’90s sitcoms invade Russia

More than a decade after “Married… with Children,” left the airwaves, American audiences are still laughing at the situations Ed O’Neill gets into with his fictional wife and children.

Only we’re laughing at O’Neill’s portrayal of Jay Pritchett on “Modern Family,” not Al Bundy.

For three years, the American version of “Married… with Children,” aired on Russian television. Then in 2006, the show was entirely remade for Russian audiences.

In a September 2007 New York Times article, Dmitri Troitsky, a senior executive at the Russian channel TNT said, “‘Married With Children,’ with its satire on the American middle class, fits the style of our channel well. It seemed interesting and topical for us to do a parody on the Russian middle class.”

According to the article, Russian audiences flocked to American sitcoms, thanks in part to a recent economic upswing.

“Счастливы вместе,” or “Happy Together,” follows the life of the Bukin family, living in Ekaterinburg.

Major characters remain unchanged, though Dasha doesn’t have hair quite as big as Peggy had. And as it turns out, this isn’t the only dated American sitcom Russians have imported.

“My Fair Nanny,” (based on America’s, “The Nanny“) has been on the air since 2004. With more than 173 episodes, the Russian remake beat out the American version in terms of longevity.

Although TV remakes seem to last a while in Russia, the US just doesn’t seem to have the same luck.

Sure, there’s “The Office,” based off of the BBC show of the same name. Diehard Office fans still tune in every Thursday, but ratings have been falling due to tough competition with CBS’s lineup of juggernaut shows and talks of ending the show have increased after series star Steve Carrell announced he was leaving after the end of season seven. Additionally, “Ugly Betty,” based off a Colombian telenovela, was cancelled due to low ratings after 85 episodes.

And those U.S .remakes are the more successful ones. Anyone remember “Coupling,” (a UK based show) which was billed to be the next “Friends”? Or how about “The IT Crowd“?

Of course not. Coupling lasted four episodes before NBC pulled the plug, and “The IT Crowd” never even made it on the fall schedule.

Now, before we all start mocking Russians for their seemingly awful taste in TV, there’s hope for them yet.