If I ever judged the UK by what I saw on TV when I lived in the US

(490 Posts)
Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 10:09:16

Everyone in the UK would either speak with a Cockney or RP accent.

They would all either live in an over crowded terrace or a huge country estate.

All the schools would be crap.

The populace would spend their entire lives in pubs.

Now, I never believed any of that, being a relatively smart human being.

So am I being unreasonable to wonder how come I'm constantly battling US TV stereotypes here on MN?

It's a thread about many many many threads.

DustBunnyFarmer Tue 03-Sep-13 12:21:38

There is a subset of Americans who are terribly, terribly genteel, rather than brash. I managed to massively offend a lovely Texan woman over breakfast ina B&B in California by saying "bloody", which is considered a pretty mild swear over here.

JerseySpud Tue 03-Sep-13 12:21:45

grin lweji

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Sep-13 12:24:04

"Americans have no idea where most countries (continents?) are, let alone small islands."

I've been asked in all seriousness if I need a passport to get back into Scotland from England, whether Scotland is an island, whether it has its own currency and if I might know someone's auntie jean with no surname and no idea where in Scotland they live...all by English people.

So I'm not convinced that a lack of knowledge about geography can possibly be worse in America.

Tbf, I can get the Jersey thing. If someone said they lived in London, I'd assume London (UK) rather than London (Canada), because it's bigger/more important and local- like an American would assume it to he NJ, I guess?

eurochick Tue 03-Sep-13 12:25:50

I love Sunday brunch in America. Loads of food, often mucho booze and there for about 3 hours with a big group of friends.

When I was over last I stayed in an iconic hotel and you had to pre-book Sunday breakfast otherwise there was a massive queue of non-residents taking up all the space for brunch gatherings.

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:25:52

Big houses.
or apartments.
Pupils in high school wear their "tribal " clothes - jocks, cheerleaders etc (and break into song and dance at any moment)
Paper boys throw the paper on the lawn.
The police in the South are pretty mean and call you "boy".
Go to a diner and you'll be served the best food this side of the Rockies.
If you go into a forest, you'll meet hillbillies / murderers.
Supermarkets give you brown bags to carry stuff home.
No one walks anywhere.

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Sep-13 12:28:34

Oh I've got another american tv show question...

Do lots of high school students actually drive to school? I assume they're not all actually about 35,lol, but it seems to be pretty normal to drive to school and park there, is that true?

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 12:30:46

I'm curious to hear some examples of the stereotypes that you're referring to OP.

Are you saying that all Americans are not obsessed with teeth then? wink

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:31:25

You can drive at 16 in America

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:39:38

"One idea I have stuck in my head about the US is that if you don't haven't medical insurance they just don't treat you. I watch 'Sicko' and it made sad viewing.

how true is that that??"

Not true. They treat you. But they'll bill you and you'll be paying for it the rest of your life if it doesn't make you bankrupt. And that's not even true any more with Obamacare.

Nancy not all of America. Driving age varies by state.

And there's the number one stereotype of the US. Most laws are not federal. They are State. Something that is X in one state will be Y in another.

StuntGirl Tue 03-Sep-13 12:46:27

I base my views on Americans on my visits there and the Americans I know. Stereotypes generally have a grain of truth somewhere, that's why they're stereotypes.

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:46:32

And do you constantly hug each other all the time like they did in Friends?

Tee2072 Tue 03-Sep-13 12:48:59

Yes. I hug so much my arms hurt when I'm home.*

*I'm lying.

farrowandbawl Tue 03-Sep-13 12:49:15

Is Obamacare up and running then?

HighJinx Tue 03-Sep-13 12:55:45

Well here's my stereotype for you:

I think that most British people would have a better idea of life in the USA than most people in the USA would have about people in Britain. Of course not all of what they believe is true and none of it will be true for everyone in the USA but by and large I think the exposure to US culture is far greater in the UK than vice versa.

mummytime Tue 03-Sep-13 13:07:31

A surprising number of people in the USA don't know much outside their State. I met a highly educated Californian who had only left California once; to go to the Grand Canyon.
I also taught Environmental Science to Uni students in Chicago, and was shocked to realise some of them hadn't ever seen the sea.

The news can be such that you don't have a clue what is happening anywhere including the rest of the USA or even during a big story (a hurricane heading towards NYC) in your own town.

Nancy66 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:10:12

there are a hell of a lot of Brits who don't travel very far either.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 13:15:05

My American snippet is based on the film Clueless. I was amazed that Cher could drive by herself on a learner s permit. So no I assume that all 16 year olds drive about unaccompanied when they are learning.

The other erroneous one is that Americans don't get irony, and somehow their sense of humour is less sophisticated than the Brits. Which is bollocks when you think of Seinfeld, John Stewart etc.

There is quite a lot of sneery anti Americanism on mumsnet sometimes. You only have to have a thread about trick or treating, or baby showers, for people to complain about brash American traditions which are hateful. Yes god damn those yanks for daring to have nice celebrations. grin

kim147 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:15:18

Americans have big cars.

And seem to drive on freeways in perfect symmetry to allow cars to move through the gaps easily in a car chase.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 03-Sep-13 13:15:50

What would US toddlers think about the UK if all they watched were UK kids programs? Bloody terrifying I imagine - a place full of overstuffed wobbly characters like the teletubbies. And that freak girl in the Night Garden, not to mention the little peg people that live in a dolls house and make constant little farting noises. And the odd creature that appears to live in an Iron Age souterrain and piles up stones and scrubs them. <shudder>

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 13:16:56

Loads of Brits have never been to London. Which is mad when you think of it as London is easily accessible from all parts of Britain. Far more so than America where the geographical distances are far greater.

joanofarchitrave Tue 03-Sep-13 13:17:38

I'd agree re the travel. I hate the sneering about American lack of passports - if I lived in the USA I could spend a lifetime travelling constantly, experience a thousand different lives and never leave the country.

I had a boyfriend once who lived on the Isle of Wight. Many of his friends 'didn't like to leave the Island' and took the ferry maybe once every couple of years to take their mums shopping in Southampton.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 13:18:26

And what would Americans think of Brits if all they watched were soap operas. We would be either miserable godforsaken Londoners, camp northerners, bizarre Yorkshire folk or randy teenagers.

LeGavrOrf Tue 03-Sep-13 13:20:18

Plus Americans get a lot less annual leave than we do, standard is 10 days iirc. So if you went on a trip to Europe or Asia or something that would probably take up the majority of your leave entitlement.

MrsHoratioNelson Tue 03-Sep-13 13:26:10

leGav that's true - irony is no problem, it's sarcasm that causes confusion. We Brits are (on the whole) much less direct and open in the way we speak; we understand that you shouldn't take everything anyone says at face value. Americans I have met tend to expect people to day what they mean and mean what they say.

They think my DH is hilaaaaaarious. But then he already speaks like a character in an Enid Blyton novel (he's very fond of calling everyone "chap") and he seems to ramp up the ginger-beer quotient when we go to the US.

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