Posts tagged ‘Downton Abbey’

January 28, 2013

Downton Abbey React: Season 3 Episode 5

Note: If you have not watched the Downton Abbey episode that aired on Sunday, January 27th in the U.S., please avert your eyes now.  Nothing beyond this past week’s episode is spoiled.

Way before this season started, I accidentally stumbled upon a mountain of Downton Abbey spoilers.  Mixed in the spoiler article  was “Oh yeah, and Sybil died.”  I was frustrated at this because it wasn’t even the main spoiler I was reading about and I had just ruined yet another plot point for myself.  But, I still watch the show every week to see the events leading up to everything.  When my mom started making “I called it” comments about this most recent installment, I figured this would be when Sybil dies.  So, I grabbed some comfort food and pillow and watched the tragedy unfold.

I would like to go on record as feeling pretty neutral about Sybil.  I neither loved nor hated her.  She was just kind of there for me, occasionally doing something important like nursing.  She has really faded out of the show recently after running off with Tom, which has probably added to my indifferent feelings.  None of this means I wanted to see her die, but damn.  It made for a bunch of great scenes.

Sybil Neck

First, we need to give props to Jessica Brown Findlay for showing us what the most painful way to die looks like.  I was almost too distracted by her giant neck, but I definitely felt her pain.  At several moments I was actually worried her head might explode by how strained every  movement looked.  This was made even more powerful by the various reactions in the room- including Tom and Cora’s pleas for a loved one’s life, the fancy doctor having a serious case of “Oh s***!” face (yeah, we all hate you now), and random back and forth shots of a stunned Edith and Matthew leaning on a bed post.  I feel like Matthew never really fits in during these group scenes….

carson tells staff about Sybil

Although this quick death scene was jam-packed full of drama, I felt the quiet scene where Carson tells the staff downstairs of Lady Sybil’s passing had ten times the impact.  They all just looked shocked with grief, and I think this whole theme of how caring goes beyond class hit home here.  Thomas’ breakdown right afterwards was a little awkward, but poignant in its own right.  I think  Carson’s watering eyes were more meaningful since that man is always so stoic.  His moment with the Dowager Countess, who also rarely shows such frailty, continued the waves of sadness as the episode finished out.

Edith and Mary

I was a bit of a fool to get hopeful when I saw Mary and Edith together at Sybil’s bedside.  Mary had made a comment a few episodes ago before Edith’s wedding about how even though they didn’t get along, she still wished her well.  I figured this would be a time for them to come together.  Edith tested the waters and asked Mary if maybe Sybil’s death might finally make them close as sisters, and Mary was almost too quick to say no and offered only a half-hearted hug as a consolation.  Seriously?  At least Mary’s mention of how Sybil was the only one that thought Mary and Edith were nice people shows me she might realize just how much of an a-hole she is turning out to be.  I know Edith did some crappy things to her sister, too, but it’s not like Mary is suffering right now for it.

cora says goodbye

Finally, I want to recognize Elizabeth McGovern.  She played Cora beautifully in this episode.  I loved her line when Tom is trying to decide which doctor to listen to:

Tom: Would you take her to the hospital?

Cora: I would have taken her an hour ago!

There was so much urgency in her voice that you knew this couldn’t end well.  Then she later had the scene where she had to say goodbye to her already deceased daughter.  This was extremely sad, and I think the only thing that stopped me from crying was the frosty comment about Mary asking her father to sleep in the dressing room.  I was like annnnnnnd, things are about to get a lot worse for Robert.  Cora’s last line in the episode which essentially blamed Robert for Sybil’s death (yes Robert, there IS truth in that) confirmed that a reconciliation between the two is far off- if at all possible.

RIP Sybil.  A lot of people will remember you as the sweet and passionate Crawley sister.  I, though, will remember you as the girl in the poofy Jasmine pants.

lady sybil pants

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January 2, 2013

My Winter 2013 TV Schedule

Here is my TV schedule for Winter 2013. You can view a clearer picture of it here (click on the link in the next window, too): WinterTV2013

Winter TV 2013

A few things to note….

