Us Brits Aint Drama Queens
We love drama. Second to the drama of reality TV, we love a bit of escapism. The more sensationalised the better. EastEnders, Coronation Street, CSI, Desperate Housewives…the list goes on; if it’s got drama, we’ll watch it. Who cares if the plot is unrealistic? If it helps us temporarily forget the daily grind we’re up for it.
Don’t you just love the way us Brits don’t sugar-coat anything? Our soaps create controversy in the vicinity of its local pub or corner-shop. Phil Mitchell wouldn’t think twice about sleeping with his wife’s mother in the Old Vic. However, Americans want more. Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives would never have a drama in the local kebab shop, would they? It’s strictly posh-nosh bars and restaurants for them. You’re not going to catch Carrie Bradshaw at Wal-mart that’s for sure.
The storylines on our side of the pond are just as hideously far-fetched as their US counterparts, just minus the glossy layer that makes everything look shiny and new. What’s the point in setting EastEnders in Mayfair? No-one’s going to relate to it. However, when it comes to American dramas we’re quite happy to indulge in the Manhattan love affair with all things arty-farty. It’s a different world in the US of A. Even when they’re digging up dead bodies in CSI, they’ve still got a glossy sheen to them. In Waking the Dead the bodies look like they’ve been festering on an Ikea table for too long.
Lately, there seems to be a new wave of Brit dramas that are trying their hardest to mimic the US glossiness, but at the expense of quality. Think Harley Street or Spooks: Code 9. I’m not sold on either. They try too hard. Sometimes you don’t want things to be sugar-coated. You don’t want every single actor to look like they belong in GQ magazine. Sometimes it’s okay to be Phil Mitchell – a bald, overweight actor with a slight red tinge to his face. It keeps things real and it’s what we love about British TV.