MTVMPB Forays into Bookkeeping

Kristy: We realize that the second season (or should I say “series”–is that “correct” or just pretentious?) of Downton Abbey has already aired in the UK and that many of our readers have likely watched it online through somewhat illegal means, but we had talked about this feature a while back and decided we wanted to go with it. The idea is to place odds on the characters that we love (or love to hate) surviving this year on our delicious British confection.

I have done my best to avoid spoilers for the second season–I did happen upon a description of the Christmas special which makes it clear that at least two characters survive until then, but they weren’t characters I ever considered likely to perish anyway.  I also had a dream where I was talking to friend of the blog Christina and her lovely wife. In the dream they and I lamented the fact that the show had killed Henry.  Now I have no clue who Henry is, but on at least one occasion in my life I have managed to dream eerily accurate spoilers for a show, so I thought I’d go ahead and mention it in case Henry actually exists.

Cammy: For the record, in the event that Downton Abbey does manage to introduce a character named Henry this season, and if he also dies this season, I will see to it that Kristy gets an awesome prize for her powers of prognostication.

Moving on…

Robert

Kristy:  Well… anytime a story hinges on who will inherit an estate, you have to suspect that the current owner may pass away before all is said and done.  But aside from that I see no major black clouds hanging over his head, narratively speaking.  If he does die I would expect it to be very close to the end of the season.  Death odds: 1:4

Cammy: I second this.  I think it’s more than likely that Lord Grantham will stick around safely for the entire season–and probably into the next.

Lady Violet

Kristy:  Well… she’s old.  that alone raises her odds.  But she’s a tough old bird. Death odds: 1:10

Cammy: I’d put that at even better odds for the gal: 1:200.  This gal will outlive them all–and be highly displeased when she’s been left alone.

Bates

Kristy: I’m fairly certain he will live, if for no other reason than so that he can feel guilty over his inability to go to war.  Death odds: 1:100

Cammy: Second this call.  Not only will he have guilt over his inability to go to war, he’s got all that other seemingly needless guilt he’s been toting around.  That said, if he can find a way to get himself to the front lines, he will get his ass killed trying to spare someone else in some kind of karmic payment plan, however due to the low odds of his finding a way to the front lines, I think he’s safe at that 1:100.

O’Brien

Kristy: If she dies the only way I see it happening is at her own hands. Woman is (for good reason) carrying some serious guilt. Not sure I see that as very likely, but wouldn’t rule it out.  Death odds: 1:10

Cammy: Disagree in part here.  While I agree that the only way it would happen is at her own hands, I really don’t think the odds of her having the guts to do it are 1:10.  I’m putting her at 1:50.

Thomas

Cammy:  While it would make me no end of happy to have Thomas shuffle loose the mortal coil, his close kinship to cockroaches makes it sadly unlikely that he will bite it.  No, he’ll be lingering around to make others miserable for a while yet.  Right up to the point where it’s just him and Lady Violet.   At which point, she will destroy him with her masterful Dowager Countess Superpowers of nagging and insults. 1:1000

Kristy: As Cammy said, he’s a cockroach.  I’m nearly certain he’ll pull through. Death odds: 1:1000

William

Cammy:  This poor boy has “Ensign Ricky” written all over him.  Thomas had it right when he called this poor kid “cannon fodder.”  Odds 1:2

Kristy:  Again, to cite Cammy, the boy might as well be wearing red shirt.  It’s gonna break my heart, but things don’t look good for him. Death odds: 1:2

Branson

Kristy: Let’s be clear: if this were an American television show, I’d picture a happy ending for him and Sibyl. One where they overcome the strong objections of her family (and possibly his) and a multitude of social morays. But this show is British, and they realize that class and ethnic differences are not always so easily overcome. I hear “Irish nationalist” and “WWI” and I think “Easter Monday Rebellion.”  Which, more or less, makes him a goner.  Though I’m not ruling out a storyline where he deserts, refusing to serve in the British army, and Sibyl winds up hiding him somewhere.  Death odds: 1:3

Cammy: I’ll second this one, although I think we can blame as much of his potential demise on Sybil as on his Irish Radical origins.  Since Sybil is left out of the dirty war going on between her older sisters, she doesn’t have enough pure “suck” in her life.  It’s time for a bit of misery to greet the youngest daughter.

