I have been in the US before. I have studied American history and culture (granted that was back in high school). I have worked for and alongside Americans before.  So then why do I get the feeling that I am constantly on a movie or TV set, ever since I arrived in Washington, DC?

The ubiquity of American taste, influence and commercialism as materialized through the movies, TV shows[1] and cartoons are, for the most part, responsible for the creation of certain stereotypes regarding the American society.

While preparing to move to Washington, DC I was told time and time again “oh, things will be just like in the movies”.  One month after arriving in the US, I must admit there have been instances where some aspects of everyday life in the US felt like in a movie that I had seen.  Here are some of these moments:

Starbucks – every time I walk into a Starbucks coffee shop, it feels like Tom Hanks is narrating my experience there, just like in the scene from “You’ve Got Mail”.

Breakfast – eating at an American diner, breakfast included all the staple food right out of the breakfast scene in “Pleasantville” (although I still haven’t warmed up to the idea of having syrup all over my bacon).

Cubicles – ok, so my office isn’t a cubicle but having visited a couple organizations whose work space is divided into cubicles it felt like I just walked into “Office Space”.

And my favorite so far…

Commuter shoes – getting to my host organization every morning always reminds me of some scenes from the movie “Working girl” with Melanie Griffin. Especially the scenes which feature groups of women getting to work in their comfortable sport shoes and, once at the office, changing into more dress shoes. It seems I am living the same scene day in and day out, taking the 16Y bus every morning, with large groups of people all dressed up in their business suits and smart clothes and wearing running shoes. It strikes me as funny every time and I find myself smiling every morning.

As time spent in the US progresses, I am curious to find out what other everyday scenes will strike me as reflective of the American entertainment culture that has spread through European society.

 


[1] Dallas was the last Western show allowed during the nightmarish 1980s because the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu thought it showcased all that was wrong with capitalism. He allowed it to air thinking it would emphasize the advantages to his Stalinist rule. But the show clearly had an opposite effect and is believed to have contributed to starting the Revolution in 1989.

P.S. This is my first blog entry. Ever. On any blog. So I guess I am no longer a blog virgin 🙂

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