[Congratulations to Kathryn C. who won our Tea Collection Giveaway!! And thank you to everyone who entered! The level of participation was way beyond what I expected. Loved it! ]
An Idiot Abroad, and One at Home
With a foundation set where Roan effectively and responsibly self-regulates what he watches on TV, I’ve been somewhat freed up in having to force limits on what we can watch as a family. If it’s inappropriate, Roan will have nothing to do with it. However. Over the holiday break, our family was introduced to an awesome series called “An Idiot Abroad“. This series is hysterical, and even maybe educational (?). In a nutshell, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant send their friend Karl Pilkington to visit each of the Seven Wonders of the World. Karl is reluctant to try new things, and not terribly open to new experiences, cultures, or lifestyles. Hilarity (at Karl’s expense) ensues. The show is broadcast on Sky, which is (as far as I can tell) a major British network. The show has some language peppered throughout it that could be a deal-breaker with Roan, but none of it is used in a vulgar way. Typically poor Karl is just describing something awful that just happened to him (again), and has no other choice than to drop an F-bomb here and there.
I checked-in with Roan and found he was ok with that. I was too, again – because it was more conversational and not at all mean-spirited or angry or vulgar. Context is everything, no?
But my liberal tendencies were put to the test with one episode. And I’m still thinking: did I Parent-Succeed or Parent-Fail? I’ve been able to rationalize that it was all good, no problem and that I am still on Santa’s Nice list. But I’d love to hear what you think (as long as you agree with me.) (Kidding.) (Ok, not really kidding, I mean, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone told me how inspiring and inspired my decisions are? But I kind of think I’m not going to get that this time.)
While watching an episode where Karl is sent to Brazil to visit the Cristo Redentor statue. He also is lucky enough to be visiting during Carnaval. In the opening sequence, Karl expresses discomfort with gay men, and asserts that he has no interest in being in crowds on the beach. And of course, he is subsequently put in a situation where his guide is a gay man who leads him to a crowded beach. It’s all well and good with Roan, Anson and me eating dinner and laughing at Karl ha ha ha he’s sweating but won’t take off his shirt ha ha ha poor Karl but that guy has to learn to adapt! It’s funny and he’s a good sport and then suddenly those Brits surprise the Nelson Call family by broadcasting Karl on the beach. But now? It’s a nudist beach.
And the conservative mom in me is all:
“Eh….I don’t think this is appropriate….”
And then the cool chick in me is all:
“Eh, lighten up Grandma. It’s not sexual at all, just naked people walking around on a beach. Human bodies are not offensive.”
And then I look to Anson for his read and he’s just looking back at me all blank-canvas style. Then offered this helpful gem:
“It’s no different than watching National Geographic….?”
It actually is wildly different, so I move on to Roan with a nonchalant:
“So. There are a bunch of penises on our TV. Heh. Don’t see that every day! OH! Say, a vagina! Hmmmmm….how’s your dinner?”
And Roan was a little giggly and then we all had a pretty good laugh at Karl’s reaction to being on a nude beach and his use of the word “knob” and then the scene changed and it was over.
But did I do the right thing in letting it play out? Or should I have turned the TV off? Honestly, I think it might not be that big of a deal. Watching naked people having a day on the beach will probably not turn Roan into any type of psychotic weirdo. I mean, probably the worst part of it was me getting all up in everyone’s grill about is this ok is this ok is this ok is this ok? That probably will turn Roan into a psychotic weirdo. Poor kid.
And yes, we’re continuing to watch the series. While it’s clearly not intended for children, it is a brilliant introduction to other cultures, and the Seven Wonders of the World. It’s also a very realistic portrait of how strange cultures and customs are exactly that: strange to us. It’s totally politically incorrect and definitely offensive to some, but not us. Not really. Ok, maybe a little bit. But it’s a good discomfort. What say you, reader? Did I Fail? Pass? What would you have done?