drinks a bit too much, smokes with abandon, makes easy friends with local junkies and homeless alcoholics, and is married to an uber successful London solicitor. So you know, a real hilarious feel-good time is had by all.
Alan Davies stars as the executive chef at a posh hotel in this gem. My favorite character by far is played by Darren Boyd (of Spy fame, a series that almost made this list except Paul already covered it earlier), who suffers as his overqualified sous-chef. It also features Katherine Parkinson, star of The IT Crowd, which I literally just realized I should have added to this list as I typed this. So also watch The IT Crowd, because it features nerds being nerds, and I have a feeling you all can relate.
This is a great show about two young kids who find themselves in the “family way.” The boy is 16, so that’s horrible, and the girl is 18 and is a dead ringer for Ellen Page, which is also horrible. Not the looking like Ellen Page part, but the being so young part. There’s a great supporting cast of characters that complicate matters and add to the general hijinks of the situation. Babies having babies: too funny!
The Thick of It
Some of you may have caught In the Loop, which was a universally released major motion picture spinoff of this series. Tom Hollander, my fake husband (Rev.), features prominently. This series highlights the inner workings of British government, which I find fascinating because it seems so ridiculously close to our own. The show relies heavily on improvisation, and Peter Capaldi’s Malcolm Tucker is a revelation of quick-witted expletives.
So if you ever find yourself lacking in good television comedy, take a chance on the myriad of options available in British comedy. Even if you find yourself disappointed, you’ll at least get to listen to some lovely accents along the way.