Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 401

Investigation Discovery: Southern Fried Homicide

So, I don’t watch TV in America-land, but I got to learn about something that I feel I must watch on a rainy afternoon when I really, really, really do not have anything better to do.

This thing is the Investigation Discovery channel. Many of my fellow actors in the play I’m in have had parts in these TV shows, which recreate crimes and murders and other horrible stuff and tell how they happened, why they happened and how these crimes were solved.

Juicy tales from the Deep South

Juicy tales from the Deep South

My ‘favourite’ title of these shows is Southern Fried Homicide, the synopsis of which reads thus:

‘Across the Deep South, heat, humidity and darn good hiding places provide a perfect backdrop for dark, despicable deeds. Southern Fried Homicide transports viewers into the steamy, Southern subculture whose lifestyles and charming drawls are captivating viewers – and covering up crimes.

SOUTHERN FRIED HOMICIDE probes the juiciest stories from down in the Bible Belt, from the Carolinas to Louisiana and Tennessee. The premiere episode profiles an old adage in the south: families are a bit like fudge – mostly sweet, but with a few nuts. After pedigreed Southern belle Susie Newsom’s marriage fails, sweet Susie spirals and starts to have an affair…with her disturbed first cousin. When the rest of the family isn’t exactly thrilled with the kissing cousins, their scandalous relationship ends with nine family members dead, spanning from Kentucky to North Carolina.

SOUTHERN FRIED HOMICIDE proves that ugliness lurks behind Southern beauty when cracks in moral society give way to cold-blooded murder. Actress Shanna Forrestall, a native belle of Louisiana, serves as the gatekeeper to these salacious stories that give another meaning to things that “go south.”‘

The butler did it!

The butler did it!

I mean, how can you NOT want to watch that! 😉

Check out a clip here…it’s pretty amazing! (I love the bit that says ‘some of the dialogue has been fictionalised for dramatic purposes’ – no sh*t!!!)

The NYC guy

I like hearing tales from Brits in other parts of the States. Chris lives in NYC, the Big Apple and is a part-time stand up comedian – must be a tough gig in America as a Brit comedian (I only say that cos some of my jests and jokes evoke only tumbleweed…).

Anyhow, this is his [funny] story….

Occupation: Part-time Stand-Up Comedian and full-time project wrangler
Time in the USA: Since Oct 2012.
Reason you came to the USA: I fell in love.

I met Fiona, a few weeks before she moved to New York with her work, and we did the long distance thing: transatlantic. And yes, it was very expensive, but so worthwhile. We dated for less than 9 months, and that was it. I was sold, I asked her to marry me in the April and we got married in July three months later. Once I got my paperwork through, I moved over to be with her.

I tell this story when I’m on stage, as it is completely true, and for the romantics in the house.. it gives hope to that it could happen to them. However for those couples who have been together for a bit longer: 2 years, 3 years, 5, 10… but not had “that chat” – I have to apologize in advance for the awkward subway journey home.

When you arrived as an expat, what were your initial impressions of the USA? Has it changed much since you’ve been here?
It is everything you think it will be. In New York everything is bigger and louder, and anything is possible. I am still a tourist – just a long-term one. When I’m walking around, I still do a double-take and go “that’s the Empire State Building!”.. wherever we move to next, I know that a bit of my heart will always be here.

American pride!

American pride!

What things really highlight the differences between our cultures?
The sense of pride in America is invigorating and ingrained – anything is possible. British people seem more modest and considered; being number 1 is still celebrated, but we just don’t want to cause a scene.

How is your life different from at home? What are the challenges and frustrations you encounter?
I miss my family, Skype is a godsend and I have lost track of all the hours spent on it. The biggest challenge is with the time difference; my folks often expect a call much earlier than I am ready for. It took them a little while for them to understand that 10am on a Saturday for them, is still me snoring in bed.

Do you actively seek out a British community?
Not proactively, but I have met some great people through random adventures… even someone who went to my university and lived in the same apartment!

