Why Brit. TV is Waaayyy Better for Women

kim kardashian

See the pic to the right…What’s the thing you note most?  I thought so….That’s the image most American TV producers believe we American women aspire to…They’re sadly mistaken. 

Oh, I know young American women watch “the Kardashians” and “Real Housewives (of Anywhere,)“ the Batchelor” and “Batchelorette,” too, for their characters and story lines  demand little viewer investment.

And I get that. They can sit and simply “zone out,” being mildly-entertained, recovering from nonstop work schedules or serious parenting. In their real lives, there’s waaayyy too little time for entertainment.

But that reality means, they never recharge their brains (in a quality way.)

I suggest they ‘try’ another format.

On Sunday nights, 2 Brit-born series come on:  “Call the Midwives” and “The Bletchley Circle” and both are “All About Women.” They’re part of the fabulous UNC/PBS programming, new this past season.

I’ll add another important element:  They’re quality programs about quality women.

I cannot help contrast these with the usual American fare, and thereupon, I’m struck by the contradiction:  “America, the citadel of liberty…the font of personal freedom…where everyone allegedly gets a fair shake to climb the corporate (if not social) ladder for a shot at a piece of the American pie, hardly lives up to its hype.

Why?  We characterize and misrepresent more than half of our populous (women).

How do I know?  We can all see that all over TV Land any day or night of the week.

I flick through channels at night, with the result that my constant commentary is “Uggghhh.” I find nothing that even slightly interests…

But this year, I am heartened, for there have emerged two series I am drawn to for their portrayal of women as smart, focused, and brave in the face of difficulties.

“Call the Midwife” and “the Betchley Circle” are both period pieces set in the 50’s in Great Britain, following the war. And they’re both Brit. exports.

The time is especially important for the latter series in that these women, code-breakers during the war, are forced to return to domestic positions as wives and mothers, following challenging roles as detective-types, during the war.

Even more interesting, they took a vow to remain silent about their wartime engagement (so even their husbands don’t know.)

Now, in peace time, a serial-killer preys on young women and his spree, unsolved by professionals, has reignited their interests.  The women determine to catch him.

“Call the Midwife” shows women’s emergence in the important role as medical care-givers, in an era when pregnancy and delivery were fraught with danger… especially for poor women.

Both series are set against a backdrop of time I find most intriguing—the 50’s (my youth,) but the Bletchley Circle especially shows how a retreat to domesticity was difficult for women who’d been encouraged to use their brains.

And that’s what I now suggest for young American women:  Tune in and use your brains, watching these British jewels.  In the process, find your muse.

You’ll never find it in a Bethenny Frankel Skinny Girl Margarita (tho’ her advertisers want you to think so.) That high lasts only as long as the alcohol….

Now, my question:  Why can’t American TV produce such high-level entertainment? (Answer:  “They can.”) Do they suppose we all prefer the trash currently on the docket? 

But I realize, too:  It’ll take a concerted move by American women to demand higher quality of television programming. If there’s a groundswell of support (I do my part by watching PBS,) American producers will have to offer better stuff….

Or risk oblivion in the ratings. What do you say?  Do you like the current American offerings?  Have you seen “Call the Midwife” and “Bletchley Circle?”

I’ll let you in on a little secret:  Even my husband watches these programs with me…And by the way, “Call the Midwife” enjoys a BIG following in Britain….”Bletchley” you might have to catch in reruns or order it (you know, the way you did with “Downton Abbey,” that other PBS jewel…..).

Check in for next Monday’s blog post on “Which do you prefer–Fast or Slow-Paced Asheville?” You’ll see how husband and I made our choice, as to where we live..

It may help the rest of you, in the search process for your Retirement Home….

‘Til then….Watch “Call the Midwife” this Sunday night…”Mr. Selfridge” is pretty good, too….But then again, I LOVE pretty much anything put out by PBS, in NC and RI…

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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