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Calling all Brits


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Our public TV station in Los Angeles has begun running a new Brit comedy. It's called William and Mary, has Martin Clunes in it, and after two episodes has me hooked. I like most Brit comedies because they have intelligent writing, instead of the sophistry than is the hallmark of so many productions here.

Anyway, that's all introduction. I have a serious question. In the last episode, number 2 but the last one I'd seen, Mary's kids tell her she's safe several times. Yet the situations didn't call for the word 'safe' to be used at all, and so in my great perspicacity, I decided, hey, that must be a Brit term than I'd never heard before.

So, would someone clue me in? What does 'safe' mean?

C

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No idea, Cole. I've never seen it. If it's not safe from some obvious danger then I suppose it could mean she's in a safe pair of hands (in a good relationship), or on the pill and safe from becoming pregnant...? Or maybe she has some sort of phobia that she's safe from.

In 'Marathon Man' Laurence Oliver has Dustin Hoffman strapped into a dentist's chair and tortures him by drilling into a nerve whilst asking "Is it safe?" Mary's children probably aren't doing that.

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Well, that doesn't seem right either. Once when the two boys said it, they caught their mother kissing a man who was a stranger to them. The Clunes character in fact. But they said it with an approving sort of smile. So it seemed to be a comment on her or her behavior, and I didn't get any feeling it was in any way pejorative.

C

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William and Mary is a great TV drama series. I certainly wouldn't call it just a comedy, it is a romantic-comedy-drama but a sit-com it isn't.

We've seen the first series here, but I don't remember questioning the word 'safe'. It's possible an English thing that Aussies relate to without thinking. (We're very good at not thinking.)

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