Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Brit in LA - or as Sting put it "I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien, I'm an Englishman in New York"

Now that all the craziness of Oscar week is over, I thought I’d give you a bit of background on me and my experiences of being a Brit in LA…culture shock?

Not so much on my end – don’t forget we exist with many representations of Americans through TV that is mainly set in California and seems to have some accuracies (within reason of course- don’t worry I don’t actually compare you all to 90210). However, much as I love him, Colin Firth does not represent the British populous, and Hugh Grant most certainly doesn’t. They are as much our fantasies as yours ladies…so if anything I think the culture shock is at our representation here. Many of my most beloved American friends still insist of doing a full English impression equipped with a terrible half cockney-half public school boy accent, frequently indented with words like ‘chap,’ ‘mate’ and inevitably ‘loo’. But hey – if I didn’t love Americans, I wouldn’t be here, so I can’t really complain.

Humour: OK, I’m not gonna lie…there’s a big difference. I won’t say that our humour is smarter/deeper or any of that nonsense as has been said (by Americans!) but it’s on a totally different level, we live for the irony, the puns, the cultural references, the dark humour, the evil chuckles, and I do miss them… Although it’s also a slightly welcome relief – Brits are cruel! I’m sure everyone has experience having what they considered a joke with an English person – I specify English here, because I think Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish are different, and the English person inevitably takes it too far and really offends you. Don’t take it personally, its how we establish a pecking order – how fast can you dole it out and how much can you take – you thought your high schools were brutal you have no idea how deep the English language can be knifed in…

I’ve been watching a new British/American television series called ‘Episodes’ with Tamsen Greg and Stephen Mangan two of my favourite British actors who had their big breaks together in the HILARIOUS comedy show Green Wing that sadly has so far only run two seasons. One was more than enough to establish a cult following and a whole range of practices and catchphrases, see clip below…

Mangan and Greg play Sean and Beverly - a married couple who have moved to LA to have their British TV series re-produced in Hollywood. The cast includes Matt LeBlanc, playing himself as an actor in the TV series who infuriates Beverly and befriends Sean until the very last few episodes when shocking events incur…

I highly recommend Showtimes new comedy for a good laugh, but perhaps especially if you are a Brit who has or is in the process of acclimatising to this new habitat, you are not alone, and there are still laughs to be had.

Ama J. Budge
Special Correspondent 

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