Last week, an anonymous PopWatcher ripped me for fetishizing British culture. And yeah, I’ll cop to it. I’m the anglophile version of that Rastafarian-worshipper Andy Samberg parodies on SNL. I brew my tea in a brown betty. I drop words like “tat” and “crikey” into everyday conversation. Yet, I’m not head-over-heals for everything across the pond. Colin Firth’s long in the tooth. I can’t get hip to Graham Norton, and bangers-and-mash isn’t my bag. But that doesn’t mean I don’t try: In the next few days, I’ll be giving a chance to two British things I just can’t understand: Royal-worship and Ricky Gervais as a stand-up.
Don’t get me wrong, I recommend PBS’s new Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work docuseries, which begins airing Wednesday (check your local listings for the time). Did you know the Queen hosts an average 50,000 party guests at Buckingham Palace per year? That she’s a patron of 620 charities and organizations? Want to learn more (and see her decked out in several different hats)? Then watch this really well made (and I make fun, but really interesting) show. I’ll just never be obsessed with Liz, Harry, and Co.
Later, on Saturday, HBO airs Ricky Gervais’ first American stand-up special, Ricky Gervais — Out of England at 9 p.m. Now, I love Gervais. He’s a phenomenal actor. But I don’t buy him as a stand-up. One, he seems uncomfortable. Two, after seeing him live twice and buying two of his previous concerts on DVD, I’m floored (in a bad way) about how often he repeats the same material. And if a gag hasn’t shown up in an old routine, it’s straight off his Xfm radio show. To steal his own phrase, it’s Ricky-diculous — which I can’t help but find disappointing. (Though he’s still one of my favorite guys, and if you’ve never seen/heard this stuff before, it’s still pretty gosh darn hilarious. So, in short, watch that too.)
But first, tell me what British stuff do you just not get? Monty Python’s Flying Circus? As Time Goes By? Coupling? Oasis or the Beatles? What can you just not latch on to?
The weekly Bits and Bobs calendar, after the jump.
addCredit(“Gervais: David Eustace/HBO; Queen Elizabeth II: Cathal McNaughton/AFP/Getty Images “)
Monday (Nov. 10): Jamie Oliver talks to Letterman at 11:30 p.m on CBS.
Tuesday: Cast members of Broadway’s Billy Elliot visit ABC’s The View. George Gently, Series 1 (featuring Richard Armitage’s episode) drops on DVD, along with the Jamie Bell-starrer, Mister Foe. (P.S. and there’s a new Enya CD. Shhhhhh!)
Wednesday: Daniel Craig guests on Regis and Kelly (check local listings), Dido hits Ellen (ditto), and BBC persona non grata Russell Brand chats with Letterman (CBS, 11:30).
Thursday: Pick up Warning at One, the new Lois Meade Mystery by Anne Purser.
Friday: The new Bond is out.
Saturday: BBC Radio 6’s Live at Two airs the Cure’s 1997 show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Sunday: Julie Walters stars as an uptight teacher battling the Swinging 60s in Filth on PBS’ Masterpiece Contemporary at 9 p.m.