30 March 2008

Sense & Sensibility

We're trying something new tonight while watching Masterpiece's presentation of Sense & Sensibility. Writing the post while watching! Three 'Huzzahs!' for lovely new laptops! First of all, I must note that Emma Thompson's 1995 adaptation is second only to  the 1995 Persuasion in my list of Most Beloved Austen Adaptations. It is even more beloved than Pride & Prejudice. I know, Blasphemy!, but chalk it up to me being Elinor Dashwood, just like the internet said. Therefore, Mr. Davies is really going to need to bring it tonight if he wants my approval. Because it is going to be difficult to top the Emma Thompson/Alan Rickman/Kate Winslet/Hugh Laurie combo (I know Hugh Laurie is only in, like, four scenes, but he makes them awesome. And he gets retroactive House love).

All that being said, on with the show.

Oh, Gillian, I can't wait to see you back to your regular scheduled Scully-ness.

Um, what the crap!?! Willoughby shouldn't open the story! Your not supposed to know he is a morally reprehensible cad until later. Did I mention I was watching this with my father, Mr. Davies?

Did the Regency era people really kit themselves out like Victorians in mourning?

Is this Elinor trying to sound like Emma Thompson or do they just have smiliar accents?

What is going on with Fanny's hair? Are the curls taped down?

Well, Edward has the appropriate smiling eyes and floppy hair. Rather like Hugh Grant's younger brother or nephew or something.  (Some superficial research at IMDB reveals that this actor played Lord Holmwood in the catastrophe that was the most recent adaptation of Dracula and was born 6 months after my younger brother.  I am old.)

Question: Whatever became of the little girl that played Margaret in the previous adaptation? She was rather likable. Much like this one.

Could Fanny ever look like she isn't sucking on a lemon?

I like Mrs. Dashwood - "You are not yet 17, I would not despair of finding a true love." Hee.

I honestly cannot wait to see this Fanny go all screaming banshee on Lucy Steele.  Seriously my favorite part of the book and adaptation.

Wow, Edward is heart-breaking while saying things that would otherwise make him seem a total tool. What a good actor.

Why do they always make the buffonish characters like John Dashwood red-heads. It is an insult to our kind.

Ah, he gave her flowers. Only ones that a) wouldn't die and 2) she could draw. What a thoughtful man.

I want a cottage by the sea. Even if it is a fraction of the size of Norland.

How awful it would be to be dependent on servants and not even know if you could light a fire or not.

Is that Mr. Headstone from Our Mutual Friend as Col. Brandon!?! I don't know how to feel about that. Like, at all. He was such a frightening psychostalker in Our Mutual Friend. maybe he can acquit himself in this.

This one does do a better job of setting up the eventual union of Marianne and Col. Brandon. They do establish some footing of friendship.

Ok, favorite line thus far: "She'll bear him some big, fine sons." Said just like half the old ladies in Relief Society.

How awkward to have to entertain for two hours and not have anything to say.

Well, that was a much more precipitous fall than Kate Winslet endured. Off a cliff for heaven's sake.

Margaret's goldfish beg the question: What did they feed goldfish before they created freeze-dried flakes?

Willoughby resembles a hobbit. Not nearly so dashing as the previous incarnation.

Seriously, if I'm not looking at the TV, I would swear it is Emma Thompson as Elinor.

Poor, poor Col. Brandon. Oh, Willoughby is a coward to stand behind Mrs. Dashwood. And how the musical swells ominously! Even if I didn't know it already, it would tell me Willoughby must be a cad.

So, curly hair = free spirit, straight = practical, and Margaret falls somewhere in between. I wonder if that was in the notes for the casting directors.

I must say that the confrontation between Col. Brandon and Willoughby is rather ridiculous. Especially considering that Willoughby is such a people-pleaser that he tries to pull the wool over EVERYONE'S eyes, including Col. Brandon.

A horse? As a gift? What is going on with this show. Maybe I need to re-read the book. But I very much don't remember the gift of a horse.

Sir Middleton brings up an interesting point. If Willoughby had not have been a cad and Marianne had married him and Edward had not been dumped by Lucy Steele, would Elinor and Col. Brandon have eventually wed or would they have remained platonic friends for the rest of their days. I imagine that in subsequent years they would have eventually have married and had an agreeable marriage. They wouldn't have been in love, but they would have had some semblance of happiness. What do you think?

Oh dear, here is Col. Brandon's very bad news. I do dislike this Willoughby. Greg Wise made him seem a modicum less smarmy in the previous adaptation. Here he just seems very ill-mannered.

Oh, Marianne, the conventions are what keep you safe from snakes like Willoughby. Only the snakes ask you to defy conventions. Also - NOT IN THE BOOK! Just the curricle ride is scandalous enough, Mr. Davies. You do NOT need to sex Austen up. The story is fine without it. I hate it when people modernize stories like that. If a story takes place in a certain era, then let it stay within the confines of said story and said era. I had the same problem with the most recent adaptation of Jane Eyre. Jane would never have allowed herself to be alone in her bed chamber with Mr. Rochester, let alone horizontal on the bed. While I think Marianne would be enough of a free spirit to allow Willoughby to take a lock of hair, I think she would be rather hesitant to go unchaperoned to his aunt's home and even more hesitant to be kissed by him.

Wow, nice blocking with Willoughby's body language when approached by Mrs. Dashwood and Elinor. On the defensive much?

Poor Margaret, always forming attachments with her sister's non-suitors and having to watch them disappear over the horizon. I do miss the bit about the atlas. It was such a lovely way for Edward and Margaret to connect. 

WHAT! This is a two-parter? I can't wait until next week. How dare you, PBS!


Katie said...

I also was a tad bit infuriated when I found out it was a 2-parter. HAD NOT mentally prepared myself to have to wait until next Sunday to finish!

Nemesis said...

Hee! I totally wanted to call you up and talk about Mr. Headstone.

And YES, Elinor sounds exactly like Emma Thompson! It's really freaky.

When they got to the bit about the visit to Allenham I thought that sounded far-fetched but familiar, so I checked the book just now. And yep, it happened.

Scully said...

I was perusing the forums at TWoP and was informed that the Allenham thing happened in the book. I will need to re-read. Also, so wanted to call you and Esperanza and squee about Mr. Headstone. My dad just didn't understand.

aquamarine said...

I almost what woke up my household, because I said "WHAT???" maybe a little to loudy at 10:30pm because they couldn't really be cutting me off from my Austen fix so early. Wicked, PBS!