Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ode to old bags

Note: By "old bags" I'm referring to cranky old British ladies in movies and TV.

Here's to the cranks and the old sassy crones
Here's to the ladies and their big fancy homes
Here's to their rotten kids and festooned little dogs
Here's to their fat hats and all their ritzy togs
Most of all here's to me for writing this to them
And for how I am a dear, a darling, and a shiny little gem

That was partially an ode to me, but whatever. I really like matriarch type mean ladies from period pieces. They have money, attitude and style. They're usually pretty nasty, which makes them fairly interesting. Though most of the time if you're a jerk in real life I'm not gonna like you. Unless we're being jerks together behind someone else's back. You shouldn't be a turd to someone's face. That's just rude and smelly.
Just look at Dame Judi Dench. First off, in real life she's a dame so she's already basically a champion of life. Then she nails playing the domineering captain of film on several occasions. We have her in The Importance of Being Earnest always trying to shut everyone down and succeeding most of the time. She's a power player.
In Pride and Prejudice she does it again. Just look at the size of her 'do. Look how serious she is. This is who we ladies need to aspire to. She totally doesn't want anyone to have any fun at all in this movie. Once again, she almost succeeds! She never quite manages to totally ruin everyone's good time in film..or does she??
She does. She does it in Shakespeare in Love. She totally ruins Shakespeare's love life, insults people in public, tramps through mud puddles and makes a chick move to a new world that's across an entire ocean for no good reason. Judi has got it going on. Why can't more people be like Judi is in all these movies? Sure, she never really smiles or seems to have that great a time, but how can you be worried about fun and games when you're busy being rich and heavily coiffed??

Next, let us hop on over to Cranford. A miniseries in which Judi appears, but plays not the rotten old bag but the nicest lil lady in town. However, no British town ever went without an old bag of its very own and Cranford is no exception. Just check out Lady Ludlow:
Just kidding. That's a cow in pajamas. I just wanted you all to know you must watch Cranford because there's a cow in pajamas on the show. COW IN PAJAMAS. Here's real Lady Ludlow who is not cow-like at all:
She really is a mean old poop. Her son is an even bigger poop. But as far as mean old poops go, she's pretty cool. Physically, she's not exactly a tough old bird, seeing as how she's pretty spindly and weak most of the time, but she's got a supercool house and totally doesn't want to sell her land to a railway company so they can destroy her feudal empire. She's like a fortress of a lady. Cranford is also home to Mrs. Jamieson and her wonderful dog Giuseppe.

They are both always dressed to the nines and Mrs. Jamieson travels in a chair/hut thing that's carried around by two guys. Kind of wonderful. She's really horrible to her friends - especially when she tells them all that their not good enough to meet her sister-in-law. Poor Giuseppe probably didn't feel that way, but what's he supposed to do? He's busy wearing a dress and a bow in his hair. Mrs. Jamieson gets her comeuppance though. But without ladies like Mrs. Jamieson we wouldn't even know what comeuppance is! So thank you to the Mrs. Jamieson's of the world and your comeuppances. Oh, and hey look it's Tim Curry.
Looking like as chubby a magician grinch as ever.

Then another Dame. The great Dame Maggie Smith. What's with these dames having such informal first names? Shouldn't it be Dame Judith Dench? Dame Magaret Smith? What's next - Dame Tootie Ramsey?
I don't think so, Tootie. Anyway. Maggie Smith. She hits up the old crank role about as much as Judi. We got her in Gosford Park:

Just look how unhappy the chick is doing up her necklace. And look how much like a snippety bird Maggie is. I want some unhappy loser to do up my necklaces for me. And tie my shoes and cut my spaghettis. A gal can dream...dream I do.  I do. Mags is also a firecracker in Downton Abbey. Which for a really long time I thought was spelled Downtown Abbey but pronounced Downton. Which is dumb and makes no sense. But that's ME. I'm LAURA. I'm dumb. I make no sense. Just kidding. I'm cool and smart. Like a cow in pajamas.
Look how commanding she is. A powerful lady should always have a powerful hat. Back in the olden days the bigger their head or the thing on it, the more powerful they were. 

When I'm a mature and terrifyingly wealthy and iron-fisted lady, I will have the biggest hat you've ever seen. The biggest hat you've ever dreamed. You can count on it. But I won't let you. I won't let you count. At all.


Amber Blue Bird said...

Judi Dench basically has the "stick up her butt" act down solid. Cranford will be recorded from now as I simply cant pass up a cow in pajamas (why does this cow have better looking pjs than me?)

Laura said...

Cranford offers oh so much more than simply a cow in pajamas. There are birds and dogs and flamboyant British people galore!