Sibyl

Kristy: She’s the only one of the Crawley girls I’m really worried about.  It’s way to easy to see her doing something brave but stupid and winding up dead.  Death odds: 1:6

Cammy:  Not sure I’d put it at quite 1:6, maybe 1:10, but I certainly agree with Kristy that she’s the Crawley girl to worry about, particularly if she has to deal with Branson kicking the bucket.

 

Anna

Cammy:  I’m kinda worried about this girl.  For one thing, I’m not entirely sure she’s not going to get thrown under the bus when someone finally tries to claim that Mr. Pamook’s death was murder.  That said, I somehow doubt this will wind up happening and if it does, I don’t know if they could manage and entire investigation, arrest, conviction, sentencing and execution in this one season, so she’s probably still pretty safe. 1:15

Old Mr. Mosely

Cammy:  Okay, this is another one that is solely me.  And it will never be proven, but I’m 100 percent sure that Old Mr. Mosely will die. He has nothing left to live for after winning that flower show.  It’s all done.  Of course, since we haven’t seen him since the flower show and I’m just as sure we’ll never see him on-screen again, there’s no way to prove that he’s not 6 feet under.  How sure am I?  Sure enough that if he DOES show up onscreen again, I will dye my hair.

Kristy: Everyone else (with the exception of some minor characters here and there) I feel fairly confident will pull through.  I was worried about Gwen, but I’m not sure she even appears in this season. If Joss Whedon were writing this, she’d be killed in a bombing a week after starting her dream job. But thankfully he isn’t. And this is a period drama, not Lost so they can’t kill everyone.

When You Start Using “Bucolic” in Average Conversation….

How do you know that your acute flare up of addiction to BBC costume dramas has gone too far?

When you make a reference to a scene as “bucolic” ….

In front of a co-worker….

Who thinks you are talking about a cranky infant….and somehow you also wind up having to convince said co-worker that “comport” is a real word.

Yeah. In an attempt to get myself off of watching too much North & South, I seem to have developed an addiction to Cranford.  It’s like going from a meth problem to a heroin problem (or, given the abundance of fabulous ol’ gals in Cranford, maybe it’s more of a heroine problem).  And BBC is like a damn pusher in the school yard.

My dime-store self-psychoanalysis of this problem (and its creeping infestation of my vocabulary), yields something…disturbing.  I mean, setting aside the johnny-come-lately patina of feminism that comes with a few of these works, we’re looking at a repressive society, rigid class structure, poor medical advancement, and clothes that could not possibly be very comfortable.  What the hell does it say about me (and some of you–oh, don’t try to hide.  I know for a fact there are a few of you who suffer from the same BBC costume drama malady I do, and, yeah, I totally used the word “malady” without realizing.  Crap) that I am this entranced by an overly romanticized rendition of an era that would have locked me in a box and driven me insane (assuming I survived infancy, which would have been unlikely)????  And WHY am I letting this stuff slide $10 words into my 25 cent speech patterns?!?!?

Hello, escapism, how are you today?  Yes, yes, my current work environment IS driving me to you.

I’m relying on you readers to stage some kind of virtual intervention if this goes much further.  I mean, we have “bucolic” on record here.  And I will admit that I’ve been in search of fanfic (but apparently if there are people shipping Mary Smith and Dr. Marshland, they aren’t sharing…and less than a half-dozen AUs with Miss Galindo and Mr. Carter?  Seriously?!?…and don’t even get me started on how I expected way more North & South fic)….but I don’t suggest you pull the alarm on me until I start posting with the word “whilst” or refer to any of the following: a “reticule”, anyone being “possessed of” something, a drawing room, or of anything occurring “presently.”

