Glee has finally made it on to Swiss television. Sigh of relief. Now all my Swiss friends will at least stand a chance of knowing what I am talking about. Of course, this is Series One, ie a whole year behind the rest of the world. But that’s not too surprising as this is the country where shopping hours are stuck in 1982 and some voters think society should return to 1952. I guess they won’t be the ones watching a show with a gay guy, teenage pregnancy, and a disabled character. Oh, and lots of great music.
The best thing about Swiss TV is that for many programmes you can choose which language you watch it in. How cool is that. Either the dubbed German version or the original English one. Press a button and all the odd voices and mismatched lip-synching go away. There’s even a little symbol in the TV guides to show which programmes are switchable. This week, for instance, we have the likes of Glee (naturally), Desperate Housewives, Dexter, CSI Miami, The Simpsons and the film Twilight. It’s not that I don’t understand the German, it’s more that I want the real actors’ voices and emotions.
Given that I’ve already seen that series of Glee, I must confess that I’m watching Series Two over on British television. No switching voice channels for that, but it does mean sitting through adverts. Swiss television usually only has those between programmes rather than intruding in the middle. That I like. Last night’s British episode of Glee was one I’d been waiting for. ‘Grilled cheesus’, the one where the quarterback ends up praying to a grilled cheese sandwich that sports an image of Jesus. Yeah, I know, but it is an American show – and much better than most. After that episode played in the States, a friend emailed me to say the scriptwriter must have read page 284 of my book. Now I see why.
It’s the bit of the book that is many people’s favourite part. It wasn’t my finest moment of working at Stauffacher but, thanks to my very English ear and a customer’s very Swiss pronunciation, it was certainly the funniest – or maybe I should now say most gleeful.
Swiss customer: I need a book on cheeses.
In the Cookery section I get out our three books on cheese.
Customer, shaking her head: Not cheese, CHEE-SES
At this point I am wondering if cheese has a plural. Was it like sheep, with none? Or more like fish, plural when more than one type is involved? Or was this a Swinglish plural, like informations. Not wanting to get into a discussion on that, I try again, going with the plural in the hope that it helps.
Me: So you are looking for something about cheeses?
Customer: Yes, books on the holey cheeses.
Me, smiling: Ah, a book on Swiss cheeses.
Customer, looking at me as if I am simple: There is no Swiss cheeses.
Me, now wondering about a singular verb with a plural noun: We do have books on Swiss cheeses.
Customer, very irritated: Cheeses was not Swiss. Cheeses was the Son of God.
Me, finally catching up: Oh, you mean Jesus.
Customer: Yes, this is what I have been saying. A book on cheeses.
No-one has ever let me forget my encounter with Swiss Jesus.