Inexplicably, Canadians are into _Coronation Street_. I gather this from CBC radio, which reports on _Coronation Street_ viewing parties, called “Ping Parties”.
In case you don’t know, Corrie is the longest-running soap in Britain (I think). It’s set in adenoidal Manchester, and apparently it’s grim up north. As is traditional in British soaps, most of the characters are deeply unattractive and whiny, and their lives are long strings of misery relieved only by trips to the pub, where they fight. Periodically, British gossip mags show the soap stars dolled up in “At Home” interviews, but they cannot be glamourised. For example, Gail one of the longest-running characters on _Coronation Street_, is a nag and looks like a camel. Far too many articles have been written about how the Americans like their escapism to be aspirational while the Brits seem most comforted by _schadenfreude_, but clichés stick because they’re true.
I watched _Coronation Street_ every evening when I was at school. So did everyone else. Finish dinner, clear the dishes, bring the tray of tea and biscuits into the fire just as the elderly theme tune started at 7.30. I haven’t followed it since my Leaving Cert, though last I heard they had graduated to serial killers and scandalous affairs. When the CBC played the opening music last night, I started to fret about my Maths homework.
The most entertaining part of the Canadian absorption in _Coronation Street_ is that they clearly can’t follow it. On last night’s show, they played a snatch of dialogue and then invited listeners to call in to tell them what they were saying.
“I think it’s ‘goshad’,” said one presenter.
“No, it’s ‘gooshit’,” said the other, “Though I have no idea what that means.”
Luckily, Canada has plenty of ex-pats to enlighten them. “She’ll be _gutted_” the character had said. Meaning, she’ll be upset, emotionally devastated, have her insides torn asunder.
I wonder if they’d hire me as a simultaneous translator? I speak four English languages pretty well…
Further reading: Wikipedia entry on Coronation Street.