NYC

NYC

What differences do you really notice between us Brits and our American cousins?
There are a lot of preconceptions when people find out I am British; they think of Doctor Who, James Bond and Downtown Abbey – so I know I could be a disappointment. Understandably, people have ideas of what they think British life is like. I have had to field some odd questions from colleagues here:

“Do you celebrate Mothers Day in the UK?”
“Yes.”
“what do you call it?”
“Mothers Day”
His mind was blown.

A perception at home is that American comedy is just a series of punchlines, but in my experience New York audiences are smart and aware and comedy offerings here are of a very high caliber.

(See Chris on stage here!)

What’s your favourite British saying that you keep uttering? And which Americanisms have you adopted?
I used to apologize a lot “excuse me, pardon me etc” when I was walking around and trying not to bump into people.. I have toned that down now. I never expect that people would ask me to say things in my “quaint British accent”. I was getting a sandwich at a deli on 23rd Street. I was minding my own business In the queue, and the lady behind the counter asked what I wanted.

“Ham and Cheese on Rye please.”
“Oh my God, are you British.”
“Yes.”
“Would you say something for me?”
(There was a long line of hungry people stood behind me. I heard once voice say gruffly “Say what she wants, I want my lunch.”)
“Sure – what can I say?”
“The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.”
Was happy to oblige, but the think is that no British person has ever said this in real life, and to be honest I doubt any Spanish weather forecaster has either.

Cheese on rye is sooo Americana

Cheese on rye is sooo Americana

Tell me a bit about your work and what you do. Has being in America made a difference to your career?
I work for a growing company which makes online games. One unexpected challenge was that my use of language had to change to include (in particular) sporting metaphors. With the stand-up, comedy was a personal challenge for me when I moved here. I wanted to do something here that I couldn’t do anywhere else in the world. So many venues, a diverse range of performers and the bar is set very high. I’ve been lucky with meeting great people through it – audience, artists and promoters – and it’s going really well.

Chris at a gig

Chris at a gig

Tell me 3-5 things you would take back to the UK from the USA.
Brunch; it’s a classy way of having booze with breakfast at the weekend.
The playing of the national anthem, as I mentioned earlier, there is such pride in here and if they have an excuse they will play “Star Spangled Banner”. I love that, I wish we played “God Save the Queen” without feeling awkward about it. Granted that might wind up the Scots with that awkward second verse, but I think we should be stronger in our identity.
Finally – it’s a tossup between a Philly Cheese Steak or Reece’s Peanut Buttercups.

And 3-5 things you think the USA should have/implement from the UK.
Full-size pint glass – don’t change the volume based on the strength of the beer. If a man wants a pint, let him have a pint.
Squash; a cordial; doesn’t have to be a posh barley water, but something to slay a thirst. Iced tea mix is just not the same as Ribena.
Oh – proper chocolate.

You live in NYC, what’s that like and what do you love/dislike about it?
My wife told me that the seasons are much more noticeable here than back home. I just smiled and nodded. The second week I got here, Hurricane Sandy. We live on the 38th floor of a building, it was the first time I really appreciated that buildings here are designed to sway. Thankfully, we had power but friends didn’t, so we helped out and people came over to shower, charge phones & drink wine. Fi was rushing around beforehand to make the place tidy, and she started lighting candles everywhere. I asked why, she wanted to make the place cosy. I had to remind her that these people had been living by candle light for the last few days, we could look like we are taking the mickey.

Three words: New York is…… Big and apple-y.
Three words: America is….. USA! USA! USA!

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3 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 401

  1. Mindy Helms says:

    Love this article and comedy skit! Thank you! 🙂

  2. Pat and Pam says:

    Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups — I would love it if the miniatures were available here! The standard sized ones are good, but the minis are THE BEST! The new(ish) American section at Tesco’s stocks Reese’s WHITE CHOCOLATE Peanut Butter Cups — Wha??? That’s new to me. Besides, white “chocolate” is an aberration of the word
    — if it ain’t brown, at least, it is just sweet fat. So, I have not tried them. But — maybe I could put in a word and they might stock bags of the minis????

  3. Pingback: Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 489 | ukdesperatehousewifeusa

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