A few weeks ago, I was headed downstairs with a basket of laundry and when I got to our kitchen doorway, I automatically raised my right leg to clear the baby gate. We haven't had any babies in the house since Clinton's first term, but we wound up using our long-neglected toddler barriers as a method to contain Bosco, our rambunctious Boston terrier.
Initially, we thought we'd use the gates for a few months while Bosco got acclimated to our spacious family room and kitchen, and to give our two cats — ancient 15-year-old Sushi and weeks-old and then just-acquired Pansy — a safe haven to escape from his brilliantly maniacal bursts of energy. Bosco would patrol the rooms like a perimeter guard, listening for the sound of one of the cats jumping over the gates, his signal to tear off in their general direction. This behavior inspired one of his many nicknames: Officer Bosco.
His relentless pursuit of the cats and his propensity to carry off, and sometimes chew on, various shoes left on the floor resulted in the gates becoming a semi-permanent feature of the downstairs blueprint. As I began to step over the gate, it dawned on me that this leg lift was pure muscle memory.
I didn't need to step over the gate because the gate wasn't there anymore. Bosco wasn't here anymore.
Bosco became a part of the family in 2004, a present for our daughter Isabelle's 10th birthday. My wife Melissa had been pressing me about the possibility of getting a dog to teach our ADHD-challenged daughter some responsibility, but I had been hesitant as I had just discovered a rather virulent allergy to certain hound breeds. Melissa's on-line research indicated that pugs, Yorkshire terriers, Welsh Corgis and Boston terriers were relatively non-allergenic so, with slight reservations on my part, she started the search for a dog.
After several missed opportunities and lack of follow-up response, Melissa found a Boston terrier breeder in Kentucky who had two males left from her last litter. She e-mailed Melissa photos of the pair, which she printed out and brought home for Isabelle to inspect. She gravitated toward one that was mismarked for a Boston; mostly white with brindle spots and black around the eyes that made me think of Jonny Quest's dog Bandit (not an actual mask but whatever). Isabelle noted that he looked like a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream (we all have different reference points), and so she chose him. At that point, Chip was probably the leading contender for the dog's name.
A check was mailed out and arrangements were made to meet at a rest stop halfway between our locations (several other prospective owners were meeting her at the same spot). Just before the big day, which by coincidence was Isabelle's actual birthday, Melissa and Isabelle sat down to compose a list of possible puppy names. Chip was high on the list, of course, as well as several others that seemed fairly promising, but when they presented me with the choices, I reacted to the very first thing Melissa had written down: Bosco.
For Melissa, it was simply a riff on the fact that he was a Boston, and maybe it was a touchstone left over from our childhood days (Bosco was a chocolate syrup back in the '50s and '60s, and remains available today). But for me, it was a blast from my teenage past.
When I was a junior high school student in southern Michigan, one of my favorite regional bands was Brownsville Station (ultimately famous for their No. 3 hit single "Smokin' in the Boys Room," covered in the mid-'80s to great effect by Motley Crue). Their debut album, 1970's No BS (it was actually self-titled but came to be known as No BS because of the graphic prominence of the phrase on the album's cartoon cover), featured a song that became a fixation for my best friend Kevin and me. It was a jumped-up little Rock number written by Brownsville's guitarist/vocalist Cub Koda and vocalist/guitarist Michael Lutz and titled "Do the Bosco."
At that point, albums were an expensive luxury and there was no single release for "Do the Bosco," so it was left to Kevin and me to monitor local Rock radio, armed with our ridiculously cheap cassette recorders and a .39¢ tape (which was actually video tape cut to cassette width), in an effort to capture our favorite song for posterity. We finally did, but between the indistinct signal, the tinny transistor speaker, the ambient room sound bleeding into the hand-held microphone and the hiss of the cheap tape, it sounded like someone was filling a blimp with a fire hose next to the radio.
But it didn't matter because it was the Bosco.
"That's it!" I shouted when I saw the name at the top of the dog-names list. "He'll have his own theme song! How could we not name him Bosco?"
My wife and daughter laughed at my rather animated reaction to naming the dog, but I was convinced, running to the Bunker to find my CD copy of No BS and cranking it up on the portable player in the living room: “(Bosco) Because it's easy on your feet/(Bosco) While you're walkin' down the street/(Bosco) Yeah, with your radio on, the Bosco makes you feel alright."
