WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 02.25.2014 52 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 08:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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'Downton Abbey' Season Four Finale

Bringing the Latest in Uppity British Television

Oh, blah. I don’t know about you, but I was expecting more out of Sunday's finale of Downton Abbey Season Four. The entire season, in general, seems to have lost its touch. Moments that used to flow together now seem forced with excessive violin string plucks. And have I mentioned I’m still grieving for Matthew? I think the reason why I am left so unsatisfied with this season is the fact that the characters have been, well, happy. (By English standards). So where does this leave the cast of Downton? Mary, who seems to be stuck between her two men, has a decision to make regarding her future. She continues to refer to her son without any affection and turn her nose down at Rose’s bad decisions. Paul Giamatti’s cameo as Cora’s brother was the only surprising thing to happen during the 92-minute finale. I became bored with his American “bad-boy” act rather quickly. His relationship with Rose’s friend was dull because there was no character background to support the story. Come on, Fellowes! Make me connect and bond with the characters before you make them fall in love with Paul Giamatti. Edith still remains the strongest, most progressive character on the show. With her boyfriend missing, she went abroad and had a damn baby in Switzerland. Toward the end of the episode, Edith makes a deal with the local pig farmer to secretly raise her baby. Will Michael Gregson appear again next season? Is he secretly involved in some Nazi business? If you can’t get enough of Lady Edith, Laura Carmichael hosted an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit’s r/television thread Monday. She talks about taking Downton personality quizzes online says about her fictional baby daddy’s disappearance: “It’s a mystery. It’s always a mystery to us, the cast, when they do these storylines. We’re constantly trying to figure out where a character is going to go next. We read the script, Charlie (Gregson) and I, and were as in the dark as everyone else!” Read more here. I suppose this season needed to be one of healing, since most of our characters have endured extreme trauma (Anna). I expect Season Five, which is filming now, to bring the heat. I need death, I need scandal. Because as much as I hate to admit it, the constant agony these characters are put through makes for some damn good television. Until next season.
 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 01.13.2014 95 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 02:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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'Downton Abbey' Season Four, Episodes 1-2

Bringing the Latest in Uppity British Television

Downton Abbey Season Four is here, guys. Well, at least for those of us who live on this side of the pond and refuse to download PBS illegally. It’s here, and Masterpiece Classic has delivered that beautifully crafted stiffness that can only be described as “English” once again. Two episodes into the season and we’ve already had countless snide remarks and drama from both upstairs and downstairs, all while the ever-crumbling 20th century class system hangs over everyone’s heads. So, while I work on my interpretive dance to the opening score, here is your weekly analysis and recap. Upstairs Recap: The season premiere did not start out with the usual shot of Labrador butt; instead, a dark view of the abbey. Matthew’s death, comparably shocking to the beheading of a certain Game of Thrones character, left us all in pieces. Julian Fellows, the show’s creator – who is like the Hitchcock of period dramas – cruelly chose to skip ahead six months, robbing us of our chance to grieve with the Grantham family. What about the viewers, Julian? Am I the only one who spent the last year in darkly beaded clothing, mourning the death of beloved Matthew? I need closure, or at least a hug from Carson, the overly attached butler.   While Lady Mary is busy perfecting her dead-behind-the-eyes look and ignoring her son George, Edith is living in scandal with an (almost) divorced man. “Poor Edith” is constantly trying to prove herself and her love to her father, who is so god forsakenly set in his old ways. Meanwhile, Lord Grantham mutters little gems like, “Who’s the glamorous pirate?” and “What does one say to a singer?” while secretly gambling away all of his family’s money. Rose, the blonde cousin from the Highlands, has been a rogue element since last season. From dressing up in a housemaid’s outfit to sneaking off to smoking houses and dance halls, she seems to represent everything new and threatening to upper-class English society. Maggie Smith, who plays the matriarch and Dowager Countess of Downton, is as snarky as ever: “If I were to search for logic, I should not look for it among the English upper-class”. Oh, Violet, how right you are. And of course, with the ever-changing times comes the impeccable 1920s women’s fashion. Think neutral colors, beaded flapper outfits and perfectly pleated day dresses. Downstairs Recap: The lady’s maid we love to hate, Miss O’Brien, abruptly moved to India with some distant Scottish relatives, and there’s no telling when she’ll be back. But hold up, there’s a new bitch in the abbey: Edna Braithwaite. Last season, Braithwaite was fired from Downton because she was hitting on Tom Branson, the widower of the family’s youngest daughter. (RIP Sybil, you could have had a future in politics.) This season, Braithwaite’s weaseled her way into another job, and is taking full advantage of Tom’s vulnerability. (Seeing that his wife is dead and he doesn’t know how to mingle with high society.) And Thomas Barrow, the under-butler, stirs up trouble with quips like: “There’s no one so jealous as a lady’s maid,” because obviously everyone knows that. And the plot thickens. Molesley seems to be developing a severe case of asthma to pair with his mid-life crisis while Mrs. Hughes intervenes in Carson’s personal life. Ms. Patmore continues to run around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to handle the stress of cooking for all of these stuck up rich people and eventually goes into full-blown panic mode. Disappointingly, the end of this week’s episode leaves us with the unsettling rape scene of Anna, something that was both unexpected and horrifying to watch as a critic and lover of the show. I would advise viewers to watch with caution, as it may be potentially triggering for many. Let’s hope the rest of the season handles this delicate subject in a tasteful manner. So, in the words of Isobel Crawley, “They say life must go on and of course it must.”
 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 01.20.2014 88 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
mary and tony

