Just As I Thought

If it’s real, you should learn something

Is it hypocritical? I hate reality programs, except on PBS. I was riveted by 1900 House, Frontier House, and 1940s House. Now I’m watching Manor House. What’s so engaging about these shows is that they have an education component – how did people actually live a century ago? What was life like then? This is so much more worthwhile TV viewing than such crap as Fear Factor or Married by America. Watch, would you? Learn.
[Update: I’m disappointed to discover that now PBS has taken to superimposing the title of the program which you are watching every 15 minutes. Extremely annoying and irritating.]


  • Ah, “Manor House” was fascinating. Wasn’t it almost scary how quickly some of them fell into their roles, especially the father (with his noblesse oblige; I was somewhat glad when he realized how dependent the upstairs are on the downstairs, as well as vice versa) and the hyper-observant younger son? (I’m waiting for him to utter the line, “I see dead people.”) And the butler, wow. He’s like, this tragic patriarchal hero, trying to keep it all together.

    Aside: I always take issue with the term “reality TV,” but despite the main time-travel contrivance, this is more real than most of what gets called “reality TV” today (which really are just game shows).

    By the way, “Manor House” reminded me of “Gosford Park.” The screenwriter’s audio commentary on the latter’s DVD is similarly insightful into all the details of manor life.

    P.S. How about those footmen? Yum.

    P.P.S. The Post is running online chats with some of the “Manor House” folk today and tomorrow.

  • Yes, the footmen. Woof. And there’s something very satisfyingly sexual about the title “footman.” The groomsman wasn’t bad either… mmm, groomsman.
    I was not as happy with this program as the previous ones, it seems like this show is more interested in the personal back and forth between the reinactors and they aren’t so forthcoming with the information about what they are actually doing. It’s as if we are expected to already have a certain level of knowledge about Edwardian custom and labor. The loss of two different scullery maids in the first week (at least, I think it was a week – time is not really shown) is evidence of how tough the job is, but aside from a lot of complaining and footage of dishwashing, they didn’t really clue us in on what was so tough. They didn’t look as if they worked any harder than any kitchen help in a modern restaurant.
    Footmen. Yum.
    The upstairs family is indeed falling into the part quite easily – I had expected them to break the rules much more than the downstairs staff, hoping that they would hang on to vestiges of civility in a class-less society, but nope – I guess it shows why that class system was in place for so long (and to some extent, still today). It’s so easy to not see other people.
    But… can’t wait for tonight’s installment. smile

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