by Kelsey Kennedy
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 02:22 PM | Permalink
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.
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.
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
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 11:01 AM | Permalink
Bringing the Latest in Uppity British Television
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.”
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Upright Citizens Brigade alumnae Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer started Broad City
as a lauded Web series from 2009-2011. Both formats — TV and Web —
follow two young women navigating adult responsibilities and life in
general in New York City.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 12, 2014
A new era in NBC late night begins this week as Jay Leno passes The Tonight Show on to a new host, Jimmy Fallon. Fallon previously hosted Late Night beginning in March 2009 through last Friday’s final show.
by Kelsey Kennedy
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 10:44 AM | Permalink
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.
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
married, I know everything.” – Lady Mary
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Syfy isn’t exactly known for its high-quality, critically celebrated programming...But its new series Helix (10 p.m. Fridays) — from Battlestar creator Ron Moore — is seriously good.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The Super Bowl has evolved from a
football championship game to an annual popular culture event. Even
people who aren’t sports fans host Super Bowl parties and watch for the
big-budget halftime performances (this year it’s Bruno Mars and Red Hot
Chili Peppers) and some of the most entertaining commercials of the
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Could this third season of Girls
(10 p.m. Sundays, HBO) be the strongest yet? We’re only two weeks and
three episodes in, but it’s obvious the show is evolving — along with
the Girls themselves.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Spoiler Alert: Sherlock Holmes is alive. OK, obviously BBC’s original series Sherlock (10
p.m. Sundays, PBS) would not have continued onto a third season if its
namesake character was really dead.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
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.
The duo threw hilarious digs at the nominees, calling Matt Damon a
“garbage person” in reference to the caliber of A-listers and introducing the
Wolf of Wall Street himself with, "And now, like a supermodel's vagina,
let's all give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio!" There were also super
funny cutaway shots, like Julia Louis-Dreyfus acting like she was too good for
this mess, puffing on an e-cig and refusing to take a selfie with Reese
Jennifer Lawrence accepted the first Golden Globe of the night — wearing
what appeared to be a bed sheet secured with seat belts — for her role as a
certified Real Housewife of New Jersey in American Hustle. She displayed
her usual candor, expressing true befuddlement and, for lack of a better word,
cute “awkwardness.” And America’s love affair with her continues.
Jacqueline Bisset was shocked — or intoxicated? —when she was announced
as Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie for her role in
Dancing on the Edge. Eventually she got her words together, speaking
right over that "STFU" music and ended up defying the censor to get
an s-word in that bitch. Go Jackie!
Behind the Candelabra nabbed Best TV Movie or
Mini-Series, because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doesn’t have a category for
“Best Use of Bejeweled Thongs.”
Mad Men was SNUBBED! This year, but Peggy (aka
Elizabeth Moss) got an award, at least, for Top of the Lake (Best
Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie). And, seriously, she seems like a total
Bryan Cranston won Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama for Breaking Bad’s
final season. The series also received the award (which was presented by Paula
Patton dressed in a blooming tampon-inspired number?) for Best TV Series,
Drama. Aaron Paul said it best: “Yeah, bitch!”
Best Original Score - Motion Picture went to Alexander Ebert for All
is Lost. When the camera cut to this fancy hobo, I realized that’s the lead
singer of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros! Way to go, you crazy dude.
Also: new hair icon.
One of the more surprising awards of the night was Best Supporting Actor
in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie — that’s a wide-spanning category packed
with talent. The Globe went to Jon Voight for Ray Donovan, in which his
character advised his grandson, who was sick with a stomach ache, “Maybe you
need to faht!” in a heavy Boston accent (Read: This was one of the season’s
highlights). But Rob Lowe was fucking robbed of that award. I’ll never forget
that face (even if I could)!
Amy Adams(' side boob) received the award for Best Actress In A Motion
Picture, Musical or Comedy for American Hustle. She and her girls
accepted the award in a neckline ripped from the film. Adams is well on her way
to becoming a mega-star, but I still keep confusing her with Isla Fischer!
The Globes have this weird tradition of selecting a Mr. and Ms. Golden
Globe each year, which is basically a celebri-spawn that wears expensive
clothes to help usher award winners out the correct stage exit. This year’s
Miss was Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick’s daughter, Sosie Bacon. As for the
Mister, Tina introduced her little-known adult son from a previous relationship.
Robin Wright, female perfection incarnate, was awarded for her role on
Netflix series, House of Cards (Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama) The
princess attended the show with new fiancé, Ben Foster. Get it girl!
Presenter Jim Carrey proved he’s still got it (despite several bouts of
public cray over the past couple years)! I don’t know what made me laugh more:
his Shia LaBoeuf sting or the face that he was announced as the star of Dumb
and Dumber To.
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture went to Jared Leto, who
portrayed a transgender AIDS patient in Dallas Buyers Club. He was
really workin’ them ombré highlights (not in the movie, he actually has female
envy-worthy hair for a guy). And despite making a period joke, I will always
love him because he will always be Jordan Catalano to me.
Spike Jonze received Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for his human-OS
love story, Her.
We all need to start watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine! Andy Samberg
nabbed Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy for his new comedy. Seemed
genuinely shocked and pretty adorable. And ICYMI, he’s married to Joanna
Another award presenter fashion faux pas: Zoe Saldana's dress looks like
a prom rag from Charlotte Russe circa 1999. She'd look hawt in a burlap sack,
so her style cred will recover, but damn. I think I have an old purse from
Claire's that would match.
Next up was Michael Douglas (Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie) for his role as
Liberace in Behind the Candelabra.
Host Amy Poehler received her
first Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy as Leslie
Knope in Parks and Recreation. She
was massaged by/made out with Bono upon the exciting announcement.
Leonardo DiCaprio won his third Globe (Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy) for The Wolf of Wall Street.
The actor, often overlooked at awards events (always the bridesmaid, never the
bride, that Leo), seemed extremely gracious.
Rounding out the night, American Hustle was named Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy; Cate Blanchett (which is pronounced Blanch-it as I recently learned on
NPR) nabbed Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama for Blue Jasmine; Her male counterpart: Matthew McConaughey (Best Actor
in a Motion Picture, Drama), for Dallas
Buyers Club — a role for which he lost 45 pounds. Or, as Tina Fey put it, “what actresses call 'being in
a movie.'" Matt wore a cool deep emerald velvet tux and gave his signature
catchphrase: “Alright, alright, alright!”
show closed with Best Motion Picture, Drama, which went to 12 Years a Slave. All in all, it was an entertaining night and the
awards were pretty well-distributed. Next up is the Oscars with Ellen DeGeneres
— only 46 days to go!