DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Will TV measure up?

Written by: on June 14, 2019

Prior to going back to school, it would not be uncommon to find me lounging on the couch twice a year for six hours at a time. I spent the duration of the time with some of my favorite things: popcorn and Mr. Darcy. I love the story of Pride and Prejudice and the BBC version that is on two DVD’s (formerly two VHS tapes!) is by far the best one. There’s something about the story that is so magical, although I am convinced that most of that magic comes from Colin Firth. Over years, I’ve also developed a fascination with other phenomenal British TV like Call the Midwife and The Great British Baking Show. Each show gives so much context about British culture, but I do realize that television can only take you so far.


One of the things I’ve learned most from British TV is that the people who make up the country are so varied and diverse, so there might not be one way to generalize the British – especially Londoners. This was evident in this weeks reading. I was surprised to learn that one of every four Londoners were born elsewhere, and almost a quarter of those born outside England are from elsewhere in the EU.[1] It shouldn’t be surprising then that Great Britain is complex. One of the complexities is the class system that still exists in London. Generally, most people can be identified as part of their class by their speech.[2] And lo and behold, apparently my love of British TV might pay off because a good way to learn British accents and dialects is through TV.[3] As a fellow large-city dweller, I appreciate that Londoners are welcome to diversity, because I believe it creates a much more robust picture of culture and society. In fact, part of the reason London is so diverse is because the origins of the country are more genetically mixed.[4]


This weeks reading makes me very excited to visit London and experience this culture for myself. In Hong Kong, similarities and differences in culture were very apparent, mostly because I had very little experience with what life was like for Hong Kongers. In preparation for our London and Oxford advance, I feel as though I have at idealized picture of what life might look like. TV has either done me a disservice or helped me get a leg up on the culture. I guess, come September, we’ll know!



[1] Orin Hargraves, CutureShock! A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette: London  (Tarrytown: Marshall Cavendish, 2009), Loc.711.

[2] Ibid., Loc. 891.

[3] Ibid., Loc. 912.

[4] Terry Tan, CultureShock! A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette: Great Britain (Tarrytown: Marshall Cavendish, 2008), Loc 884.


About the Author


Karen Rouggly

Karen Rouggly is the Director for Mobilization in the Center for Student Action at Azusa Pacific University. She develops transformational experiences for students serving locally, nationally, and internationally. She completed an MA in Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and is passionate about community development, transformational service and helping students understand vocation and service. Karen is also an active member at the Vineyard Church Glendora where she is a small group leader and serves on the teaching team. She is also a mom to two sweet boys, wife to an amazing guy, and loves being a friend to many.

13 responses to “Will TV measure up?”

  1. Mario Hood says:

    Super excited to head to London, I wonder if people can tell the difference in American accents or if we all sound the same LOL!

  2. mm Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Oh the power of television. Ha. There is something attractive to British life. I look forward to hearing your comparisons when we are there.

  3. mm Sean Dean says:

    Colin Firth Mr. Darcy is by far the best Mr. Darcy. As a avid connoisseur of Pride and Prejudice movies I can say that with absolute certainty. I really hope this place lives up to all that we’ve hoped it will be.

  4. Karen, you and my wife will get along catching up on all shows British. We’re almost to the point of developing TV-watching habits that we no longer watch it together — hahahahaha!

    On a serious note, I mentioned to her the other night: “Let’s watch Downton Abbey.”

  5. mm Jenn Burnett says:

    Maybe we should get Jason to put together a recommended viewing list for us so we can all practice our British words before we go? I’m very curious to see how it compares to Australia. For example I thought the whole idea of school ‘houses’ was just a Hogwarts thing until my kids were assigned their ‘houses’ at school in Oz. On another note, how accurate is American TV? You lot are the first real life Americans I properly know! So which TV show would best help me understand where you live? (See how I’m turning my summer into research through tv shows.)

    • mm Karen Rouggly says:

      Jenn – such a good question! Us lot are all so varied! Southern California is a hard one to pin down. For instance, you could try things like The OC, or Beverly Hills 90210, but those aren’t really like our life. I would say something like Friends is more accurate, but it takes place in New York. Daytime TV, like the Ellen show is really good!

    • mm Sean Dean says:

      I’ve been told that Friday Night Lights is a really good representation of life in Texas.

  6. mm Mary Mims says:

    Karen, I love all of those shows, especially Pride and Prejudice. I remember my siblings watching and loving Benny Hill, although I never really liked that kind of humor. But like you, I do like all of the different accents which reminds me of My Fair Lady another British movie from Hollywood. We will see how well we can identify these accents.

  7. Digby Wilkinson says:

    If you want to read novels about London and Oxford, read London by Edward Rutherford ( charts the history of the place from 54BC to 1997 I loved it). In regards to Oxford read “Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder” by Evelyn Waugh. The latter gives an insight into the hidden underbelly of oxfords academic and somewhat elitist culture.
    As for Pride and Prejudice (which I watch every year), the author seriously over romanticised English life, which was part of the charm of her books. Mindu, that being said, I am a huge Jane Austen fan 🙂

  8. mm Rhonda Davis says:

    I knew there was a reason we are friends. Anyone who understands that Colin Firth is the ‘real’ Darcy is a friend worth having. 🙂

  9. Karen, is it amazing how powerful the media is in influencing people? I am always amazed at the influence that the media is having across the world, especially with advances in technology. The media,fueled by technology advancement, is one of the biggest catalysts of globalization which gives me confidence that I will not be a total stranger to the British culture. Do you think that the television programs have had some influence on you and is there a likelihood that we are moving towards homogeneity of cultures due to globalization?

Leave a Reply