People Me thinking (during Friends tonight).
"She's nice. Mike's dumping her Phoebe? I know she's a main character but still ... actually Precious is an odd name. And she seems kinda neurotic....actually she seems sort of familiar..."
Later.
"... actually this doesn't portray Mike in a very good light. Two minutes after he split up with Phoebe he's being precious for Precious. Who still looks very familiar. She looks oddly like Season One Phoebe. Were they having a clear out of the costume department? No that's not it..."
Later still.
"... I've definitely seen that face before."
Outloud.
"F**KING HELL, IT'S ANNE DUDEK!"

For those who are currently asking 'Who?' Let me explain. In these brief few brief minutes British and American comedy intersected. I have seen Anne Dudek in things other than The Book Group, her turn in e.r. for example, but on previous occasions, her look has been entirely similar to Clare, the book lover marooned in Glasgow. But here she was, her hair bleached blonde wearing an extraordinary ensemble and as I found out almost totally unrecognisable.

It was an opportunity to see the differences in acting skills required in sitcoms on either side of the atlantic. Her work in The Book Group was subtle and at times heartbreaking, witness the moment in the first episode when her inability to attract men finally gets to her and she sits crumpled in her hallway. As Precious, when advised that Mike has been cheating on her and with Lisa Kudrow receiving most of the close ups her work becomes huge, her crying fit forced out as though she's trying to make her 'inner voice' heard over the din. US sitcom it seems is about theatricality rather than naturalism. But somehow, in role which frankly could have been played by any one of the hundred actresses which get off the plane in LA every day, she still managed to bring something different -- those expressively sad eyes and lower lip still trembling under the dangly hair and make up to the extent she made Phoebe look like a total bitch, something which has been almost impossible during those ten long years. I only hope that with this and all the film work she still has time for a third series of The Book Group. That wasn't the end, surely?

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