If you're Australian, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Well, you will know what it is I watch, not necessarily why. Neighbours is an Australian night time soap opera, much like Emmerdale or Coronation Street in the UK. I'm not sure what I would compare it to in the US. I never watched soap operas in the US, except perhaps for when I was in 4th grade and snuck a peak before my mom got home from work, until I told on myself and was banned from ever watching them again (I was a nerdy kid). Now I tell myself I watch Neighbours for the same reason I watched Emmerdale and Coronation Street in England...to familiarise myself with my new culture. Of course, I think it is simply more a case of novelty and guilty pleasure. It's all bad TV, but it's fun (and the English ones are even more fun because the actors are so incredibly...um, ugly is a mean word but they are certainly 'down to earth' looking). I read something today in a book of Expat short stories (Expat: Women's True Tales of Life Abroad) I've got about turning into a film SLOB as opposed to a film snob, which I can identify with, on more than one level. SLOB stands for Sucka Living O'Broad, term coined by Emily Wise Miller in her short story 'Jean-Claude Van Damn That Was a Good Movie'. Excerpt below:
"When I've lived abroad, I've always been reasonably happy with the situation, and yet I can't help but feel nostalgic from time to time. American movies provide a glimpse of home without the plane ticket- often with recognizable landmarks or cityscapes of L.A., New York, or San Francisco. And they bring a taste of American life, American people interacting with one another, being very American and speaking English. You never feel more 'American', for better or for worse, than when living abroad. You start daydreaming avout gas dryers and twenty-four-hour Safeways. You find yourself in arguments defending Kraft American cheese (it tastes good on a burger). I even know a grown man who cried all the way through Dances with Wolves, which he saw in Pargue in 1991, just because it was filmed in South Dakota, his home state."
There is something about becoming an expat that somehow turns one into a fan of things you wouldn't normally touch with a ten foot pole. I even occasionally go into Starbucks and found myself slightly sad that the one here in Adelaide closed last week, although to be honest, the coffee was pants and the only thing I really liked about the shop was how festive they got at Christmas.