Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Henry Cavill Has an Awesome Butt, and Everything Else I Learned from "The Tudors"

You know how I'm always a few years behind the curve? Well, I recently "discovered" the Showtime series The Tudors on Netflix. Man, I've never seen anything quite as awesome as The Tudors. I'm only at the beginning of Season Two, and I've never been so entertained. (No spoilers, please, I really want to know if those Henry and Anne kids can work things out.)

I think the dirty little joke here is that the whole series is a joke, but nobody bothered to tell the audience. Instead, because there are actual historic figures involved, and everyone is wearing sumptuous costumes which get ripped off a lot, the audience feels like it's getting a marginally educational experience. It's like Masterpiece Theatre by way of Zalman King.

Personally, I've learned nothing, aside from the fact that Henry Cavill has a bare ass for the ages.

I'm not one of those tiresome people who squawk over every historical inaccuracy. It's nerdy and picky, like that guy from my college dorm who would count bullets during action movies and complain bitterly whenever anyone popped any extra shots.
I don't care about Henry's magically disappearing older sister, or that everyone dies in the wrong sequence and Anne Boleyn was by most accounts not half as hubba-hubba as Natalie Dormer. I don't even care that the costumes are often centuries off target, not to mention a bit skanky. People, it's entertainment involving boiling people to death like so much human ramen! Scads of nudity! And thuddingly bad dialogue interspersed with awkward pauses. (Really. It's pretty obvious the actors are waiting politely for the P.A. to turn over their cue card.) And it's hilarious that everyone goes commando for every occasion, like a RenFaire Lindsay Lohan.

Plus, all those inaccuracies open the door for further entertainment. In this world, the strapping (not to mention ginger) Henry VIII is a skinny brunette man-bitch who whines a lot. And, to show age, the costumers just sort of add a bit of extra padding and some unfortunate facial hair.

However, the finest moment of all, the second I realized that the writers hadn't even cracked open Wikipedia, let alone a book, came up over the weekend. They showed Henry VIII composing Greensleeves. Yes, I know there's a legend that he wrote it for Anne Boleyn, but sheesh. It's a style of music that didn't even exist yet. Henry would have needed prodigous musical talent, a time machine, and a magical compositional leprechaun to whisper the tune into his ear. And even then he probably would just come up with "Chopsticks."

At that point, I decided The Tudors is taking place in that purgatorial sideways place all my Lostie friends are complaining about. Next, I fully expect a scene where Henry VIII invents the hot-air balloon, meets some space people, founds a rock band, and then fakes his own death so he can retire with a robot Anne Boleyn, complete with pop-off head and detachable polydactyly. I bet they'll even set up household with a vampiric Catherine of Aragon (played by Jessica Rabbit).

In the comments, tell me if you nitpick inaccuracies in TV, and whether that makes you a doink. Or tell me what happens next on The Tudors, and be as inaccurate as you'd like. Or admit that you know who Zalman King is. I won't judge you, I promise.


Brando said...

I had a lot of serious problems with the historical innacuracies on "Xena--Warrior Princess." Let's begin with:

1) The "gods" on the show sometimes go by their Greek names, sometimes their Roman names.

2) Xena is able to defy physics.

3) The landscape is far too tropical and lush to be ancient Greece.

4) Somehow, the war of the Israelites versus the Phillistines, the rise of Julius Caesar, the reign of Caligula, and the Trojan war all took place within a few years of each other.

5) I am not complaining about the leather-clad lady warriors.

6) How come some ancient Greeks sounded and looked like Maori extras, and some looked and sounded like they were off of a Hollywood studio backlot?

ariedana said...

