Red Nose Day

It is amazing how the British go all out for fund raising on their Red Nose Day. It is part of the fund raising shenanigans of Comic Relief. We are a much bigger country here in the USA so we manage to raise phenomenal amounts of money for various charities without focusing so much on a particular day like that. It is both admirable and a little bit annoying but it seems to be a part of the national character of the UK.

Another aspect of being such a compact geographic region, Australia and Canada not withstanding, is the fact that their entertainment industry is small enough that all of their celebrities seem to know each other. This is seen to some extent in the US but there tend to be more regional pockets here than in GB.

Perhaps it is an offshoot of the cultural significance of the local pub but they seem to like quiz shows a good bit more than we do. This is demonstrated by the fact that many of the quiz shows that have been produced in the US in recent years have been imported from the UK. For example, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Deal or No Deal, The Weakest Link, and Cash Cab to name a few.

There are a number of shows that would play well in the US market that haven’t jumped the pond yet. My favorite is a parody that they have done of one of their own popular game shows. The original is called Countdown. It features two contestants that compete to make the longest word from randomly selected letters within thirty seconds. These word building rounds are alternated with rounds where a number game consisting of randomly selecting six numbers and a three digit target number. The goal  is to figure out how to combine any or all of the numbers using the four basic arithmetic operations to get an answer as close as possible to the target number also within thirty seconds.

Countdown has much the same following in the UK that Jeopardy has in the US. The unexpected twist was when the cast of another quiz show, 8 Out of 10 Cats, decided to do a parody of Countdown. They enlisted the talents of Rachel Riley, the mathematics whiz that presides over the numbers game on the straight Countdown as well as Susie Dent, the demure but brilliant lexicographer that judges the word game, and added the comedy talent of Jimmy Carr as the quiz master with Sean Lock and Jon Richardson as team captains. The result is hilarious and must be seen to be appreciated. In fact, old episodes can be found on You Tube. Search for 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown to see for yourself.

While this blog post has been somewhat of a ramble, it’s theme is an attempt to characterize some of the aspects of the British psyche that feeds my anglophilia. It was inspired by the fact that today was Red Nose Day in the UK.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.