A few months ago, Adult Swim picked up one of my absolute favorite TV shows in existence, BBC Three's The Mighty Boosh. It's a sitcom of sorts, starring Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding as Howard Moon and Vince Noir, two British zookeepers who can't seem to keep themselves out of trouble (or other dimensions). Along with their roommates, a shaman named Naboo and his animal familiar, Bollo the gorilla and a cast of characters played primarily by Fielding and Barrat (as well as appearances by Snuff Box stars Rich Fulcher and Matt Berry), they stumble into hilarious hijinks of a sort that only the British could muster.
The problem with being a Mighty Boosh fan here in the United States is that, until Cartoon Network snagged up the rights early this year, there was no way to watch the show. I'd originally seen it on the internet, but in the two years that have since passed, all of their videos had been wiped from YouTube (even the cleverly re-named "Maightee Bewsh" videos that trucked on through BBC's purging of the site). Needless to say, since the show starting airing here in February, I've spent every Sunday night at 1am tucked away in bed with the telly tuned to channel 50. And tonight was the airing of the classic episode that way more people apparently know about than I had thought (though they all seemed to think it was just an internet meme): "The Legend of Old Gregg."
A phenomenal episode, and probably my favorite, about a merman with a mangina who is obsessed with Howard and loves to drink Bailey's Irish Creme out of a shoe. Wait... you say you watched the episode and don't remember the Baileys part? You don't remember how he paints water colors of Baileys? Of Baileys A Little Bit Closer? Of As Close as You Can Get to Baileys Without Gettin' Your Eyes Wet? You have no idea what I'm talking about?
That's because in this country, we've got to jam as many commercials into the middle of a television program as we possibly can. Unlike BBC Three where The Mighty Boosh was originally aired, where commercials are only played in between shows, we've got to shoehorn a couple extra fuckers in. But how do we fit them? We cut out three minutes of content, that's how! No big deal! Let's just axe some jokes, maybe a side plotline on every one of these episodes. Sure, it'll make some transitions awkward and people who are actual fans of the show will be pissed as hell, but who's counting? We just made another twenty grand for hocking Arby's Roastburgers! Whatever the fuck they are.
Television in this country kills me. An hour-long episode of Lost is really... can you guess? Forty-four minutes long. A QUARTER OF THE SHOW ISN'T SHOW AT ALL, IT'S JUST ADVERTISEMENTS THAT NO ONE IS WATCHING ANYWAY--WE ALL CHANGE THE CHANNEL AND SEE WHO'S GETTING KICKED OFF DANCING WITH THE STARS ON COMMERCIAL BREAKS! Only channels like HBO and Showtime retain any semblance of honor and vision with their programming, not snipping it up into little pieces for the sake of advertising--and that's only because you have to pay for those channels outright. But the Brits and the Germans and the Kiwis (read: all of the foreign television I've watched) can manage it standard channels, so why can't we? The entire approach to television here is horrible, with our little ads playing in the corners, taking up half the screen just to tell you what's on next because they can't take fifteen seconds to set up a placard at the top of the hour to update you on the schedule (the way BBC does) because it will waste valuable ad time. Those placards on BBC channels are so wonderful, like a palate cleanser during a multi-course meal. No music, no animation, usually just a plain screen with a soothing British voice telling you what will be on for the next hour.
I dream of some day being a part of the BBC. Their dedication to simple, no-frills, all-quality programming. Their hilarious and ground-breaking low budget television like The Mighty Boosh, Snuff Box and Spaced. With my experience in radio and TV, I hope that someday I can work for the British Broadcasting Corporation and really make a difference in what television is. But the best part of it all will be the fact that working for the BBC means I won't be living here.