Only Fools and Horses getting American face-lift….Sigh


What has widely been viewed as one of the most popular situation comedies of all-time in the UK will now become the next American re-make that will not last one season (IMHO). The ABC Television Network has announced that a pilot is in the works from the brains behind the U.S. comedy, Scrubs. For some time, the biggest cheerleader for the project was Steve Carell, who stars as Michael Scott in the American version of The Office. Carell has long said that playing David Jason’s character Del Boy, would be his “dream role“. “The British do sitcoms better than anybody else in the world. I think with the right scriptwriters and cast we could do Only Fools and Horses justice. If anybody wants to help me do a remake I’d love it,” Carell added. For some unknown reason (maybe I do know why) ABC waited to announce until the year after the brilliant creator of OFAH passed away. Can’t imagine he would have ever agreed to such a thing.

Here’s where I’m compelled to mention a few failed attempts over the years….

  • Coupling – lasted only a few episodes even after using British scripts verbatum
  • Chateau Snavely, Amanda, Payne – all failed American versions of Fawlty Towers
  • Red Dwarf – unaired pilot
  • The IT Crowd – unaired pilot
  • The Rear Guard – failed Dad’s Army re-do
  • Beane’s of Boston – Are You Being Served re-make that made it to pilot stage only, thankfully.

Let’s not even talk about Prime Suspect, the AbFab pilot attempt by Roseanne Barr or the discussion of a Vicar of Dibley re-do starring Kirstie Alley.

Thankfully, The Guardian has a keen eye and brilliant sense of humor over this as they offer some thoughts as to the subtle changes that will be made. I particularly like how The Nags Head will now have to be a Hooters in order to Americanize the series. Can’t wait to see what “lovely jubbly” will translate to in “American”.

  • AC75

    Tragic. I’m not even that big a fan of the original, but I hate the whole “new version” thing regardless. And you’re right, it’s destined to fail just as all those you listed above have failed. And, while they’re not UK shows, I’ll add the remake of “Kath & Kim” and “Scoundrels” (the US take on the brilliant NZ hit “Outrageous Fortune”) to the list as well. All failures. Just because “The Office” worked doesn’t mean the rest will. 

  • AC75

    Tragic. I’m not even that big a fan of the original, but I hate the whole “new version” thing regardless. And you’re right, it’s destined to fail just as all those you listed above have failed. And, while they’re not UK shows, I’ll add the remake of “Kath & Kim” and “Scoundrels” (the US take on the brilliant NZ hit “Outrageous Fortune”) to the list as well. All failures. Just because “The Office” worked doesn’t mean the rest will. 

  • Lisa C.

    Why don’t they just give up and admit that nowdays, most American television isn’t as good as most British television? And never will be.

  • Lisa C.

    Why don’t they just give up and admit that nowdays, most American television isn’t as good as most British television? And never will be.

  • Marie

    Don’t forget “Hope Island”… the US remake of Ballykissangel. Epic fail. Do these network executives not realize that what we love about these British shows is the fact that they ARE British? I watch not only because the shows are brilliantly written and acted, but also because I love all things British. I want to be transported to the UK…enjoy the accents, see the sights. I want to be in Dibley…not Los Angeles or New York. If you take the Britcom out of Britain there really is nothing left that is of any interest to me.

  • Marie

    Don’t forget “Hope Island”… the US remake of Ballykissangel. Epic fail. Do these network executives not realize that what we love about these British shows is the fact that they ARE British? I watch not only because the shows are brilliantly written and acted, but also because I love all things British. I want to be transported to the UK…enjoy the accents, see the sights. I want to be in Dibley…not Los Angeles or New York. If you take the Britcom out of Britain there really is nothing left that is of any interest to me.

  • Cindybowden1

    Could it be possible that just maybe a success with Steve Carell’s participation?  I don’t know….  My husband reminded my of another successful sitcom of the British show Steptoe and Son and the American remake of Sanford and Son.

  • Cindybowden1

    Could it be possible that just maybe a success with Steve Carell’s participation?  I don’t know….  My husband reminded my of another successful sitcom of the British show Steptoe and Son and the American remake of Sanford and Son.

  • Steve

    Don’t forget the horrible “Reggie” !

  • Steve

    Don’t forget the horrible “Reggie” !

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  • charlie

    kath and kim!  yes!!  that has to be the biggest “epic fail” in history.  that had almost as much hype going in as emily reason’s why not….

    but let us not forget all in the family and cosby….sometimes lightning DOES strike twice….

  • charlie

    kath and kim!  yes!!  that has to be the biggest “epic fail” in history.  that had almost as much hype going in as emily reason’s why not….

    but let us not forget all in the family and cosby….sometimes lightning DOES strike twice….