 

(Belated) BBC Costume Drama Matriarch Cage Match Follow Up

Among the 1001 other apologies I need to make to y’all, gentle readers, please include this apology for not posting the follow up to the BBC Costume Drama Matriarch Cage Match scenario.

 

If you will recall, we asked that you ponder how circumstances would play out if you pitted Mrs. Hannah Thornton (aka John Thornton’s Mom) from North and South, the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley (aka Lady Violet, aka Cousin Violet, aka OMGIt’sMaggieSmith!) from Downton Abbey, and Lady Catherine DeBourgh (aka Her Ladyship) from Pride and Prejudice (90s Colin Firth version) against one another American Gladiator-Style.  Who comes out victorious?

 

Before I posted the scenario, Kristy and I had already noodled our version of the answer.  I originally threw the case to Kristy who responded with the following theorized outcome:

 

Mrs. Thornton definitely.  Lady Violet will be the first knocked down, not because she’ll be the worst fighter, but because Lady Catherine will feign ignorance and stand there looking at her giant q-tip saying, “Good heavens!  What are these for?”  Meanwhile Lady Violet and Mrs. Thornton will attack without hesitation, but Mrs. Thornton has the advantages of being somewhat younger and of a past that involved more physical labor.  Lady Catherine will try a sneak attack right after Lady Violet falls, but Mrs. Thornton doesn’t trust anyone so she’ll be ready for it.  And again, same advantages.

 

For the most part, I concurred, although, I did counter with a slightly different suggestion:

 

…in an alternate scenario, I could Violet falling second–if she got the first blow in (which, you know she’d go for Lady Catherine because it would be her only guaranteed hit–Violet’s smart enough to know Mrs. T is going to be a challenge).  After that, it could be a far more interesting (and marginally better matched) competition with Violet and Mrs. T.  Though, for all the reasons you mentioned, Mrs. T. is a guaranteed winner, I think.

 

A big shout out to Miss Mary, the only one of y’all with the cajones to attempt to present a play by play.  If you’ve not read her analysis, it really is amazing.  At the time, Mary had not yet seen North and South, so Hannah Thornton was left out of her analysis (she has since filled this gap….and berated us for not having told her to watch this sooner.  I owe her beer for not telling her about N&S before).  Despite this, it’s still way better than the short back-and-forth Kristy and I had volleyed around:

 

As for Lady C and Countess V…things could get interesting.

 

I imagine that Lady C would have Countess V over for tea with Mr. Collins in attendance to talk up the glories of Rosings. Countess V would appear suitably awed by the window glazing but then expound on the elegance of Downton. The conversation comes to a grinding halt and only noise heard in the room is the tea service and the audible breathing of Mr. Collins. Lady C, hostess and not one disposed to give up hometurf advantage, has positioned herself within the room to take full advantage of the light in displaying her gemmed finery. Countess V observes this and moves to walk about the room to shine the light on her Victorian broaches, along the way she compliments Lady C on her fine flower arrangements, but, of course, her roses are nothing to those grown and enjoyed at Downton. Mr. Collins begins to reconsider his safety and starts wondering, for the first time in his sycophantic existence, if he can leave without Lady C’s permission. Threatened, Lady C moves to action and starts a discussion of music. Seated at the pianoforte, she puzzles out the tune of chopsticks and pretends the instrument is out of tune. Countess V, hearing nothing wrong with the instrument, takes her seat at the instrument and plinks out the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with her index finger, all the while muttering the count. Mr. Collins inches closer to the door. Lady C has reached her limit, pretending to ring for a servant, she rips off a broach and sends it flying at Countess V, who ducks behind a chair just in time. It’s on. Mr. Collins fleas for his life as the jewelrey, hats, wraps, hairpieces, and tchotchke go flying. Countess V wins this round with a half nelson 23 minutes into the fight. She smooths her dress, finds her hat, and gives Lady C a kick to the stomach on her way out the door, thanking her for the hospitality and inviting her to tea at Downton. Her tea, of course, is both Earlier and Greyier than Lady C’s, but she’ll have to come and try it herself. Mr. Collins is seen slinking about the bushes as Coutess V exits the grounds.

