Friday, January 13, 2012

Not Everyone Loves Raymond


This documentary caught my eye, which chronicles the attempt by Sony to bring Everyone Loves Raymond to Moscow, recasting the situation television comedy with Russian actors.  Unlike previous efforts with The Nanny and Married with Children, Raymond proved to be quite cumbersome.  Maybe that's because it wasn't a very good sitcom to begin with, but one that filled a void on American television after the long run by Seinfeld. But, you can't argue with success and Rosenthal chooses to lash out at Russian producers and costume designers who tried to jazz up the show, thinking it might play better to a Russian audience.  Here's the trailer.

From what I've seen Russians tend to prefer variety shows, with comic sketches, such as the highly popular Наша Russia, rather than the uniquely American situation comedy.  While some sitcoms do travel well, others fall flat.  Friends has a big international audience, thanks largely to the star power of its actors, who all went onto successful Hollywood careers. By contrast, Seinfeld is too specific in its humor to gain much of an international audience.

Where Russia truly excels is in slapstick comedy, for which there have been no shortage of movies over the years.  Maybe adapting one of these movies into a "sitcom" might prove more successful than Raymond?

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