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  1. Culture
29 August 2008

Romantic comedy can survive

America could be on the verge of falling in love with Gavin and Stacey

By Graeme Allister

Gavin and Stacey in the USA

James Corden’s already perilously large ego may be about to go super-sized. If the critics are anything to go by, America may be on the verge of falling in love with Gavin and Stacey. The LA Times called the show, which has just started on BBC America, “funny, touching and welcome proof that the romantic comedy can and will survive irony, Botox, Judd Apatow and all the vagaries of the modern age”. Given the verbal castigation Corden gave The Guardian’s TV critic for wondering what all the fuss was about, it’s possibly just as well.

Immaterial Girl

The Vatican can breathe a sigh of relief, Madonna’s found a new target. Her tours have been ever-less subtle attacks on the Church, from the Blonde Ambition tour which combined sex and Catholicism (leading the Pope to demanded a boycott) to 2006’s Confessions tour which included Madge performing in a crown of thorns on a huge mirrored cross.

Now she’s got politics in her somewhat off-kilter crosshairs. Her new Sticky and Sweet tour features a montage juxtaposing Hitler, Mugabe and, em, John McCain. The McCain camp is unimpressed with a spokesman calling the comparisons “outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive”.

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Meanwhile Sheryl Crow has also been weighing into the American election debate. To encourage political engagement she’s giving away free copies of her new album to the first 50,000 people who sign up three friends to vote. Cynics who think Crow is trying to jumpstart her career should consider her recent dalliances with world issues. Last year she made her own suggestion for how America could tackle global warming.

“I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required.”

The Facebook Veneration

Meanwhile Aaron Sorkin’s attempts to revive his career continue apace. After the self-indulgent nonsense of Studio 60 and the tepid Charlie Wilson’s War, Sorkin is writing a screenplay about Facebook. Quite how the West Wing scribe will capture the drama of a game of Scrabulous or the exhilaration of being poked by someone you never spoke to a primary school remains to be seen. Let’s hope it fares better than his last project involving technology; the Farnsworth Invention, a play about the invention of television, which the New York Times compared to an “animated Wikipedia entry”.

Don’t play with Karl

Finally, Karl Lagerfeld has a new muse – himself. Kaiser Karl, so familiar in his black shades, monochrome suits and fingerless gloves that he caused a collective fashionista intake of breath when he took to wearing pink this summer, has designed a teddy bear in his own image. It’s safe to say this isn’t a toy (along with body odour, fat people, strangers, travelling and technology, Lagerfeld says he hates children), retailing for $1500.

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