US remakes of British comedies can be hit (The Office) or miss (I still shudder at the thought of Coupling), but I have high hopes for ABC’s planned adaptation of the BBC’s Gavin & Stacey. I’m obsessed with this charming comedy about a Welsh girl and an Essex lad’s romance. Gavin and Stacey themselves mostly play it straight, leaving it to the incredibly rich supporting characters to bring out the laughs. Best are Gavin’s sparkly housewife mom Pam, his beer-loving best friend Smithy, Stacey’s tough, promiscuous best friend Nessa, and her geeky Uncle Bryn (played in the British version by brilliant Rob Brydon). The Welsh-Essex stereotypes will have to be transplanted somewhere in the States for the culture clashes to have the same comedy effect. This IS possible — I remember the fear when David Brent of Slough’s Wernam-Hogg was going to have to be Americanized — but he became the brilliant Michael Scott of Scranton’s Dunder Mifflin.
Have you seen the original Gavin & Stacey on BBC America? Watch this clip, then tell us which American actor you think could take on the meaty (in more ways than one) role of Smithy. I’d vote for Zach Galifianakis, but he might be too in-demand after The Hangover.