We met with the breeder south of Erlanger and I tested any possible allergic reaction by rubbing the puppy on my face. With the assurance that I could see and breathe, we crated the newly christened Bosco in our pet carrier and headed for home.
For the first few nights, we kept the carrier in our bedroom. Bosco would cry occasionally, and for two nights I camped on the floor next to his crate, leaving my hand in the open door so he could snuggle up next to it. During the day, I brought him down to the Bunker and let him sleep on my lap while I wrote.
Because I was home with him all day, he probably bonded closer to me than with Melissa or Isabelle. And while Isabelle adored him and gave him copious amounts of attention and love, the actual mechanics of his care and feeding fell to Melissa and myself. We realized within a few short weeks that it's not feasible to teach responsibility to a child by way of a living thing. At least someone learned something.
Three weeks after bringing Bosco home, Melissa found a fairly new kitten abandoned by the roadside on her way to work. We were a week away from going on vacation so we arranged for our neighbors to take care of our elderly cat and the new arrival, which Isabelle named Pansy, after her late grandmother's favorite flower.
We realized that we couldn't really leave Bosco home alone in our neighbors' care so we decided we would take him on vacation with us. We're not really travelers by any stretch of the imagination, and while a certain part of me would love to see various locations around the country, a bigger part of me knows that the stress of getting to a place we've never been and the planning required would undermine the restive benefits of the vacation. And so we rent the same cabin by the same lake in northern Michigan every year, and have a lovely and relaxing time doing something short of nothing.
The day before we left for vacation, Melissa was fired from her job (via an answering machine message left by her gutless employer). The relief of knowing she wouldn't be returning to that snake pit allowed her to have the most relaxing vacation of her adult life. And we all had a solid week paying very close attention to our new addition.
Bosco was an absolute champ on the 10-hour trip to the lake. We stopped and walked him constantly, he peed and drank, and then hopped back into his crate in the back seat. And once we got to the lake, Bosco loved everything about the experience; swimming in the shallow water, romping in the grass, chasing squirrels and napping in the sun. We kept a close eye on him because nature is fairly wild up there; a pair of mating bald eagles have an aerie on the other side of the lake, and naturalists have found pet collars in the nest so we were careful to make sure Bosco didn't wind up on the menu.
In subsequent years, Bosco could sense the excitement surrounding our imminent trip to Michigan and his excitement matched our own. We had taught him the word "adventure" meant a car ride for him and whenever the magic word was spoken, he immediately ran to the hook on the kitchen wall where we hung his retractable leash and waited to be collared and taken out. He was equally excited about "walkies," a word we pulled from Wallace & Gromit's The Wrong Trousers, but that was just a stroll down the walking path near our house. Bosco lived for adventure, which could mean a trip to Sharon Woods or Winton Woods or the vet's office or PetSmart, but he knew the time of year when that the biggest adventure of all would be taking place.
Bosco loved french fries and ice cream, neither of which were given to him in any great amount or with any substantial frequency. On his regular trips to the vet, his weight was always in the acceptable range for his age and relative size; we saw a Boston at Sharon Woods one afternoon that looked like he needed a roller skate under his belly to keep it from scraping the path. The Boss was always trim and healthy.
“The Boss” was one of a number of nicknames we had for him. Mister B, Pee Pee Raymond (from an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond), the Bosconator, Count Pupula, Bossy (he was marked like a cow; his first vet held him up and said, "He's my first Holstein"), Francis Ford Puppola, the aforementioned Officer Bosco. The obvious love and affection we invested in each new and often incomprehensible deviation of his actual name and beyond (Biddly Boy? Idder Bidder?) somehow let him know we were referring to him and his ears shot skyward in recognition to every stupid thing we called him.
For nine years, Bosco was our constant and brilliant companion, an animal with a better code of loyalty and love and a more defined sense of humor than a lot of human beings we encountered on a daily basis. Bosco claimed the couch in the family room as his combination bed and throne; he would drag pillows and blankets from end to end as his canine caprices guided him, fluffing and kneading and pulling until everything was in place and prepared for him to crawl under and within, emerging only for food or a good cat chase or, of course, any adventure.
