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American Stereotypes of English Society & Life in Television

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Introduction

American Stereotypes of English Society & Life in Television 'The Simpsons', one of the most popular American shows of the last decade and a thought provoking universal phenomenon, has often dealt with political and social issues in a controversial manner. For instance when the Simpsons went to Japan, Homer lectured the Japanese game show presenter on their (the Japanese) lack of morals and sadistic fascination in pain and misery. As someone who has know knowledge of Japan apart from their exploits in World War Two, I can't comment on the credibility of that episode. However I can examine the episode titled 'The Regina Monologues', an episode which saw the Simpsons travel to England on holiday and saw the creators of the show exploit almost every English stereotype and clich´┐Ż, for the amusement of the American audience. Perhaps English people found it funny as well; I was only amused by the Changing of the Guards sequence. The onslaught of English references begins whilst the Simpsons are still in America. 'Museum of Bart' is the typical English museum, with a typical heritage sector (being a 'friend of Bart'), an idea which rose to prominence in England. The Simpsons arrive in London through a montage to numerous films involving the amorous relations between American servicemen, stationed in England, and English women during World War Two. During the flashback Grandpa Abe Simpson has we are given two very English things to remember, the name of Abe's love, Edwina, a very English name (if a very old and almost obsolete name). ...read more.

Middle

Theatres are very prominent in English culture, unlike the USA, where theatres are centred mainly in New York and the West Coast, there are theatres in almost every city in England. The superstition behind Macbeth may not be understood in America, or Homer maybe showing his stupidity yet again. He seems to think that England took part in the Vietnam War. Just before we meet Sir McKellen we see 'Joe Millionaire' the show was a success in America and after the American version was screened in England, a second rate English version went into production. The missing 'H' in 'ertz' maybe a jibe at the Cockney accent, there is a second, when Homer is locked in the Tower. The Cockney accent seems to be one of the trademark English accents, following the haughty, plumy accent. The Simpsons rent a Mini, a classic English car seen in such legendary films such as 'The Italian Job' (the recent remake, really was a let down). The Simpsons enter a roundabout with the Mini and as Americans don't have roundabouts, they seem rather agitated and anxious to get out. In the end the do, crashing through the gates of yet another landmark, Buckingham Palace and crashing into the Queen's Coach of State. The following scene is hilarious, the Changing of the Guards, a tourist, especially American, favourite, is put into use to beat Homer into submission. ...read more.

Conclusion

And like other English exports, such as David Beckham to Real Madrid, he was noted for his determination and wholehearted approach to things. Wesley from 'Angel' had a similar background to Giles. However he had a shaky past, a bad family. Yet he remained sweet and caring, a true hero. He is very clever and like Giles he is capable of love and is very human and normal. In the final episodes of Season 2 of 'Angel' we see him take responsibility of other people, command a squadron of guerrilla soldiers and make tough decisions. These things are admirable traits and are for once found in a English character. Giles, Spike and Wesley are all strong, masculine characters with strong ethics and morals. They are all romantic as well and this seems to be appealing to American audiences. They often portray Britons in amorous escapades or as romantics, where they get this idea from however is quite beyond me. Taking all these different examples into account it is apparent that Americans consider England to be quirky and weird. Perhaps even bad, yet the fact that much of this has been done in humour might suggest that England is actually respected by them. In these examples the bad out-weighs the good but the good seems to have a stronger claim to the light. Americans are like all other groups of people, they are a set of individual, unique people with individual ideas and individual programmes express these in individual terms. RUMMAN SIKDAR American Stereotypes of English Society & Life in Television Mr Gleeson ...read more.

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