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Monday, April 06, 2009

Little Dorritt Episode Two (a live-guest-blog!)

Episode 2

Guest Blog Post by a TRUE egalitarian bookworm chick, Beth Dunn

Story of my life: I always love all the wrong people. All throughout the Harry Potter movie series, I was that creepy 30-something in the back row, moaning in erotic bliss whenever Snape oozed across the screen. Could have used an occasional shower, sure, but Christ that voice.

Trouble is, once I fall in love with one of your former characters, it is almost impossible to make me hate you even when you play a baddie. OK ESPECIALLY when you play a baddie. Because that just plays into my already well established ATTRACTION to baddies, and what you get is, well…

…me, sitting down to watch the second episode of Little Dorrit (which no I haven’t read or ever watched or anything before I am as untouched as Darcy’s precious little sister), and I am already rooting HARD for Dan Pegotty Flintwitch to pitch that cranky old lady down the stairs one of these dark, rainy nights. Just for not ever letting dreamy old Arthur ever touch her. I mean, honestly. When has young Clennam ever heard “don’t touch me” from a lady? C’MERE YOU.

And of course Andy Serkis Gollem Rigaud can roll his wicked old eyes at me anytime. LOVE him. Randy old bugger.

So yes, I suppose my other inclinations and affiliations are all as Mr. Dickens would have them be right now, as we begin episode two (which God knows was probably episode 317 back when he was serializing this stuff in teasing little thimble-sized doses in The Journals Of The Day). I’m quite in love with young Arthur Clennam, half in love with that puppy at the gate of the jail, and… I can’t stand Pet. So I’ve got that much right, at least.

But I am also secretly sort of in love with Miss Ward, who will no doubt reward me for my affection one of these days with unspeakable cruelty and wickedness.

I can only hope.

SO. Episode two. I am a big fan of the Live Blog format, so I have been typing all these prologue-y musings with the beginning of the episode on freeze frame – the new PBS intro music, really, accessorized with the lovely Colin Firth’s face beaming at me (quite insupportably) through gauzy red curtains. Let’s put him out of his adorableness and hit PLAY.

Ah! Puppy! Young John Chivery! And the elder Mr. Dorrit! Let us begin.

Have I mentioned yet that I covet those soft caps worn by doddering old gentlemen in these things? They look so COMFORTABLE. One can hardly get a good doddering on without one.

Ooh, Pet has an evil emo interloper suitor. He looks like that insufferable twit with the hair in his face from Mansfield Park. Well good. He can have her, silly little simpering thing with an overbite.

Here comes Puppy, literally cap in hand, to propose to Amy by the river.

(What was that old comic bit? Don’t go to the river!!!)

Aw crap, this proposal scene is going to hurt, isn’t it. John is such an adorable little thing, and so openhearted and kind and pure and OH GOD NO JOHN DON’T CRY.

Oh don’t cry. Oh how awful. Excuse me. I need to hit pause and sob alone for a few minutes. Crap crap crap crap crap.

Way to rip my heart out in the first bloody five minutes of the episode, assholes. Goddammit.

OK. Better stock up on tissues and settle down.

Meanwhile, back in the land of the Upper Class Twit, Young Clennam is inexplicably captivated by the kind of empty-headed blond girl-child apparently favored by gentlemen of his class. Look at him. He’s got actual stars in his eyes.

HEY ASSHOLE. Amy is over here breaking her best friend’s heart by the river, all so she can keep fingering your button. Show a little respect.

Tattycoram is the only one in the drawing room with any sense of decorum, and storms out of this putrid scene, apparently aghast at the awfulness of it all. Good instincts, kid. Very sound.

Father Dorrit is rather adorable, in his soft knit cap and his self-delusional grandstanding with his brother. But I do wish he would catch on and stop being so damn tactless with Chivery senior, while John is inside licking his wounds…

Oh god no more crying. William Dorrit’s little monologue of distress, after he sees Amy weeping with the sadness of it all, and then he realizes what a sad, selfish, tactless Dad he has been, is killing me. Crying Dads really get to me, too.

Why did I get assigned the Crying Episode? This is going to take me forever to get through, what with all the pausing and the weeping.

Thank god, now we can get back to some good old-fashioned evil-watching with Rigaud and Pegotty Flintwitch-the-Inexplicably-Other crossing paths. Hilarity can only ensue.

Oh lord, Flintwitch, don’t be drunkenly lured down dark alleys – NEAR THE RIVER NO LESS – by handsome, hairy Frenchmen who slip you roofies in your wine. RULES TO LIVE BY.

Stabby stabby stabby SPLASH. Happens every time. What an enthusiastic murderer Monsieur Rigaud is turning out to be.

What a MARVELOUS exchange between the little sharpie Fanny and the big sharpie, young Sparkler’s ma. Not much separates those two, when you get right down to it.

Oh God, Rigaud smells like my first boyfriend. YES I CAN SMELL HIM THROUGH THE TV SET. Like… unwashed denim and thrift shop leather jacket. Yum.