Last year, Bosco's trim physique started taking on a more portly appearance, which we initially passed off as our boy entering into middle age. He had become slightly more sedentary, still interested in walking the path but actively deciding when the walk was over; he would simply turn around and head for home. Still, he seemed in good spirits and health overall.
Last winter, we noticed a patch of dry skin on his back that seemed to scab up and get flaky. When it started to spread, I took him into the vet, who informed us that he had the symptomatic appearance of a dog with Cushing's Syndrome, characterized by the dry patches, distended belly, voracious thirst and hair loss on his legs and elsewhere. The tests to confirm this diagnosis were wildly expensive and we decided against them for the time being as his health didn't seem to be compromised significantly and we were assured that dogs could conceivably live with the disease for many years without adverse effect.
Last summer, I was checking e-mail on my laptop in the Bunker when Isabelle ran down and said, "Something's wrong with Bosco, Mom wants you to come up right now." When I got to the kitchen, I found Melissa kneeling on the floor next to Bosco, who was in the midst of some sort of seizure, tongue lolled to one side, legs stiff. I took Melissa's place and started talking calmly to Bosco, petting him and trying to soothe him. In a couple of minutes, he came around and didn't seem any worse for the wear.
When he had a second episode a week later, I took him to a different vet for a second opinion, which turned out to be twofold: A) Bosco most likely did have Cushing's, and B) his seizures were not connected to it. The cost at the new vet for tests was considerably less so we went ahead and got the confirmation that he had Cushing's Syndrome and then set about planning for how we would try to work out the source of the seizures.
That's where it stood toward the end of last August when Bosco suffered what I came to believe was a massive stroke. When his seizure ceased, his personality was almost completely erased. He no longer responded to his name, he was disinterested in any kind of affection or attention, he was oblivious to the presence of the cats. All he did was walk around the family room and kitchen in a shuffling gait that seemed robotic and programmed. He only turned to the right, and if he got under a chair or pushed his nose into a corner of the room, he didn't seem to understand how to get out his predicament. He would just cry.
The most alarming loss in his training concerned the basement. As a pup, he seemed unaware that he could go down the stairs to the basement. I had always carried him down when I took him to the Bunker, and he somehow got it in his head that he couldn't go down any other way. We went ahead and let him believe it because it gave the cats a safe place where he wouldn't chase them. Even though he would run up and down the stairs to our bedrooms without a thought (when we would spring him from his baby gated rooms), he would not go down the basement stairs.
With that part of his training seemingly vanished after the second seizure, he was suddenly very curious about the basement. And because he was a little shaky on his feet, once he started down the steps, his momentum would be so great that he crashed into the wall at the bottom of the staircase. We were terrified that he was going to break his legs or his neck, so we closed the basement door, bringing the cats' litter boxes upstairs so they wouldn't need to go downstairs.
He kept us awake most of the night after his stroke with his thumping around and crying. Melissa went down and kept an eye on him, and I took over during the day after she left for work. That night, she was exhausted and so I camped out on the couch in the living room with the hope that I could get him to lay down with me and that maybe after a good night's rest, he might bounce back a little. There would be no bounce back.
I got maybe two hours of sleep that night, the brief amount of time that I got Bosco to lay down with me on the couch. The rest of the time he wanted nothing more than to walk in his shambling pattern around the two rooms. He constantly got tangled up under the kitchen chairs or stuck behind the couch or caught in the cross braces of the coffee table, all of which required me to extricate him.
All the time I was with him, I desperately tried to reach him. I asked him if he wanted to go for walkies. Nothing. I tried to get his medicine down him with food. He spit it out. Finally, I kept chanting the mantra, "Do you want to go on an adventure?" I swore to myself if I saw even a glimmer of recognition in his demeanor, I'd pack him up in the car and take him for a ride, somewhere, anywhere, just to reinforce his slight return. There was no recognition, just a dull and lifeless look when I spoke to him.
At one point, I sat on the floor and called to him. He walked over to me, which seemed like a hopeful development, and he pushed his head into my stomach, a move that used to signal he wanted to be petted. But I quickly realized he wasn't looking for affection, he was just trying to push his way through me, a giant fleshy obstruction that was keeping him from his appointed rounds.
