We Asked Americans To Watch British TV Shows – And They Got So Confused
Geordie Shore: "I'm so relieved that the US doesn't have a monopoly on people who wear novelty T-shirts whilst drinking neon-colored beverages and yelling." Inspired by this amazing bit from Screenwipe USA.
We chose nine well-known and loved British TV shows for editors at the BuzzFeed offices in Los Angeles and New York to watch and asked them to write down the first thing that came into their heads. Here is what they said:
Sarah: Wow. This is a real sausagefest.
Jaimie: I legitimately don't understand any of these questions or the hair of any of these contestants.
Jarett: This team can't possibly be comprised of people named Gillow, Savory, Binnie, and Quinn, right? Oh, it's their last names.
Adam: THIS is the most British game show ever. But this show seems very sexist! Where are the women?!
Ariane: The contestants are 100% sickly looking white men and 50% sickly looking white men wearing sweaters. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.
Alex: "White men whispering in sweaters" is such oddly specific porn.
Sami: Sweater game on point, Loveday. I would get nothing right on this show, but it's always exciting to watch really smart people answer really tough questions. Especially when they're wearing amazing sweaters.
Ira: I'm concerned Loveday is going to get beat up by the other boys on his panel, even though they're on the same team.
Jaimie: Ah, so this is like a soap. Do you call them soaps? I do not understand these dynamics at all. I much prefer Skins.
Louis: It looks like there are 600 characters, but this is a soap opera, which means I assume you can jump in whenever.
Adam: First of all, the opening credits are comically long. Second of all, how many men on this show have just been beaten up? Third of all, the sets actually look much more legit than the sets on American soaps.
Ira: I have a confession to make. I watch Hollyoaks. AND I HAVE SO MANY OPINIONS ABOUT JOHN-PAUL AND STE AND WHY THEY CAN'T JUST WORK THINGS OUT? These people literally break up every other episode — it's like watching two weeks of an American soap at once.
Sami: I might look up episodes of this online because I have no shame.
Ariane: Did that little girl say "chav"? What is a chav? Is that appropriate language for a child?
Jarett: What the fuck is this game? Are they supposed to be spelling a word? Is it a word search?
Sarah B: This is just a lamer version of Boggle? We don't even have Boggle as a TV show. And that's for a reason.
Jaimie: This is like Boggle! But harder. Oh my god. Much harder! WHY IS MATH HAPPENING?!
Ira: This is the most boring show I've ever seen.
Ariane: Where is the music when she's putting up those letters? And why do we spend so long watching these people staring at paper? This all looks like a game that I could easily play in my living room. Where is the Hollywood magic, Britain?
Sami: I think I've seen screenshots of this online where it gets real dirty.
Adam: The majority of the show appears to be watching the tops of people's heads, and the rest of the show seems to be men competing to be the bigger smartypants, and then women showing them just how inadequate their intellects really are. This would be cancelled before the first commercial in the US. I love it.
Jaimie: I think I'm in love with Myleene. Is she always on this show? Would watch for Myleene.
Jarett: Oh, it's Jersey Shore, but their accents aren't as repellant. WHOA, they're actually showing people having sex?!? And they're all competitive-fucking. Right?
Sami: You can't put this on TV!!!!!!!!! GO HOME TO YOUR FAMILIES!
Jaimie: I have seen Geordie Shore and am a huge proponent, largely because it makes Jersey Shore, which sadly represents my home state, look less sad.
Alex: I'm so relieved that the US doesn't have a monopoly on people who wear novelty T-shirts whilst drinking neon-colored beverages and yelling.
Ira: I think the sight of these guys "banging birds" just gave me an STD. People at least try to be discreet about their sex on American reality shows.
Louis: American TV is too prudish, honestly. The thing that American reality shows are missing is more on-screen discussions about wetness and orgasms, clearly. Or I'm just a voyeur.
Ariane: I'll be honest, I can understand maybe 70% of what these people are saying. Christ, they just played more blanket sex and I jumped.
