Winter evenings and television go hand in hand. We cook dinner side by side (that’s another post, altogether!), eat by candle light in the kitchen, and then go to watch a show. We don’t watch American network television, because we are snobs. We like British television. The reasons are obvious: tea, gorgeous countrysides, thatched roofs, tea, vicars, tea, good manners, lovely accents (which would you rather have, a SEC re tary, or a sec re TREE?), scones, murders committed by the person whom you would never in a million years suspect, tea, and John Nettles?
But I get annoyed even at the British shows. They need to pay more attention to actual people. I hate the scenes in which someone is served a meal that looks delicious. But then the phone rings, and nary a bite is taken before the person holding the fork drops it and rushes off to visit a crime scene or discover that their mate is having an affair. The director should show at least four bites and some conversation first! Oh, and another thing? Who loses their appetite when someone annoys them? Just because Clive told Aunt Reticule that you are insufferable during Whist, is that any reason at all to suddenly turn away from your plate of roast lamb, mashed potatoes and peas that look absolutely delectable to me sitting in my TV room with a plate of Triscuits and processed American cheese food? It’s infuriating.
Doors. In England, even now, every door to every room is decidedly SHUT after people enter. This must be a holdover from the days when there was no central heating, but my heavens, if I lived in a house full of shut-off rooms, I would begin to feel just a bit claustrophobic.
The Eureka moment. Every police detective (we call them DCI’s) has that moment of clarity when all the pieces of the case fall together. But it is so predictable! DCI Sobritish is sipping his pint, when he suddenly looks at the woman with a red handbag talking on her cell phone and EUREKA! He realizes that the murderer is the woman who sells counterfeit accessories at the stalls on Fridays! Or the cleaning woman swings her mop and sprays suds all over the flagstones, and EUREKA! DCI Madge Toothbritish puts the pieces together that the victim was not murdered at all, but merely slipped on the wet stones! The dead woman was the murderer! Of a minor cast member of the drama. How could we not have seen this coming? Frankly, I think these Eureka moments are overrated, but I understand we have to keep the plot moving. There must be a more creative way to do this, right?
Water. Whenever there is a crisis, somebody is ordered to give the nervous or traumatized person a glass of water. But have you ever witnessed a thirsty person during an emergency?.“Oh my God is that a dead body in the front yard? Quick, somebody–get me a drink of water!”
And finally, my most peevish of peeves. Why is it that when a person is in the hospital in a British drama, they inevitably are given grapes by visitors? Is this an unwritten hospital rule? They don’t get grapes on Grey”s Anatomy (ok, I do watch a little American TV). And nobody who gets the grapes ever so much as looks at them, tastes one, or seems at all happy to get them. So why on earth do people continue to bring grapes to sick British characters?
By the way, this is a rhetorical question…