Monday, March 23, 2009

a great amount of man crying

Well here's something I discovered that may help all you Biggest Loser "fans" (if this is indeed the correct term for those of us now hopelessly addicted to this season of TBL). It can be very successfully watched with the mute button on.
A note on etiquette first. If you have a visitor for dinner but your favourite weigh in moment of TBL week coincides with their visit, do not DESPAIR. Just turn the TV on with the sound OFF, so you can surreptiously glance at the TV everytime someone stands on the BIG SCALES. No-one gets hurt and you still get to enjoy the jubiliation and humiliation without actually having to HEAR it. So here's what I observed. Sharif lost a LOT of weight. There was a great amount of MAN CRYING at the end from both Cam (to be expected) and NATHAN(somewhat unusual, here is where sound would have been useful) but no doubt if this was an IMPORTANT moment, it will be replayed AD INFINITUM over the next week, so I can find out about it THEN. Also, my favourite buddy on the blue team Bob seemed to be making a BIG SPEECH. So I'm not sure what that was ABOUT. It looks like RED TEAM is going to the ELIMINATION ROOM. Please, please, please, please vote out CAM. Enough with the crying and the wussiness already. BE A MAN.
(N.B. It's quite possible my reading of TBL is all WRONG and sound may indeed be essential to the television watching experience. Still an interesting EXPERIMENT like the OLDEN DAYS. Except that TV always had sound. I may thinking of that other picture technology - FILM).

Poirot returns to prime time. Mrs McGinty was dead apparently. Now I'm not sure if I've read this book or not but it seems to be that the plot they conjured was confusing, but nevertheless a good excuse for David Suchet to his eccentric thang as Poirot with the cups of hot chocolate and the eye for detail. Also Zoe Wanamaker has fabulous hair and a great voice, both of which were getting out of control at times. It's also a good opportunity to dream about how nice it would be to live in an English village where everything is pretty and green, and the houses are beautifully furnished in period antiques. So the beginning was interesting where Poirot arrived in the village of Broadhinny to investigate a murder, so as to save an innocent man on death row. And the final scene where he gathered all the main players together and revealed his all round cleverness in detecting was fun as well. But you could have walked away for the middle hour or so to do other things. As I did. Several times. I've decided that to watch these so called adaptations of detective fiction (Rebus, Agatha Christie, Bones etc) you actually have to forget you've ever read the book, because nobody's interested in translating them with any accuracy to the screen. I'm definitely no expert on detective fiction but they just seem to grasp on to the figure of the detective as the central characters and then develop some half-baked plot around them. So they're really character pieces first, and mysteries second. Thoughts?


Catriona said...

I agree that that's the only way to watch Poirot and Miss Marple adaptations--other than my preferred method, which is now not to watch them at all. They annoy me so!

Bones, though, is a different case, I think. It's never claimed to have adapted the narratives--I don't know that it's ever claimed to have adapted the characters, even, since none of the supporting characters are drawn from the books. I always tend to think that Bones is just something else that Kathy Reichs became involved in, completely separate from the books barring that one similarity of name. I imagine it would be a shock to fans of the books, but I don't think it means to be--if that makes sense.

It only really annoys me when they claim to be "Agatha Christie's Poirot" (for example) and then really aren't. (And I include that awful 1999 movie version of Mansfield Park in that category, too.)

djfoobarmatt said...

When I saw the title of this post, I thought it was going to be about the reaction on the internet to the finale of Battlestar Galactica.

Wendy said...

firstly djfoobarmatt....HA! lol...i know nothing of battlestar do you mean that all over the internet men are crying because of the way it finished? that's cute!

Yes perhaps I was unfair in including Bones...the other one i should have mentioned though is Midsomer Murders. That's one I only watch for the scenery. And if there is absolutely nothing else on.

Was that the Frances O'connor Mansfield Park? (rather than Jane Austen's?) I remember not being entranced by that. And William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet comes to mind here also.

Catriona said...

