Australian’s sense of humour is quite different to American’s, whereas Australian and British humour are quite similar. As national and globally known, Australian’s like to poke fun at themselves and not take everything so seriously. I believe this is why Kath and Kim was such a big hit Down Under.
Kim, a self-confesed ‘fox’ and ‘horn-bag’ whose only knowledge of top Australian fashion is her ‘Sass and Bee-day Bumsters’, but to normal Australian’s we know that it is Sass and Bide. The fact that she is clearly a 40 year old trying to act like a 20 year, buying jeans that are 3 sizes too small, depicts scenes that local Australian’s see in the suburbs. Too me this image reminds me of something in the Western Suburbs. Trashy but damn well serious about their appearance (no offence to the West). The irony of Kim and what she says compared to what she looks like is hilarious. Like all Australian’s, Kim doesn’t take herself seriously.
Kath, also known and Kath Day-Knight, is still stuck in the 80’s with her parrot earrings and pink silk puffy sleeved blouse. The image of Kath is equally as funny without knowing of 80’s Australian fashion. Kath often uses current and old Australian slang and even invented her own which became commonly used in everyday Australian life. For example ‘Cardonay’ aka Chardonnay, ‘Noice’ and to this day, I still say “It’s noice, different, unusual”.
Then in 2008, the NBC premiered the American remake of Kath and Kim. This show was a flop and just did not translate into American culture. The irony of the characters was not funny and Kim, played by Selma Blair, is very pretty and skinny. The original Kim is meant to be chubby but think she is beautiful and skinny, that’s what makes Kim so funny. Both Kath and Kim in the American version, outside of their roles, are actresses and Blair in particular has been in many Hollywood films. The actresses who played the Australian Kath and Kim were both comedians before their roles in the hit show, which allowed their previously known comedic talent to be a main feature in the show.
“I would suggest that what has been ‘seriously lost in translation’ is the role and place of irony: in this case, the gap between how a character imagines him/herself to be and how they appear to the audience” (Turnbull, 2008).