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Monday, April 9, 2012

Crash Course in What You're Missing on TV... and Probably Don't Want to Watch, Anyway

My friend Jamie is one of my blogging heroes. She has actual reoccurring topics on which she likes to write, and unlike me, she actually writes more than one post pertaining to any particular theme. I, on the other hand, ramble on about who-the-hell-knows what, and hope for the best (by the way, I think Jamie might be my only follower. I couldn't even convince the twenty followers from my previous blog to follow. Further proof that I have nothing interesting to say).

Anyway, today she talked some about the television shows she likes. It got me thinking that I, too, could expound on my own incredibly random television addictions. I'm really not particularly picky, I do follow some of the more popular shows, but I also have a few quirky favorites, as well. I love the NBC comedies, am in love with Smash, and record all of the Once Upon a Time episodes. My husband and I both got into Spartacus on Starz, have some catching up to do on True Blood, and plan to start watch Game of Thrones once we have True Blood out of the way.

When I first sat down to write this, I thought about trying to convince you that The Big Bang Theory is the greatest show to ever make it on the small screen. But then I realized that if you haven't been caught up in that gem, yet, there is no hope for you, anyway (this is totally me being snarky and sarcastic... my sense of humour is probably why I have no followers). So, instead, be prepared to be wowed by Irish Travelers/Romani.

Yeah. I'm totally talking about TLC's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

I know this probably makes me look like a big fat loser for A) watching reality television and B) watching reality television about weddings... But I still love it. I love it so much, I actually DVR it.

So, if you haven't seen it, I guess I should give you a little bit of background information. The show was originally produced and aired in the United Kingdom. It follows the traditions of British Irish Travelers mostly, but every once in awhile, they will have a segment about the Romani, as well. Most of the episodes are about weddings, christenings, or other large family events. The major draw is the amount of extravagance: think along the lines of an estimated $140,000 wedding, dresses that weigh up to 300 lbs, illegal street racing of the horse and carriage variety... The "gypsies" are unwanted and unwelcome, and the laws and actions of "mainstream" Brits is prevalent.

I love it because it shows a glimpse of another culture that is so uniquely out of place in our idea of western society. The sociologist in me squees over it all the time. I find myself equally disgusted and impressed with the girls the show usually follows. Most of the brides are in their late teens--anywhere from 16 to 19. The oldest, I believe, was 23, and she was considered an "old maid." They have what I would describe as being horrendously tacky taste, and plan weddings that are the stuff of young girls' fantasies. It's like Barbie threw up all over the semi-adult/real world. They wear dresses that don't fit in vehicles, weigh hundreds of pounds, and give them physical scars. They dress their younger siblings like mini-brides. Their street clothes look like something a Julie Roberts would wear in Pretty Woman before she meets Richard Gere... And all while remaining very strict morally--no premarital sex, no being in the company of men, no socializing with a boy unless without an escort--I'm talking Jane Austen-style.

But, like I said, I can't help but admire them at the same time. I mean, here we have a group of people that the rest of society hates. The mainstreamers look down on them, refuse to work with them, refuse to hire them... They struggle to find venues and cake decorators and seamstresses for their outrageous weddings. They are treated unfairly by the police, laws are passed to limit their way of life. And yet they keep at it. They find ways to make things work, and even though the rest of their country is "making fun" of them via television, they just keep right at it in an effort to keep their traditions alive.

It's fascinating. And kind of like watching a train wreck.

Anyway, if you have nothing better to do, watch an episode. There's definitely more there than meets the eye. And if you have weird taste in television like me, you might actually enjoy it.

...Or give yourself something new to make fun of. Either way.

7 comments:

  1. I've been a fan of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding since it's first season. Their culture both intrigues me and frightens me. But at least they know who they are, that's more than most people can say.

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    1. This is true! It's hard to not let other people/society influence you, yet they manage to lock out the majority.

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  2. Yay me! :)

    This show has seemed incredibly interesting ever since I heard of it. :) I might give it a try.

    BBT is amazing, yessssssss. :)

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    1. It gets even more intriguing when you look at it sociologically rather than just for entertainment!

      And I sort of have a crush on Leonard ;-)

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  3. Ok, officiailly "following" you and adding your link to my blog. You and your writing rock :)

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    1. Awe, thanks! I feel less dumb, now :-)

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