Saturday, April 9, 2016
U.S.-Born Wicked Witch of the West End as Britcom
As an initial matter, the image above is not of the sister (aka The Wicked Witch of the West End) of your not-so-often humble reviewer who is the subject du jour. This web photo is from the results of the search "pretentious Americans London" that surprisingly generates scads of hits. This absolutely fabulous ennui-afflicted woman in her elegant home merely well illustrates the following points.
The second preliminary note before getting down to business is that readers on both sides of the pond who conclude "I know who she is" after reading this post may very well be wrong but still prove that American women (and men) who move to London and present themselves as if they are blood members of a titled family are both absurd and a pound a dozen.
The genesis of this post dates back roughly 20 years to an episode of "Friends" in which the Central Perk posse ridicules a woman in their outer circle who acquires a fake British accent while living in London. Michigan native Material Girl Madonna adopting that affectation during that period may be the inspiration for that episode.
More recently, watching the opening segment of the new Netflix sitcom "Fuller House" out of the same morbid curiosity as drivers slowing down on seeing an actual train wreck is behind renewed thoughts of the absurdity of the pretensions of some American women who seek to reinvent themselves in London. An early scene has middle daughter Stephanie displaying the aforementioned faux manner of speaking on returning from living in London. This prompts the other "Full House" charcters to validly ridicule her.
All of this amounts to an idea for a Britcom centered around a London-dwelling American woman whose pedigree cannot cash the checks that her (likely collagen-injected) mouth writes. The initial thought is "The Dame from Des Moines" is an apt title.
Such a show has the virtue of good potential for American and British audiences, both of which can easily relate to the characters. The concept additionally has some of the same elements that make the classic Britcoms "Absolutely Fabulous" and "Keeping Up Appearances" so smashing (of course, irony intended).
One "its funny because its true" aspect of this concept relates to American-born Maggie Pierce, who is best known for playing the lead in the '60s (unfairly) failedcom "My Mother the Car." A friend of the highly significant other of your reviewer is a relative of the (now-late) Pierce. Said friend called on (then-retired) Pierce at her London home while in that city. The response of Pierce was that she could not see him but that she would grant him an audience the next time that he was in London if he called before leaving the states.
An effort by yours truly to improve relations with Pierce's spiritual American Cousin who is the subject du jour prompted contacting her several years ago about visiting her in London. The response in her oh-so-posh voice was that I was welcome but would not be happy because I would need to sleep in the play room outside the children's rooms and that they would greatly disturb me. Needless to say, I declined that oh-so-welcoming Pierce-style invitation.
The rare occasions on which the lady in green face and I have visited since her majesty has made America a slightly nicer place to live always involved her discussing her "mobile," her Mercedes, and often that her husband and she were "independently wealthy." Only additionally mentioning having a sauna and room for a pony (both of which she well may own) prevented these encounters for being straight out of "Appearances."
For the record, your loyal scribe does not enjoy a lifestyle of the rich and famous but has little cause to complain about his standard of living.
Another real-life witch story with a tie to a classic Britcom involves a reputed personal relationship (ala "The Vicar of Dibley") with Sir Elton John. A secondhand report of that singer performing at a function hosted by that Real Housewife of London prompted her brother from an actual universe to repeatedly hope and pray for a rendition of "The Bitch Is Back" during that concert.
The numerous "funny because it is true (and is not happening to you)" elements of (possibly) "A Shrew in Burberry Clothing" creates great hope for a series (in both the American and British senses of the word.)
Anyone with questions or comments regarding this post (or with thoughts regarding the identity of the witch) is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,