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Thread: Masterpiece Theater shows (PBS)

  1. #121
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    What are you doing on here!? Go watch!
    AZChristian likes this.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  2. #122
    CCL
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    Climbing Solsbury Hill CCL's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Quote Originally Posted by Babbred View Post
    I agree. She did put that soap beside the bathtub to cause Cora to have the miscarriage. However, that was only to protect her own self-interest, and it was pretty passive. I don't even think she was in the room when the accident happened. That's a far cry from murdering somebody in cold blood for no reason other than you hate somebody their spouse.
    I don't know that I would call that passive. She didn't spot the soap there and just leave it on the ground, she actively put it there.




    About the only thing I didn't like was Cora and Violet ganging up on Isabel to drive her away again. It just seemed catty. Whether they like it or not, her son is the heir, and if when he inherits he chooses to let his mother do what she wants with the estate, then that would be his prerogative. Maybe it's just class envy on my part, but I sympathize with Isabel and have not liked seeing the toffs treat her badly simply because they don't like her.
    I side with Cora on this one. Isabel came in quite high-handed and acted as if her way was better in all respects. Didn't see her volunteering her house for the soldiers (yes, it is quite a bit smaller, but she could have billeted a couple). I liked her last season but this season I found her overbearing. I get your point of her son being the heir but he's not installed in Downton yet, and the current owner doesn't look like he's going to pop his cork anytime soon, so her time in power there is not yet come (if it does at all, because presumably her son and his wife would have something to say about what happens with the estate.

    I take that back. There was one other thing I didn't like, the hint that Matthew might be getting the use of his leg back. It would be far more realistic to keep him the wheelchair since thousands of veterans came back minus limbs, disfigured, etc. It would also make the show descend into melodrama if he suddenly rises from his wheelchair like Lazarus, declares his love for Mary, vanquishes the evil Sir Richard (and I presume Lavinia), and settles down to live happily ever after and make little Matthew's and Mary's.
    They're totally going to have him walk again (not a spoiler, just a presumption). I like your phrasing though, Babbred.

    Critical - Iain Glen, of course, not Iain Evans. At least I spelled Iain correctly.
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  3. #123
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Quote Originally Posted by CCL View Post
    I don't know that I would call that passive. She didn't spot the soap there and just leave it on the ground, she actively put it there.
    Exactly. She developed a conscience about it when it was already too late. That's one of the reasons I just don't believe she's got anything to do with Vera's death. She's happy to revel in other people's misfortunes, but she's not evil enough to really physically harm someone. I don't think she's completely passive, but I also don't think she's an instigator. She's more of an opportunist. She's really found the perfect foil for Thomas in that respect - they're both angry, jealous and unhappy people who are (Thomas especially) really cowards at heart. I thought it was terribly sad when he shot himself to get sent home from the war, but I also thought it was incredibly cowardly and pathetic. I was disappointed that he didn't actually get confronted and fired last season. I hope he gets his comeuppance sometime down the line.
    I side with Cora on this one. Isabel came in quite high-handed and acted as if her way was better in all respects. Didn't see her volunteering her house for the soldiers (yes, it is quite a bit smaller, but she could have billeted a couple). I liked her last season but this season I found her overbearing. I get your point of her son being the heir but he's not installed in Downton yet, and the current owner doesn't look like he's going to pop his cork anytime soon, so her time in power there is not yet come (if it does at all, because presumably her son and his wife would have something to say about what happens with the estate.
    Absolutely! The bottom line is that it's Cora's house. Isobel coming in and acting like she's running the show was so presumptuous and arrogant. I wasn't a big fan of the character last season, but I really didn't like her this season. I was laughing when she tried to face off with Cora and threatened that she would leave if she didn't get her way. Cora was just too cool! She totally took the wind out of Isobel's sails.

    Critical - Iain Glen, of course, not Iain Evans. At least I spelled Iain correctly.
    Although I love Ser Jorah, I must say that IG does smarmy nouveau riche really well!

    I loved Mary's assessment of their differences when Sir Richard talked about buying furniture for the new house: His lot buys it, her lot inherits it.

    I feel sad for Ethel and her predicament, but I'm sure it wasn't unusual for housemaids to be used by men of a higher status like that and then be discarded. Major Bryant was particularly sleazy though. I wasn't sad to hear about his demise.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  4. #124
    FORT Regular ladygreco's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    I am also wondering if Thomas had anything to do with the Turkish guy's death in Mary's bed. Was that the episode where there was an almost mixup with a sauce that Daisy gave to Thomas that was poisonous but was caught at the last moment? I am wondering if Thomas had anything to do with that death by giving him the poison in his tea, etc.?? Thomas doesn't seem to be that horrid, but I thought the death of a seemingly healthy young man was a little unusual?

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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical View Post
    Exactly. She developed a conscience about it when it was already too late. That's one of the reasons I just don't believe she's got anything to do with Vera's death. She's happy to revel in other people's misfortunes, but she's not evil enough to really physically harm someone. I don't think she's completely passive, but I also don't think she's an instigator. She's more of an opportunist.
    That's what I meant. She didn't stand over Cora and push her down a staircase or into the bathtub. She just put the soap on the ground and hoped that Cora would step on it. She couldn't know that her plan would succeed; Cora might have spotted it and asked O'Brien to pick it up.


