This is the second post of Michael Showalter’s stint today as PopWatch’s celebrity guest blogger. Keep checking back throughout the day for more from the funnyman.
Why can’t the “snarky/shoots-straight-from-the hip/insults people judge” on these reality shows ever be an American? Just because Simon is a Brit doesn’t mean they ALL need to be Brits. The snarky judge on Next Great American Band is, like, Tasmanian, or Welsh, or something. His name is “Stinko.” I’m getting all my details wrong and it would take five seconds to Google the show and find out the truth but I prefer to think he’s Tasmanian and named Stinko. (For what it’s worth his name is “Dicko” and he’s Australian. I Googled it.) Still, as far as most Americans are concerned, Australian IS British. As long as they sound like they could be in a Merchant/Ivory movie we think they’re Brits.
There’s a snarky British judge on America’s Got Talent, too. He shoots from the hip. “Those Brits really shoot from the hip.” I think that it’s been decided that Americans aren’t allowed to be honest with each other or we’ll get pissed at them.
The producers of these shows have figured out that non-Americans can be really mean to the contestants and no one will get upset. Like, Paula and Randy can’t say what they REALLY think or else they’re unpatriotic, but Simon can say whatever he wants. Same thing with Dicko. He tells it like he sees it. He called one of the singers on the show an “emo leprechaun.” I thought that was brilliant but it saddened me that Sheila E. and the guy from the Goo Goo Dolls would have been booed lustily if they’d said it. In fact, the Goo Goo Dolls guy gets booed everytime he opens his mouth, but when it’s Dicko’s turn to speak you could hear a pin drop. We’ve been trained to get quiet when the Brit speaks on these shows as if his accent alone signifies something very important. “Ssh. The British judge is about to talk. I want to hear what he has to say. It’s going to be more important than what the other judges are saying.”
But why? It’s got to have something to do with the American Revolution. It’s like, 300 years later, and we still feel kinda dumb around a British person. Yeah, we have more bombs than they do, and we’re better at sports but they sound much smarter when they talk. Who knows? Maybe it’s got nothing to do with the Brits at all. Maybe it’s because Americans are afraid of each other. Maybe it’s because we’re afraid of ever saying the wrong thing. Maybe it’s less about them and more about us.