Downton Abbey

downton abbeyI was late to the Downton Abbey party.  I finally did show up, and then I stayed until I had my fill.  Which was six seasons in one week.  Talk about binge watching.  I was suffering from a horrid sciatica issue, and Downton was the only thing that kept me sane through all the sleepless nights of pain and suffering.

Being Irish and English, I was first attracted to the accent, the proper Queen’s English way of speaking, the beautiful castles, and the rolling countryside.  Then I was quick to notice the perfection.  The casting was perfection.  The dialogue was perfection.  The sets were perfection.  Even the yellow lab was perfection.

So many of the characters made an impression on me.  Most notably, Maggie Smith was more than brilliant as the Dowager Countess.  I think she had the best dialogue of the show.  At least she delivered her lines that way.  She was always very outspoken, and the more trouble she caused, the happier she was.  So it seemed.

Lady Mary was haughty, acerbic, blunt, and irreverent, who verbally slashes at her sister Edith at every chance.  She reminded me both of myself, and my sister.  We also have similar hair cuts, lol.

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I loved Matthew.  He was a doppelganger to my army pilot boyfriend I was madly in love with.  I cried so hard when Matthew died.  Seemed so unfair.

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I would probably be most like Edith.  The overlooked middle child who fought to be noticed but instead fought with her sister and was patronized by her father, and therefore became career driven.  I do love the irony of how things worked out in the end.  Lady Mary married a “mechanic”, as her father called him initially, and Lady Edith married a Marquess.

I became just as emotionally involved with the below the stairs characters as the above stairs.  I think that’s what made Downton Abbey so great.  We saw the flip sides of lives .  The lords and ladies, and the servants that kept things running perfectly.  Seems hard to believe that people actually could not even comb their own hair or put on a nightgown by themselves.  But most interesting was the line of authority even downstairs.  Everyone had to bow and scrap to the Butler, and people took their positions seriously, always trying to work their way up.  The servants hall below stairs was its own micro chasm of all of society.

One word description of some of the other most notable characters:

Lord Grantham:  Old Fashioned

Lady Grantham:  Sweetness

Carson:  Bully

Mrs. Hughes:  Diplomat

Mr & Mrs Bates:  Perfect

Daisy:  Mouthy

Barrow:  Changeling (male version of Lady Mary!)

Mrs. Patmore:  Screechy

I do wish there were another season or two.  Although I will say they did a tidy job of wrapping things up the last season.  But I would have liked to see more of Lady Mary and Robert’s marriage.  Barrow as the new head Butler.  Lady Edith being Marchioness of the manor.  The little lab pup growing up.  And most of all, the goings on below stairs.

 

Don’t make me wait too long

wait2I try to have patience. I really do.  But DAMNIT!  These waits between TV and movies series are way. too. long.

Example.  So you read a series of books.  Let say Twilight.  Or Hunger Games.  The first movie comes out, and everyone is in a frenzy to see it.  Then you wait.  A year if you are lucky.  Usually a year and a half.  Gah.  By then, your frenzy has cooled.  You barely remember what all the fuss was above.  In fact, by the last movie, the attendance number drop way off.

I first noticed this phenomenon with the TV show Nip/Tuck.  Fantastic series.  At first.  The first few seasons were unbelievably good.  So good you couldn’t WAIT to see the next!  Then they started making you wait longer and longer in between seasons.  Until the inevitable happened.  1).  You stopped caring.  2).  The shows just weren’t that good anymore.  3).  You stopped watching.

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Now I see it with the cable shows, like Game of Thrones.  Geez.  I know Winter is Coming, but Hell will freeze over before this show starts again!  Outlander is starting to piss me off too.  Crikey I read the whole dang series of books after the first season, which was no easy feat, considering it was 8 books of almost 1,000 pages each, and I’m StILL waiting for the 2nd season to start!  I did that with Game of Thrones too.  If I can make the herculean effort, why can’t they?

Oh, and now the popular thing to do with a popular show is to air HALF a season, and then the other HALF like 6 months later.  Really?  Get us hooked and breathless, and then make us wait AGAIN!  I think Walking Dead does that.  I think pretty soon I may get tired of zombies.  And that will be a shame.  I love zombies!

Whatever happened to having a full complement of shows that aired most of the year and then took a summer hiatus?

Wait, I know!  They spend as much money to produce them as a full action movie, so they can’t AFFORD as many episodes!  While I admire the beautiful scenery and venues that they use, wouldn’t it be more affordable to shoot back to back seasons?  Or movies?  Like Survivor does!  They stay at the same location now to shoot two seasons.  Makes sense, financially.  Also, can’t they do something with all the standing around that is prominent in filming?  Can’t they get their lighting/sound etc done faster?  In this day and age of high tech, I find it ridiculous.  But, I know nothing.  Just like Jon Snow.

Speaking of which, how much longer do I have to wait until I find out if he is dead?  April?  Crikey.  Pretty soon, I just won’t care anymore.wait1

Take my money, please!

I came late to the Parenthood party so I called up my expensive Xfinity On Demand to do some catching up.  I saw this season, but missed the first five.

