Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Week in Entertainment

Live: At the Folger, The Gaming Table, a play first produced in 1705, hilariously funny and very well acted. a delightful evening.

DVD: Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (Never Say Goodbye), with SRK, Abishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, and Amitabh Bachchan. This one's about two unhappily married couples, the cross-couple attractions, and the anguish that comes from either trying to "fix" a broken marriage, or not trying to. It has a very untraditional message in the end ... pretty good movie. Dil To Pagal Hai (The Heart is Crazy), also SRK, with Karisma Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit and Akshay Kumar in an extended cameo. This one's more traditional, an A loves B who loves C who loves D (or does she?) tangle that's quite delightful. And also Jab We Met (When We Met), with Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor (no relation, as Babs and Buster Bunny used to say), although Kareena is Karisma's younger sister). This one's meet-cute fun all the way.

TV: The Middle was kind of cute; Brick's paper was a bit much for a 10-year-old, but I loved Axl's stealing it. Downton Abbey continues to zip through the war (it's over now), and Ethel's baby remains oddly the same age. Could that have been Patrick? Will Matthew walk again? If so, will it be after Mary marries her jerk fiancee (although it was a bit OTT the way everybody hated that he was buying a house. C'mon, seriously, people?)? And I gather that there's a Christmas special (which I hope we get over here) dealing with Bates's trial for murdering his wife. If he did. Which I'm sure he didn't. Modern Family was funny, as always (Cam and Gloria: "I fixed your kitchen." "I didn't know my kitchen was broken." "I fixed her hair." "I didn't know her hair was broken.") and I almost died over Haley writing her name as "Mrs. Haley Jonas Brothers". Grimm still interesting, especially as Nick tries to integrate his two lives with the two Portlands... The Mentalist: Cho is in trouble, I think - Summer and pills? Oh, my. The Preacher's Wife. Denzel wonderful as always, and I have to admit that at least the preacher had more serious troubles than the bishop did! And Whitney Houston ... what a shame. What a sad, sorry shame.

Read: A Double Death on the Black Isle, a sequel - and much better book - to A Small Death in the Great Glen. Then another mystery, Wicked Autumn, featuring an ex-MI5-agent-turned-priest as the sleuth. A bit uneven, but interesting enough to finish, though to be frank, I found all the moralizing over the murderers at the end a bit much. I bought several Scalzi shorts while he was giving his royalties to PP, and they were all, as usual, very entertaining. Two link to the Old Man's War universe (The Sagan Diary, Questions for a Soldier), and the other is one of his humorous shorts (How I Proposed to My Wife, subtitled An Alien Sex Story), which is funny, very funny.



At 2:43 PM, February 13, 2012 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Did you hear this AM's piece on NPR "Morning Edition" re linguistic anachronisms in "Downton Abbey"? There've been several I've wondered about (including last night's "Suck up to [someone]" -- the report cites "I'm just sayin'," "Sorry to keep you waiting, but we're going to have to step on it,"
and "When push comes to shove, I'd rather do it myself." It's reassuring to know I'm not the only one who's been noticing:

Nonetheless, I enjoy the series (what the Post's Lisa "Pookie" De Moraes categorizes as a "crunchy gravel" drama).

At 5:55 AM, February 14, 2012 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

I did. But I tend to think of things like that as translation - would we even understand genuine pre-WWI slang? Would it be funny (in the wrong way) or too obscure? Would we even recognize the emotions a particular phrase (like "I'm just saying") was meant to convey?

If we don't demand the actors in Spartacus speak Latin and/or Greek, why should we get upset with modern English in a period piece like this? Is it because it's too close to our own (unlike, say, The Lion in Winter (though they'd probably have been speaking French... sort of) or Robin Hood)?

As long as they don't start talking about faxing things, I'm okay with it.

At 9:32 AM, February 14, 2012 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Agreed that obscure pre-WW I slang might be incomprehensible to viewers (especially us Yanks) -- albeit a bit less so if couched in appropriate context. A little of that could have been rather fun, actually :-)

Also, as you propose, the "Downton" era is close enough to our own for the speech to make a difference (as compared to programs set centuries or millennia ago). After all, we viewers of (*cough*) a certain age still remember relatives and neighbors of that earlier generation, who spoke in the style of their own generation(s).

My memory may be slightly fuzzy on this final point, but didn't the characters in "Upstairs, Downstairs" speak in a manner more authentic to the period? I think that with greater care, Julian Fellowes could have done a better job on "Downton's" weak spots, had he made the effort.

We shall see what Season 3 brings...


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