….Why is ABC Family bringing everything back at once???? I usually am watching one or two things on that channel at a time, and mostly this is over the summer. Somehow Switched at Birth, Bunheads, Pretty Little Liars, and The Lying Game decided to resurrect themselves all at the same time. I can manage this Monday, but now my Tuesdays, especially at the 8 pm time slot, are packed.

….I live in the central time zone in Oklahoma so all you east coast friends adjust the times accordingly.

….Same color means the shows conflict with each other in the same time slot.

….I *almost* forgot about Being Human. It goes off the air soooo long and it’s not even close to my favorite show. Maybe I’ll stop watching it soon? That’s how I dropped Up All Night the past couple months. I actually forgot to record it a couple weeks in a row and realized I didn’t really care about catching up.

….How I Met Your Mother doesn’t come back until February??? LAME. Also lame? Parenthood only having a few more episodes left before ending until NEXT FALL. WTF. I thought I had at least until March for this one.

….Yay for Cougar Town returning! I’m glad TBS appreciates this quirky show.

….Parks and Recreation was kind enough to move out of that 8-9 clusterf*** on Thursday nights, but now Project Runway is starting their next season and is adding another show back to that over-crowded spot on the schedule. Luckily, PR reruns late the same night so I can DVR that showing instead.

….Of the new shows I recommended in August, I was sad to see Partners cancelled (I liked it!!!); I hated Emily Owens M.D. after one episode and dropped it immediately- it has been cancelled and is finishing its run; I never even watched Made in Jersey and it got cancelled after one or two episodes; I gave up on Animal Practice after a handful of episodes and watched it, like all those before it, get axed quickly; Beauty and the Beast, Arrow, and Go On (my favorite of the new shows!) have all made it to full season pick ups, and I am happy to report they are still on my schedule, too : )

….The Carrie Diaries is my only new show on the schedule. The only other new shows I was interested in are slated to come later- Mistresses (ABC) in the Summer and The Goodwin Games (Fox) likely in the spring.

….FINALLY Community. I hope you are actually still good after all this wait time (it was supposed to return in October 2012).

….I read a bunch of news stories about Downton Abbey in a very regrettable moment and now am not sure if I want to watch Season 3 or not. I suppose I’ll proceed with caution. At least it’s only 9 episodes?

June 5, 2012

5 Cheap Cures for the Summer Blues

Since I decided to become a teacher, I still get a summer break.  And since I still get a summer break, I still hit that same period about a couple weeks into summer break where I feel completely bored. Yeah, sure, I’m grateful for the extra rest, but eventually sitting around doing nothing becomes less exciting.  I know a lot you are not teachers and don’t have this summer break problem, but perhaps you still feel a little bored with the lack of television options (another brutal reality for me the next few months) or you still feel phantom summer break boredom pains from your younger ears.  Here are a few ideas to add some fun into your life until the end of August rolls back around.

1. Rediscover Magazines

Remember when getting mail was fun and not just full of bills?  You can have that again!  Magazines are extremely cheap now because the industry is dying out with so much media being consumed online.  While print magazines may be out in a decade, you still have some time now to embrace their twilight years (at excellent prices, too!).  Amazon has several magazines available for only $5 a year!  This is how I subscribed to Marie Claire.  I feel you can get $5 worth out of any yearly subscription, especially if you are interested in the overall subject matter.  My sister got me into Marie Claire because while it does have a lot of fashion pages, it also has articles about real girls doing real things you can either relate to or admire.  I particularly loved the article “Love and the Single Girl” in this month’s issue.  Knowing there are single ladies out there thwarting parents from buying online dating subscriptions for them or being asked to move to make room for a couple, yet still completely content with their lives, makes me realize that being single at 24 is not a life sentence.

I will constantly recommend Entertainment Weekly till I die, but I am also one to love me some pop culture news.  Entertainment Weekly offers an extra tablet edition of their magazine free with your subscription, which is great on the go and offers extra interactive features (ex. jumping to a trailer of a movie you are reading about).  This has been especially useful to me while I am in Orlando.  EW runs about $25 for the year, but for $9 more you can get it for two years (remember, it’s “weekly”).  You can check out EW’s offer here, or pay less for a shorter subscription over at Magazines.com here.

