Stripes: My Latest Addiction

Over the last couple of weeks something has become very apparent: I am addicted to BBC documentaries. They cover a myriad of topics and are sooo good (once you get used to the accents, I have to admit I had a hard time understanding everything they were saying at first but now I can listen to British and Scottish accents like a native Brit). This first started when I was deep in mono-pocalypse and has hours upon hours I needed to fill with something mindless so I could fall asleep without feeling like I was missing out on sometime cool (like How I Met Your Mother or The Office). I also LOVE LOVE LOVE documentaries. So this was, at first a great fit. The documentary part drew me in but the accents made it easy to fall asleep when I didn’t have the energy to try and understand what they were saying. Mono perfection!….until I started easily understanding their accents.

(Source)

Now I love coming home after a long day and unwinding by watching a documentary about obesity, the American prison system, or some sort of psychological disorder. And, worse, I can’t stop. It is SO addicting. You’re leaning. You’re growing (ok, at least I feel like I am as I think about what I am watching. I make no promises that anyone else will feel like they grow while watching BBC). You’re relaxing. You’re having fun. What’s not to love?!

Here are a few of my favorites from across the pond. Admittedly, I’m not 100% sure it’s all from BBC (though most is) but it’s all up the same ally.

I love everything Louis Theroux has worked on. SO.MUCH. Not only is he a really cool guy but he also covers all sorts of social issues we don’t really discuss over here including: White Supremacists, Legal Prostitution in Nevada, and he made an entire series about the American prison system. Pretty much, he is the bees knees.

(source)

The also have done a ton to talk about obesity (usually citing America as the example they are trying not to become). I find their dialogue about health issues really interesting because they talk about a ton of stuff we tip toe around over here and they aren’t afraid to say sweeping drastic changes need to occur nor that food companies need to hold more personal responsibility for the quality of food they produce. They also do riskier social experiments to show exactly what obese people (and individuals who are unhealthfully thin) need to change about their diets on Supersize vs Super Skinny (although I would totally argue that The Biggest Loser is a pretty ballsy way to talk about obesity but it is also a challenge show which I do not know if I really agree with just because it does not set up a positive model for the average viewer at home-who really has 10 hours a day to work out?).

(An image from Supersize vs Super Skinny, source)

And best of all I just watched a series about Amish teens going to stay with different families throughout England. First off, I have a strange love for the Amish. I have ever since I was about 11 and started asking my dad about a million questions about who they are, what they believe, and why they were so different. All of this has sparked a weird fascination with this group of people so I was pretty stoked this week when I found this 4 episode series. It was so interesting to see how the Amish kids changed as they became more comfortable and it was also kind of cool to hear the people they stayed with talk about the bits and pieces of the Amish tradition they really valued including the relaxing nature of the Amish lifestyle or the less is more attitude the teens brought with them. All in all, this was a really cool social experiment. And a stark contrast to an American version I remember from a few years (maybe a decade) ago where a TV crew taped Amish teens as they essentially partied for a few weeks. This was a much more enlightening and uplifting way to portray the Amish and help people learn from them.

(These are the Amish kids who went to England. Source)

And, I know I’ve mentioned her on here before but I think she deserves another shout out, of course I have to mention Hayley Okines. She is so sweet and really inspires me to treat the people around me better than I do sometimes because you never know how long you or they have here on earth. If you’ve never heard her story you should totally check out her website because she is one amazing teenager.

Anyone else obsessed with BBC/British TV? What do you like to watch? And is anyone else as in love with Louis Theroux as I am?

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3 responses to “Stripes: My Latest Addiction

  1. iamspacegiraffe

    My ex used to watch Supersize Vs. Superskinny all the time and the bits I caught I kind of liked.
    She also used to watch a programme with the same presenter (Dr Christian) called Embarassing Bodies in which people would come onto the show with bizarre and sometimes disturbing medical problems. It essentially boiled down to patients who were to embarrassed to show their own doctor, but for some reason don’t mind saying to Dr Christian (with his endless selection of stripy shirts…) in front of millions of Channel 4 viewers, “Oh hi doc! I’ve got testicles growing out of my head!” or something equally disgusting. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you like Supersize Vs. Superskinny, it’s by all the same people and from the same channel, so… eh!
    I’m sorry on behalf of the UK for using America as some sort of ‘Fat Scapegoat’, sending Jamie Oliver over to slag you off etc.
    Laws of averages, we’re pretty large over here in the UK too!

    We watched the Amish documentary together. It was awesome! I think Channel 4 made a second series catching up with them… I’d have to look that up though because I’ve definitely missed it if they did!

    Funnily enough since my ex and I parted, I’ve been watching all the old Louis Theroux documentaries as a rather bizarre way of coping. I think my favourites are the two covering The Most Hated Family In America (Westboro Baptist Church). He was so much better than the legions of idiots we sent over there to shout at them on camera (Jeremy Kyle, Keith Allen…) just because he’s such a calm, understanding person. He makes me want to be a documentary maker, he’s such a good role-model for social interaction and tolerance.

    I love that you love our documentaries. It’s weird because I’ve always thought that American documentaries that I’ve watched have been much better than ours – even Theroux!

    I would personally argue that Channel 4 makes the better documentaries. The BBC have made some real stinkers over the years (‘Scientology And Me’ Panorama special…) and Channel 4 tend to make more that are similar to the Amish one. A recent success (but rather exploitative) was ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ which is about Irish Travellers and Romani Gypsies living in the UK. Obviously though, that’s just my opinion and there are plenty of great things to watch by the BBC.

    Really sorry for the wall of words…

    • OMG you just became my favorite person ever!! I had no idea you were British!

      I am soooo checking out the Embarrassing Bodies show and the follow up to the Amish show. Thank you for letting me know about them! It’s so hard over here because we don’t get to know much about what you guys watch so I’m super excited to now know an insider with the scoop!

      As far as American being somewhat of a scapegoat, I am so ok with it! The dialogue you guys have (from what I have seen in the last couple weeks) seems like a much more productive way to deal with the issue. You don’t see obese Americans talking to super-obese Americans and seeing first hand just how bad life will become if they don’t change their habits. It’s almost like it’s a secret that we can barely talk about but everyone knows is there. The elephant in the room, if you will. We all know things are getting bad and we all know how to fix it (healthy eating and increasing activity levels) but there is not real discussion or support. I know the shows are not completely symbolic of how you guys are handling the situation but I still think they offer a different view that could help people who may need to see the effects of obesity in and more personable light.

      I also adored The Most Hated Family documentary! I feel like he really handles himself with quiet confidence and an unpresuming mind. He seems like a really interesting person to meet!

      Thanks for your epic comment, I hope you don’t mind my epic response!

  2. iamspacegiraffe

    I looked up the other Amish show and it’s a little different in format. Rather than focus on sending the Amish out of their community, it sends British teenagers from a variety of backgrounds to live with the Amish and see how they cope.
    It can be found here if you’re interested:

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/living-with-the-amish

    Also, I’ve ‘tagged’ you and Sequins in this post, but don’t worry about it if you think it’s dumb…

    http://spacegiraffeawesome.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/wait-what-3-of-tagged-in-the-face/

    Epic response was epic! Thank you 🙂

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