I am the youngest of a large family. When I went away to college, it was the first time in almost thirty some years of marriage that my parents finally had an empty house. Before I left my parents were often busy on weekends with visiting family or playing cards with friends; when my brothers were still at home there were always sporting events to go to. I was always busy and my parents seemed to be too. It wasn't until the second year of my abscence that I began to notice my parents picked up a new Saturday night hobby. Instead of going out or visiting with family after the Saturday night mass they would come home put their pajammas on and watch British Comedies on PBS.
My parents, while not the biggest tv fanatics, did watch their share of shows. I don't really recall any particular show that they 'had' to watch. We had a VCR and it was used to tape Days of Our Lives for my mom, but other than that it was used more to record tv mini-series when they wouldn't be home to watch all three or four nights of it. So it struck me as odd that they suddenly picked up the habit of having to be home to watch "their shows."
When any of us kids or grandkids came for a weekend visit we were invited to join them. Pajammas were put on and popcorn was popped and more often than not there was ice cream at some point because my dad loved ice cream. Then for the next couple hours old people with a British accent carried on with plots and jokes that I didn't understand and frankly just bored me. My parents, on the other hand, were throughly entertained by the antics on Keeping Up Appearences, Faulty Towers, and Are You Being Served. They would laugh and repeat the jokes to each other and laugh again. It was just strange and I wondered if that was the first signs of my parents aging. I would roll my eyes and think it was sightly pathetic and in time make jokes with my husband about it. There was no way I would ever end up like that.
Tonight after watching Downton Abbey on PBS my husband and I flipped to our DVR que to pull up the Dr. Who special that had been recording the same time as Downton. It was then that it hit me, I too have succombed to the powers of British television. Like my parents, I too look forward to the quiet weekend night when there is no other place I'd rather be than sitting with my sweetie watching the goings on in Downton or how the Doctor will save Earth this week.
It's not just limited to those two shows either. My parents only had whatever PBS decided to share but we now have a whole slew of channels and ways to watch British shows and belive me, we watch them all. Unlike my reaction to my first exposure to the BBC, my kids have embraced it with open arms. The BBC has something for all of us, from the family shows of Robin Hood, Merlin, and of course Dr. Who, to the more adult fare of QI, Torchwood, Downton, and the newer series of Copper, and Ripper Street, there is always something for us to look forward to at the end of the weekend. Our kids are still young and Saturday night is still busy for us but on Sunday nights you can find us in our pjs, snacks on hand, watching "our shows." I guess my mom and dad were on to something.