Swiss TV clip ridicules Americans on ski slopes
The video of a comedy sketch for Swiss TV that pokes fun at Americans on the ski slopes in Switzerland is making the rounds on YouTube, drawing a mixed reaction in the US, where some viewers have taken offence.
The clip, shot at the Verbier ski resort in the canton of Valais, depicts a loud-mouthed and boorish snowboarder “Jeff Randl”, who says he has come to “Sweden” from California.
The video shows the American barging through lift lines, smoking pot, swearing profusely, snowboarding recklessly on steep slopes and toting a bible, which he credits for saving his life when he wipes out and has to be dug out of the snow by a rescue team.
The sketch aired at the end of March for 26 Minutes, a weekly news satire programme on RTS, the French-language state broadcaster.
The video ended up on Reddit and by Tuesday had attracted more than 240,000 views, drawing the ire of many Americans.
“Kind of offended by this, definitely not entertained,” one commented on the YouTube site.
Others thought the stereotype was mixed up, criticizing the accent as inaccurate (some said it sounded more Texan than Californian) while taking issue with the notion that Americans typically jump the queue.
(Visiting Americans often blast Europeans for not respecting ski lift lines).
But some US viewers of the video gave it thumbs up approval.
“I am an American . . . and I freaking love this,” said one.
“This felt like looking in the mirror,” said another.
“This man is a true American patriot like me.”
Vincent Kucholl, the Swiss actor who played the “ugly American” who confused Sweden with Switzerland, said he was satisfied with the role he played.
“It’s funny that they (Americans) are reacting, and it’s amusing to cross borders,” he told Le Matin newspaper, which published a report on the video on Tuesday.
“But we did nothing wrong,” Kucholl said.
The sketch, with French subtitles, “was aimed at people here, not Americans,” he said.
Kucholl conceded that Americans, in fact, respect lift lines.
As to the mixup with the accent, he explained: “I spent an exchange year in Missouri, so it’s an accent from the Midwest (and not California).”
Check out the video for yourself below (warning: some may find the coarse language offensive):