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Random Desperate Romantics observations

Annie Miller, as played by Jennie Jacques, could not be more adorable if she were made entirely of puppies. Very bawdy puppies, granted, but still.

They've given Amy Manson a lovely wig that keeps distracting me by being wavy as if braided wet, which is a hallmark of the archetypal "Pre-Raphaelite woman" image, but rarely seen on Lizzie. Her hair was naturally straight, and she almost always wore it that way. They've shown reproductions of various pieces (including various of Gabriel's nineteen bazillion "Guggums") that demonstrate that. It's very odd.

I'm still not sure what I think of the interpolation of this fictional Fred person. What with the "official diarist" thing, I'm not sure why they don't just have William Rossetti.

Oh, look, they're pegging Ruskin's marital batshittery to Mommy Issues. Not keen on that, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Scene saved by Zoe Tapper being impossible to not watch.

Gabriel, meanwhile, is full of just the right amount of shit. Makes me wish they had found room in the script to have Mum and Christina appear to whack him upside the head a time or three. Though it's a good thing Aidan Turner appears to be rather hyper IRL, because he seems to spend half his time on camera eating, regardless of who he's playing. Which only makes sense in this case, with a couple decades to go from this Gabriel to "poor old Wombat".

No, they really, really didn't need to make up how whackadoodle these people were.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
quasievil_bunny
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Awesome word, that! I'll have to remember it.

"whackadoodle"

*g*
wiliqueen
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
I can't remember who I picked it up from, but I'm quite fond of it. :-)
studiesinlight
Feb. 17th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
>"...to Mommy Issues. ...but I guess I shouldn't be surprised."

Last I checked, it seemed both of Ruskin's parents -- and more family members, for that matter -- were equally responsible for his rampant peculiarness (which is not to say it's not his own responsibility). "Oh, our precious genius boy!" Shorthanding it for the show, I suppose?

Thing is, he actually was almost as much a genius as they thought. Makes it tough.

You're so much fun to read on things like this. Thank you for sharing!

>"No, they really, really didn't need to make up how whackadoodle these people were."

We could fill a US show of 22 eps/season for a decade with how whackadoodle these people were, never mind a BBC show. :-) You could give each primary his or her own BBC show.

No Christina? Really? Too normal for them?
wiliqueen
Feb. 17th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
"Oh, our precious genius boy!" Shorthanding it for the show, I suppose?

Not just shorthanding, but sliding into what seems to me more like conventional soap-opera Freudian weirdness.

No Christina? Really? Too normal for them?

No Christina, no William, no parents. It's like Gabriel appeared full-grown from a fairy ring for the express purpose of making a lot of friends and driving them bonkers.

Which would actually explain a lot...
studiesinlight
Mar. 21st, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
Today, I got to laugh and thrill through the first episode of Desperate Romantics; I enjoyed it so much now that The Big Hobby Project of the moment is off my hands for just a little while, and it's a blessed non-work-day. Thank you!

They're completely wrong about everything, of course. Except where they're not, they're really, really not. :-) The energy is outstanding! The costumes are fun. (The paintings are my geeky delight, because so far they're flashing ones that I actually studied in Art History. Ruskin complimented Millais's Isabella in passing! They didn't show it on screen, but I wrote a paper about it! So I got that tiny insider thrill.)

>"I'm still not sure what I think of the interpolation of this fictional Fred person. What with the "official diarist" thing, I'm not sure why they don't just have William Rossetti."

I suppose he's versatile, because they can load him up with bits of all the missing people, and use him to paper over the gaps their compression creates. But I'm not sure that's worth it; so far, he hasn't added anything that couldn't have been passed off to a real figure, or gone unexplained.

>"Very bawdy puppies"

She's magnificent. And her round, lush, rosy-cheeked appearance is just right to harmonize with the paintings.

>"Oh, look, they're pegging Ruskin's marital batshittery to Mommy Issues."

I have not yet encountered the "Mommy issues" in the series. I'm still baffled by the desk full of nude sketches that he looks at, has an ambiguous delusion over, and burns. I do appreciate that they gave him that cut-to-the-quick accusation of Effie's "illness" (when of course he's the one who is mentally ill, and also holds all the power to project that on her), but... if he has acquired a stack of sketches by this point... are they his own? surly others'! weird weird weird... So, you know: perfectly accurate in overall impression. :-)

Oh, and Rosetti telling Ruskin he's read all his books... but not to their ends. :-)
wiliqueen
Mar. 22nd, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
Hooray! You're welcome. I'm glad you're enjoying it for the big crazy romp it is. And you're right, when they're right, they're so right, in these odd little flashes and moments.