The Frances O'Connor Mansfield Park, yes. Horrible. But it seems to have been sadly influential. Without having watched it, I have the feeling that the recent production with Billie Piper owed more to the film than to the book.

But, then, in the book, Fanny Price is a whinging, passive-aggressive martyr who gets what she wants by being deliberately and manipulatively weak, so that doesn't necessarily make for a good film.

D'you mean Baz Luhrmann's film of Romeo and Juliet? Sorry, Romeo + Juliet? Because I really disliked that.

Wendy said...

Mansfield Park is my least favourite Austen a long way..
In fact in order of ranking it goes
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Northanger Abbey
Mansfield Park

Fanny Price is annoying and I didn't like the Billie Piper version much either. She was all wrong...not her you say I just don't think Miss Austen managed to get the film ingredients right in this novel. What was she thinking?

Oooh yes i did mean our Baz's version...forgot about the even more annoying + sign
It goes on a list of "Films I will never watch again" (as opposed to the list of films I will never watch)

Catriona said...

I'm obsessed with Mansfield Park, because I can't quite believe Jane Austen wrote it. I kept thinking if I read it more and more often, I'd find some sort of key to the book.

Then I read the section on it in Janet Todd's extremely engaging Women's Friendship in Literature, where she outlines the argument for Fanny's passivity and weakness being a highly successful campaign. and for the entire novel being Austen's most delicate and subtle use of irony, and I feel much better about it.

I'm a big fan of Persuasion, too. Such an autumnal book. But it doesn't succeed Pride and Prejudice in my affections.

Wendy said...

yes it's a real toss up between the two for me - persuasion or pride and prejudice...but sometimes i find PandP just too good to be true...depends on the mood i guess

that's an unusual reading of Mansfield Park..which throws a new light on it...i shall consider! pehraps i need to read it see if i can find that in it

Catriona said...

I strongly recommend the Janet Todd: Women's Friendship in Literature, which is apparently dirt cheap in paperback.

It's an older book, now, but has a fantastic list of footnotes showing the split in criticism of Mansfield Park between those who think Fanny is an angel and those who think she's a conniving sneak.

Really intriguing.

And Pride and Prejudice is a little too good to be true, I suppose--but so is Persuasion in the end. That why I like it--nice happy ending.

2paw said...

I like your Austen list though I am interchangeably opinioned about the first two. I agree about Poirot and Marple, I imagine them as inspired by Christie's work!! Amanda Root was fabulous in Persuasion, she was in Poirot last night too. I don't know whether he is from a book or not, but the most boring, long winded and slow show was Wycliffe. I hated it with all my might!!!

Wendy said...

yes I love the amanda root version of persuasion too! with ciaran hinds as well. i think it was her in poirot last night as the doctor's frail wife. i don't think i ever watched wycliffe but i'll take your word for its boringness!

hmmmm fanny price...i don't find her either angel or conniving...just dull and frustratingly boring. that's a bit mean i guess ;)

Catriona said...

Oh, no: she's very boring. But that's why it's so much more fun to read the book looking for clues that she's doing all this deliberately, to attract attention: "No one's looking at me? Edmund didn't notice I couldn't go horse riding this morning? I might just come over all faint on this sofa that's conveniently placed in everyone's eye line. . ."

The heroine I can't be having with is Emma. I really don't see her charm. But I hadn't noticed you'd put Northanger Abbey so low: I'm fond of that, but I do like a good nineteenth-century spoof of eighteenth-century Gothic literature.

Wendy said...

Yes Emma gives me the pip as well. And I can't stand the gywneth paltrow film version either. that's more to do with gywneth than Jane Austen though I suspect. Just don't take to Northanger Abbey, but i can see why you would be partial to it.

So really my list is in two parts
The ones I really like (interchangeable as favourite depending on my mood, the phase of the moon, and other unknown variables): PandP, Persuasion and and Sense and Sensibility

The ones I don't really care to read again (not dependent on anything): Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Emma.

although I may give Mansfield Park one last go in light of our conversation here and see if I can find any redeeming irony in there.