'Downton Abbey' Season Four, Episode Three

Bringing the Latest in Uppity British Television

Upstairs Recap: 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. Downstairs Recap: 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.”
 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 02.03.2014 74 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 03:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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'Downton Abbey' Season Four, Episode Five

Bringing the Latest in Uppity British Television

Upstairs: 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. Downstairs: 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
 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 02.17.2014 60 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
daitv

'Downton Abbey' Season Four, Episode Seven

Bringing the latest in uppity British television

Upstairs: Upstairs is busy with rigidity and drama this week, and it’s about what it’s always about: bribery and corruption. The big pig debacle is teaching all of the upstairs cast about life and hard work. Mr. Blake and Mr. Gillingham are in the same room with Mary, and things get heated. Mr. Blake finally exits, but not without leaving a trail of sexual tension behind him. Nobody knows how Robert is “getting on” in America because he is slowly becoming an insignificant character on the show and in the family. Mr. Blake handles Mary’s child (what’s his name/he’s never around) and Mary is obviously super turned on by that, as told by the widening of her eyes. Edith and Mary have been rather nice to each other lately, but oh how I miss the rotten cattiness. Isobel Crawley is encouraging Branson to find socialism again, but he finds Sarah Bunting instead. Bunting, the political teacher with a pretty smile, seems to be a fitting replacement for Sybil. Maybe. As always, I am still grieving over Sybil and Matthew, and it might still be too soon for me. Too. Soon. Aunt Rosamund, who is usually an ice cold bitch, is keeping Edith’s secret baby a secret. Which is really, really hard for her. Still no word from Michael Gregson, and the Dowager Countess finds out about the secret baby because that woman doesn’t miss a beat. Rosamund reassures Edith with, “You are not happy, but at least free”. Cousin Rose is caught with Jack Ross in public again, and Branson’s feathers seem ruffled. Remember when Matthew used to swoop in and rescue Rose (and the entire family) from insufferable embarrassment? This time, however, Rose is not just partying and making a fool of herself. She seems to truly enjoy Ross’s company (or at least the thrill of it). When Ross seems weary of the situation, she comforts him by saying, “Isn’t it time people knew there are bigger and better values than the mean spirited ones they live by?” Later, when she finally reveals she is ENGAGED, it seems she only wants to get married to a black guy to piss her mother off. Downstairs: Is anyone else getting sick of how bitter Daisy has been over Alfred? Now Alfred wants to marry Ivy, and Mrs. Patmore is tweakin’ about handling this much drama. Ivy is in the exact same situation as Daisy was with William in seasons one & two. Minus World War I and awkward family guilt trips. Mrs. Patmore has become somewhat of a guidance counselor and authority figure for the younger staff, and it’s an enjoyable dynamic. She may pretend to hate it, but on the inside she loves being that maternal figure in Daisy and Ivy’s life. After Daisy says goodbye to Alfred, Mrs. Patmore expresses her pride: “If you were my own daughter, I couldn’t be prouder than I am now.” Anna finally confesses to Mary that Lord Gillingham’s valet Mr. Green, was her rapist. Lord Mary’s realization gave me chills, mainly because I’m not used to seeing that much of a reaction from her. After some sleuthing, Mr. Bates totally knows Mr. Green was the one who raped his wife, and he plans to do something about it. Mary Convinced Mr. Gillingham to relieve Mr. Green from his duties, but HE’S DEAD AND BATES PROBABLY KILLED HIM. Mr. Molesley and Miss Baxter share a tender moment about feeling “fragile” and their loyalties to Thomas, the mischievous under butler. Until next week, “Life kicks the stuffing outta ya sometimes, doesn’t it?" – Molesley
 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 02.10.2014 67 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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'Downton Abbey' Season Four, Episode Six