 

And for this, we at My Tv, My Peanut Butter are totally giving Mary a prize.  Not sure WHAT the prize is yet, but she’s getting one.  Because that totally made me laugh and shoot Dr. Pepper out my nose.  Even if Mary hadn’t been the only respondent, that one would have been tough to beat.  But for Mary’s sake, we’re going to hope that Mrs. Thornton never finds out she wasn’t named the victor.  She’s kinda scary, ya kn0w?

BBC Costume Drama Matriarch Cage Match

For an appallingly long time, Kristy and I have entertained ourselves and others by starting discussions over the potential outcomes of fictitious cage-matches between characters, actors, random people we met at college….For the most part, you should imagine these matches in terms of American Gladiator, preferably the bit with the giant Q-Tip® things, although now and then the individuals and circumstance call for something a bit more violent and painful (or useless and stupid).

It’s been a while since we last engaged in this kind of speculation, but it came up in an e-mail chain last week (taken directly from the e-mail in which I posed this to Kristy):

Lady Catherine DeBourgh, Mrs. Thornton (aka, John’s Mom), and Lady Violet Crawley go at it Amer, er British Old-Lady Gladiator style.  Three will enter, only one will emerge victorious…..Discuss.

For those who are not so disturbingly acquainted with BBC costume dramas, that would be:

Lady Catherine DeBourgh from Pride & Prejudice

Mrs. Hannah Thornton from North and South

And the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley from Downton Abbey

All three are formidable, potentially scary, definitely overbearing gals.   Is it a balanced match which will drag on in agony, or is there a clear winner to dispatch the other two back to their needlework and smelling salts?

We challenge YOU to bring your comments.  Hit us with your take on the way this plays out.  We have our own discussion which we’ll share later this week….but the game’s more fun with others contributing.

Time Vampire…In Period Costume

Damn you, UK.  Damn you and your addictive, awesome period costume dramas.

This week’s time vampire has come in the guise of those  incredible British costume dramas.  I’ve pretty much alternated the week between Downton Abbey (for, the third time through) and North & South (the British version, not the American Civil War Era piece).  I don’t know what it is about these things, but they are impossible to resist.  And by impossible, I mean they are just about all I’ve watched for two weeks now.

I’m not 100% certain why I’m so addicted to these things.  Maybe it’s the clothes I’ll never have an excuse to wear (sometimes thankfully).  Maybe it’s the archaic social structure I’ll never have to abide by (even more often thankfully).  But, I strongly suspect it’s attractive British men (especially in the case of North and South).

In the case of these two particular instances of time-vampirism, the stories are a big seller as well.  If you’re not familiar with either of these, North and South is like a slightly-later-period, darker version of Pride and Prejudice, set against an industrial backdrop.  Since I give slightly more weight to the funny, I can’t rank it above P&P, but if you like the tried-and-true enemies-to-romance set up and you’re not in the mood for humor, this is gold.  And did I mention the hot British guy?  Yeah.

Downton, on the other hand, is a series.  A series that will piss you off only because the next season doesn’t start until January and any show that leaves you literally on the brink of a World War is designed to leave you peeved.  Of course, before that you get hour upon hour of the upstairs-downstairs dramas of a large ensemble cast.  There are the gentry of the manor as dealing with deaths, intrigue and the single most entertaining part of Real Property Law, the entail, contrasted with the conspiring, romances and whackiness of the servants below stairs, who occasionally find themselves dragged into the conflicts of Lord Grantham and his family.  If the whole thing smells a lot like Gosford Park, it’s probably because they are written by the same people.  And you also get Maggie Smith in both of them (and really, isn’t Maggie Smith kind of like a seal of approval all by herself?).

I, for one, welcome this time vampire and whatever new forms it may take.  It may be hours when I could be more productive, but it’s not like I don’t enjoy the escapism.