Over the last decade, enough TV reality shows have likely been produced than the entirety of fictional shows over the same time period. A few of those are still going, and a good chunk are now forgotten. One perhaps needing a memory jog for many is Victoria Beckham’s misunderstood reality show from 2007.
It was called Victoria Beckham: Coming to America and was not a regular series, as much it wanted to be. Instead, it turned into a one-time special with an added twist.
The deal Victoria Beckham made with NBC
Turning this reality special into halfway parody was a brilliant idea and leagues ahead of fictional shows like UnREAL that played up reality show absurdities. By the time Beckham and her team pitched this show, she already tried a similar reality concept in the U.K. four years earlier with Being Victoria Beckham.
That series was done with a straight face while detailing her life with David Beckham and covering her entire life. Apparently Victoria Beckham realized how self-indulgent it was and decided to poke fun at herself for once.
Pitching a reality show ribbing one’s own self had never been done prior, likely perplexing network heads who were gung-ho on all serious reality show concepts in 2007. Simon Fuller (of 19 Entertainment) produced it and pitched it as a brief miniseries to air on NBC.
The Peacock network wanted to air it on Bravo, however, only relenting to air it on NBC as a one-hour pilot. If the ratings were decent, they agreed to air more episodes. It only did reasonable in the ratings.
America never understood the concept
Over in the U.K., Coming to America did very well, only because they have a more advanced sense of humor it seems. In America, viewers just could not grasp the idea of someone lambasting themselves in a reality show format.
Ironically, Keeping Up With the Kardashians debuted just a few months later, setting the further tone for reality shows staying serious, if not keeping up with reality. Having Victoria Beckham give a sophisticated twist on this is something needing new analysis, including maybe a re-airing. Yes, YouTube does have it available for view, giving it some life to prevent it from being forgotten.
On sites like BuzzFeed, bigger tributes to the show have taken place. Back in 2016, a profile was done on the funniest moments from the show/series. BuzzFeed did this by showcasing various gifs and clips reminding everyone of how hilariously absurd the setups were.
Seeing this will remind everyone how Victoria Beckham truly was uproarious in basically roasting herself to smithereens.
Some funny highlights Americans probably took seriously
A good example of the satiric nature of this show is when she talks to the camera about wanting to find a personal assistant in America. As she notes: “The most important thing I’m looking for in a personal assistant is someone that’s professional. She can’t be too good-looking, she can’t be too thin. It’s all gotta be about me.”
Yes, this is very funny stuff, yet one can imagine most Americans had the joke pass a mile over their heads. So many people had read countless things about the Beckhams in the tabloids then, they probably thought she was being serious when she said everything had to be about her.
Most hilarious in the show was her getting a driver’s license at the DMV. Taking her photo, she noted her hair looked a little flat, albeit requesting a redo. Perhaps knowing Americans would scratch their heads over how knowing this really was made it all the more fun.
Looking back, it now proves the British sense of comedy is always a decade ahead of the rest of the world.