I have always had a lot invested within British culture…half of my relatives live in London, my mom grew up there, and by default I have a second passport that allows me to be a EU citizen. I remember growing up and spending holidays at my relatives’ homes being annoyed when some televisions only had five channels to scroll through, and the delight that was experienced when I would stay at the homes subscribed to Sky. This class was a substantial addition to what I have already been exposed to within the British TV landscape. What I have taken away is how very traditionally American I am with my television viewing and preferences.
The British shows that I connected to most: The Inbetweeners, Downton Abbey, The Only Way is Essex, Shameless, Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and The Thick of It are all British shows that have the ability or already have made it on American lineups. Although I wish I connected more with the gritty, realistic, uncomfortable, and “quality” programming my preferences seem to lie within a very mainstream agenda. I found myself wanting to follow entertaining, likable, and only slightly edgy content. Times of when I have been immersed within the more British shows are when I am actually located in London with my family and a limited set of channels. Gathering around the TV and trying to catch up on the interwoven plotlines of EastEnders, following the housemates within the Big Brother house, or watching the quintessentially British game shows remind me of summers spent there. These social scenarios made television watching more of a group experience, and thus I became more invested. I needed this added form of interaction to get me into these British programs.
What I’ve learned is that I enjoy television that can bring the widest range of people together, which makes me a mainstream television viewer that adapts depending on my surroundings and amount of access to programming.