Sarah: So this is like...The Hills? Are all British shows 10 years behind us?
Adam: I barely watched The Hills, but I remember it looking so fake, and this seems even more fake, so I'm not entirely sure this isn't some utterly clever meta-satire of American reality TV in the 2000s.
Sami: Oh, now this I have actually seen a lot of. Hulu advertised it to me for like a year because somehow it knows me VERY well. But, um, almost none of the original cast is still on apparently??? Probably for the better.
Alex: This is so much like The Hills in that it proves that people who are better looking and probably wealthier than I am are also exceedingly boring to watch.
Louis: There's something so comforting about semi-scripted reality. Or totally scripted reality. Who knows?
Jaimie: PLEASE TELL ME WHERE I CAN WATCH MORE!
Adam: This is so silly and dumb and awful that it made me laugh out loud.
Sami: This is like The Voice but it's like The Date instead. Also, fuck that guy, he's such a douche.
Jamie: British people, why is your hair so bad? Tell me! This is so much bad hair in a room. And oh my god this rejection process.
Jarett: I hate all these people. I don't want them to win this show and procreate. I love that dating Jodie Marsh was his biggest deal breaker.
Ariane: Do British people make a habit of all leaning back and saying "oooh" in unison when a man puts his foot in his mouth?
Louis: I'm not a big fan of dating shows, honestly. I feel like the genre peaked with Blind Date. This mostly just makes me cringe, and not in a fun way. Although bonus points for a contestant who's actually really attractive.
Sarah: Oh man, I like this show. I WANT TO BE ON THIS SHOW.
Adam: Wait. Wait. WAIT. You all have an entire TV show about people's phoned-in complaints about TV shows? People don't actually watch this, right?
Ariane: Is this the most British thing I've ever seen? You made a talk show about your quibbles?
Jarett: The customer complaints department is a TV show in England?
Sami: Wait, this is a show about airing our complaints about anything? And then they try to do something about it???? THIS IS MY HEAVEN.
Sarah: I bet this show is really popular with the geriatric crowd.
Louis: This is hilarious and amazing. I can't imagine whom this show appeals to, and yet I never want to stop watching it. Honestly, I love complaining, but I can't possibly understand how this has been running for 40 years. FORTY YEARS. What!
Alex: THIS IS A BRILLIANT IDEA FOR A SHOW. It's essentially Twitter, except people actually care to hear your opinion. I LOVE IT.
Jaimie: THIS IS GENIUS! I WANT THIS! HOW DO WE GET THIS!? I HAVE COMPLAINTS IN THE US TOO!
Alex: This is definitely the kind of show you watch on a Sunday afternoon while accidentally drinking an entire bottle of rosé. I'm very much into it.
Ira: Grand Designs could use an HGTV producer to spice things up. This is the boring documentary version of House Hunters. There's not even any house porn in this!
Louis: I could easily get lost in this show, as I do in most shows about people who want a house that's entirely out of my price range. This iteration makes me even sadder because I'll never be British.
Jaimie: This house is so modern and is totally not my taste, but it's nice to see people getting their dream cube in which to dwell. We have many shows like this in the States, but they're a bit more emotional. Which makes sense because AMERICA!
Adam: I wish we had this in the US. I skipped ahead, and I cannot believe they came back ~five years~ later.
Sarah: This is like Four Weddings with lower stakes. But I don't hate it!
Jaimie: We had a version here, but without the British flair, it was lacking. Why is everyone lounging on a bed?
Alex: Having dinner with a bunch of strangers is my nightmare. According to Google, £500 is roughly $783, and I don't think that's anywhere near enough for me to stand several evenings with these people.
Adam: This feels like a show that is trying too hard to be American and overblown. It was so obnoxious and uninteresting that I stopped watching before the 90-second mark.
Ariane: Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Would watch again.
Jarett: I know it's probably true of American reality contestants too, but you couldn't pay me enough to spend time with a single person I've seen on these British reality shows.
"Four Weddings" was a show in the UK before it aired in the US. An earlier version of this post misstated this.