Melissa came home for lunch the next day, and asked how Bosco was doing. I tried to recount the day's events as rationally as possible but the long night and the inevitability of all that I had witnessed came welling up. I said, "He's just not in there anymore," and broke down.
We packed up our beloved boy and drove him to vet for that last awful time. She gave him the sedative to calm him down and we spent a good half hour petting him and telling him everything would be fine, and as emotional as we all were, Isabelle provided perhaps the most poignant and heartbreaking observation of the day.
In second grade, Isabelle received her ADHD diagnosis, and the severity of her developmental challenges often separated her from her peer group. Kids at school and in the neighborhood would accept her for a while but ultimately decide she was too different or weird and give up on her. She did eventually make some good friends within her Individualized Education Program, but it was a long time coming and not before a considerable amount of loneliness and angst.
As Isabelle stood scratching his ears and gently stroking his face, she looked at us and said, "Bosco was my first friend."
In that beautiful, terrible moment, we knew that bringing this 15-pound bundle of energy and incalculable jaw strength into our lives nine years ago had been exactly the right thing to do, no matter how difficult the end game was proving to be. Because he was the Bosco. And the Bosco makes you feel all right. Did he ever.
After the Seahawks crushed the first half, viewers experienced an incredible half-time show.
My bad, that's actually from Puppy Bowl X. Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers actually performed, which is funny because you just know execs originally wanted to shoot for the young crowd and then realized 15-year-old girls don’t buy Toyotas or Budweiser, so they just added RHCP last-minute.
Halftime show pros:
Bruno Mars opened with an epic drum solo
Bruno's gold suit
His James Brown moves
Sweet back-up band
Cool Bruno segue into “Give It Away”
Anthony Kiedis is just as fine as ever
That’s the only song RHCP played
Their music — along with Bruno Mars’ band — was pre-recorded (but it wasn’t their choice. People made a big fuss about RHCP’s instruments not being plugged in, but pre-recording is generally the rule for a live performance like this. Bruno’s singing and drumming were life, as was Anthony’s singing, while the rest of the music was mimed).
The Pepper guys weren’t wearing only tube socks
After a “messages from our troops” sequence, Bruno Mars sang that awful song from the Us Weekly commercials that totally does not work after a “messages from our troops” sequence”
The realization that I actually just can’t like Bruno Mars
All in all, there were some good
performances, just nothing shocking or spectacular. However, being the 10th
anniversary of Nipplegate, maybe that was the point.
Now, on to the commercials!
The Church of Scientology tried to trick us into thinking we were watching some low-budget Apple ad with this surprising commercial (and the only religious ad of the night):
Goldie Blox borrowed another Rock song for
the toy company’s latest ad — hopefully they got permission this time.
We finally got to see what that Seinfeld
reunion rumor was all about: A promotion for Jerry Seinfeld’s web series,
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Overall, two themes were prevalent in this year’s ads…
and Animals (grab the tissues):
Also announced during Super Bowl commercials was the return of the hit drama 24 coming this May as well as Noah, the biblical epic starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly in theaters March 8.
On last week’s episode of Workaholics, the guys hire an escort to bang theirv boss so she'll be in a good mood and allow them to host a fish fry in honor of Blake's dead koi fish. All completely acceptable work behavior. Anywho, Blake, Adam and Ders interviewed candidates and guess who appeared in the scene?
None other than Brace, star of the gripping Showtime series, Gigolos. Nice move, guys.
Not that BuzzFeed isn’t always up in our
grills, but lately the site’s unleashed an endless avalanche of pop culture
quizzes — so much so, the site has even taken to making fun of itself with its “What
Arbitrary Thing Are You?"
quiz. They’re stupid, but irresistable. So it was kind of funny when Garbage
frontwoman Shirley Manson took BuzzFeed’s “Which ‘90s Alt-Rock Grrrl Are You?”
quiz…and didn’t get herself.
Who doesn’t love The Sandlot? The
1993 coming-of-age comedy followed the adventures of Smalls, Benny, Ham, Squints, Yeah-Yeah and
the rest of their baseball-loving crew in 1962 Los Angeles. It’s a contemporary
classic! Unfortunately, 20 years later, most of the child stars from the movie
aren’t seen much in the movies and TV shows of today. On that note, meet
modern-day Yeah-Yeah, who is a total choad. As seen on The Soup:
The best part might actually be his girlfriend bragging, “I graduated from UCLA,” with a mouthful of deep-fried street food.
