This week, the American version of Cold Feet, a big telly success in this country, has gone right down the toilet, ratings-wise and is being pulled off the network. Now, devastated as I am that some shareholders and some fat-cat boss somewhere have missed out on big bucks, I am always quite pleased when this sort of transatlantic effort comes to nought, because it reassures me that, despite all the evidence that we are the 51st state of America, there is still the odd, very important hiccup in the exchange of cultural fluids. If Americans don't like some of the stuff we send them, then perhaps it's all right for people like me to resent the never-ending stream of tosh piped over here from the good old US of A.

In America, commercial success is everything, which means the programmes that attract the biggest audiences rule the roost, despite the fact that these programmes tend to be populated by hairy half-man, half-sheepdog, wrestling types or talk show hosts whose smugness shines out of every orifice.

The majority of the population in America like weird things. I must admit I have never been able to see the attraction of those huge truck-type appliances with immense wheels that lumber down a track for 20 yards and then fall over while the thousands of people in the crowd get hysterical to the point of incontinence. I also wonder if there is any possibility of the Americans letting up on these TV series for children which involve groups of teenagers hitting or kicking each other very hard for an hour or so. Whether you're a shell-suited Power Ranger or a gothic Buffy chum, sustained assaults on your rivals do not an interesting plot make. To me, virtually the only fun to be had from America's less impressive offerings musically or dramatically, is that misunderstandings tend to occur on a reasonably frequent basis. For example, there is a single around at the moment, the chorus of which appears to be "You bugger me" sung in as heartfelt a way as a girl-band can manage. I'm sure it's meant to be "You bug me", with the American "ah" added for effect, but when I first heard it I thought perhaps it was the theme song for a new American cartoon series in which the lead character spends his time sodomising his acquaintances. Well, after South Park, it's not far from chocolate salty balls to anal penetration, is it?

I am more interested in the television that has failed in America and ends up on our networks, because you can pretty much guarantee it's going to be subtle, dark, obtuse, difficult and brilliant. Take The Larry Sanders Show for example. Tucked away late at night on BBC2, it is the best of American comedy. It also happens to have people in it who aren't immediately recognisable as advert fodder.

Unfortunately though, the Americans will never be content with just being a success in their own country, big as it is. They have an abiding need to spread their tentacles all over the planet until we are suffocated with their culture. They have even sent ambassador Jerry Springer here to these shores to try and get us to behave like we are all on a mixture of hormones, alcohol and whatever it is that turns your brain into that of a personality-disordered extra from the film Deliverance. If only we'd all known that "squealing like a pig" was the only skill we'd require for our 15 minutes of fame, then we wouldn't have bothered to go to school.

We appear to welcome this emotional illiteracy along with morally simplistic answers all mixed in with a great big patronising dollop of know-it-all- ness by smarmy characters who are no better qualified to pronounce on human relationships than the Queen's children.

I believe our attention spans have probably shrunk as much as is healthy and that any more damage and all we will be able to cope with is small doses of MTV with a sprinkling of Men and Motors. But that of course is what providers of gormless television are banking on. Making television for addled brains is so much cheaper than making television for enquiring minds. Maybe this sounds like a plea for support for the BBC, but it's not really ... it's a request for commercial telly to stop making such crap before we all metamorphose back into simple-celled animals and start starring in our own version of Walking With Dinosaurs for future generations who will puzzle over why we let our well developed brains rot away to nothing.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album