An American Were-Teej in London: I Love British TV and Haven’t Shaved in Weeks

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
friend’s flat:

Geordie Shore

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.)


Fresh Meat

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.’



IAMS Commercials

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!

  • Mr B

    Glad you are enjoying our tv.

    Although I think most Brits into ‘geek’ culture (excuse the term) hate reality tv shows such as the aforementioned geordie shite with a burning passion. And if they dont, they should.

    The best British show on tv (until recently) was almost certainly ‘The Thick of It’ which was related to the movie ‘In the Loop’ and was the basis (I think) for a failed attempt at a U.S version that eventually became the show ‘veep’. Although the swearing in the Brit version is so much worse from what Ive heard.

    Also, ‘Life on Mars’ and its follow up ‘Ashes to Ashes’ are absolutely fantastic. Get them now.

  • Geoff Warhammer

    Nice to see you appreciating life in Blighty! I can certainly echo Mr B in point you towards the Thick of It- must watch TV!

    If inane and weird is your thing it’s probably worth looking up the Mighty Boosh (or the more obscure but definitely superior Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace- full episodes are on youtube).

    I’m rather surprised by your taste for Geordie Shore- we definitely see the guys in that in the same manner you guys see Snooki and co (although they get less attention!).

    Final show worth a mention is Misfits. Not to everyone’s taste, but a nice spin on the Superhero trope.

    Also, not sure why you are swiping your card everywhere- we’ve had chip and pin for years!

  • Marney

    Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace is the funniest, most ridiculous show ever! Episodes 1 & 5 are the best!

  • GrandWazoo

    I didn’t read the article but I saw the picture and just had to give a shout out to Geordie Shore. So entertaining.

  • Dude, I went to London for my honeymoon and holy god did crossing the street stress us out. I know it should be easy—it’s just the opposite of what we know, after all. But its so ingrained it became a weird psychological battle with ourselves every time we had to do it.

  • Gabbi

    To be fair crossing the road in central London can be a nightmare as it is and I live here. Just find a big group, cross when they do and be fully prepared to leg it if you have to.

  • Jennifer

    Great post but aaaaah the people from Geordie Shore aren’t from Ireland! They’re from Newcastle and the surrounding areas of the North East of England- Geordie is actually the name of the accent. And the accent is incredibly annoying, even to me, and I HAVE that accent :<

  • Diablo

    No offense, but this is the typical “American” tourist behavior.

    Also, Indian TV is far better…if you love batshit crazy stuff.

  • petrino

    im so happy i gave up tv.