A lot of good UK-related stuff. (Yeah, I’m feeling extra articulate today.) Via Metafilter, I’ve discovered that the entire Crass catalog is being re-released, and that Channel 4 is running This Is England ’86, by Shane Meadows (director of the film This Is England). Very exciting!

Too bad I won’t be able to see it for a few years, when it finally makes it over here to BBC America.

Which is not to say that I’m taking BBC America’s current offerings for granted. Against my better judgment, I really enjoy Being Human, the premise of which sounds like the lead-in to a bad joke. (Though it’s more melodramatic than funny.) But my current favorite show is Come Dine With Me, a reality show in which four people hold competing dinner parties and score each other on a scale of 1 to 10 — and the winner gets £1000.* Every episode is set in a different town (like North Umbermanwickhamptonshire) and the contestants seem to be selected more for their personalities than their cooking abilities. Often represented: The Crazy Red Hair Lady in the Puzzling Evening Gown, The Socially Repressed Bearded Man, The Borderline Personality (sometimes also the Crazy Red Hair Lady), The Ethnic Stereotype, The Landed Gentry, The Barely Holding It Together Person, and The Mysteriously Normal Person.

In the UK, CDWM each competition is stretched out across four days. Here in the US, we get a one-hour show. The three-course meals prepared are sometimes quite impressive — and always meaty and creamy. I’m not sure whether there are rules governing the ingredients, but I’ve come to suspect that serving vegetables other than carrots or potatoes is discouraged.

Sometimes the contestants judge each other really harshly (on one episode, a contestant complained in all seriousness that the food was awful and the portions were small), and other times, they politely offer 7s or 8s when they’ve actually hated the food, often sympathetically commenting that the person really seemed to be trying.

And sometimes, there are teaching moments. In last week’s episode, a contestant who performs as a drag queen professionally was being goaded over and over again by his competition to put on a performance for everyone, and instead of getting pissed off (like I would’ve) he calmly responded by saying, “My work is my work and my home life is my home life. You can see Betty Legs Diamond any day of the week but I’d rather you see me as a person.”

I forgot where I was going with this. I really enjoy the show. And I’m looking forward to This Is England ’86. THE END.

*Apparently there was one season of an American version of the show, but really: How many Americans would compete in a reality show where the prize is only $1000? You probably get paid more than that for being perp-walked on an episode of Cops.

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