British Invasion

I would like to bring up something that amuses me to no end.  Okay, okay, I’m easily amused.  What can I say?  Anyway, the U.S. is on the cusp of celebrating the Fourth of July—a holiday that reaffirms the independence our forefathers fought valiantly to bestow to their future generations after escaping the clutches of British tyranny— yet we sure do seem to copy a lot of their stuff these days.

It seems like every show, movie, and game an American station airs is some knockoff of a British version. We copied the “…Got Talent” series. We re-vamped Being Human (even though ours sucked). We re-imagined Sherlock Holmes and Family Feud and Life on Mars and House of Cards and The Office. We even got The Weakest Link from them! Is American originality so far gone that we must import all the good ideas from England? Seems like it. Can’t say as I blame the producers really. It’s good stuff we’re talking about here. After all, they came up with Doctor Who. Which by the way has garnered a significant American fanbase (myself included).

When we do try to come up something on our own, something patriotic, what do we get? Jersey Shore. Teen Mom. Party Down South. And a host of Bigfoot hunting, river monster seeking, Honey Boo Boo inspired reality show detritus.  Okay, so maybe our thievery isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all. The last thing we need is yet another show about the nation’s pride in gluttony (10 pound stacks of pancakes and banana splits made with a full gallon of ice cream). The list goes on too. Check out all that we’ve “created” based on a British template.

It’s not just media either. We welcomed their music with open arms, which is great because it rocks. The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, The Animals…there’s even this thing called the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, a genre of music specifically targeting British metal bands that have influenced American ones. More examples, should you be interested, are here.

And what about the food? Brits get a lot of grief about their food, but I don’t buy into that negative hype. In reality we’ve stolen their fish & chips with gastronomical glee and taking in a daily tea is becoming more and more popular each day with those who want to be “hip.” Scones haven’t quite made their mark on this side of the Atlantic yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all the rage after this kale fad fizzles out. And I for one would welcome it. I love scones.

I can’t help but find it funny that for a country that once rebelled passionately against being anything at all like England, we sure are doing a hell of a  lot to mimic them now.



6 thoughts on “British Invasion

  1. Ah, but America gave us ‘The Wire’, ‘The Sopranos’, ‘Justified’, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Drive By Truckers, 30 Rock, Friends, Nurse Jackie, Parks and Recreation, Buffy the VS, Episodes, and loads loads more. We are very parochial here in the UK but the mishmash of cultures in the USA means you do produce some excellent films, music and TV – you just don’t know about.

    • I do like Justified very much — it’s my guilty pleasure. Not only does it remind me of home (they use the word “holler” correctly!) but now I’m dying to find out what happens to Boyd Crowder in the final season. And you named off a bunch of great shows and people (Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash of course are true classics).

      • Well Elmore Leonard was superb and Boyd Crowder is gorgeous….the exchange of culture is wonderful and so places like WordPress are so important. Keep on writing – your musings make a lot of sense.

      • Thank you for your kind words! I personally love all things British. I hope to get there one day. As for Justified, Boyd Crowder is my favorite for so many reasons and if they don’t bring him and Ava back together again in the final season I might just implode. Needless to say, I tend to emotionally invest in fictional characters…uggh.

  2. Wendy, I had read this before heading out this morning and was thinking about it when I saw a billboard that made me think of a couple of very unique American entertainment products. While we might be guilty of producing Honey Boo Boo and an endless stream of Paula Zahn “true crime” “investigative reporting” pieces (dear god, take me now!), we’e also come up with “Mythbusters” and “Dirty Jobs”. I always take those two shows to be proof that American television, especially the “reality” type, is only 99% garbage.

    • Mythbusters does come up with some cool things! I never really watched Dirty Jobs. The only two episodes I ever caught just happened to be animal based and they sort of turned me off the show. The host Mike Rowe sure has done a lot of interesting things in his career.

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