Americans might think all British TV is Downton Abbey-esque period drama, but that is certainly not the case. I was reminded of all this when my husband called me over to look at 29 Things The U.K. Does That The U.S. Needs To Start Doing on Buzzfeed. Click on the link to check out the full list. The pictures below all come from the Buzzfeed list.
Often when I watch British TV shows with my husband, he is amazed by what people are allowed to say on British TV. He’s not averse to swearing, but there have been so many times when he has remarked, “You can’t say that on TV.” Well, in the U.K., you can after 9:00 p.m. American TV can seem quite tame compared to some British stuff. Whether that’s a good thing or not is a whole different discussion.
Some shows that I think would have a hard time succeeding in the U.S. include The Inbetweeners – a comedy about 4 hapless high school students with one thing on their mind (offence factor high) and Outnumbered – a sitcom about a family of five. The children in the show are not completely scripted, but improvise what they say, leading to cute and funny, although sometimes just weird, dialogue that touches upon controversial topics at times (medium to low offence factor). Clicking on the links above will take you directly to Youtube clips. I’m not crazy about The Inbetweeners, but Outnumbered can be hilarious.
Another difference listed on Buzzfeed dealt with money. First, I’m afraid that American money is the most dull-looking money of any country I have ever visited. Even the newer ‘colorful’ paper money is just blah. I read a blog post by another Brit living in the US (sadly I don’t remember where it was) and he said that even after living in the States for years, he confuses the coins. Me, too. Seriously. There is not much variety and they don’t have their value written in numbers. I just save up all my coins and cash them in when it’ is time to pay my property tax. Just look at all the different coins we get to play with in the UK – all the different shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and colors. What fun, eh? So what if you lean to one side when you have a pocket full of pound coins.
The third thing on the list that struck me was about writing the date. That one always confuses me. If I see 5/3/2012 I really have to think about it. Is it May 3rd, or is it March 5th? I always write the month in full to avoid confusion, not to mention that 15 years of living in Asia conditioned me to write the date in the format: 2012/05/03 – biggest to smallest. Logical. Just like the British style of going from smallest to largest. But small, smaller, big…hmmm. That’s confusing!
Maybe the biggest difference on the list is the drinking age of 18 in the UK. My husband is just horrified when I say it’s perfectly feasible to be in high school and legally drink with your teachers (although the wisdom of those teachers might be questionable). I don’t know that it is a good thing. But it is different, as are laws on carrying open containers of alcohol: Carry away. You can also buy alcohol pretty much whenever you want it. Maybe things are a bit too lax!