Of the many activities my life is currently filled with, international travel isn’t generally one of them. Sure, plenty of my friends have jobs that actually pay for them to roam the world on business, but here’s one of the things about freelance writing: you can do it from just about anywhere. Heck, I’m proving that point right now; at the moment, I’m visiting a friend in London, and am writing this entire article from my smartphone. (Not an exercise I intend on making a habit of, by the way. Plan ahead when you cross the pond.) Oh, and “freelance” rhymes with “refinance” for a reason.
But boy oh boy, do I love London–despite the fact that the exchange rate is obscene and I’m never sure which direction to look in when I cross the street. I also love living in NYC, though, and it’s kind of like Bizarro World over here; there are plenty of similarities, but dozens upon dozens of fascinating cultural differences. When I order a coffee, they ask if I’d like it “white” or “black” (i.e., with or without milk). When I pay for something via credit, I have to swipe my card way, way slower. When my accent gives me away, I’m asked if I’m “on holiday.” When I ordered my very first English breakfast this morning, I was presented with ketchup, hot sauce, and “brown sauce” for my sausages.
Spoiler alert: brown sauce is amazing.
Anyway, this all applies to British television too, and since my friend has to work his 9-to-5 all week, I’ve had a bit of time for pinot-enchanced channel surfing. Which has been awesome. I mean, I’ve always appreciated British humor/melodrama, but I’ve never had access to so much of it all at once. Plus, thanks to a few pesky neuroses of mine, when I enjoy something, I feel compelled to either read or write about it. Sometimes both. However, it was roughly 1am here when I decided on the latter last night, and I didn’t want to wake up my friend to ask where he kept his notepads. (That’s a good way to receive a late-night face punch, I’ve previously learned.) So my initial notes for this piece were taken Memento-style.
Yes, full-frontal cartoon nudity is a thing here. It’s simultaneously hilarious and terrible. And if we’ve got it on cable in the States…well, I’m just not fact-checking that. Anyway, here are a few of the TV shows (and commercials) I’ve been appreciating so far at my
Hoo boy, there are few things on God’s green earth I hate more than MTV’s Jersey Shore, but the British (?) version is oddly palatable. I can’t promise I could stand more than a few episodes, of course. Still, I’ve never heard a dude refer to a chick as a “gargoyle” until last night, and that’s a nickname I can get behind. (On a side note, I’ve watched two full episodes now, and haven’t the slightest what this show is about. Irish nymphomaniacs who were born with mouths filled with pebbles, I think.)
This show is something like It’s Always Sunny meets Blue Mountain State, and it’s awesome. To be clear, though, I didn’t pick this clip because I could relate to it. I can’t. Like, definitely not even a little. It’s just a funny clip. That’s the reason I picked it. It’s funny. That’s the reason.
Embarassing Fat Bodies
This show is exactly what you might expect: doctors consult patients with particularly embarassing obesity problems and take the appropriate steps to get them healthier. Which is commendable, I say; obesity’s a serious issue, and it’s no surprise that these patients are reluctant to share their afflictions with anyone. But Dr. Christian is easily the bluntest doctor I’ve ever seen. Borderline cruel, even.
Did you know there was such a thing as a “buried penis” or “flabby pubis”? I sure didn’t want to see the latter in the episode I caught last night. There’s a lot of clinical nudity on this show, and I have no idea if the patients’ names are changed to protect their identies, but holy shit, watching these people discuss their most intimate, embarrassing flaws on national television might be one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen, all jokes aside. Also, Fat Bastard isn’t that funny to me anymore (if he ever was to begin with).
Alan Carr, Chatty Man
This flamboyant talk show host is simply hysterical. His job appears to be serving all his guests whatever alcohol they like on stage, and calling himself a “proper gansta.” I aspire to this, coincidentally, minus the flamboyance.
“Brad & Dan” Fosters Beer Commercials
Nothing to set up here, really. Just click ‘play.’
I’ve got four words for you: cats with British accents. The world simply needs more of those, especially when paired with such condescending glares.
This Strongbow Commercial
Anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time around me knows how much I appreciate epic musical scores, and the soundtrack to 28 Days/Weeks Later in particular. Hearing this song in a beer commercial was a welcome surprise. It’s pretty badass.
I’ll be back in the States in a few days, and would be curious to know what that readjustment will feel like if a certain flick I know hadn’t already filled in the blanks.
See you soon, USA!