If you keep up with my Twitter or my blog, you know I'm a wee bit obsessed with Glee. But it has holes the size of Texas. The biggest one is how a glee club at a poor high school in Ohio manages to buy the performance rights to the current Top 40, much less Madonna, Lady GaGa, U2 and the Beatles. When I was in show choir, we had to stick to public domain or dirt-cheap, meaning the closest we got to relevant music was Phil Collins' "A Groovy Kind Of Love". Also, how do they pay for the jazz/rock band that pops up whenever they want to sing? And the stage lighting and costumes? They had a bake sale with pot cupcakes earlier in the season, but I didn't know those things rake that kind of dough in.

BTW, at the end of The Tudors, Doctor Who swoops in in his TARDIS to save Henry VIII and they go back in time to rescue Anne Boleyn before she loses her head. They then have a huge shag-fest in the swimming pool of the TARDIS. That's shown in the special deatures. ;)

Shannon said...

Brando - I think Lucy Lawless and Her Amazing Hotness could cover up any of the above plotholes.

ariedana - I am totally jealous you got to perform "A Groovy Kind of Love," as the hippest thing we ever performed at Parkside Middle was "The Musical Terms Rap." Really.

So, is it a threesome in the TARDIS, or what?

Lemon Gloria said...

I care not one bit about historical accuracy, although I do tend to like the idea that I'm learning something. You've just made me really want to start watching the Tudors.

Shannon said...

LG - Oh, you would love it! Even when they have an episode that's all dramatic, and almost good, the writers have to shoot it all to hell.

Example? The sweating sickness (a retro plague) hits England, everyone's keeling over, everything is dramatic and epic and sad...and then there's a guy with a wheelbarrow full of corpses shouting, "Bring out your dead!" As a Monty Python fan, it kinda took me out of the moment.

ariedana said...

This is my newest personal hero, Charlie Brooker, talking about The Tudors. It's part of his longer BBC show, so the Tudors part is about 4:30 in.

I'd imagine that if someone let the two of us do a TV show, it would sound a lot like this. And we'd have to do it in England, because there's not enough editors in the US for my dialogue.

Gilahi said...

Combining bad taste with some rather arcane knowledge can lead to this sort of thing. I was once watching an episode of "F-Troop" and there was a pitcher on the table that was made of depression-era glassware. I immediately wondered how an 1930's pitcher ended up on an 1870's table.

That's right, I griped about historical accuracy on a show with all the quality of "F-Troop". If that makes me a doink, whatever that is, then so be it.

FoggyDew said...

I may or may not have, on occasion, counted seven or eight bullets coming out of a six-shooter (and no, I'm not the guy she's talking about above). For the most part I'm able to ignore even the most heinous historical sins in movies. Even the ones committed by Russel Crowe. Although, having an Irishman playing 8 (as his boys call him) is kinda funny.

At the end of season five, 8 wakes up in bed, turns to his wife and says, "Honey you won't believe the dream I just had, I was Henry the Eighth, king of all England." At this point his wife, Jesminder (played by Parminder Nagra) rolls over and says, "That's great honey, but I've got to get some sleep since I've got a game tomorrow."

Shannon said...

Ariedana - My speaker died halfway through, but, yeah, that video gives a pretty good montage of all the ridiculous facial expressions.

Gilahi - Not only did you dork out over F-Troop, but over GLASSWARE. I'd feel sorry for you if I wasn't laughing so hard.

Foggy - And then, he murders Scarlett Johannson!

Adrienne said...

The latter seasons of The Tudors get even better because they show Henry VIII's age by cutting Jonathan Rhys Meyers' hair very short and giving him a goatee. Because facial hair always signifies age...

The show is incredibly inaccurate, but the timing drove me crazy. Events that spanned decades were given a few minutes, and minor details were dragged out over several episodes.

The scenery is at least pretty.

Shannon said...

Adrienne - I feel like I never know what year it is! Maybe if they installed a little calendar at the bottom left of the screen?

For the first season, I was able to guess how much time had passed by Henry FitzRoy's age...until the writers went and killed him off a dozen years early. Poor TV-version kid never even got to hang with the poet Lord Surrey or be semi-betrothed to his half-sister.