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UK Parenting Sitcom "Outnumbered" Nails It

Watched the UK sitcom Outnumbered last night and laughed a lot. I wanted to stay up and watch more of this show about parents being overwhelmed by their children, but I’d just spent the day being overwhelmed by my children and needed to sleep.

The award-winning hit first aired in 2007 in the UK, a US version is in production. It’s a pretty straight forward parenting comedy in the tradition of The Cosby Show.  Well-intentioned middle-class adults struggle to come up with the reasonable answers to their children’s questions: “What would Jesus do if someone stole his mobile? Would he forgive them?” Clip after the jump.


The comedy is based more in realism than the sharp satire of say Ab Fab or The Office– apparently there’s lot of improvisation. Unlike The Cosby Show there’s no cute moralizing. Each show ends much as it began, with parents trying (and failing) to make teachable moments out of their children’s infallible, infuriating logic. I suppose if there’s a moral to this story it would be that grown-up values are not logical or particularly moral, in fact they’re mostly hypocritical.

But it never feels that deep– mostly its just a hapless dad or mum trying to find his or her phone while a child in the background makes some clever observation: You say a burglar can’t fit down the chimney, so how does Santa get down?

You can get the DVDs but they need to be viewed on a dual system (PAL and NTSC). FOX is doing a US version; let’s hope it’s as successful an adaptation as The Office. The trailer for the show has lots of cute, reassuring music which doesn’t bode well. If it’s no good, American parents will have no problem relating to the original.

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