Just when I think I’ve been in the US long enough, I get called out on something that I say or do that reminds others that I’m an alien. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t get ridiculed and have people throw rocks at me or anything threatening like that, but many would poke fun at me and jokingly call me a fob (“fresh off the boat”: term for people not up to date on the culture).
Out of the many un-American things that I say, it seems like my fobbiness is apparent when certain memorable TV & movie references are said, and I only respond with blank stares with an obvious question mark floating over my head. Even though I’ve picked up on key must-know American quotes (you know, just to get by), I’ve learned that there are several shows and movies that a non-fobby person must be familiar with. Here are my top 10 in no particular order:
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I’ve still haven’t seen this, and I always have to deal with jaw-dropping reactions when I tell people I don’t know the movie. Through every kid’s eyes, apparently he’s an American hero who does anything his big heart desires, from missing school to driving super cars to being in a parade while still being the sweet child of the family. From a middle schooler, this sounds like the American Dream.
- Diff’rent Strokes
“What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis? I would typically answer with “who is Willis and what is he talking about?” I’ve seen a couple episodes just to see what the fuss is all about
- Sixteen Candles
I heard this is a great movie, and I still haven’t seen it. It’s gotten to a point where I wouldn’t think about putting it on when I’m looking for something to watch. I guess it’s not high on my radar, but perhaps I’ll add it on my Netflix Instant Queue.
- “Where’s the beef?”
Little did I know that this line was made famous from a Wendy’s commercial in the mid-80s. A friend of mine said it to me not too long ago, and I was so confused that I thought I was supposed to pick up some beef before seeing her. Here’s the clip:
- Dawson’s Creek
I completely missed the boat on this one. I remember seeing it on TV when I was a kid, but at the time I much rather watched cartoons. I only recently learned that the “I don’t wanna wait for our lives to be over” song was the show’s soundtrack! And I’m not ashamed to say that I’m currently starting at season 1 on Netflix
- Saved By the Bell
I was more of a Boy Meets World kid, but I was aware that this show ran simultaneously when I was a kid. I think that people remember this show better, probably because the title is still frequently used as an idiom (just a random guess). I still haven’t seen a single episode…
I saw this once when I was a kid and I remember getting scared. I couldn’t follow the story line and I was afraid of the main character’s hair… Now that I’m a Tim Burton fan, I’d probably enjoy the film more and more appreciative of his wacky style.
I must be one of the very few people in the US who has never seen a full episode of Seinfeld. I didn’t quite understand the humor back when it first aired (I was watching Friends instead) and why a show about nothing would be so funny… Now that I’m
slightlymore familiar with sarcasm, I get why it became so popular. I think someone needs to sit me down and put on the best of the best episodes of the show.
What other shows/movies did you watch as a kid that you think made a mark on the US? Surely you can think of one more…