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?