The paintings are my geeky delight

I didn't mention as many of them as I should, but I did the same thing. (Even while giggling at elisions like Ecce Ancilla Domini being allegedly Lizzie. I was less bummed by the absence of the rest of famiglia Rossetti by the end of the thing, but still have entertaining mental images of Christina verbally whacking her brother with an ineffectual clue-bat. They'll do.) Heaven help me, I even recognized some of the specific sketches of Lizzie in Gabriel's overflowing folder, and there are dozens extant.

But I'm not sure that's worth it; so far, he hasn't added anything that couldn't have been passed off to a real figure, or gone unexplained.

I agree, unfortunately, even by the end. Though the range of friendship roles they end up having him play might well have annoyed me more if all assigned to one person. Of course, the largest ingredients in him seem to be WMR and Walter Deverell, and the latter drifted out of the circle early on. The former would theoretically throw off the balance by being Gabriel's brother as well as just a friend to the group, but really his carrying a torch for Lizzie does that anyway. I dunno. He does get more interesting later on, as events get even more compressed and abbreviated and he's used as the thread to stitch them together. He also has far more of a character in his interaction with the women, which mostly happens later.

I'm still baffled by the desk full of nude sketches that he looks at, has an ambiguous delusion over, and burns.

I puzzled over that quite a bit, and ended up deciding that I buy part of the explanation he gave Effie, i.e. I think maybe they were dumped on him by someone and he's really making some sort of effort to figure them out. You get a better (though still somewhat ambiguous) idea of how they've conceptualized his issues when Rose LaTouche enters the picture.

Oh, and Rosetti telling Ruskin he's read all his books... but not to their ends. :-)

They really did give him almost all the best one-liners. I laugh hardest at a couple that I know the RL version would never admit out loud, but they're so on the nose.

Everyone obviously had such a ball with the full-throttleness of it. I've seen a number of reviews and blogs trying to claim that their problem with it isn't the historical liberties, no, really, it's just that it's not enough fun to warrant them. And I just blink and wonder what the hell they were watching.
studiesinlight
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC)
>"the largest ingredients in him seem to be WMR and Walter Deverell, and the latter drifted out of the circle early on."

Didn't Deverall actually die pretty early on? Or maybe I've got him mixed up with one of the others. I admit, most of the early ones I can keep quite straight, they've put into the show! :-)

>"You get a better (though still somewhat ambiguous) idea of how they've conceptualized his issues when Rose LaTouche enters the picture."

I'm at the end of the second episode now, and I'm a bit stunned at the implication in the preview that Ruskin is all but openly inviting Millais to cuckold him. That's several steps off the interpretational path I've always followed! I suppose it bothers me more than a normal viewer not only because I have a better idea what really happened, but because when I get into Victorian mode, I feel genuinely concerned, Victorian-style, for the honor and reputation of both the Millais and Effie characters. (I was nodding and agreeing with Lizzie's sister, big sister as I am in real life.)

Oh, and I've probably got personal issues with this angle, too, now that I think about it. (~waves fist at TV~ "Stop stealing characters I identify with!")

They've set up an opposition about the nature of passion between Ruskin and Rossetti that isn't at all out of line! And yet, tonight, it bothers me in the show, because in real life, neither extreme shines. I'm afraid they're going to heroize Rossetti's end, and demonize Ruskin's, without compunction. Rossetti was, of course, long after Lizzie's death, stealing and borrowing his friends' girlfriends and wives, no less ugly than Ruskin's spctacle on the opposite end of the spectrum. Millais and Effie make the happier middle, in my mind, enough of each passion and not too much of either... which points up, perhaps, that both Ruskin and Rossetti could have been better men had they done better by the women in their lives, as Millais lived happily ever after...

But I digress. It's still an energetic romp of so much fun!
wiliqueen
Mar. 24th, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
Didn't Deverall actually die pretty early on?

You know, that could very well be. He's one of the ones I can't keep track of very well either. I think that's mostly because he's not closely associated with any of the women (apart from having "discovered" Lizzie) and I tend to view the whole gaggle of nutters through that prism. Blame it on my personal bias as well as probably half my library on the topic being by Jan Marsh. :-)

I'm a bit stunned at the implication in the preview that Ruskin is all but openly inviting Millais to cuckold him. That's several steps off the interpretational path I've always followed!

I was too. It suddenly makes vastly more sense in the next ep, via a no-nonsense observation by Annie that I'm ashamed I didn't realize, from a very Victorian standpoint. (It's also probably the clearest crystallization in the whole series of how very much creatures of the middle class all these guys really are, for all that they imagine themselves so aware of the big picture and so terribly rebellious.)

I'm afraid they're going to heroize Rossetti's end, and demonize Ruskin's, without compunction.

Surprisingly not. I keep trying to figure out how to explain that further without spoiling (because, despite the recognizable general outline of events, the nature of the storytelling is spoilable), so I'll just wait until you see what I mean.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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