Bringing the Latest in Uppity British Television

Upstairs:EDITH IS PREGNANT AND SHE’S KEEPING THE BABY, PEOPLE. But her significant other, Michael Gregson, is still mysteriously missing. If he ends up dead, the Grantham spawn will officially be cursed with forever losing their loved ones in freak accidents. Robert “went to America” (aka filming The Monuments Men) while Rose sat in a canoe with Jack Ross, the only reoccurring black male character. This plot-line feels very forced to me. Instead of focusing on the romance of her whirlwind relationship, the show focuses more on the scandal of it all. The Dowager Countess fell ill with bronchitis, and her frenemy/nemesis Isobel Crawley nursed her back to health. While Violet ran a fever and cursed at her caretaker, Isobel smirked at the fact that she will be able to say she saved Violet’s life. By the end of this week’s show, they were playing cards like old friends. Lady Mary — who has never let a speck of dirt touch her porcelain skin — had a mud fight with Charles Blake. Since every man she interacts with is a potential suitor, this was an interesting scene. Because Blake is actively trying to dismember her estate farm by farm, he is not exactly her friend. Although, this could create some perfectly awkward sexual tension. They share a special moment — and by which I mean they looked at each other five seconds longer than normal — until they were interrupted by Ivy. Downstairs: Not too much is happening downstairs this week, but the servants take part in their usual hijinks. While Daisy and Ivy bickered over Alfred’s return visit, Mrs. Hughes and Carson tried to keep the hormones at bay. Which never works. Anna’s rapist, Mr. Green, ominously returned to Downton just as pompous as ever. His comments to Mrs. Hughes blaming Anna for the assault were eerie and uncomfortable. Mr. Bates has confirmed his suspicions about who attacked and raped his wife after he sees Anna reaction to Mr. Green’s presence. We are all scared as to what he will do next. “I’m married, I know everything.” – Lady Mary
 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 01.27.2014 81 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 04:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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'Downton Abbey' Season Four, Episode Four

Bringing the Latest in Uppity British Television

Upstairs: Mary, 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. Onto the 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. Wait a 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.” Elderly 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). Downstairs: Downstairs, 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. Meanwhile, 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 from upstairs. 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. Mr. 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
 
 

Winter 2014 TV Preview

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 31, 2013
New year, new shows! After holiday hiatus, primetime programs continue, new series begin and established shows return with new seasons. Here’s a look at what’s to come, plus additional premieres in this week’s listings.  

European Real Estate Nets Millions for CAM

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Heiress Marjorie Schiele studied and practiced art and befriended early-to-mid 20th century European avant-gardists. She also, later in life (she died at age 95 in 2008), decided to leave her estate to the Cincinnati Art Museum.  

Tea Time

Get your 'Downton Abbey' on with Churchill's Fine Teas

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 30, 2013
One of the very first things I had to learn when I became British-by-marriage was how to brew tea properly. It was soon apparent that English tea with milk is one of those things you mess with at your peril.  

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