Thursday, June 2, 2016

WHY WOULD YOU TAKE ICE CREAM OUT OF THE FREEZER?  Silvia Killingsworth ventures a theory on why The Great British Bake Off didn't quite translate to America:
“Bake Off”’s success has less to do with national identity than with national psyche. The show is a reminder that awfully boring-sounding amateur leisure activities — like knitting or building model trains — can be valuable for a well-balanced spirit. BBC Two is in fact doubling down on “Keep Calm and Carry On” television with somehow even more British-sounding programming like “Great British Garden Revival” and “Great Pottery Throw Down.” But in America, where we talk about lengths in football fields and television ratings in fractions of Super Bowls, our entertainment is oriented more toward competition and celebrity rather than deep pleasure in craft....
The original “Bake Off” captures the quirky, gentle competition of a spelling bee, combines it with the urgency of a cooking show, and adds a pinch of provincialism. But more than that, it’s a show about a hobby, and the status quo, and that is the most British thing of all. In her New Yorker profile of Sharon Horgan, Willa Paskin nails the difference between British and American Television. She’s writing about sitcoms, but the heart of the observation is the same: 
U.K. sitcoms tend to be darker than American ones, encouraged by a powerful public broadcasting system whose aim is to serve the varying tastes of taxpayers, not the upbeat preferences of advertisers, and by a national psyche fixated on the immutability of the class system, not on a dream of self-improvement. Americans believe that things will get better. Brits laugh at how things stay the same. To become a hit in the United States, “The Office” not only had to transform the tragic, grating boss into a less tragic, less grating, more well-meaning boss; it had to cast off the message, central to the British original, that work is where you go to waste your life.

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