The current would encounter the resistance twice, and the double resistance would halve the current, so that the bulbs would glow only feebly. Connecting the bulbs in parallel means that electricity goes through each bulb only once.
Depending on the fuse design, it is sometimes possible to tell whether it has blown by holding it up against a light; a break in the wire inside may be visible. Another clue is blackening of the glass cover. If there is no visible sign, check by fitting another fuse of the same rating; if that cures the trouble, then the fuse was to blame.
This is called a negative earth system, and when buying an electrical accessory a radio, for example check that it is of a type suitable for your car system. Fitting a radio with the incorrect polarity will damage the set, but most car radios have an external switch for setting the polarity to suit that of the car. Switch to the correct setting before fitting.
However, it is always advisable to check the circuit also, in case a fault in it caused the fuse to blow. For example, failure of an electrical component or damaged insulation on a cable can cause a short circuit, resulting in a sudden massive increase in current.