Learning American through Studio C

Learning American through Studio C

If I’m learning Finnish by listening to Johanna Kurkela on repeat, my kids are learning American by watching Studio C’s sketch comedy on YouTube.

We saw a couple of episodes of the Studio C TV show at my brother’s house when we were in the US in 2015, and at some point I saw the Scott Sterling sketch as a one-off (and thought it was hilarious), but it didn’t really catch on until the summer of 2017 when my kids started binge-watching it with their cousin Cora. And that was it: they were hooked. And I am so glad!

We speak English at home and observe American cultural customs and holidays the best that we can on our own. But there is a certain cultural osmosis that my kids miss out on just from not being in the US all the time. And Studio C helps to fill that gap. Really! They speak beautiful American English. Their sketches take place in American houses, malls, parks, schools, offices, restaurants, and neighborhoods. They joke about American pop culture. They argue about the best way to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My kids are the only ones in Finland (or so it feels sometimes) who EAT peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so to be able to watch a sketch where it’s totally normal…well, representation matters.

On Studio C, they call shotgun. They record voicemail greetings (imagine such a thing!). They have Halloween. They make fun of a fictional but totally realistic-and-American-sounding restaurant called Bob’s Beef World. They make jokes about the English word “literally,” uptalk, and the English double-meanings of words for obscure pieces of furniture. They poke fun at those high-pressure mall kiosks. It’s all excellent American cultural immersion for my kids.

And for me, a bit? Studio C sometimes feels like a warm American blanket, all comfy and familiar. I mean, I will never NOT laugh at this send-up of a scene from the American Revolution, or this one set in a mall food court.

I’m hoping that we can go to a live taping this summer in the US (though chances seem slim). This show has also made us parents famous in our kids’ eyes, since we went to BYU and that’s where Studio C comes from, too (our previous claim to fame was that we were contemporaries at the Y with Brandon Mull of Fablehaven fame).

So, Studio C: it is great mother-country cultural exposure for American kids living abroad. Who knew?

Spinney's food pairings

November 9th, outsourced