(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.

For Sarcastic People Must Be In Want of Coffee…

In our attempts to add some variety to MTV, MPB: Year Two, we’re opening our doors to yet another dimension of coffee (or beer) chatting:  fiction.  Fear not, we still have plenty of real folks to caffeinate with in the future, but now and then, we’d like to dabble in the less-than-real sandbox.

To kick off:

Would we have coffee with Mr. Bennett?

Cammy:  Hells yeah.  Of all characters in all of Pride and Prejudice who would be most guaranteed to have hysterically dry observations mocking the stupid people in the immediate vicinity?  Mr. Bennet’s our guy.  For one thing, I have a sneaking suspicion that he has his own booth in the back of the Spacial Anomaly where he goes to avoid his wife and daughters when his library just isn’t far enough away (or he want’s a fresh crop of nut jobs to observe).  I honestly don’t want to quiz him or get any kind of inside story, I just want to sit at the table–probably with a book or a notebook to occupy time when he gets absorbed in his own book when there aren’t enough people coming in and out to watch–and exchange quips about others.  I think Kristy and I are far enough from being Mary, Kitty & Lydia-esque (definitely far enough from Lydia) and can comport ourselves in reasonably Lizzy & Jane-like fashion to avoid being targets of his mockery, and be included as contributors to the ridicule.  Of course, if he’s been in that booth during some of our other coffee visits, he might have a thing or two to give us hell about.

Kristy:  Before I go any further, I just want to make it clear, in case any of our readers were laboring under any delusions, that neither Cammy nor I is nice enough to fall into Jane territory.  Just so we’re clear.

But to the matter at hand, of course, I’d drink coffee with Mr. Bennett.  Or tea or port or whatever the man drinks.  Like Cammy, I’m more interested in people watching and listening to the snark than actually interrogating him about anything.  And frankly, having seen what he has to put up with, I think we should buy the man a drink of some kind.

Cammy:  She’s right about the Jane thing.  The best we could get here is two Elizabeths.

Gratuitous Rewinds: The Netherfield Ball

The 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries is packed with moments worthy of a gratuitous rewind for one reason or another.  But tonight we focus on a personal favorite (and the one I caught myself re-watching this afternoon as I did laundry):  The Netherfield Ball.  More specifically, the Lizzy and Darcy dance sequence

What makes this worthy of the Gratuitous Rewind?

1) It’s a ball.  Balls are fun and no one has them anymore, except on TV.

2) Fun clothes.  Yeah, I know this kinda goes with the entire show, but the duds in this scene are particularly schnazz-tastic.  I’m not saying I want to wear them myself (Lizzy B might be down with having the girls out on display for all England–me not so much), but I can appreciate great costumes as a spectator.

3) Line dancing.  For me, a person who can’t even handle the Electric Slide without looking like Mr. Collins going the wrong direction, I am always impressed by the fact that there are no collisions involved in that bizarre series of movements.  Despite the fact that I’d epic fail at this dancing, I would still support its comeback.

4) Banter.  Verbally picking at and harassing the hot-asshole who insulted you, and is apparently a life ruiner for your pals is inherently awesome.  Lizzy does so politely.  And does it without missing a beat in the aforementioned line dancing.  And Mr. D?  Maintains the cucumber-coolness, and while he doesn’t go on the offense, he lobs everything back at her without batting an eye.  Brilliant.

5) Mr. Darcy.  The man makes the entire flick one gigantic gratuitous re-wind, because Darcy is hot.  He is hot as the character in the book, and his hotness is only enhanced by way of Colin Firth.  And in this particular sequence, he takes it up another level because, really?  The guy’s smoldering for Lizzy even while she’s verbally skewering him.  Sure, it’s crappy line dancing, and sure she’s lambasting him–but he’ s still getting to dance with her and he is all about that.  What girl can’t (jealously) appreciate that?

It’s a scene that may not be as dramatic as some, but still manages to bring the kind of chemistry that makes you reach for the remote to go back and watching again and again, trying to pinpoint everything that makes stick in your head…..

Now, if you’ll excuse me….I have a DVD to back up……