Like The Queen
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008  

Lotsa words. No photos

Oh La – it wasn't my intention to go into seclusion. I just got to doing other things and then suddenly it was Wednesday and I'm going back to work! So. Where to begin?

How about Rome – since we're almost done with that. Both BD and I think the show has lost a lot of its momentum. Part of this is because the most interesting and worthiest action in this story is over. Augustus is about to be firmly seated in the role of supreme ruler – all that's left is the debacle that is Antony and Cleopatra. Since that's the part of this history that is supposed to be the most laden with eastern decadence I am sure we'll be awash in eye makeup and costume. But I really wouldn't mind that so much. It's to be expected.

I don't mind, either, that they've made Octavia, the sister, into as much of a stupid slut as her mother, even though I can't find anything out there in real history that portrays them so. That role really belongs to Augusts' daughter and granddaughter. Making them manipulative, lascivious women moves the story along and pushes rivalries to the forefront in a smooth logical way.

My problems with the end of this show are twofold. I really like the subplot characters and the actors who portary them. Alas, their lives have been disastrous – which makes for a type of story, but not my favorite type. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them in every scene and just wish they had more fun. That's the sugarwater that runs in TheQueen's veins. We just have to accept that about her.

My other issues are with some casting – of Augusts the elder and Agrippa his general. I don't care for the way either of these actors are portraying the characters. Agrippa is played by Allen Leech who looks so much like Sean Austin playing Sam in Lord of the Rings I just can't see him as a hardened leader of Roman legions. He's entirely too loose jawed, baby faced and soft looking. Even when he grits his teeth to be stoic he looks like a chastised teenager, not a great general.

Far worse, though, is the very wet portrayal of Augusts by Simon Woods. There are offensively too many long, still, face shots of this very dewy eyed, moist mouthed, pretty man, leading your mind off to wonder if it was the camera man who was the one in love with him or the director, or was it the editor. Where Max Perkins, portraying the boy and teen Augustus, could also look petulant and pouty, he also looked and sounded as if he had a core of steel within him that would blossom into truly wise statesmanship if also utter ruthless tyranny. A better director might have wrung that same believable portrayal from Simon Woods. On his own, he couldn't produce it and he's The Pivot round which this story orbits. So very much of way too much of him, I'm afraid, has me growing antsy for the scenes to move along.

The first season is decidedly better than this second one and I hope they don't try to do a third. Most of the other emperors are too kinky for home entertainment – even in this day and age. I walked out on the 1980's movie Caligula – before I threw up. And since almost everything we know about these guys' personalities was written by people who hated them .... well – yuck. The emperor, Tiberius, well, he was a bitter old man when he finally took the throne. Who wants to watch 6 episodes of bitter old men? Quit while they're ahead, would be my wise counsel.

When it comes to portraying history, I'm often surprised at the real conflict between what we think and what we know. For example, this totally worthless bunch of loose moraled sybarites – well – we all know they managed over one of the most brilliant governments that ever threw its influence across a civilization. I wonder how they did that – gives you hope for Washington D.C., doesn't it? Also - the "republic" which is given such high esteem in this television show was not some high democratic regime giving justice and a voice to all. It was a decadent corrupt immoral oligarchy who had ruled by murder for almost a hundred years before Julius Caesar finally took a stand.

Oh La! I just realized that Simon Woods was the perfectly repulsive Mr. Bingley in that vomitaceous P&P from Christmas 05! Yikes. I really think he needs to go back to fashion modeling. Lawsee – all those wet mouthed, wet eyed men! Interestingly enough – if you go to the HBO website and click on the cast, I liked all the actors from the top down, till you get to Allen Leech. If I knew nothing else about a movie except that one of these actors were in it I would watch just to see how she did. I'd need more of a reason than just the actor, with the bottom two rows.

Knitting blog? Oh. Well. Yes. What can I say. I'm motoring down the foot of sock #2. It'll be done by the weekend, in time for another drawing from the Creativity Jar. There are More Inches of Teal Blue Stockinette completed. I finished the back of Milan and am knitting both sleeves at the same time. I must also begin a sample for a class I'm teaching on cables in the springtime. It will be a little clutch bag knit with glittery yarn, interfaced and lined with a pretty silk lining. Yesterday, while in the city I stopped by Ben Franklin and picked up some Patons Brilliant to work up the sample.

Yesterday was Mama's birthday and sister and I took both parents out to lunch. It was a positive experience and a joy to see so much of my family all at the same time.

And hey! It's hump day and I'm just now going in to work. I ought to be pretty happy. I am.

posted by Bess | 7:39 AM