TV Review: ‘Almost Royal’

Almost Royal TV Review

At first blush, TV would seem to be a little “Borat”-ed out by now. Yet “Almost Royal” quickly establishes itself as a sprightly surprise, following a mock brother-and-sister team of snotty Brits as they travel the wilds of America, reeling in unsuspecting marks along the way. Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart play Georgie and Poppy Carlton, cheerfully fulfilling their late father’s wish to visit the U.S. and “mingle with the natives.” What ensues is fast-paced and frequently funny, a mix of deft writing and the duo’s deadpan improvisational skills.

The two previewed episodes follow the pair as they visit L.A. and Boston, during the first stop taking a Beverly Hills bike tour, while meeting in rapid-fire succession a Hollywood agent, a plastic surgeon, Fabio and the casting director of a daytime soap.

Unfortunately, Poppy, who insists she would like to be an actress, exhibits absolutely no talent (kudos to Hoggart; it’s not easy being that bad), while asking questions of the agent like, “Is it true Elton John’s gay?”

In Boston, the two attend a Tea Party meeting — which will be riotously funny to anyone who doesn’t consider themselves a full-fledged member — and attend a Revolutionary War battle reenactment, where Georgie keeps blurting out muffled curses about killing Yanks.

As noted, the idea of foreign visitors asking their U.S. hosts impertinent or insulting questions, and making the latter look gullible in the bargain, would seem to be pretty well exhausted. Yet Gamble and Hoggart manage to strike just the right tone, sounding alternately wide-eyed and priggish, without coming across as mean-spirited — which is no small feat.

Moreover, this act of across-the-Pond deception coincides with Fox’s since-defunct reality dating show “I Wanna Marry Harry,” which tapped into a similar idea but looks witless compared with this program’s understated tone.

“Almost Royal” consists of seven half-hours (opening with two back-to-back), which is probably about right in terms of Georgie and Poppy not overstaying their U.S. welcome. And while they might not really stand distantly in line for the British throne, their antics ought to win them a small but devoted following of commoners in the colonies.

TV Review: 'Almost Royal'

(Series; BBC America, Sat. June 21, 10 p.m.)

Production

Produced by Burning Bright Prods.

Crew

Executive producer, Clive Tulloh; series producer, Seamus Murphy-Mitchell; producer, Christopher Mirigliani; series director, Chris Faith; director, Marcus Liversedge; camera, Oliver Wiggins; editor, Jamie Mac. 30 MIN.

Cast

With: Ed Gamble, Amy Hoggart. Narrator: Gemma Whelan

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  1. Rosa says:

    I love this show! Georgie’s wide eyed innocence is brilliant, while Poppy’s self-centered love affair w/herself is awesome. This show prob will be short-lived, so I relish every second I’m in their ‘royal’ company.

  2. KSB1 says:

    I thought this show was hilarious! Maybe I just like corny skits like the best of Saturday Night Live or the Red Green Show, or even the Benny Hill show. These two work well together and their dumb wit is especially interesting in light of some of the scenarios (e.g. Detroit) presented, casted or not. Yes, this likely will be shore lived, but for the short term, their antics are humorous to those who realize that these two certainly don’t represent the IQ of all Brits. Lighten up and have a laugh.

  3. Emily Cruise says:

    This show needs to be cancelled now! What a waste of money to have these two idiots wondering about and putting it on tv for people to suffer through it! Please cancel the show! I am never harsh like this but really…this show is a waste or air space!

  4. Kiryn says:

    It’s Borat all over again! Is this what is supposed to be funny now days. Look how it shows the English as people who act like children! I know that they are acting but I did my research after the fist one, some people will not.

  5. John Lin says:

    I cannot bring myself to agree with you on any level. This “Comedy” is so lacking in humor I found myself spending the entirety of the program debating whether it was intended to be a knock on British Royalty, Americans, British, or all of the above. I would rank Almost Royalty down in the dry depths with Tom Green or Will Farrel. Mindless and numbing leaving me feeling robbed of my time. This will never be on par with Monty Python or Dr Who. Perhaps with a brain infusion they could garner half the chuckles Top Gear surprises people with.

  6. I’m with Mark. I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard at anything since the two Doctors were on Graham Norton Show with Emma Thompson and Robbie Williams last year. Georgie especially had me coughing up both lungs from laughing, not only because of the deer caught in the headlights look he gets in his eyes, to some of his reactions to the reactions to what he says. I can’t imagine this show running much beyond the 7 episodes they have so far, but it’s a riot.

  7. Mark says:

    Loved this show! I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. I hope “George” and “Poppy” have long careers in comedy.

  8. Galen Steeg says:

    Love British programming on BBC America, but Almost Royal is a joke. Within the the first 5 minutes, I had to erase this. It puts a black mark on entertainment, comedy and education, if any of these thing was intended. Hopefully this is a show that is Royally Short Lived.

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