The once great and revolutionary institution that is American television has taken a trashy, unfortunate turn. It seems like every channel has some celebutante flipping their over-treated hair in their baby daddy’s face while talking trash like, “Oh, nah that bitch didn’t! Do my bubbies need an extra cup size?” It is an attack on everything that is great and good and Mary Tyler Moore. This trash that is oh so hard not to watch but literally dumbs down the population outshines the gems — like Game of Thrones and 30 Rock — that have tried to redeem our sense of wit and class. Alas, the Bachelor persists and the horror that is Jersey Shore has been allowed to win out over our formerly refined sensibilities.
I think the only way to revive the glory days of American television is to look to our former colonizers, the Brits. Their television programming has the perfect mix of trashy indulgence, youthful geekiness and witty drama. They have turned television into an art, an art that we have lost. Like the Romans in ancient times, we have cast our vote for the death of high drama for the sake of an easy entertainment fix. Let’s be real, there’s not much of a difference between a Gladiator fight and “Toddlers in Tiaras.” The UK, on the other hand, has absorbed the stoic spirit of Churchill, “Keep Calm and Carry On” for delayed gratification.
For the obtuse American, it’d be wise to start slowly by being introduced to a show that is a mix of reality, wit, and education — namely the renowned automotive show “Top Gear.” Americans like cars! Why not watch some British man with a snotty accent participate in a foxhunt as the fox (with four-wheel drive) while crossing the streams and hills of the English countryside. We like violence and destruction in our TV. With “Top Gear” we can get both of those things with a newfound knowledge of horsepower. Delicious.
As for trash, nothing is trashier or more beautiful than British “Skins.” So basically, if you take “Degrassi” and add more sex, more fights, more drugs and bigger consequences, you get “Skins.” It’s sexy — which is weird to say because the actors are like 12 — and edgy in a way that isn’t the “Basketball Wives,” “Lemme snatch your weave out at a polo match, bitch” train wreck. Once you start watching, I dare you to stop. I DARE YOU.
British TV has also produced a television show that really makes a mockery of everything we’ve ever produced for primetime and seriously outshines our sci-fi television efforts. Though you Trekkies out there may scream in dissent, Doctor Who is the best science fiction show of all time. Kanye would agree. Can you name another sci-fi show that’s run for almost 50 years? I DIDN’T THINK SO. Doctor Who could add so much more to our culture. It is family friendly, witty and has David Tennant. America needs David Tennant’s left eyebrow. And Matt Smith’s bowtie. I started watching Doctor Who, and suddenly so many allusions in popular culture made sense! Jump on the bandwagon and back into the living room with your nieces, nephews and grandparents to watch a show that appeals to all — a kind whose likes haven’t been seen since the end of “The Wonder Years.”
And the coup de gras, the thing that the Brits have that we absolutely need, is the mini-drama. For those of you out there who haven’t seen the light, the mini-drama is the mini-series but on crack. They take, say, Jane Austen and they do mini-dramas for her entire body of work. They don’t stop there. No. Then they take a modern-day girl and shove her into “Pride and Prejudice” just to see what the fuck will happen. Brilliant. Then, there’s the smash hit “Sherlock” set in modern day London. It’s fast, it’s addicting and there are only three episodes! Why is that important? Well, sometimes a show can take over your life if it’s interesting enough. As my roommate knows, “Grey’s Anatomy” can seriously affect your social/academic well-being by the sixth season. If there are only three very long episodes, only your weekend will be ruined by TV crack, not your life.
British TV is a beautiful thing. It is greatly underappreciated and should make an appearance in every American home. Yeah, I watch the Real Housewives of Absent Rich Asshole Husbands, and maybe I have seen more than the acceptable number of “Two and a Half Men” episodes, but by golly, I’m tired of turning on the tube to watch rubbish (that’s a British word). I, for one, welcome the coming of another British invasion.