Washington a little baffled by US ambassador’s reality show

Unexpected success of TV series gives it a wider reach than imagined, but John Kerry has no issues with it

Rufus Gifford, the US ambassador to Denmark, did not obtain formal state department approval to film the popular reality TV series ‘Jeg er ambassadøren fra Amerika’ (‘I am the Ambassador from America’), reports the Wall Street Journal.

However, there is no suggestion that Gifford faces a rap on the knuckles in Washington DC, where according to the newspaper “some officials said privately they were baffled that an ambassador was the star of a reality show”.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has sent Gifford a “nice note” in support of the show, according to the US State Department.

Now an international hit
Originally made for Danish television, where two five-episode seasons have screened on the public broadcast channel DR3, the series has since been acquired by Netflix and made available in countries such as the US and UK – significantly increasing its potential reach.

READ MORE: Rufus Gifford, the US ambassador to Denmark: soon to be known as The Ambassador

While it has enjoyed generally positive reviews, the WSJ warned that “reality-television fans seeking drama might be disappointed” by the mundane nature of the show.

Not everyone’s convinced
A reality show expert, Jason Carbone, questioned whether an ambassador was a good subject – i.e not on medication.

“When you make a reality show, you need people that are wide open, that aren’t editing themselves, that aren’t thinking ‘Oh my God, what are people going to think?’,” he said.

“But I’m sorry, if you’re an ambassador for the United States and cameras are following you around, you are thinking about everything.”

The wife would Cain me
James Cain, the US ambassador to Denmark from 2005-09 chipped in that he was a fan, but couldn’t imagine doing the show himself.

“If I had told my wife I was going to bring the TV cameras into our bedroom, I would have spent four years living in the doghouse,” he said.

The season two finale saw the ambassador tie the knot with Stephen at City Hall (photo: Hasse Ferrold)
The season two finale saw the ambassador tie the knot with Stephen at City Hall (photo: Hasse Ferrold)