Posts Tagged ‘Outnumbered’

I’m sharing the funniest telly moment I’ve witnessed this week.  It’s simply a father entertaining his children with his very fine velociraptor impersonation.



If you have kiddos of your own you know this is so true to life. Its pure silliness made me smile.


Adendum: I realize I’ve been writing a lot about babies and children recently which I’m sure has made me come across all broody. (I heard Mel B use that word on the Today Show yesterday and I had to use it!)  But really it’s all just coincidence.  No children (or yikes! grandchildren) on the horizon.  Just a royal baby frenzy and my recent viewing choices.  I’ll be moving on to another subject directly.


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Doubtless you are aware that very soon this man will become a grandfather for the first time.

Granddad Charles image credit telegraph.co.uk

Granddad Charles image credit telegraph.co.uk


Very exciting news indeed, but the prospect of a new child round the palace can be daunting. So I went out and found a few examples of  telly granddads who could offer some practical advice and encouragement for the many stages of grandparenting.


No nappies ? No problem – Pramface



Difficult questions call for distraction – Outnumbered



Cash beats “fun” every time –In with the Flynns



No matter where they’ve been or how old they are, always welcome them home with  a big hug – Doctor Who

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I’ve just started watching Moone Boy on Hulu.  This delightful story centers around Martin Moone (David Rawle), a 12 year old Irish boy who lives in a houseful of thoughtless sisters; has a considerable problem with bullies at school; and has dreamed up an imaginary friend named Sean Murphy played by the very funny Chris O’Dowd.  I’ve read that this is actually a semi-autobiographical series based on O’Dowd’s childhood in Boyle, Ireland.

Despite his less than ideal pre-adolescent life, Martin is a remarkably resilient and happy lad:


After the first couple of episodes, I had a revelation of sorts. Moone Boy struck me as unique in part because there aren’t that many British shows which feature children as main characters, where the story is seen from their perspective.  At least not in my viewing experience anyhow.

I can think of a half a dozen American kid-centered series right off the top of my head  – The Wonder Years, Malcolm in the Middle, Silver Spoons, Diff’rent Strokes, Webster, and Punky Brewster.  Oddly enough the last three on the list all involve children who were orphaned and taken in by someone wealthy, a sort of Annie situation that perhaps we Yanks rather like.

And that’s without even delving into the kid channels like Disney or Nickelodeon or all the family sitcoms where, although the kid actors aren’t necessarily the star, they are an equal part of the ensemble – The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, Growing Pains and more recently shows like Modern Family. In fact in some cases, a child actor can breakout to become the star of the show even though that wasn’t the original intent of the writers.  Take Family Matters’  Steve Urkel – he even got his own dance.


There are British programs that feature a family dynamic to be sure. Outnumbered and My Family come to mind- two families with three slightly out of control children.  However, they are still parent-centric, dealing mainly with how the mums and dads cope with the antics of their broods.


And as for the dysfunctional situation of a show like Shameless, though the children are forced to parent their father, he is still the main focus of their world and of the show.

Even when it comes to shows based mainly in a school setting, American series tend to emphasize the exploits of the kids – Head of the ClassBoy Meets World, The Facts of Life and Freaks and Geeks – whereas school-themed shows in Britain focus more on the lives of the adults who teach.  Examples are shows like Waterloo Road and Teachers where as this clip demonstrates administrative duties and office politics take up just as much time as molding young minds.


What about shows like Skins, The Inbetweeners and Misfits you may very well ask.  I discount these because they are populated with young adults, students over 16 and some who have already left school.  They aren’t at all like children in their behavior, no matter that their maturity and impulse control levels are not yet fully developed. Just as in real life for this age group, adults are only on the periphery to be mocked and avoided.

The one notable exception I can think of is from the recent period drama The Village wherein the story is being told by the second oldest man in Britain, Bert Middleton.  This 112 year old gentleman takes us back to the beginning of the First World War when he was a very poor child, the son of a bitter and alcoholic father played by John Simm.  And while this young boy, newcomer Bill Jones, is not the best known actor in this series, it is through his eyes that we experience old Bert’s memories.


So my question is why does there seem to be this cultural difference?  Why are child actors apparently utilized differently in the UK than the US?  Do they have stricter child labor laws there than in America?  Do writers prefer to create story lines with adult themes? I can’t blame them really.  If I were forced to write an episode of Full House, I might have to put down my laptop forever.

Or does the viewing public prefer to have children be seen and not heard?  Maybe the Brits are  just a little more honest about the ambivalent feelings they have for their own offspring …


Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not saying child stardom is a thing to be encouraged.  And please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not aware of as much of this sort of nonsense going on  across the pond anyway.


Lindsey Lohan mug shots image credit popgoesthe week

Lindsey Lohan mug shots image credit popgoesthe week

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