It's not correct to call them dim, or twits or clueless. Perhaps devastatingly-sheltered, though well-meaning might be closer. (When renting a car in Los Angeles, the show's first stop, Georgie points to the front and tells the salesman, "In England, we call these headlights.") Georgie seems game for most anything, though out of his depth -- participating in a Revolutionary War enactment, for example (quite enthusiastically, in fact) crying out, "Die you American pigs," whenever firing his musket. Poppy is willing to get involved, mainly as long as it involves attention or not working. When in Los Angeles, where it's clear their favorite actor is Rick Moranis, they visit the set of The Bold and the Beautiful -- meeting the casting director and Poppy gamely reads a scene, After getting some thoughtful suggestions, like acting lessons, she notes that when she gets hired for the role, she'd be willing to get some training. It doesn't makes sense to do it the other way around.
When on a bicycle tour of L.A., they say they'd like to see some old architecture. The Playboy Mansion is suggestion to them. "Oh, is that where that old man lives with his daughters?" Poppy asks wide-eyed? When it's politely explained that, no, they're friends with...er, benefits, a cheerful Georgie wanting to show himself a man of the people happily chimes in uncomprehendingly that he and Poppy aren't just brother and sister, but friends, with benefits, too. The bemused guide clarifies that...um, oh, no, they're not. That's not the benefits he means. But a petulant Poppy insists back, "Oh, yes, we are."
Two favorite lines stick out. One occurs in Los Angeles when going to the office to a famous plastic surgeon, and Poppy asks him, "Can you make me look less like my mother?" The other comes in Boston where a college historian is explaining to brother and sister the story of Paul Revere and then when their visit with the professor is over, they walk off and Georgie waves behind him, "The British are leaving."
(During their conversation, they complain that, since Revere was British, he was a bit of a "snitch," wasn't he?)
The show doesn't all work. I'm not a big fan of making fun of the unsuspecting, though happily this does little of that. The people they come in contact with are rarely made to feel uncomfortable -- besides, as aristocrats they have a certain noblesse oblige to treating others well, and the naivety of the Carltons is as much the butt of the joke.
It's deft and subtle work. It's no easy trick to be effete, elitist, soft and out-of-touch, and yet come across as deeply engaging and warm, as Gamble does. And to be self-centered, beautiful and lazy, and not come across as a cold, distant...er, witch, but rather well-meaning and friendly, as Hoggart does. In the end, it's more they're sort of like baby swans who've wandered into the wrong place, and their guides feel protective of them, even while they might be squawking
The show airs on BBC America on Saturday nights, though for all I know may be repeated during the week. (Alas, for anyone reading this in the actual land of the BBC, the series doesn't yet appear there. Perhaps England will get the program soon -- sorry, programme. Or not.)