A quick point of correction for those of you keeping track at home, and really, aren’t you all? Last week I told you the Write on Edge program was called “Remebe(red)” which evokes thoughts of the “Join (Red)” campaign and the many forms it has taken over the years. While Join (Red) is certainly a worthy thing (isn’t anything whose purpose is to eliminate the AIDS epidemic?) that is not what Write on Edge’s program is about.
In actuality, the program is called, “RembeRed.”
This week on RemerRed, “…we asked you to write, in 400 words or less, a memoir in which dialect or colloquialisms feature prominently.”
“Why are you watching that?!?” I asked my mother on multiple occasions. I would find her in her usual spot, laid out on the living room sofa with one cat curled behind her knees and another snug against her breast, and always with the remote control resting on her hip, ready to obey her tactile commands.
My mother always felt that American television was too unwholesome and often looked for alternatives. Frequently she would find something she deemed acceptable on the local PBS affiliate which often aired British television shows. She was fond of the likes of Upstairs Downstairs and Are You Being Served, All Creatures Great and Small and Masterpiece Theater. It all felt so old and foreign to me, which of course it was, though it wasn’t nearly as old as I believed it to be at the time. It didn’t help that most of the shows took place in a bygone era. In truth PBS could be counted on to broadcast various British television series from just a few years prior.
I would sit in the living room, in front of the only television in the house, captive to my mother’s whims of fancy, pouting while my mother would laugh at things I couldn’t understand. It was as though she was listening to a foreign language or a code only she could decipher. All I knew was she had deemed these to be morally acceptable programs.
For many years as an adult, I avoided British television at all costs. Little did I know there were a lot of wonderful television shows on British television, now more readily found on their American cable affiliate. I have learned that at least one of these “morally acceptable” programs, Are You Being Served was actually quite risqué… and quite funny.
One of my favorite television shows, today, is Doctor Who. Oh, it’s still like watching a program in a foreign language. Sometimes I have to watch with the captioning activated, just to understand the words. At least once per episode, some joke or reference escapes me entirely due to the cultural differences and the colloquialisms I simply do not understand, but these days I’m far more entertained, and even motivated to learn what these “foreign” words mean.
Fries are chips, chips are crisps, crackers are biscuits and biscuits are cakes (I think.) Don’t even get me started on pants versus trousers!
2 thoughts on “Are You Being Served Downstairs?”
Interesting post – sweet memory. Visiting from WOE – making my way through the list.
I love that image of your mother with those cats. How comforting those shows must have been to her.
And I’ve been downright obsessed with Dontown Abbey. There’s something to that PBS.