So Amy is going to work for shy, retiring little Flora, now. That ought to produce some heartfelt confidences.

Hey HEY and why not get started on that agenda right away?


OOH Amy you industrious little fairy. Good job outta you, bearing up under that verbal flood.

AH YES and now the RIGHT man walks down the stairs by the river to talk to Little Dorrit. Well hello, Arthur. And what do you have to say for yourself?

Arthur: “I understand these matters of the heart, Amy… There’s someone I care about, very much. And I have held back from declaring my love.”

Amy: “…”

Arthur: “You don’t know her.”

OH SMACK. More crying by the river.

Arthur: “Are we still friends?”

Amy: “Yes, (SOB) we’re still friends.”

Yep. I’ve had that conversation.

Hey everybody, I know! Let’s all fight with our families and then go back to the river. And cry.

Swear to GOD Amy if you throw that button in the river I will smack you so hard


Nobody ever listens to me.

Mr. Pancks indulges in a nice bit of foreshadowing, grabbing Amy’s palm and going all gypsy on it. He is starting to really like his job, I think.

And Dickensian Italian Stereotype Mr. Cavaletto is clearly getting laid in his new digs with Mrs. Plawdish. Good for him. Good for Mrs. Plawdish. Oh wait, Mr. Plawdish is still alive. Whoops. My bad.

AAAHHHH ANDREW DAVIES I BLAME YOU for that awful shot of Mr. Doice with the steam coming out of his ears, followed by sad little spurts of water!!! You sir will have to answer for THAT in hell. (as for so much else…)

Now Clennam is making his sweet, ill-considered offer of marriage to Pet. And another proposal bites the dust. No crying in this one, though. Nope. Clennam thinks about it for a second, notices (finally) that Pet’s upper lip is always blue with frostbite from hanging a foot away from the rest of her face, and laughs with the sheer joy of escape. Dodged a bullet that time, m’boy.

He even goes so far as to wish the two lovers well. Yes, I’m sure you’ll both be very very happy, you frightful, insipid, worthless little twerps.

Good day!

Mr. Chivery and Mr. Dorrit make up and restore their friendship after Amy breaks John’s heart forever, and in return Mr. Chivery offers to mock Mr. Dorrit with a glimpse of the world he can never have again. And in a surprise move to none, Mr. Dorrit is completely institutionalized, and can’t even step outside.

Get busy living, or get busy dying. “IT’S HIM! With the CAKE!!!” Maggy knows what she likes in a man.

“Has Mr. Clennam behaved improperly towards you?”

“No, father, not at all.” THAT’S THE PROBLEM, FATHER

Aaaaaand Tattycoram is ready for her long-awaited psychotic break.

Good for her. Every teenager needs a good psychotic break now and again.

Let’s see just what sort of wickedness that Miss Wade is up to anyway.

…huh. Seems like a nice enough lady to me. I suppose I’ll find out more about her LATER.
I have to say that Mr. Pancks is rapidly becoming a crowd favorite.

He is clearly so VERY pleased with himself, so transparently not here to wish Mrs. Clennam her good health! Snort snort chuckle snort! (OH he has made me clap my hands in delight!) Uncle Ned is dead, is he? IS HE???

I smell Dickensian-deus-ex-machina!!! Wheee!

And we close with my great smelling ex-boyfriend Rigaud arriving on the very doorstep of the House of Clennam. Whomever will he penetrate murder next?


(And thank you for letting me guest-blog! What fun!)

[you're more than welcome--Fellow-ette]


  1. Amazing live-blogging. I agree--the painfulness of the multiple "down by the river" conversations was almost too much to bear. It even hooked my dickens-eschewing boyfriend in for the duration!

  2. Who was that masked woman? Beth Dunn, eh? Well, Beth, you made me laugh 'til I cried. Stay away from Snape, though. He's mine - all mine.

  3. What a HOOT! Are you going to be live-blogging the final episode as well?

    By the way, I am dreadfully afraid that Pancks' snorting is terribly contagious.

  4. Well after tonights excellent episode I find myself duly conflicted. While I am enamored w/shining knight Arthur Clennam, my heart goes out to poor John Chivery. Even after getting his heart ripped out of his chest he still will do "anything for her." Poor guy. This episode was much easier to follow than Part 1. Can't wait for next week. BTW great live-blog.

  5. Very enjoyable live-blogging!

    Every scene at the river edge, all I could think of was that episode of History's Worst Jobs (I think that's it's name?) about the scavengers who lived off what they found on the banks of the Thames, about the water quality (and smell), rusty bits of metal, etc., and the improbability of Little Dorrit actually voluntarily choosing to walk there.

    I also am loving Pancks.

  6. Hooray! I'm glad you liked my live-blogging efforts -- sorry it's taken me a few days to reply to your kind comments (insane week at the old MBA mill). Very glad it is the weekend again, and time for more Little Dorrit fun...