Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather are joined by Josh Thomas of the TV Show Please Like Me to talk about producing a non-American TV show for an american audience.
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Our Guest: Josh Thomas
Josh Thomas is an Australian comedian, writer, actor, and creator of the show Please Like Me which airs in the US on the Pivot cable network.
- @JoshThomas87 on Twitter
- Please Like Me official website
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Hey there, guys. Long time listener, occasional poster.
Just a quick note regarding yesterday’s podcast. We of the commonwealth nations don’t really have the same sex taboos as our cousins to the states. Okay, no one does, really. You guys really let that whole ‘puritan’ thing just grab hold.
I don’t imagine that we have the same “standards and practices” culture that you do in the US. I don’t think that, say, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission operates with quite the same grip on the reigns of content as does the FCC on moral issues.
As well, the concept of state broadcasters in Canada, the UK, and Australia is not quite the Orwellian entities I got the impression you guys perceived them as. We have much smaller populations, so there’s less money flying around and hence less money for paying broadcasters. Hence we pay taxes (and in the UK license fees) to support our state broadcasters who in turn produce content of interest to the national good.
And they do a pretty good job, when they’re not being slowly suffocated by partisan leaders and budget cutbacks. The CBC, for several decades, broadcast Hockey Night in Canada, which was an iconic part of the Canadian identity (to the point that its theme was referred to as our unofficial national anthem). They also broadcast a variety of sitcoms and children’s shows and dramas. Some of these dramas may have had occasional female nudity and harsh language.
And that doesn’t even START to cover the fact the CBC also had to serve in two official languages.
The BBC serves, if I am informed correctly, the same function in the UK. Plus, they make Dr. Who! You guys love Dr. Who!
So, yes. National broadcasters are a good thing. Huzzah! And Merry Christmas!
USA is a big country. Puritan definitely laid roots down is certain parts of the Country…but then I remember Las Vegas.
Right on! I remember when there were regulations about mandatory hours of Canadian programming, which included nature documentaries and the like. I have been proud to see the growth of Canadian-based TV productions, including lots of science fiction. It will be hard to live up to the longevity of Doctor Who, but we’ve had Stargate and lots of other shows over the past 20 years.
It’s easy to blame networks for being risk averse, but when you’re a working artist it’s so f-ing hard to stray outside the boundaries of what people like. I was always firmly on the expression over profits side… until I started selling an artistic product to consumers (I’m lucky that being a self-published author is my main gig). I’m a lot more sympathetic to “meddling executives” than I used to be.
I’m not making excuses for people who strip the funny out of comedies so they appeal to a wider audience (comedy should be specific) or people who use quest for profits/audience as an excuse to keep media focus on straight white men, but I think there’s more nuance to the conversation than the usual Executive bad, Creative good.
Your discussion of accents was a nice ending to the show. I am French Canadian by birth and on my mother’s side. My dad was West Philadelphia born and raised. We first lived in Montreal, then relocated to South Jersey, fleeing language persecution by a separatist provincial government. I am kidding, but only a little, given the political climate in the late 1970s. Anyway, my life in Canada, New Jersey, then New York has led to some “accent confusion” as well as an opportunity to live among the natives of several cities.
French Canadians suffer the ridicule of both the French as well as non-native French speakers because of the local patois. Just as in any region, there is a distinction between the casual way of speaking and what you might hear on a newscast or in a more formal setting. Although I have lost some of my native accent in both English and French, it’s nice to be able to hear the speech patterns of Philadelphia and New York City, and remember those close to me who sound a little like that. (I can also detect a Canadian on TV even if they aren’t being so obvious aboot it.)
Another fun podcast. I love the interviews when your guests are just overwhelmed by the concept of “overthinking it” and since it’s the name of the site y’all own it.
Well as for the US being puritan, remember the is Southwest feels very different from the rest of the country at times. Not only do we still speak a lot of Spanish we don’t have the same puritan values we had a Spanish Catholic/ to an extent Aztec overlay here.
On to accents, like Lee I am also a son of “Immigrants” yet since I’m of Mexican descent we have a contiguous link to Mexico. Example. in answering the question of the week I choose “El Chavo del 8” as my “non-american” tv show. Like most Mexican and other Spanish speaking shows they do air in the US but I never saw it as foreign but as something as native as me until I figured out what borders were. It’s a comedy show about a young orphaned boy who lives in a barrel and constantly wants a sandwich to eat and to play with his friends all while getting into shenanigans with his friends, all played by adults. It’s so popular that it’s been on the air since the 1971. It’s also wildly popular in Brazil and the animated remake was even dubbed into English.
Anyway fun times. Always glad to have more guests. :)
Can’t Fenzelian also mean a member of X. So a Fenzelian can be a member of the idea/state of Fenzel. I am a Fenzelian, latinize it to Fenzelianus; Fenzeliano if modernized.
OMG Chaves!!! (We call it Chaves in Brazil…)
And yeah, the US is crazy puritan. Like just very, very, very puritan. Which is weird, cause if the US were to have a slogan, I’d bet you guys would pick “Freedom!” but this is basically the one country where I feel I have the least of it. So so many everyday things about life in Brazil/Germany (the other countries I’ve lived in) are literally illegal here. So, yay puritans!
I forgot to mention my younger sisters haven’t see My Love from the Star (별에서 온 그대) but they really want to see but need to do their homework!
It’s so popular that Indonesia made a knockoff. Neato.