'Not Going Out'


If nothing else, BBC America's "Not Going Out" is a step toward international reciprocity and righting the balance of trade.

Among the three leads in this Britcom is American actress Megan Dodds, who plays one- third of an offbeat romantic triangle. Considering the number of leads claimed by Brits and Aussies in new U.S. series this past season, Dodds' appearance here barely nudges the scales of trade. Still, it's a start.

Actually, it's more than that. "Not Going Out" is full of wit, charm and hilariously improbable situations that occur everywhere from clown school to the mall. Each of the six episodes in the first season moves at a frantic pace, packed with stories and wordplay. (The show's second season follows immediately.)

Dodds plays Kate, a California health nut who works for a British publisher. Kate shares her apartment with Lee (Lee Mack), who, despite Kate's prodding, is happy to move from one menial job to the next.

The third side of the triangle is Tim (Tim Vine), Lee's best friend and Kate's boyfriend until she caught him cheating. It's a mistake that Tim regrets, but Kate won't forgive him, though he asks her to at least once each episode. Meanwhile, there are undercurrents of sexual tension between Kate and Lee.

Surprise twists and turns and the dearth of sexual tension suggest the influence of "Seinfeld," but "Not Going Out" has its own style and pace, which is worth staying in for.