PAYING ADMISSION to watch commercials is as backward as waiting in line behind your own children for the privilege of pissing in your toilet, but so it goes at Northwest Film Center's upcoming screenings of the 2009 British Television Advertising Awards. The 80-minute parade of winning UK plugs and PSAs features many spectacular spots, some mediocre ones, and a few that're stomach churning. If you don't mind the constant jumping from bit to bit, hop in the queue. (You can also watch them on the British Television Advertising Awards' website,, but watching them individually is a time-consuming nuisance—your time is probably worth the Northwest Film Center's $8 admission.)

American commercials are like our politicians: They love to exalt the "normal guy," and his First Amendment rights to drink beer and soda. British ads, like British politicians, get off on being better than you, knowing better than you, and telling you so straight up, you twat. You'll be at turns outsmarted (by a moonwalking bear, no less—my god, you really are a twat) and disgusted (by intestines, but not tripe). The English mince pies, not words.

Be warned, as the award classes get higher, they also get more British and less translatable, espousing national pride in the forms of tea, the Queen, and a stiff upper lip. It might be heresy to say so, but the best ads actually come from the lower classes.