WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 01.13.2014 94 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 02:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
downton

'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 87 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 02.10.2014 66 days ago
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
downtonblog

'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
 
 

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