I watched Hold the Sunset, a British series on BritBox. The plot revolves around two widowed, retired neighbours, Phil (John Cleese) and Edith (Alison Steadman). They plan to marry, sell their houses and start a new life together. Their goals are hindered when Edith’s 49-year-old son moves back into his mother’s home after walking out on his wife and their two teenage children. He wants his comic books and youth back. He even hires their past housekeeper, who is also a senior. Then there’s the return of Edith’s dubious boyfriend from the ‘60s. Watching this show and other British dramas and comedies: Gold Digger, Flesh and Blood, Hope Gap, Mum, and Boomers made me realize the British are not afraid to make movies and television series about seniors. The problems they face with aging, starting over, and their insecurities.
Then there’s the American version of movies and television shows. I’m thinking of two in particular where wealthy seniors have cushy lives helped by exercise, hair dye, cosmetics, and Botox. Don’t get me wrong, I like to watch them. Nor do I want to take away the fantasy of having a perfect body while being romanced by an older gorgeous Don Johnson from women. But, from the reviews I read, some women left the cinema depressed after watching Book Club. Because they didn’t look like the characters or have the glamourous life portrayed in the movie.
It seems most American shows do not represent the average senior who is starting over after the death of a spouse. Nor do they deal with the pain when a spouse leaves. Or the memories that pop up out of the blue. They don’t deal with loneliness or the need for companionship in the later years. When they do, they make it look easy to resolve. I could be wrong. Maybe seniors prefer to watch glossy fabrications. Not me. I opt for the more down-to-earth British dramas and comedies that show the problems, fun and resilience of the Boomer generation. I relate to them and sympathize with the characters. Or laugh and say, “Hey, that’s me. That’s us!”