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Fact: You Don’t Have to Visit to Really Know a Country

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American Football
American Football

You Don’t Have to Visit to Really Know a Country

There are a lot of stories out there about what life is really like in the United States of America. We’ve heard tales of what actual Americans are like–how they think, behave, what they value, etc. There are some who insist that if you want to know what America and Americans are really like, you need to visit the country for yourself. You need to spend time there. You need to talk to real Americans.

Statue of Liberty in New York
Statue of Liberty in New York

We say no you do not. If you want to know what America and Americans are really like, you need only to watch their television programming. There is no better window into what Americans are like and what they value than what TV shows they love the most. Here are our picks for the top TV shows that show us what America is really like.


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Americans Love Sports

American Football
American Football

Americans love sports. They value sports probably more than any other group activity, and they elevate a person’s athleticism to an importance above more important traits like intelligence and congeniality. For evidence of this, you don’t have to watch a whole game (though seeing the way they paint themselves even in freezing temperatures can be entertaining).

You need only to look at how many sports channels are offered to see how much attention is paid to sports both current and past. There are separate channels for almost every sport played on earth!

Americans Are Obsessed with Luxury and Idleness

Reality television is a major staple of American culture and among the plethora of “real” lives that people love to spy on, the shows with the highest ratings are Real Housewives and anything featuring the Kardashians. These shows are little more than women with too much money and not enough to do fighting and creating spectacles of opulence for others to envy. And, in spite of their already considerable wealth, these shows pay them even more money to follow them around! How weird!

Americans Are Obsessed With Their Weight

Work out
Work out

Almost every American talk show has a segment about dieting and losing weight. There are entire programs–you can identify them by the inclusion of the word “makeover” in their titles–dedicated to highlighting people who drop many pounds in order to look as much like stick bugs as possible. You can also see their obsession with thinness in the fact that very few people of normal size are ever given the lead roles in their television shows or in movies. And on shows like America’s Next Top Model, when hopeful models are chastised for being too fat when their dress sizes are still in the single digits!

Americans Want to be Gangsters

America’s fascination with guns is globally famous. Even if it weren’t, we would be able to see their envy of hardened criminals by how much time is devoted to criminal activity on television. To be fair, most of these shows–like NCIS, CSI, Scorpion, etc. feature law enforcement officers tracking down and sending criminals off for punishment, but they often do this by thwarting the law. It’s also interesting how the same basic plot line can be given many shows that are seen as vastly different programs simply because that plot line takes place in a different city. Do Americans not know that NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans are the same basic show? Do they not care?

Americans Like Doctors but Hate Science

There are so many shows devoted to the sex lives of doctors but very few that talk about the actual medicine being practiced. How do these doctors ever help patients when most of their time is spent hooking up in on call rooms?

If you want to know how Americans think and what they hold dear, the easiest way to find that out isn’t to watch their news or read their periodicals. You simply have to watch their popular television shows and movies and pay attention to how much air time certain subjects are given. That will tell you everything you need to know.

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