I know there is a lot of digital media for us to consume, but nothing quite beats sitting down for an hour to flip through a magazine by a pool, curled up on your couch, or killing time during travel.  You will always get a little more written content than if you read the articles online, and you will help make sure future generations get the opportunity to post pictures from magazines on their wall (I still have EW covers as decorations in my apartment…haha).  Click here to check out Amazon’s current $5 deals on magazine subscriptions (through June 17th).  Also make sure to stalk Groupon and Living Social for magazine deals, as I have gotten a couple $12 subscriptions there, too.

2. Try out Fitness Classes through Summer Deals

Gyms are not stupid.  They know we as a human race hit summer and go oh….swimsuit season…damn those extra pounds!  I think even skinny people feel awkward sometimes when they pull out that swimsuit that has been at the bottom of their drawer the past few months.  But this ends up working in our favor because the gym and exercise class deals that pop up are great!  A lot of boot camps run shorter session deals where you can do a few weeks of classes at a highly reduced rate.  Tulsa Fit Body Boot Camp, the place I went in March and April under a Groupon deal, is offering 2 weeks of classes and a meal plan for $25.  You can e-mail tulsafitbootcamp@yahoo.com for more information.  For my Orlando friends, Fitness-n-Fun boot camp is offering 6 classes and a consultation for $29 on Living Social (ends by June 6th…so check it out now).  I just bought the Jazzercise deal on Groupon today (ends in a few days).  It’s offering 10 classes for $39 or 20 classes for $59, which is really good compared to their regular monthly and start up fees.  I’ll probably end up using this half in Orlando and half in Tulsa since it’s valid at any location.

If you are really tight on cash or really fickle about your choice of exercise, most classes offer the first class free to try.  You can be really budget conscious and spend weeks just hopping around to different classes.  Gyms will offer similar free day or week passes, though they might bug you a lot afterwards to make a financial commitment.  Just think of the summer as a time to play the field, exercise-wise, to find that one place you could see yourself making a long term commitment to come Fall ; )

3. Make New Friends, But Keep the Old (TV-wise of course)

After May, my busy DVR takes a 4 month siesta- this is probably crucial to its ability to function, but can be quite a bummer when night after night I struggle to find anything worth watching.  This is where my DVD/Blu-Ray player gets its yearly workout.  When June comes up, I usually dust off my DVD collection to find those few shows I feel I’ve taken a long break from and need to re-watch.  In past years I’ve gone through Buffy, Friends, Lois and Clark (90’s love!), and Roswell.  This summer I chose some old Grey’s Anatomy episodes (select seasons…I don’t have the patience to watch some of it’s dark periods, a.k.a. The Dr. Hunt Years) and The Vampire Diaries (TVD).  I’m watching TVD with my friend Erin, which has been really fun.  TVD is probably one of my top favorites on TV right now, and I’ve never re-watched episodes since they aired (minus one in Russian while I was in Moscow, haha).  Watching shows with friends who haven’t seen them is much more exciting than watching them by yourself, because you get to see them go through all the shock and awe you did when you first saw all the drama play out.  There’s nothing quite like marathoning through an old favorite…

…except maybe marathoning through a show that’s new to you!  I tend to pick up at least one new show each summer that’s been on the air already by watching reruns, taking advantage of the Hulu Plus free week trial, mooching off a friend or relative’s Netflix capabilities, or visiting the magical place called the Orange County Library System (once you go OCLS, you don’t go back…sorry Tulsa).  I’ve picked up Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation, Covert Affairs, Downton Abbey, How I Met Your Mother, The Middle, and Chuck this way.  It’s even fun to do this with series that have finished because then you can relish in not having to wait after any cliffhangers (people who did this with LOST are so lucky!).  Here are a few of my recommendations for TV shows to catch up on based on your interests and time:

a) For people who don’t want to catch up on too much before the shows start next year, check out Revenge and Once Upon a Time.  Both of these were freshman hits for ABC this year, and have a pretty good following due to their unfolding mystery plots.  You’ll want to be up to date on these for break room conversations next year at work.

