The Americans are coming

We are slowly being invaded by American TV, with ITV taking the lead on anglifying American formats, swapping X Factor for The Hills and Keeping Up With A Celebrity Who Is Only A Celebrity Because There Is A Show On Insisting I Keep Up With Their Pointless Existence.  Needless to say, I hate it.  It’s nothing to do with being patriotic, I just think that the British do comedy better than anyone else.  We gave the world Monty Python, The Two Ronnies and Morecambe And Wise, exciting and confusing the Americans simultaneously with our unique grip on irony and wit.

The Americans have been learning, however, and are slowly becoming funny.  They aren’t there yet though as for every Big Bang Theory, there is a How I Met Your Mother, waiting in the wings.

Their newest invasion into our screens starts on 6th January with .

The individual pieces of this format are nothing new.  Three men, all alpha in their own way, get the opportunity to live with a beautiful yet quirky girl in a vulnerable state as she has just been cheated on by her long term boyfriend.

Zooey Deschanel plays the aforementioned girl, and it’s clearly not a struggle for her as it is the same character that she plays in everything else we have seen her in.  This is in no way a criticism as the character “Jess” is perfect for the situation.  Desperate for guidance to meet men and find love, with the only available guides being the worst possible.  Men.

The three guys are genuinely hilarious.  All have a distinct trait that is played upon in every episode to some inevitable hilarity.  We have “Coach” played by Damon Wayans Jnr, but don’t get too attached to him as he is interchangeable with “Winston” as Wayans was committed to another series elsewhere so he disappears after episode one.  Never fear though, I have seen Winston and he is able to play on the racial stereotypes as well as the famous Wayans brothers.  Basically, he’s the jock.

Then there’s Schmidt, the guy we all hope we aren’t.  He thinks a lot of himself, but he is an idiot.  It’s not on purpose, but he still needs training by the other guys to not be an idiot.  They impose tools like the ‘douche jar’ in which he has to put a dollar every time he acts like a ‘douche’.  It seems to help, and it’s funny to watch his protests.

Finally there’s Ross.  No, sorry, that’s Friends, I mean Nick.  Nick is the nice guy, and it looks like is going to be the love interest at some point for Jess.  (Thus the intelligent Ross/Rachel comparison?)

This first episode sets the scene.  We see the break up, we meet the characters and we get a taste of what is to come.

It has to be said, writer Elizabeth Meriwether (No Strings Attached) has hit the nail on it’s proverbial head with this one.

It’s hard to say what it is about the show that is so enjoyable.  Maybe because it is so easy to watch, easy to relate to all the characters and typically easy on the eyes.  But there seems to be something a little deeper, a rarity in American sitcoms.  The whole thing is almost clever.  The relationship between the three likable guys keep you interested and means the whole thing doesn’t revolve around Deschanel’s Jess, although she is obviously the centre of the story.  The whole thing is well acted and boys and girls alike will fall in love with Jess immediately.

It would be easy to go on about “Jess” playing on the adorkable craze that is hitting the western world, but this is only half the character. The naive, geeky, sure of herself yet somehow vulnerable girl is played to perfection by Deschanel and there is enough depth to keep you are excited about how the episodes will end.  Will the boys save the damsel in distress that they have only just met, or go to the “place to be” party that is a once in a lifetime opportunity?

I’m not saying that “” goes any way to allowing us to forget that the Americans have also produced some awful, awful television, but you certainly shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself for watching it.

starts on Channel 4 at 8:30pm on January 6th, but you can catch it exclusively online on 4OD now!

Rob Sheppard

Hailing from Brighton, Rob leads a double life in the hospitality and events industry. This gives him a unique inside track on the music biz and allows him to keep his finger on the pulse of all things media.

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