Downton is Coming to a Theatre Near You

The new year has started off with a bang, not literally of course. But figuratively, with political fireworks and bad weather coming together in potent combination that leaves one feeling that the best move would be to stay in bed, under the covers, for the duration of the colder months—or until Trump and Nancy Pelosi come together to end the government shutdown. You know, whichever comes first.

Just kidding. The real reason to get out of bed will come later this year, when the Downton Abbey movie comes out, at a yet-to-be-determined date. See the nothingburger trailer here:

In this sneak peak we see that the Abbey still stands, the sweeping lawns as green as ever, and that the Downtonians still drive really nice cars and sleep in freshly-made beds. Other than that, we are adrift. No plot points or even a glimpse of Stone Cold Mary’s marble face is given to us, the proletariat who so enjoy staring at rich people using their fancy things and sitting upright on very beautiful couches.

BUT! All is not lost, at least for those of you with Amazon Prime video subscriptions. Jeff Bezos has provided access to a lovely series, featuring the legendary British baker Mary Berry. The show is called Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets and the first stop is Highclere Castle, where much of Downton Abbey was filmed. This new show offers ogling, voyeuristic viewers the chance to experience the world of Downton Abbey without having to hide a dead body, or have a secret baby, or glare at one’s enemy across the servant’s table while vigorously darning socks.

I thoroughly enjoyed having Mary Berry as my tour guide through Highclere Castle. It was as if The Great British Baking Show and Downton Abbey came together to produce television offspring of the loveliest sort, and for a brief, gentle hour, I forgot the political blizzard raging all around me on the internet and I forgot my ice-covered front stoop, the one that gives me pause when I consider leaving my house. I could stay home and watch Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets on my screen and rest easy, knowing that somewhere out there, civilization still exists.

 

 

Current Obsession: Nailed It

For a long time, I basically stopped watching stuff online. No more streaming Netflix at odd hours, playing an episode of Midsomer Murders while I was cooking dinner (an unhappy combination) or folding laundry while watching yet another season of Parks & Recreation just because the real-life Leslie Knope inside me was being destroyed by the many real-life Jeremy Jamms, and I needed the fictional Leslie Knope to cheer me up.

It was nice to take a break from wasting enormous amounts of time watching stuff on screens, and I was a better person for it. But now that break from Netflix is over (and I am back to being a terrible person again) and I am once more watching shows online. Right now I’m watching in small doses, and I hope I can keep it that way but probably not.

Here is one of my current Netflix picks:

Nailed It

A stupid, stupid concept based on an Internet meme (which is redundant) in which regular folks try to recreate a baking masterpiece they have seen on the Internet. Usually such inspiration comes from Pinterest, the site where people organize photos they discover online. The site is dominated by recipes, crafts, interior design – that sort of thing. Everyone acknowledges the inspirational nature of Pinterest, but it also must be acknowledged that most of us are complete failures when it comes to implementing any of the ideas we find online.

Nailed It invites three of these Pinterest-style losers to compete in recreating one of these Internet-photo masterpieces in real life. The show, as stupid as it is, is surprisingly charming, thanks mostly to its very weird host. Her name is Nicole Byer, and I’m not even going to google her to find out where she came from, but I had never heard of her until this show. Which makes it feel like I discovered her and I, alone, find her hilarious. She is truly a weirdo. Do you know how rare it is to see a bona fide weirdo (who is also funny, self-aware and smart, I should qualify, as run-of-the-mill weirdos are plentiful) on TV? It is rare indeed. It also means that the whole show is fully aware that its entire existence is a joke. But it is a good-natured joke, which makes Nailed It a sweet show.

Real life Nailed It. Source: The Internet.

Viewers root for the rotating roster of losers to pull off the challenge, because we relate to them, because we are most likely losers ourselves. There is money involved, however: a $10,000 cash prize, so in that sense the show is a serious endeavor indeed.

I’ve noticed that American reality shows always have money involved. Mabye Americans don’t compete unless money is at stake. Meanwhile over on The Best British Baking Show, winners of that grueling 10-week competition get a silver embossed plate or an etched glass cake stand or something. This is probably the basic difference between Americans and British people, and why we won the Revolution.

I have a few more shows I’m wasting time on, which I’ll share with you over the next few weeks, assuming I can tear myself away from a screen.

Rapunzel cakes. Netflix nailed it. Source: Netflix