There are a lot of things about living in Britain that give me pause. Two of the leading contenders are the stunning disregard for customer service in shops and restaurants and the social norm that requires you in a pub to buy a round of beers rather than just your own drink. Come to think of it, the lack of Skinny Cows and low-fat tortilla chips in the supermarkets are other real stunners too. I mean, seriously, I don't know how I survive here sometimes.
The one thing about the UK that does not give me pause, though, is the British sense of humor. Unlike in the U.S., witty banter is considered an art form rather than a tic. Even the B-grade BBC TV shows here have proven to be outlandishly funny in that way. The Office and Coupling, which I had seen before, and newly discovered shows, like Top Gear, Ab Fab, Celebrity Ding Dong, QI, and even the now infamous Jonathan Ross Show (once his suspension is over of course) are pricelessly-hilarious TV.
For the last couple of nights, my flatmate and I have been catching up by DVD on Seasons' 1 and 2 of one such 'new-to-us' BBC TV show, Gavin and Stacey. The half-hour weekly series, which is just going into Season 3 this month, explores the marriage between two soul mates, an Essex bloke, Gavin, and a Welsh girl, Stacey. From the sounds of it, the Welsh to the Brits seem to be the equivalent of West Virginians to Ohioans. In other words, there's always a good joke to be had at their expense.
Inadvertently, the show has added a whole new vocabulary to our household, which results in us starting all our conversations with "I won't lie to you" and "What's occurring is" and concluding them with such complex summations as "crackin'" and "fair play." The two supporting actors, James Corden (Smithy) and Ruth Jones (Nessa), who are the writers as well, must seriously test the BBC censoring system. The first episode of Series 1 and the toliet brush incident is, well, I won't lie to you, crackin.
Check out the series if you can find it where you live; otherwise, be sure to allocate an extra day on your next visit to our flat for some not-so-serious time with our new favorite friends. Fair play, indeed.