Belize, Star of Stage and Screen…
OK, not living around Broadway or London’s West End, we don’t really know about the stage part, but Belize has definitely been featured on screen lately.
In the span of two days, we were delighted to see Belize pop up on two of our favourite television shows – on the animated antics of American Dad, and then… hold it…hold it… on the season finale of “Better Call Saul”.
How cool is that?
On American Dad, Hayley gets a job just as the company’s manager decides to organise a teambuilding retreat to– you guessed it – Belize!
Now, there was no way animation was ever going to do justice to the beauty, sights, sounds and general vibe of Belize, but it was weirdly wonderful to see it in cartoon format, complete with funny looking palm trees and a rather imaginative take on Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport.
There was also a certain amount of realism involved, as Belize was portrayed as a place where romance happens.
It was great to see, but what we really liked was the fact that Belize is now so firmly established in public awareness that American Dad writers chose it as the company’s destination of choice.
Better Call Saul was even more interesting. As our loyal readers will remember, the use of Belize as an euphemism in BCS’s forerunner, Breaking Bad, created something of a minor media storm, with both the Belize Tourism Board and Chaa Creek offering to host the show’s cast members on a fact-finding mission/vacation to see what Belize is really like.
In Chaa Creek’s case, we tweeted Aaron Paul, aka Jesse Pinkman, an invitation that, appropriately enough, began with “Yo!” and Mr Paul retweeted to Team Jesse Pinkman, “Can we go?”
Sadly, Breaking Bad was still being produced, and the busy cast never made it to our shores.
But the show’s writers obviously kept Belize in mind. In episode 10 of the Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul, we see dubious lawyer Saul in his earlier incarnation as “Slippin’ Jimmy” McGill, calling a bingo game, and when the letter B comes up, struggles for a moment before saying;
“B…for Belize. Beautiful place,” he says. “So I’ve heard. I would love to go there. But let’s face it, that’s never gonna happen,”
The impoverished, slightly addled Jimmy obviously didn’t realise how affordable it is to get to, and then enjoy Belize, even from the corners of New Mexico…
He was aware, however, that Belize is beautiful and, again, a very desirable place to go to, and well known enough that even his audience in an aged care facility would recognise the name.
We can easily remember when Belize was still “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret”. Hardly anyone, it seemed, knew where Belize was. And when you told them where, they were surprised that it was English speaking, had the world’s second largest barrier reef, an abundance of ancient Maya sites, vast jungles and the world’s best diving.
“How come I haven’t heard of this place?” was a common reply.
Well, now enough people have that you can’t watch TV without Belize references cropping up in everything from drama, comedy and even cartoons.
Television just got a lot more interesting…