Articles

Pringles, Sunkist And Jerry Seinfeld

In Czechs on October 29, 2007 by Petr Bokuvka

I think everyone who lived outside his or her home country for more than six months has this experience: a frustration relating to the fact that some things just can’t seem to find their way to his or her country, while other things have been there for years– but noone really appreciates them.

Take Pringles, for example. In 1993, in Provo, Utah, I could eat two boxes of Pringles Cheez-Ums a day. First time I saw them on a shelf in a Czech supermarket, it was in 2001. For some strange reason the licensed producer and/or importer had all flavors (regular, sour cream and onion,…) but one. Yes, all but the cheese flavor. Still the case now, since the only place I could buy them is Prague.

It has been both life- and professional experience for me that Czechs who think they will learn something about Americans from action movies and daytime soaps are dead wrong. Whereas it is a generally known idea that Czechs are symbolized by the character named Josef Svejk [The Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek], Americans are best symbolized by comedian characters as well. That is why people in Europe should watch Married With Children, Frasier or Seinfeld. Sure, there are stereotypes there but these stereotypes work better than plain fiction like Walker Texas Ranger, which by the way looks like a parody of itself.

Seinfeld was here for only one season in late 1990’s. I think one of the reasons it was cancelled was that it contained way too many references and meta-references that were hard to translate and hard for stupid TV Nova average viewers to understand. Same thing with Frasier.

One of my relatives’ main business activity is importing a well-known Czech mineral water to the Greater Chicago Area. Why? Well because there are many immigrants and children of immigrants who will drink it just out of patriotism. And because it will make them feel “home”. One might say that all carbonized waters taste roughly the same. Maybe, and maybe not. Why do they make Mirinda, if there is Fanta? And why import Coke, when there is Pepsi? And why the hell can’t you buy Sunkist in the Czech Republic?

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