Very British Problems

Fish Out of Water Telly: A Very British Phenomenon

There’s a three part mini-series that aired in the UK recently called Very British Problems. Based on, believe it or not, a Twitter feed of the same name, this show gathered a host of British celebrities to talk about social awkwardness as a national character trait.

Topics such as avoiding others, confusing doubletalk and the complicated process of saying goodbye are addressed in a humorous manner. At the same time, it’s acknowledged that straight forward communications would be simpler, but it’s just not the British way.

All this self-conscious discomfort got me to thinking about how the British have the perfect sensibility for fish out of water stories. That universal feeling of embarrassment in an unfamiliar situation is apparently a constant state of being for our friends across the pond so it’s not surprising that it’s a well-utilized device in British telly. Think Life on Mars, Doc Martin or even An Idiot Abroad’s hesitant world traveler, Karl Pilkington. Therefore I thought it might be worthwhile to look at a few more examples. Shall we?