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"The Kumars at No. 42"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"The Kumars at No. 42" More at IMDbPro »

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A Witty Alternative to the Usual Same-old Same-old

Author: Rambimbo from Wisconsin
16 January 2005

Reruns of this show just started playing in the US on BBC America and I think this show is a hoot to watch. Half the show is a send-up of British middle-class values, and the fact that the family is also Indian is treated so matter-of-factly that it doesn't seem exceptional at all. It's an interesting illustration of how western and eastern cultural mores can co-exist. Furthermore, the non-sequitor type questions asked by the Kumar family members reveal how our interest in celebrities is partly a self-absorbed wish to see ourselves reflected back. However, the primary thing about this show is that it's witty and entertaining.

I especially like that the celebrity guests aren't the sole focus. The show's unusual format seems to draw a genuine and candid reaction from the guests, most of whom are bemused but are clearly willing to join into the spirit of the show. This tells us more about who they are than all those canned anecdotes one hears on the typical late night talk shows.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Brilliantly Original Concept

Author: de_niro_2001 from scotland
24 April 2004

One other reviewer describes this as part chat show, part sitcom and that's a good way of describing it. Where did they get the idea for this? It's a very clever idea. A young Asian guy, still living with his parents, wants to be a chat show host and his successful businessman dad builds him a studio in the back garden. But while he's interviewing the celebrities, his Mum, Dad and Granny come in to the studio and ask the celebrities questions. It's quite obvious that the celebrities on the show enjoy it. Another reviewer says it reflects the sad worship of celebrities but I don't think that's a fair comment. The show is entertaining and there is a little of the spirit of Morecambe and Wise in it. Granny Kumar (aka "Ummi") is the real show stealer but Aswan had a really good line when Sanjev was interviewing some actress from East Enders and she said the Kumars were like people on East Enders. Aswan said "Yes, but we speak better English". Very true! In the programme featuring Patrick Stewart, Ummi said she had read on a website that Patrick Stewart didn't like talking about Star Trek then Sanjev came on in a Star Trek uniform. The show is brilliant and I can see why the Americans and Australians have produced their own versions. It's a pity I'm not famous enough, I'd love to be the Kumars' guest!

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Live comedy set in a studio a father built for his son

Author: jacques_05 from Australia
6 May 2005

An informal chat show style comedy from a revitalised British comedy scene. Much more intelligent than some of the racially stereotyped humor emerging from the States. The guests are interesting, ranging from Charlotte Church, various tier 2 actors and political guests.

The guests in the first series don't know that the show is a send up and often take the comments at face value. Their confusion is amusing as the "family" play jokes on each other and the guests.

Some guests won't be recognisable to viewers outside Britain.

The same actors had another comedy show. I can't remember the name of it at the moment. Some similarity in style to Ali G, but without the drug references or the bling bling.

Highly recommended for the intelligent viewer.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A modern sophisticated comedy for Britain as it is in the 21st Century

Author: owston-tj from York, England
10 April 2004

The clever aspect of the Kumar comedy is it is a reflection of the attitudes and position of many people of Asian descent in modern Britain, part of British life but with a hint of Asian culture. The family is associated with Indian culture and religion(they have nothing to do with Pakistan and the 'P' word is the British racist equivalent of the American 'N' word).

The great aspect of the series is that we can watch the comedy knowing that the humour is safe and is usually directed against the pretentions of the son and his celebrity aspirations. The Grandmother is a brilliant creation of Meera Syal a gifted creative actor and writer, the comedy lines are usually hers, though the mother and father can easily aid the sons frustrations. Never do interviews with the guest celebrities conclude without a family intervention, usually witty but always funny.

Its perhaps not for those who like the very laddish and moronic humour of other British comedy or the 1950's-1990's racist and homophobic humour which no longer has a place on modern British television. It avoids direct political comment and attacks on British racism, yet becomes in itself a comment on the (partial) success of anti-racist campaigns in modern British life, though reflects sadly current worship of celebrities.

Its a cult show, but one that entertains many of its more sophisticated viewers and there are millions of those in Britain.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: caitlin_damhsa from shanghai, china
31 January 2004

i don't really watch comedy shows and I never watch talk shows....but I like this one. As others have commented, the grandmother is the star of the show, but the concept is original and funny and overall I like it.

I just wish some network in the USA would pick this up....yeah right!

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: andyguest from Lincolnshire, England
6 March 2002

This show is one of the finest shows on TV. It's a top class sitcom and talk show in one. If you are a fan of Goodness Gracious Me, then you should like this. The casts lines are written, as are the questions, but the guest is always genuine and spontanious.

Highlights include the dirty and rude gran and the Dads anecdotes that don't have an ending.

I was in the audience for a recording of this, and the guests really don't have any idea what's coming!

I really recommend watching this whenever it's on, you won't be disappointed.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I feel it is pretty good

Author: pgbiswas from Noida, India
18 January 2004

sure it is not the greatest show ever but quite funny and surely is a comic relief from wannabe comedy sitcomes, such as Everybody Loves Raymond or That 70's show or whatever that comes on Star world (TV CHANNEL) except Friends and Seinfield

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Dependent on its guests

Author: Enoch Sneed from United Kingdom
23 August 2006

The success of this show is very variable and depends on the ability of the guests to join in the concept. Basically a middle-class Asian family have spent their money building a TV studio for their son who wants to be a chat show host. The son hosts the show but his parents and grandmother are on the sidelines and embarrass him by asking the guests very personal questions or relating irrelevant anecdotes.

The first ever guest was Richard E Grant and he was brilliant at falling in with the fake family and playing along with the son's obviously doomed ambitions and the family's put-downs. Unfortunately not all the guests can do this and some are obviously quite bewildered at the comments of the 'parents' on the sofa. This can lead to awkward silences on the part of guests and audience. Meera Syal as the plain-speaking, sex and incontinence-obsessed 'Ummi' is the most obviously 'funny' character on the show, perhaps because she is a caricature. The parents, by contrast, appear 'normal' although they are supposed to represent a stereotypical Asian mother and father.

For some reason this show has now run for five years. In my view it is another example of humour which has to be seen to be clever by having some kind of sub-text. Will we ever get back to the days when things are funny for their own sake?

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