As I continue my research from America to the United Kingdom, I have found that there absolutely are differences in audience perceptions between these two countries. As I imagined this would be the case, I have begun to focus my attention on answering the question of why.
Specifically with the U.K. version of The Office, I have found that the main characters’ boss is blatantly represented in a negative and unsympathetic light. The U.K. audience likes this because it is relatable to them. In London, I have found that there is a stigma attached to those in charge or higher up in the work force, which is not prevalent in the U.S.
This hatred of authority in the U.K. is derived from the absolute monarchy. In the U.S. we respect our bosses, aspire to be in their position one day because everyone has this opportunity. It is one of our cultural staples. However, in the U.K. people used to be born into power. They didn’t necessarily work for their position, and so even today those higher up in the workforce are still perceived as the bad guy. Even in today’s modern world, history still has a significant hold on a culture’s current behavior.
Along with the monarchy losing its influence in the U.K. so has religion. The U.K. version of Skinsbecame very successful with its explicit plotline and character actions. However, when brought to America, many parents were outraged by its content. Socially, drinking and other similar activities are more accepted in Europe, partly because the government is more liberal in regards to this matter but also due to the fact that religion has little influence on Londoners today.
As I have found many differences within television overseas, there are also equally as many similarities. One that proves prominent is our shared affection for the underdog and overcoming obstacles. This is displayed within television shows such as Skins, The Office and also in our daily lives.