Wednesday, March 6, 2013

High Brow/Low Brow

High Brow

It is so well done & yet so melancholy, that I am savoring it & only watching an episode a day, but I am currently obsessed with PARADE’S END, a 5 part BBC miniseries on HBO, adapted by Tom Stoppard from a series of novels by Ford Madox Ford, set in England immediately before & during WW I. It is rather a more literate, less sudsy DOWNTOWN ABBEY, without a lot of care for the downstairs crew. This serious, yet sometimes slapstick drama requires careful listening, as Stoppard always does. Benedict Cumberbatch, so amazing in the BBC’s SHERLOCK HOLMES, with his velvet-wrapped voice & perpetually pursued lips, is the main character, a young but very old-fashioned man facing a rapidly changing world. Rebecca Hall, devilishly good, is his wife, a demanding, temperamental, lascivious beauty, set on making her husband miserable.

It is beautifully filmed & utterly compelling, & because it is set in Edwardian Britain, the sets, furnishes & clothing are gorgeous. Also in the cast: Rupert Everett, Miranda Richardson, Janet McTeer, & a bunch of Brits. I am only finished with #3, but I give PARADE’S END an A on The Steve Report Card.

I am not certain why I am drawn to stories set during the collapse of the British Empire. Someone suggested a possible past life experience, but my life before this, was in this country. I actually know many of the details, but that is another post for another day.

Low Brow

The Husband is displeased when I will not join him for some of his TV viewing. He considers watching TV something that we are “doing together”, even though my work table is only 20 feet away from the screen & I can see & hear a program. But, I cannot abide 2 of his favorites. One is a show where fat people exercise to lose weight for cash prizes & the other is heterosexuals behaving very badly, as a group of women vie for a bubble bath date with a hunky, but dim man. The women are made to jump through some sort of hoops & Mr. Lucky rewards the babes with a rose if he deems them date-able for another week. I get the pair of shows confused & consider that very fat people are indiscriminately dry humping for cash among floral displays.

I have a new favorite low-brow show on the E Network, BURNING LOVE, a satire of the heterosexual shenanigans show produced by Ben Stiller. This show is wicked funny. The actors & writers get the tone just perfect. At the end of each episode, the ladies asked to stay around for another week are rewarded with a hose, as the bachelor says: “Darla, Will You Take My Hose?”  I can’t wait for the next installment.


  1. I too find the end of empire fascinating. I think while we would love the privileged life and should be living it, it offends our sense of social justice. The conflict in our minds makes it all the more interesting.

  2. I got through all five episodes and found some pleasure in it, but it was a struggle because the character Rebecca Hall played seemed so utterly without redeeming qualities.


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