b) For those who take forever to go through episodes, try Downton Abbey.  It’s a hit with most and only airs for a short period each year.  It’s been on two seasons already, but only totals 16 episodes.  Note that season 2 is better than the first, so be patient if it seems a little dull in the beginning.  Like wine, it gets better with age.

c) Comedy fans should check out the underrated Community.  They just did an episode almost completely as an 8-bit video game!  If that isn’t awesome enough to entice you, there is also a fake flashback episode, a zombie attack episode, and 3 epic paintball battle episodes.

d) For fantasy/sci-fi fans, Supernatural is still one of my favorites.  It is one of the few TV shows to be banished to Friday and then sent back to a mid-week slot.  And it was just renewed for an 8th season….so I am not the only fan.  Two hot brothers solving supernatural crimes with rich, long-running plot lines to support the series? Win.

4. Create a Personal Style Book

Now this is something I haven’t tried before, but that I thought of while perusing the latest Marie Claire.  There are so many times where I have random thoughts while browsing online, walking through stores, or flipping through a magazine- “I love that print on that top!” or “I wonder what that nail polish looks like on…” or “I need to decorate my apartment like that.”  I feel like in my mid-20’s, I’m finally coming into my own style…or maybe I’m just beginning a new chapter of an ever-evolving life cycle of style (this is coming from someone who wore bike shorts in elementary school (they were comfy!!!) and every single Old Navy solid color top in middle school).  I kind of wish I had a book that had all those likes and interests together.  When I described this to Katie, she said..”Soooo, you want to make a Pinterest book.”  I went to defend it, but she’s right.  It’s a Pinterest book.

I like the idea of Pinterest, but never really got into using the platform.  I’m more drawn to creating a book by hand.  Not only will it take up some time (it can really be infinite if you fill it up a little at a time as time passes), but it’s more unique than a bunch of links on a website.  It creates a good way to get a second use from my magazines, forces me to be more aware of current styles (and the types of things I’m drawn to), and can be a great coffee table book for my apartment : ) I imagine my final product would have pages like this:

The above picture is from a blogger that already created books like the one I’m describing- one for fashion and one for home decorating.  I think this can be a fun project to help you get your ideas together whether you are freshening up your wardrobe, furnishing a new apartment, changing up a room in your house (ex. preparing it for a new baby!), or creating an idea book for special occasions.  I picture this done with a blank notebook with cardstock-like pages.  I think notebook paper might be too flimsy for a lot of gluing, but those notebooks with dividers built in are tempting to separate your idea collections.

5. Learn (some of) a New Language

Raise your hand if you’ve vowed to teach yourself a new language, bought a bunch of stuff to support your learning, and then given up this dream after a week?  ::Raises hand…3?…times::  I really want to learn some Russian so that when I go back to visit our family friends I can converse a little.  I was on a good roll by the end of my trip last year, mastering about 75 words and phrases, as well as learning how to read the language (just pronunciation, not comprehension).  But now most of those words I have to check on in my language book, and I only remember how to sound out a handful of letters.  Boo.  This summer I’m going to try to use my extra time to make a little more progress in my russian language acquisition.

For anyone else bold enough to take on a foreign language this summer, I highly recommend checking with your library concerning any free programs they offer.  OCLS offers an online program that is self-paced called Mango Langauges (oooo, Tulsa offers Mango Languages, too- see here). I worked with this a little last summer before all my TFA training started and loved it.  I made flash cards as I went (which I recently found!) to support long term learning.  All you need is your library card to access the online courses they offer (note that you can’t learn the whole language, but these free tutorials are great for building a good general knowledge to have short conversations with native speakers).  Here is a list of the languages offered:

If your language isn’t too obscure, you can also find CDs and workbook kits at the library to learn the language as well.  I wouldn’t recommend Rosetta Stone until you are fully committed to learning the language.  Even the cheaper kits online can put you out $30, which is only worth it if you’ll stick with it.  Try Mango first and checking out audio CDs for on the go…this could be you by the end of summer : )

I hope one of these (or all of these!) suggestions struck your fancy and will help you cure any impending summer blues in 2012.  I myself will be imploring all five, but then again, I’m an overachiever.  Even if you don’t get a break from work or school, find some time to pretend you have all the time in the world to just relax and enjoy the sun : D