by Julian Spivey
BBC America has gotten into the mockumentary game with the new faux-reality series comedy “Almost Royal” airing Saturday nights at 9 p.m.
“Almost Royal” stars Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart (who are also writers of the series) as a brother and sister duo who are far, far down the list of British Royals who following the death of their beloved father travel to the United States, as his dying wish asked, with his ashes in tow to see a country that he truly loved.
The plots are loose, as would be expected from a faux reality series, and simply rely on George (Gamble) and Poppy (Hoggart) traveling to different cities in America and engrossing themselves in local customs and attractions.
Much of the show’s humor stems from the fact that others surrounding George and Poppy in America don’t seem to realize it’s all a complete joke and view the brother and sister duo as imbeciles from overseas.
The laughs all come from George and Poppy’s interactions with American things that are so foreign to them. These laughs are occasionally riotously funny when the duo says or does something that mocks Americanism in ways that should be mocked – like a Tea Party meeting in Boston – but can also fall flat for periods of time as the entire premise of the show at times seems uninteresting. At times the characters of George and Poppy can also seem more annoying than funny.
The best all-around episode thus far has probably been the duo’s trip to Texas where they experience things like cowboys at work (hilariously asking one if he was inspired by the “Toy Story” movie) and a foray into cheerleading for Texas State University.
“Almost Royal” is an interesting show for BBC America that’s at its best when the humor is more biting in its satire, but is ultimately only worth a few honest laughs per episode and likely won’t relate with too many American viewers.