January 27th, 2020

This week was a mixed bag of viewing, partially because I had access to some shows on Prime Video.   Principally on a flight to and from Vancouver I was able to watch Fleabag to begin with.  This recently awarded Best Series and Actress from Golden Globes and SAG Awards was available and I decided to catch it with enthusiasm.   It was worth it.   This show is the brainchild of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and she has an excellent cast, including last year’s Best Actress in Olivia Colman (currently playing the Queen, in The Crown).  It is a simple premise of the life of the female lead, who talks to the camera as asides, much like Ferris Bueller, and then she interacts with the characters and situations around her.   She and her sister are left behind when their mother has passed away from breast cancer.   Dad wasn’t close with the girls but manages to bounce back quickly romantically with the girls’ Godmother (played by Colman).   It is the story of their lives, and careers and loves.  There are flashbacks as you piece together what is happening in their lives.   It is layered and unfolds over time slowly.   Season 2 picks up with the impending wedding of the father, and introducing a couple new characters, notably the priest, played by Andrew Scott, who also played baddie Professor Moriarity with relish.  Having finished the series I found that the last two episodes really brought it all together.  This isn’t just a comedy and I will leave it at that.  There are more complications, and fully written characters around the lead who add greatly to the story.   I like the way it gets tied together.   According to Waller-Bridge this is the end.   There is no Season 3.   Although this clip suggests she “may re-visit” herself when “she is 50”.    So those who care to watch will have plenty of time to catch up since she is 35yo!   Enjoy what she has put together.

I decided to watch Tolkien on Crave as well.  It is pronounced Toll-Keen which corrected me after years.  This is the story of the writer’s early life, and then as he grows up through college.   It speaks to his books of course as his life unfolds and those he is most well known for being The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series.  I was more impressed by this than I was expecting to be honest.   I had heard modest reviews, but perhaps I was in the mood for it.  He came upon his primary relationship with the woman who would become his wife, early on, and he was forbidden by his guardian and priest to see her until he was 21yo.   The resolution of that, and her impact upon him cannot be understated, despite that she was of a different religion.   He also relied heavily on his friends which eventually they became a band of brothers really.   They met and talked and explored different ideas, in a way that just isn’t done anymore.   There are elements of Harry Potter and common rooms within a dorm, where people would gather and discuss.   This interaction has mostly gone away, and we as people have become more solitary.  Technology in this case, isn’t for the better.   These young men greatly impacted the young Tolkien and shaped who he would become.   I won’t reveal more but in many ways we all know how this ends.    He ends up writing one of the defining and definitive works of fantasy which has impacted countless others.   He created a world with new languages.  He created new classes of beings like Orcs, Elves, Ents and others.   He died in 1973 at the age of 81.   Edith his wife pre-deceased him in 1971 at the age of 82.   On her tombstone he had an Elvish characters name inscribed on it.   I will caution that this film can be slow, but I didn’t mind the pacing.  Others might.

Finally I started watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, with Rachel Brosnahan which won the SAG Award again this year, but has previously won Golden Globes and countless other awards.   Brosnahan was in House of Cards.  She played the woman that creepy Doug was obsessed about.  She is excellent in this role as a 1960s era Jewish housewife in New York City from a well-to-do family that breaks new ground by taking on the role as a stand up comedian.   In some ways this borrows off the themes from Mad Men where the men were the providers and women were the stay-at-home meek types.  The woman’s value was in how she supported her husband.   Times were changing.   Early on, she meets up with the legendary Lenny Bruce who broke new ground with his stand up comedy.   I like the writing.   I am less than enthused about the family interactions between husband and wife.    It seems very stereotyped, but maybe that we really the times.   I am not old enough to confirm or deny this.  I found the one court sequence interesting.   How times have changed when you look back on it 50 years ago.  So early days in this for me, and the fact that Brosnahan removes her top in the first episode didn’t hurt either.   Hey, guys can be guys after all.   I will stick with it for a while longer and hope that we see her progression into this profession.   Maybe she is more like a Joan Rivers.   But again, I am not sure.

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