As the lackluster later seasons of The Office finally begin to fade from our collective memories, apparently it’s time to take another beloved British sitcom and attempt to adapt it to retrofit it for NBC. The series in question is last fall’s Cuckoo, a big hit starring Andy Samberg, pre-Brooklyn Nine–Nine. Here, instead of white collar drudgery, the subject at hand is unwelcome son-in-laws. Unwelcome American hippie world traveler son-in-laws, to be more precise. Samberg, playing Cuckoo, said hippie, returns home as the surprise spouse of a smart, middle-class English girl on a semester abroad. The young woman’s father, played in the British series by Greg Davies, begins to feel like a fish out of water in his own home when his daughter, wife, and even grumpy teenage son all start to like the lazy, shallow mooch.
As the gags build, it’s a recognizable brand of entitlement masquerading as enlightenment that the creators Robin French and Kieron Quirke have accurately pegged and mined for laughs. If this will ever successfully be adapted, a new type of conservative family, over-achieving daughter, and layabout son-in-law will have to be created. Usually, American adaptations flounder when they become intent on directly replicating their European origins with different accents, but hopefully, because the story calls for some major detail changes, the new showrunners can take this very funny premise and do something uniquely American with it. And no, ruining good sitcoms from other countries is not unique to America — look no further than the British adaptation of That 70’s Show.