Right before the pandemic hit in 2020 — only a few months before, in fact — I spent some time in London, doing all the things you’d expect from an American in the city for the first time. Posing for photos in front of Buckingham Palace. Walking across the crosswalk (and dodging cars) outside of Abbey Road Studios. And enjoying loads of British TV shows back at my hotel, including one that I couldn’t get enough of during my stay in the city: Channel 4’s Gogglebox.

When it comes to great British TV content that we can stream here, services like Netflix are certainly loaded up with tons of great fare, Peaky Blinders being one of my all-time favorites — and there are also some solid all-British streaming services like Acorn TV and BritBox that are likewise available in the US. Unfortunately, though, I’m you-know-what out of luck when it comes to Gogglebox, which is a TV delight that the Brits have been unfairly keeping to themselves.

As comfort TV shows go, it doesn’t get much better than Gogglebox, which is a show in which you, the viewer, simply watch people watching TV. And that’s it. The … watchers, I guess you’d call them? They come from all walks of life from across the UK, and it’s an absolute riot to watch them riff on everything from episodes of Netflix’s The Gentlemen and Love is Blind to Prime Video‘s Saltburn, and much more.

By the way, this post is not me begging for some kind of Americanized version of the show. Watching a bunch of my fellow countrymen in the home of the brave watching TV shows kind of sounds like torture to me; but put a bunch of regular British TV viewers on the couch, and I’m dying laughing pretty much from the get-go. Especially when you’ve already seen the things that they’re reacting to.

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The clips below give you a feel for what Gogglebox is all about — in these two, the cast members react to Netflix’s One Day and ::that:: scene in Saltburn, respectively.

Of all the cast members, I think best friends Jenny and Lee (whose friendship, near as I can gather, stems from the fact that she used to own a pub where he was a regular) are among my favorites. Honestly, though, I’ve had such a blast watching everyone in the episodes I saw both in London as well as in the clips you find here and there on YouTube. 

Not that I needed a TV show to remind me of this, but regular British people — in all their funny, cheeky, cynical glory — are absolutely one of a kind.

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