Sitcom-munication Breakdown: When Sitcoms Go Global

Image credit: 

OK, I'll admit it "“ I cut my teeth on a channel selector, and the only tan I've ever gotten came from a cathode ray tube. I'm Kara, and I'm a TV addict. How suffocating is this monkey on my back? Well, whenever I travel, one of the first things I do upon checking into my room is to turn on the TV and search the available channels. Stateside, I suffer from withdrawal if TV Land is unavailable. While abroad, I'll sit through any show if I recognize the theme song, despite the language barrier.

All of this got me to thinking about American shows and how they translate overseas. Some shows are simply dubbed into another language, like...

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Italian-style

THE NANNY.jpgThe Italian rapper, with his uninhibited "˜whoos' of delight and his ad-libbed chuckles, seems to be having far more fun with the premise than Will Smith ever did. I'm wondering, though, how do they handle the matter of Will's colloquial speech versus Carlton's prep school diction? Is there such a thing as "gangsta" Italian?

The Nanny, now in Spanish!

It's interesting to see how true to the original theme song and opening credits Chile and Mexico stayed when broadcasting their own renditions of The Nanny. It's also fascinating how different the cartoon nanny's look in each version (particularly the way they walk). Animation aside, the story premise and characters are basically the same, but I'm sure they somehow have to give the recurring jokes a local flavor. What are the Chilean equivalents of Loehmann's and Boca Raton?

South American nannies, a German Al Bundy and more all after the jump!

Married with Children goes German

Even if they don't speak a word of German, true TV fans will recognize Hilfe, meine Familie spinnt as Germany's version of Married with Children. The world-weary expression on the father's face, the mother's stretch pants, and the kids begging money all give it away. I don't know whether the Bavarian Al Bundy works in a shoe store, or slips away to the nudie bar"¦

International Flossers need to fill me in! Tell me about both dubbed and foreign versions of I Love Lucy, Roseanne, Green Acres, The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Cheers, The Cosby Show, The Golden Girls and any other well-known sitcoms.

More from mental_floss...

October 24, 2007 - 1:30am
submit to reddit