As a Brit, I sometimes experience differences between myselves and Swedes. But this has never been more apparent than in the two TV cooking shows ‘Come Dine with Me’ in English and its equivalent Swedish program *Halv åtta hos mig’ (My place, 7.30).
Watching these two shows, many differences are obvious. The shows shine a very clear light on the differences between the UK and Sweden. The shows have the same format and are part of the same franchised concept, but cultural differences make them into two totally different programs.
The educationally entertaining Swedish program has the following:
- A focus on the food and the interesting recipes
- Polite, if somewhat stilted conversation, mostly about the food
- A female narrator that is slighty, but not too, sarcastic
- Participants who are friendly and polite and seem to have things in common with each other
- Participants ‘dressed up’ very nicely for the occasion
- Homes that are Nordically cool, clean and well-organized
- Carefully selected wine for the dinner, and not too much alcohol so that participants can focus on the food
The hysterical British version has the following:
- A focus on getting drunk and arguing with each other, the food is secondary
- Confrontational, loud conversation (as people are drunk) about all subjects under the sun, often toilets and sex and very little about the food
- A male narrator that is a complete bitch about the contestants and personally attacks the participants’ appearance
- Participants who have been cast for the show as they are complete opposites, very opinionated and at each others’ throats from the very first evening
- Participants often wearing themed fancy dress, such as prostitutes, Alice in Wonderland, disco, bling, pirates, gangsters. Often lots of short skirts and cleavage.
- Homes that are quirky at best, and unhygenic at worst
- Wine, wine, wine, vodka, gin, wine, wine, wine
Now what cultural conclusions can we draw about the Swedes and the Brits from these differences?
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