Imagine my delight when I saw all first five seasons listed!  Quickly I punched up Season One.  Imagine my dismay when I saw they wanted an additional $10.99.  Per Season.  For Network TV.  NBC.

When did the LOCAL channels start ripping us off?  Is it not enough that the cable companies charge us exorbitant fees to watch digital “expanded” cable so we can watch channels like FX or Nat Geo?  And then charge us extra for Premium channels?  And then charge us extra for “faster” internet?  The monthly cable bill has turned into a car payment for crikey sake!

FX pissed me off first.  You can’t watch shit on FX.  They will release a few episodes of a show when the new season starts, but not a whole season.  Nope.  And even trying to watch it online, it checks first to see if you pay for it with your cable subscription.  AMC is bad too.

Then you have to have the premium channels, to watch Game of Thrones on HBO, Outlander on Starz, The Knick on Cinemax, Homeland and The Affair on Showtime.  Crikey.  It used to be that I was happy with just HBO, I was glad they were the only real Premium channel to have good shows.  Now they ALL do!

I tried Netflix on my Roku box.  Is it just me, or is everything really old, and you can’t find anything unless you know EXACTLY what you are looking for?  I gave it up.

Sometimes I will pay for a movie on Amazon or iTunes on my Roku.  Sometimes I will pay for a movie On Demand.  Which seems like a shame, seeing as how I have 4 premium movie channels I am paying for.

I keep saying I’m going to cut the cord.  I keep looking for the perfect alternative.  I haven’t found it yet, and I’m pissed.  I know SOME channels are going to allow subscription to their channel only, like HBO and CBS.  But by the time you add all the channels you want on a one-by-one basis, it becomes cost prohibitive.  And unfortunately I do NOT want to wait until the shows come out on DVD or Netflix or whatever.  I will wait a day or two, but no more than that.

I need to stop this madness.  If you have any suggestions for me, let me know!

The Evolution of Ellen

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I have always been a huge fan of Ellen Degeneres. I loved her standup comedy. I thought she was pretty, and very likeable. I used to watch her comedy specials on Showtime back in the 80’s. She was funny without being crude, and I liked her laid back style. She reminded me a bit of Jerry Seinfeld.

Her TV show was standard weekly watching fare. I can’t say I was 100% surprised when she came out on her TV show. But I can say that I was saddened that they cancelled her show because of it. It made no difference to me if she was gay or not. What she was was a very talented comedian and actress. And brave. Very brave. She did something that few would have done, back then. We were not very tolerant, back then. It takes us awhile to warm up. Baby steps.

So I always did admire her. When she came as a talk show host, she was awesome, simply awesome. It was the perfect platform for her. She could tell jokes, dance, sing, talk….what not to like?

And her look started to change, gradually. Over the years her hair got a little shorter, her style of dress a little less feminine.

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It wasn’t shocking, we all knew she was gay. Her relationships played out in the press, but there were only a few. When she started dating Portia Di Rossi, I was taken aback a little bit, but only because I didn’t know Portia was gay, as she played a sexy blond lawyer on my favorite show Ally McBeal. Just goes to show you that looks don’t define sexuality. Plenty of tomboys out there that are straight, and plenty of girly girls out there that are gay. Fine by me.

I was happy when Ellen and Portia were able to be married. I don’t have any religious objections to it. I only want people to be happy. I don’t really understand everything about being gay, whether it is biological or environmental or a little of both. As I’ve said before, don’t care.

Ellen is now a part of our everyday lives, at least mine. I watch her show, I see her on the award shows. She has done a bang up job as host, and I can’t wait for the next Academy Awards show this Sunday. I will leave you with this final portrait of Ellen, with boy short hair, and suit and bow tie. She makes a very handsome woman!  Baby steps.

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Dancing with the Enemy?

Dancing with the Stars premiered last night amongst great controversy.  Certain groups of people are upset that a transgender person is dancing.  They say it will give the wrong message to children.

Oh, you mean the message that you can wear almost nothing on prime time TV is ok though, as long as you are dancing?  As long as you aren’t “different”?  Trust me, children would not even KNOW that Chaz is transgender unless YOU tell them, and even then they probably won’t care.  And ABC doesn’t mind stirring the pot as long as it translates into ratings.  DWTS has had gays, old ladies with overflowing bosoms and truck driver language, controversial athletes, and many D lister stars who wear the skimpiest of costumes, let alone the professional dancers.  Throw in an Osmond or a Kardasian and you have a great season! 

Children are exposed to all kinds of things from an early age on.  Do you remember how horrified everyone was about Jon Bennet Ramsey in her little pagent costumes?  Nowadays, Toddlers and Tiaras are stuffing fake boobs and butts into their little stars who are barely out of diapers!   All in the name of fame…..

Reality TV is everywhere, and most of it ain’t pretty.  Housewives cussing and swearing and bitch slapping each other, Bachelors and Bachelorettes back stabbing and hooking up right and left, partners abusing each other as they race around the world (and they win awards for this!)…..the list goes on and on.  Even the commercials ain’t your father’s Buick!

I myself am of the age where Happy Days couldn’t play in Peoria, where I grew up.  Boy, things have certainly changed!  Do you think it is for the better?  I am curious to know.