    She's really found the perfect foil for Thomas in that respect - they're both angry, jealous and unhappy people who are (Thomas especially) really cowards at heart. I thought it was terribly sad when he shot himself to get sent home from the war, but I also thought it was incredibly cowardly and pathetic. I was disappointed that he didn't actually get confronted and fired last season. I hope he gets his comeuppance sometime down the line.
    Yes, the two of them are kind of the anti-couple to all of the romantic pairings in the house. And yes, I didn't have much sympathy either, when he injured himself to get sent home. No soldier likes to go to war; all of those men with him were scared and miserable and just wanting it to end so they could go back to their families. But they did their duty, though, and toughed it out.

    And I would to see that sneer wiped off his face, too.


    I loved Mary's assessment of their differences when Sir Richard talked about buying furniture for the new house: His lot buys it, her lot inherits it.
    That's actually a British cultural cliche. When I lived in England, I bought a wonderful book by social anthropologist (and native Englishwoman) Kate Fox, Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behavior. It's her attempt to explain, in a humorous way, aspects of English behavior that often baffle foreigners (like me!). And since the British are still as obsessed with class as they were in Downton days, in nearly every chapter she talks about class indicators. In the chapter "Home Rules," she has this to say about furniture:

    "In fact, an English person's social class can be gauged immediately from his or her attitude to expensive, brand-new furniture: if you think it is 'posh' you are no higher than middle-middle at best; if you think it is 'naff' [tacky] you are upper-middle or above. An upper class Tory MP [Member of Parliament] once sneered at fellow Tory Michael Heseltine by remarking that Heseltine 'had to buy all his own furniture'--the put-down implication being that only nouveaux have to buy their furniture. Genuinely upper-class furniture is inherited."

    And just in case you're ever invited to a dinner party at Downton, here's what to avoid saying so that you won't be banished to Isabel's house, or, heavens above, to the servants quarters:

    The Seven Deadly Sins of English Upper-Class Conversation

    source: the estimable Ms. Fox, slightly modified by me.

    1. Pardon? "This word is the most notorious pet hate of the upper and upper-middle classes." Instead, if you're confused and want to sound like Lord Grantham, say "What?"

    2. "'Toilet' is another word that makes the upper classes flinch..." Instead, say 'loo' or 'lavatory,' preferably like Prince Charles: lvrtry.

    3. Serviette--Only middles like Isabel say this. Instead, it's "napkin".

    4. Dinner. Usually used for a larger, grander affair in early evening. "Supper" is used for a small, intimate affair, usually just the family in a smaller room or the kitchen. So if the Granthams invite you to dinner, then be prepared to make polite chit-chat. If they invite you to supper, then get ready--Lady Violet is going to grill you.

    And be careful: middle and lower classes call their evening meal "tea," which for uppers is a late afternoon snack of sanwidges, scones (short "o"), and tea. So if Daisy asks you to tea, make sure you eat first because you might be waiting a while. And if Lady Cora invites you to tea, practice extending your pinky finger.

    I actually ran into this problem when I first got there. Hubby and his family would talk about having tea, so I'd sit there getting hungrier and hungrier until we sat down to dinner!

    5. If an English person asks about that large piece of furniture for seating multiple people in your living room, don't call it a "couch" and for heaven's sake don't call it a "settee". Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and Lady Sybil all sit on the sofa together.

    6. Speaking of which, where do you keep your settee/sofa/couch? "Living room" is where Moseley serves Matthew. After dinner, the Grantham ladies will retire to the "drawing room," or, if they're slumming it like Sybil, to the sitting room.

    7. Sweet--use it freely as adjective. "Wasn't that sweet how Lady Cora cut Isabel down to size?" As a noun, only use it for what we Americans would call hard candy. Never use it for the last course of dinner or you'll probably hear a sniff from Lady Violet. Due to the influx of Yankee soldiers and movies, you may get away with calling it "dessert," but only if you're one of the Grantham daughters. And when Carson announces dessert and the footmen bring in plates of fresh fruit, just go with the flow. That's what Lady Violet and the older uppers traditionally think of as dessert.
    Maggie: "While she takes care of the men with the guns, why don't you sit down and I'll make you a nice, hot cup of tea?"

    Pan Am stewardesses: prepared for anything!

  6. #126
    8/2/64 until forever! AZChristian's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    I've watched all the regular episodes now of Season 2, and will be watching the Christmas episode tonight or tomorrow. Loving it all. If you haven't seen these pictures, plan to be totally blown away. The link contains no spoilers . . . just some surprising pictures.


  7. #127
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Thanks for the pics! There are some interviews on the PBS site with various actors in their "civvies" and it's surprising as well. Really, the only women who look even remotely the same are the "upstairs ladies"!

    Did anyone watch Michelle Dockery on Letterman last night? Downton finally got on late night! I mean, Craig Ferguson talks about the show all the time, but I think this is the first time I cast member has been on a late night show. Very cool!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  8. #128
    8/2/64 until forever! AZChristian's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Just finished watching the rest of the season. I won't post any spoilers . . . let me just say that the final episode (aka "The Christmas Special") is some of the most enjoyable TV I've ever watched. Loved every minute of it.
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  9. #129
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    I was a big, weepy mess through the whole episode!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  10. #130
    8/2/64 until forever! AZChristian's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical View Post
    I was a big, weepy mess through the whole episode!
    As was I, when I wasn't fist-pumping with joy.

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