Primary school, grammar school, magnet school, comprehensive, college, university, faculty, and more. Our global English-speaking brains are abuzz as we try to comprehend exactly how each part of the world describes (and charges for) the institutions that educate children and young adults.
In an inevitable episode in this series, we talk obscenity. Those of faint constitutions should avoid getting their knickers in a twist as panelists from Scotland, Australia, and the U.S. of A. discuss varying attitudes about the f word, the c word, the t word, and a lot of other words we can’t readily list in this description. We dive deep into what constitutes offensive words, too.
Usually, we’re explaining English to each other. This time, US panelists are desperate to understand the largely UK art of panto, a kind of stylized broad style of show, popular around Christmas, full of stereotypes and archetypes, risqué and beloved by children and adults.
If you wear fancy dress in the US or the UK, you might show up in tails. However, in the former, that would be a tuxedo and the latter, potentially the back half of a horse costume. Our panelists for this and the next stretch of episodes dig into what to wear and what not to wear, including the lack of a modern code for mourning dress.
American panelists finally hear the difference between ma’am and mum when referring to, for instance, the bloody Queen of England! Yes, we talk mom, mom, and mum; aunt and aunt; and the names we call our grandparents in various regions.
The North Americans challenge their UK panelists to please, please, please explain what lemonade means, since it’s not “lemons, sugar, and water.” The answer will surprise you. But then we discover ginger as a generic. It’s all sweet fizzy water with fake lemon (or Lymon) in the end.
We’re all lumberjacks and we’re okay, we chop down words, and we read dictionar—ies! Panelists get to the bottom of suspenders and braces, and James explains how he used to visualize Wall Street financial wizards. All we can say is, honi soit qui mal y pants.
We thought the difference between a truck and a lorry wouldn’t be a bumpy road. But when we get into it, we find a trash fire, Dumpster trademarks, and a confusion over caravans, and ultimately articulate the differences.
Panelists try to avoid getting their knickers in a twist while discussing the disparate—sometimes obscene—meanings of words that address the back of our front: fanny, butt, bum, ass, and arse.
What about a boot? We put our pants in the trunk, but we put our trousers in the boot? Panelists find themselves questioning whether they know the front of the car from the back. Hood a trunk it!
Who wears short shorts? We wear short shorts—if we’re Americans at least. It’s in the title of the show, but the confusion between pants and trousers makes for many an embarrassed trans-Atlantic story. We also delve into briefs, boxers, short, short pants, and more.
An extra syllable? A missing syllable? Are you out of your ever-loving minium? While it’s hardly a debate, panelists say it’s elementary as they discuss the difference between aluminum and aluminium. And the fetishism many Americans have for Jony Ive saying the UK version of that word.
When is a chip a chip and when is it a chip? In this episode, we stare down the pare down of cutting, shredding, crushing, and extruding potatoes into the many forms in which they are consumed. One conclusion? While the British love their chips, Americans seem to like fried potatoes in a much larger variety of formats.
Panelists bicker over biccies in our inaugural episode. Both America and the UK have biscuits and cookies, but they aren’t the same thing. Except sometimes they are. Sometimes it’s even settled legally and taxed accordingly!
Thanks to the literally incomparable Chris Breen for the show’s theme music.