It’s been awhile since I have shared my love for all things (entertainment wise) British, and as I head home for the holidays, I can’t help but share with you a show I loved growing up, as did my entire family. From the land of Monty Python, Jeeves and Wooster, and Fawlty Towers, came a politically incorrect, racially insensitive hilarious 70’s sitcom that probably wouldn’t air today. Ladies and gentleman, I give you “Mind Your Language”.
The series, which only aired 29 episodes over three series (please ignore the 80’s revival), followed the antics of students in an English adult foreign language class led by their Oxford educated, and overwhelmed, English instructor, Mr. Brown. From the promiscuous French woman to the Mao quoting Chinese student, the class consisted of stereotypical caricatures of foreigners as viewed through an English lens. This might be an argument for exactly why you shouldn’t watch the show, but the over the top portrayals of each culture represented make for an equal opportunity comedy fest at the expense of all those involved. No one is spared, and the results are wonderful.
As a Pakistani, it was always amusing to watch the constant bickering of the Indian Sikh and Pakistani Muslim students because the conflict, and comedy, between them was entirely relatable, along with the cluelessness of those around them as to why they couldn’t get along. (They sort of look the same, talk the same, why can’t they just get along?!)
This show was intolerance and tolerance at their best. Intolerance, clearly, by its characterizations which allegedly led to its cancellation, and tolerance, because it forced everyone to laugh at themselves as they laughed at others. A little something we could still use today.