For those familiar with the British comedian Miranda Hart, tuning in to Call Me Kat this season (Fox) felt a little bit like déja-vu. That’s in great part because Call me Kat is executive-produced by Hart and inspired by the comedy show named after its creator, Miranda (all seasons available on Hulu). “Inspired” is not exactly the best word to describe it. From the opening to the closing credits, the show makes ample use of every successful joke and quirk of one of Britain’s biggest cult hits. From set design, to character development, show running, catch phrases, no stone was left unturned, which for fans of Miranda, can be a tad… disheartening (pun intended).
The biggest flaw this show has is possibly that of not utilizing Miranda Hart as one of the characters, if not as Kat herself. I don’t mean any disrespect towards Mayim Bialik, who’s a terrific actress, but there’s a certain je ne sais quais that only Ms. Hart can offer to her characters. The physicality, facial expressions, quick wit, pitch in voice and height, are to me some of the main points. As good as Bialik is, she cannot carry this show, which ends up relying heavily on the quirks of Leslie Jordan and the banal jokes that come along with most of everything that he does, including his Instagram account.
Bialik I feel, is capable of so much more, but is stuck in a rut. Perhaps it’s time for someone to whisk her out of this genre that is so comfortable to her and place her into something a little more intriguing and dramatic, that will display other challenges that she is surely capable of tackling.
As for Kat, well, it seems she will have a short life on-screen. If this show continues to rely so heavily on its pastiche jokes and fantastic content that appears nothing like reality, it will really not go very far. Call Me Kat doesn’t work, at least not in the way it’s being presented. That oversized cat cafe? Give me a break. The notion that Kat is a manly spinster? Just doesn’t fly. The relationship between mother and daughter? Not believable. The fourth wall? It’s feeling more like a plexiglass divider. This show needs to pick its lane and stick to it, right now it lacks identity and confidence and teeters on the edge of cataclysm.
If a reprise of Miranda is what they wanted to bring to America, then why not just go ahead and do it right? Don’t ever underestimate the wits of the American audience, or you may fall flat.