Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Bonnets and Big Houses

One thing the British are good at is making period costume dramas. The King's Speech winning big at the Oscars is evidence of that.
It is also evidence that Americans are only interested in the British when it is something that involves the Royal Family.

I can't blame Americans for thinking this, we English maintain this image through the amount of costume dramas we churn out. We've got it down to a set formula.

Everybody in period dramas are posh, there is always a scene where a carriage pulls up outside an enormous stately home with a massive gravel drive outside.

There is always a woman called Emily and a man called Charles.

Men and women walk slowly around the grounds of these houses, the camera in front of them and moving at a torturously slow pace.

The man has his hands behind his back and the woman carries a frilly umbrella even though it isn't raining.

They will discuss their feelings for each other while they amble around the garden for what seems like bloody hours. It is surprisng there are any people left in England, the characters are so tightly wound and repressed that it is hard to imagine them getting down and having sex.

Lark Rise to Candleford, Downton Abbey, Middlemarch, anything written by Jane bloody Austen, they are all the same.

Self-obssessed posh people endlessly banging on about marriage and status.

These things have been a staple diet of Sunday night television for years and they never change, only the budgets are bigger.

We'd be better off watching Jackass.


Al Penwasser said...

And, no matter WHAT the British say, they always sound so educated and, thus, have much more important things to say than we ("Oh, dear, the radio's exploded.").
Take the compliment. You really do. Ya'll.

Margaret said...

Wait? Are you telling me it's not like that in England? Have I been laboring under Austen-inspired delusions. I'm not really sure I can take this. At least promise me Colin Firth doesn't sound like he's from Brooklyn.

Gelai said...

Hi! I'm always fascinated with British culture. I agree with Al. I actually read your post with a British accent. haha!

Fickle Cattle said...

The first time I went to England, I was surprised at how normal people looked. I assumed they would at least all have gorgeous estates, with girls and guys in what all seems like frilly dresses. :-p


Tony Van Helsing said...

It's true! We all live in castles, wear top hats, smoke pipes and talk like the Queen. Apart from Colin Firth who lives in a trailer, drinks beer from a can and sounds like Beavis and Butthead.

altadenahiker said...

Yeah, but when he smashes the beer can against his forehead -- that's art.

TwisterB said...

On the positive side, reading classic English literature is a bore, but the BBC versions of the books tend to be comparably accurate.

I'd also like to point out that most Canadians don't look or dress like lumberjacks.