Banks, who played Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking
Bad, has signed on to be part of Better
Call Saul. Awesome.
So you’re probably sick of Grammy-winning Lorde’s hit, “Royals” by now, but
this cover is worth checking out. Don’t let the seven-foot sad clown scare you.
(Spoiler Alert: That’s actually impossible)
My gosh, the tiff between the Dowager Countess and Lady Isobel Crawley gains more headway with every episode. Maggie Smith, who I have a fantastical appreciation for, never fails to captivate the Downton audience, especially when she’s acting like a stern old bat, which is all the time. She says things like, “simply ghastly” and “good heavens” when she disapproves of anything (which is everything) and sometimes her voice even slips into a severely low masculine tone. It’s like the opposite of a pre-pubescent voice crack that makes me shiver in fear.
This week, the D C of G loses her ivory envelope opener and her temper with Isobel Crawley. Sassy bell-ringing, eloquently worded cat fights and extreme nose flaring ensues. Let’s just say this one goes to Maggie Smith, “game, set and match.”
While Edith is falling apart because she is pregnant (holy cow) and literally lost her boyfriend (no! Michael Gregson!), Mary pushes Branson about whether or not he will go to America. His reply? “Oh, don’t worry. I won’t go until the pig business is up and running,” which does nothing but vaguely reassure me of his eventual exit from the show.
Meanwhile, Rose planned a surprise birthday party for Lord Grantham involving a “band from the city,” but we all know how he and Mr. Carson feel about the arts — and awkward racial tension. Surprisingly, LG goes with it and decides to enjoy his time with the band.
Evelyn Napier (a potential suitor!) brings his friend Charles Blake, who wants to dismember the aristocracy and take the Grantham family down with him. Not the most suave decision, on his part. The last time he brought a friend to Downton, he ended up dead in Mary’s bed. Mr. Blake better watch his back.
Cora’s half-American, half-English accent makes me cringe. However, strange accents aside, she did save the day when Anna and Bates had a typical can’t-get-a-restaurant-reservation-Seinfeld-moment.
Mary, Tom and Isobel shared a tender moment when they reminisced about their dead partners. Mary isn’t “unhappy, but not ready to be happy,” and they take pleasure in knowing the love that they had was real.
A simple walk downstairs takes us to the usual thieving, conniving and wit of the servants’ quarters. The absolute best part of the entire episode is when Mrs. Patmore is talking about the Italian movie star Rudolph Valentino and says, “He makes me shiver all over,” then the camera cuts to Mr. Carson’s face immediately after the fact. Carson, old boy — you kill me. It’s the little things about this show that viewers need to pay attention to, because they truly make it.
Julian Fellowes trying to tell us something about 20th century gender roles and the treatment of women — and how prevalent they still are today. Ivy, a kitchen maid, is shamed after Jimmy, the snotty footman, tells her he deserves her “services” because he took her out on a date.
Anna has moved back into the cottage with Mr. Bates, and they both try to make new memories and move on from her violent rape.
Alfred has achieved his life goal of going to cooking school so it’s goodbye to him. Daisy’s heart is broken but they share a tender goodbye. When is Daisy going to find love?
Thomas the horrible head butler is still blackmailing Mrs. Baxter and physically intimidating everyone around him. Carson is blatantly racist and Mrs. Hughes remains saint-like.
The night ends with the upper class dancing to Jazz and genuinely enjoying it, and Mary walking in on Rose’s snog-fest with the lead singer. As usual, the orchestra’s music chimes in at just the right moment.
“Aren’t we the lucky ones.” – Isobel Crawley
who looks about five minutes away from death, (yes she is THAT pale) wonders if
the children have a “good childhood” and Lord Grantham has too much time on his
hands and is super careless with his money. So…what’s new?
The latest development in the settlement of the property is about Mr. Drew, a farmer and side character with a disturbingly cool raspy voice. Mary deserves a medal for going up against her father about financial issues and that’s pretty much all of the excitement I got out of that subplot.
next one: Branson apparently wants to slum it in America for a while, which
makes me really depressed because we cannot afford to lose another handsome
face to those classless Americans. What?
