Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stephen Fry in America - part 1: Review

Stephen Fry in America 1/6 - New World 9:00pm - 10:00pm BBC1 I watched part 1 of this new series and I loved it, loved it, loved it! It was a joy to watch and if all the other parts of the series are as good as the first one, this is going to be a real gem of a show. The series is about Stephen Fry visiting all fifty states of the USA, via a black London taxi. The series started with Stephen Fry lobster fishing in Maine. It was interesting to find out that three out of four lobsters sold in the USA are Maine lobsters. Then he went electioneering with Mitt Romney for the New Hampshire primaries, where Stephen said, "I think that all Americans have a sense of great connection and pride about their democratic beginnings and their sense of being involved in the democratic process." (This is true by the way). And Stephen added his view that, "It's something we could learn in Britain." He went to Salem, Massachusetts to meet a real witch and attend a witches' ball on Halloween, which it turns out is when they (witches) celebrate their New Year. He visted Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he meets Professor Peter Gomes, a black, gay, Republican, Baptist minister. After that, Stephen went down into a nuclear submarine in Connecticut, where it was obvious how thrilled he was to explore all of it and when he spyed the periscope, he asked if he could try it out. His evident delight was so sweet to see. Next, he visted Vermont and went to Ben & Jerry's where Stephen was invited to concoct his own ice cream recipe, and then to New York state to join a group of men hunting white-tailed deer. Stephen looked quite fetching (and very American) in the hunting gear they loaned him including a flourescent orange cap. Stephen visited a Yellow Cab garage in New York and one of the drivers (a very funny character with good stories to tell) rode in Stephen's London taxi and he directed Stephen to the borough of Queen's, (one of the five boroughs of New York City) where Stephen was introduced to some real "Goodfellas" (gangster type guys). Stephen also took the singer, Sting for a ride in his London taxi down Broadway, New York to talk about what an Englishman thinks of New York. Next, Stephen went to Atlantic City, New Jersey where he dressed up (in a cute outfit) as a croupier (a dealer in a casino ) and he learned to deal Blackjack in the Trump Taj Mahal casino. Lastly, he visited Washington D.C. It isn't actually a state but a district (the D.C. stands for the District of Columbia) but Stephen explained that he couldn't leave it out of his journey across the USA. While there he met with Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia. related links from my blog: Stephen Fry in America - part 2: Review Stephen Fry in America - part 3: Review Stephen Fry in America - part 4: Review Stephen Fry in America - part 5: Review Stephen Fry on the road in the USA

7 comments:

  1. I must admit, I found it hard to get to grips with Sunday's programme. It's a pretty ambitious task to cover all of the states and give them a fair crack of the whip, in the same way I've heard Americans say 'oh, I've done Europe in two weeks'. It's extremely whistle-stop to the extent that, at certain points, it wasn't easy to settle into what SF was getting at. For instance, he touched on Delaware very quickly; granted, it's a very small state, but it's packed with history.

    I'll give it a try next Sunday, but I hope it shows a little more depth with time, and it may do. Whatever SF does is usually excellent in the extreme. Let's hope this grows into another.

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  2. Hello Stuart - I agree that the series is moving very fast. I wish he could have slowed down and spent a lot more time in each state but I imagine there were time and budget constraints (even from the well off BBC!) and so they did the best they could by picking highlights from each location.

    Hopefully, the pace will slow down a little but I'm still looking forward to the rest of the series.

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  3. Hi Maureen, I've just discovered your blog courtesy of Flighty. I agree with Stuart but I did enjoy the programme. To do it properly would take months of programmes rather than weeks and then it might lose some of its spontaneity and pace. I'll definitely watch it tonight.

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  4. Hello Jenny, You are so right - to do it properly would require much longer. The United States is so big and there are so many differences in each state that to really do it justice, the programme would need to devote an hour to each of the fifty states (plus Washington,D.C.) but that would have meant fifty-one episodes! As much as I would love a programme like that, I don't think the general British public would appreciate it!

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  5. Does anyone know if this program is available online? I don't think it is currently showing in the US and as an American, I'd find it interesting to get a British take on how we are perceived.

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  6. The programme is showing on BBC iPlayer - but the TV programmes are available to play in the UK only.

    I expect the TV series will be shown on American TV eventually.

    The book of the series is for sale in the USA - I just checked and it's on the amazon.com site.

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  7. I just found this blog by accident but late lol

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