Television in translation

Many different television shows have captured our attention over the many years they have been aired. But why do certain television shows create a spark that makes us want to watch them? Why do we enjoy watching certain television shows but not others? Living in Australia, we are lucky as we are able to understand both english and american humour, as well as of course our own. However, it is difficult for english television shows, especially comedies to spark and generate interest within the USA.


The famous Australian television show Kath and Kim has connected with many australians over the period it was aired on the Australian Broadcasting corporation, premiering in 2002. The television show has won numerous awards for its script as well as acting. However, in 2008, in the USA, Kath and Kim was re-adapted to suit an American audience, however, it was a failure and did not end up rating well at all. This is due to the fact that Kath and Kim was originally created for a typically Australian audience, making fun of the society in which it was placed in. Through moving this show to another country, this breaks the rules of comedy.

Again, this same type of issue can be shown through the television show SKINS which premiered in the UK. Originally set in a british city with british characters, it became quite popular within the UK as well as Australia. When the USA created and developed their own version of the televisions show it again was a failure because it did not correlate with the US market.


Turnbull, S (2010) ‘The long tail of mother and son: the transnational career of an Australian situation comedy’. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, no. 134, pp. 96.

Turnbull, S (2004) ‘Look at Moiye, Kimmie, look at moiye’: Kath and Kim and the Australian comedy of taste’. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, no. 113, pp. 98 – 109


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