Mary smiled with an intensity I haven’t seen all season when Evelyn Napier came to call (OK, am I the only one that’s been calling him “Ethan” for the past three seasons?) Let’s not forget he sort of knows about Kemal Pamuk – the handsome Turkish diplomat that ended up dead in Mary’s bed in season one. How salacious.
minute, Edith went to London and visited a doctor – this could mean so many
things that possibly have to do with her sex life and the fact that she has
turned into the most progressive character on the show. Meanwhile Rose had
like, two lines the entire episode.
Continuing on with the theme of creativity being a shameful embarrassment, Violet scolds Robert after he expressed himself by saying, “The one thing we don’t want is a poet in the family.”
British women are kind of like elderly American women but way better and
frightfully grand; Their wit is always on point and they have no filter. They
walk through the regal gardens with their canes and a persistent banter that
never seems to stop. This week, Violet got annoyed with Mrs. Crawley and called
her out for being too nice: “I wonder your halo doesn’t grow heavy. It must be
like wearing a tiara ‘round the clock.” (That would be a burn, but Isobel
seriously doesn’t care).
there seems to be an exceeding amount of decorative deer antlers on the walls.
Carson’s eyebrows are actual caterpillars and Mrs. Patmore refuses any
technological advances like refrigerators and sewing machines.
Nothing is more representative of the upper class system faltering then the Grantham’s staff constantly moving on to bigger and better things. Alfred, the tall, orange and handsome footman is “inciting a revolution” and defying gender roles by following his passion and learning how to cook from a pointy-eared Frenchman. His cooking class is like a 20th century Top Chef except at the Ritz and slightly more terrifying. Good on ya, Alfred.
Thomas is conniving with the new lady’s maid. Mrs. Baxter seems truly likeable
until she turns into a devious conspirator with a futuristic sewing machine. Thomas,
in his usual form, seems to be blackmailing her in exchange for information
Molesley is a hot mess, as usual. He reluctantly accepts a job before Carson can tell him that he hasn’t gotten it in the most sarcastic butler-voice possible while breathing through his nose. Carson provides so much needed comic relief.
Bates is persistent in his efforts to persuade Anna into telling him what’s
wrong while ominous piano music plays in the background. So he finds out what
happened – via Mrs. Hughes – and his reaction is heartbreaking. After he
confronts Anna, her lip quivers so violently I may or may not have started
sobbing while eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. She vehemently defends her
rapist so she can save her husband from killing him and going to jail. If
that’s not true love I don’t know what is. And Mr. Bates consoles her by telling
her, “There is no shame in this” and grabs her face while saying things like,
“You are not spoiled. You are made higher to me and holier because of the
suffering you have been put through. You are my wife, and I have never been
prouder, nor loved you more than at this moment." OMG, swoon. This is why we
love Anna and Bates so dearly. But this content feeling never stays long in
Downton, and is ruined in the last minute of the episode when Bates reveals
he’s out for blood. Cue the ominous piano music.
“The world moves on and we must move with it” – Lady Mary
As the dust from last night’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards settles and musicians/attendees/hosts across the city nurse their hangovers, everybody’s talking about the epic night in local music that is the CEAs. Check out a list of the night’s winners here. Stay tuned for a full recap and photos from the show in this week’s upcoming issue. And tonight, look out for the CEAs as they’re featured on The List on WCPO.
The List is a national pop culture and news
talk show broadcasted on local media networks. The 30-minute program airs
locally at 7 p.m. on weeknights on WCPO. Each night The List’s hosts Teresa Strasser, Matt Gallant
and Conor Knighton discuss trending topics, current events, pop culture news —
think BuzzFeed for TV. Each show ends with a local segment; during tonight’s Cincinnati
spot, viewers will get the scoop on the CEAs.
Tune in, check it out and remember to keep drinking water.
UPDATE: Here is video of The List's CEA mention:
The ladies of upstairs, with their hair perfectly crimped and curled, are misbehaving as usual.
While the rest of the family pushes “Tony” (Ew) onto Mary, Edith is wearing fashionable arm bracelets and casually losing her virginity. Go Edith!
