It has been on and off and on again more times than the turbulent relationship of its two titular characters.
Nevertheless, the American version of Gavin & Stacey – renamed Us & Them – finally seemed to be occurrin’ earlier this year when Stateside network Fox took up the baton of developing the Barry-set sitcom after two previous broadcasters passed on the project.
But now the adaptation of Ruth Jones and James Corden’s Bafta-winning BBC comedy looks uncertain once again with news that production has been halted halfway through the series’ 13-show shoot.
“Word on the street is that the network’s top brass have had concerns about the tone the series is taking,” said Nellie Andreeva from the TV insider website Deadline.
“The romantic comedy was six episodes into its filming and had two more shows to go before it was due to take a pre-planned break.
“Instead, a decision has been made to move that hiatus forward, and it looks like the makers will use that downtime to work on the scripts.”
She added that although work was planned to resume next week, Fox was likely to wait to see how well its current crop of new comedies fare with audiences before deciding on where to place Us & Them in the seasonal schedules.
And while the hiccup might spell bad news for fans keen to see a transatlantic retelling of the hit original, it’s not entirely unforeseen given the mixed reviews which greeted the recent unaired pilot episode.
In particular, the reaction of the critics at the Huffington Post seemed to sum up Us & Them’s tendency to split opinion, with its detractors proving just as plentiful and vociferous as those who liked it.
“There could be a halfway decent rom-cam in there somewhere, but it’s buried under layers of awkwardness, toilet jokes and vomit,” said one, while another posted, “It’s quirky, raunchy and at times totally offensive. I kind of love it.”
However, “likeable, but not especially funny” seemed to be the shared mantra of those granted a sneak peak at the early footage.
“In Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel [who play the US equivalents of Gavin and Stacey] the show has a pair of leads who are utterly winsome and adorable, but while there’s plenty of cuddly chemistry there isn’t any heat,” writes Hit Fix’s Daniel Feinberg. Meanwhile, Dustin Ybarra and Ashlie Atkinson, who play the ‘Nessa and Smithy roles originated by Jones and Corden, try so hard that watching them becomes exhausting rather than funny.”
That said, Us & Them is far from the only example of a UK TV show which has become lost in translation whilst making the leap across the pond.
Even seminal efforts like Dad’s Army (renamed The Rear Guard over there) failed to crossover, possibly proving too quintessentially British to make a lasting impression, while the likes of Are You Being Served? (AKA Beanes Of Boston) never made it to air at all.
Some classic homegrown characters have fared much better though, with Alf Garnett, Steptoe & Son and The Office’s David Brent (rechristened Michael Scott upon his move from Slough to Scranton, Pennsylvania) all starring in remakes which ran for longer than the shows which inspired them.
But it’s Basil Fawlty who’s proved the hardest to reinvent over the years, the Americans making not one but three attempts to recast him as a sun-kissed Californian hotelier, each time to no avail .