Edith’s lover, Michael Gregson, has finally achieved Lord Grantham’s approval by winning him some money he lost, so there’s that. Lord Grantham only ever cares about money, anyway. He shared a tender bro moment with Mr. Bates, but after he gave his advice he said, “My goodness that was strong talk for an Englishman.” Chuckles.
Is anyone else enjoying Isobel and Violet’s newly found ceasefire and camaraderie? They no longer fight about village rose garden competitions and anything else they can think of.
My favorite Violet wisecrack of the week: “If we only had moral thoughts, what would the poor churchmen find to do?”
So far this season, Rose has been very well-behaved. On last night’s episode, she seemed pretty preoccupied with sexy Jack Ross who rescued her from deep humiliation — but, of course, her family rejected him.
Tony Gillingham asked Mary to marry him and she is so not ready. Protip: If someone asks for your hand in marriage by using the fact that your ex-husband is dead, run away. I think “He’s dead, and I’m alive,” were his exact words. Solid point, Gillingham. The mere mention of Matthew’s name by someone who never knew him makes my skin crawl. Tony and Mary share a passionate kiss before (probably not) saying goodbye forever.
Ugh, more sexual assault: Edna took advantage of Branson’s emotional state and lack of sobriety by sneaking into his bedroom late at night. Then she tried to trap him into marrying her with a fake pregnancy. No one can replace Sybil, Edna — everyone knows that. So Branson had his tweed suits all in a bunch until Mrs. Hughes took care of business by basically chasing Edna off the estate (again).
Carson’s sweet and smaller storyline about his dead ex-girlfriend is still ongoing, and Mrs. Hughes gives him a small keepsake to remember her by. Also Carson is my new spirit animal because he is not a morning person: “I always think there is something foreign about high spirits at breakfast.” Me too, Carson, me too.
Jimmy is hitting on Ivy and Daisy hates it because she’s also technically a widow (RIP William, you were so handsome).
Anna has to lie about her assault while sitting next to her rapist at the breakfast table, and things get tense. Mr. Gillingham’s valet, Mr. Green, is forcefully creepy. On top of that, she is dealing with her extremely violent rape in a society that shames all types of emotion, particularly for women. Sound familiar?
What’s most troubling to me is creator Julian Fellowes’ view on the rape scene backlash. When the episode debuted in the U.K. in October, he defended the storyline: "If we'd wanted a sensational rape we could have stayed down in the kitchen with the camera during the whole thing and wrung it out," he told BBC. "The point of our handling is not that we're interested in sensationalizing but we're interested in exploring the mental damage and the emotional damage."
Mr. Fellowes, there is no such thing as an embellished or “sensational” rape. Rape is rape. Therefore, your argument that not showing the rape makes it less rape-y is completely invalid. Watching Anna being brutally attacked and listening to her screams can be just as triggering as the actual event.
Joanne Froggat, who plays Anna, said she supports Fellowes’ the depiction of this heinous rape scene. "I was really proud of the show for tackling a subject like this...I really do believe that Julian's written that in a way that is not gratuitous at all, he does very much go on to explore the emotional journey of Anna and Bates," she told BBC in October. "He's done a beautiful job of hitting the right note with it. I think we all just felt a big responsibility to get it right."
A Gaurdian commenter under the username Bidisha makes a valid point about using the rape for shock value: "The shock attack scene in Downton was harsh and terrifying — which rape is. It was also beautifully shot, like a horror film set in a Past Times catalogue. But we live in a real world context of endemic male sexual violence in which about 90% of rapes go unreported and only 7% of the remaining 10% are convicted … raped women are not objects to be used to shake up a dull plot or add juice to a sanguine character."
Here’s hoping Anna and Bates can have an empowering and happy ending — and in the words of the Dowager Countess:
“I hope you find a way to make friends with the world again.”
The Golden Globe Awards are a true Hollywood party. Awards are given out for television and film categories, so you get the playfulness of the Emmys and the movie stars of the Oscars without as much seriousness. And it is a widely-known fact that everybody gets their drank on throughout the ceremony. Globes were awarded Sunday night; here are some highlights.
Hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey served as ringleaders for this celebrity circus, supplying audiences at home and at the show with tons of laughs. Having a fine eye for detail (HA!), I appreciated that they swapped gown colors from last year’s show.