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Friday, November 13, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, Lady of London S2E10

You were. Never doubt it.


Episode 10: The New Queen Bee Bikini (Season 2 Finale)

More Meaningful Title: Ladies of London, brought to you by the makers of alcohol.

well, golly sheesh...
In the last (maybe the last, no NO not the last) opening sequence, I fall in love with these ridiculous fools all over again. Marissa speaks with her darling boy, setting the day's agenda and he adorably agrees to be a part of it. Juliet roasts a chicken for her dog's 2nd birthday and they sing happy birthday to it as a family. Lady Julie is playing with the wind. Caroline wanders around aimlessly in her closet is chipping toothpaste out of her son's hair. 

And we're back!
The person Annabelle visits Fleming and complains that Lady Julie has not been attentive enough. This is a lie. No one can ease Annabelle's suffering except Annabelle. Then Juliet and Lady Julie arrive, so basically the person Annabelle was talking behind the back of a woman who was DUE TO ARRIVE FOR LUNCH. Classy, weirdo. I thought it was going to be another silly round table, when suddenly...Get ready for a bomb to dropped, Dear Reader. Are you ready? Because I was not ready.

Fleming turns to Lady Julie and says that Caroline Stanbury had told her many months ago that Lady Julie was "afraid" of Fleming joining the princess protection program their little group. So what? Lady Julie is afraid of everything! Lady Julie is the only one on this show that should drink MORE. Lady Julie apologizes. Why did you bring it up, Fleming?

But that is not the bomb, here it comes...

Ever one to dance on someone's grave, the person Annabelle jumps into the fray and somehow thinks this conversation is about her. She tearfully attacks Lady Julie complaining that she didn't "kiss and cuddle" Annabelle enough when she was crying in Denmark. Lady Julie apologizes again. But the person Annabelle does not accept the apology BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THIS FUCKING SHOW HAS GONE THUS FARRRRRRrrrrr

Right now I literally hate Annabelle for manipulating this situation...
FUCK OFF ANNABELLE. 
STOP PUNISHING WEAK LADY JULIE AS AN OUTWARD EXPRESSION OF YOUR OWN PAIN.




Actually, this is too horrible. I need a breather. You should take one too, Dear Reader.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, I'm cool. Let's continue. 
Lady Julie flees the murder scene the luncheon (good for you!) to a hobbit-style second lunch with Marissa where she orders a white wine spritzer. What did I just say? Alcohol can solve this problem. Marissa correctly identifies that Lady Julie's first priority is to her(self) husband and children, then her business THEN her friends, plural. Lady Julie has gotten sucked into Annabelle's swirl; she signed on to be a friend and inadvertently became her mother.  Poor person Annabelle is her jealous fifth child throwing a tantrum, needing attention.

Meanwhile, at Gift-Library... I'm kidding, fuck off.
Caroline is a domestic goddess, drinking tea while her children engage in riotous hooliganism play. She misses Gift-Library. I can't see why, her handsome husband Cem has the greatest accent. I could put on a unicorn onesie and listen to him all day...

Marissa is hosting the person Annabelle's children's book reading at her restaurant Bumpkin. It's being organized at the last minute because Annabelle "lost her venue". Sounds familiar. The person Annabelle downplays the torture she put Lady Julie through. 

*the sound of nails on a blackboard

Because Marissa is DOING SOMETHING FOR FREE for the person Annabelle, Annabelle crowns her as new best-friend-in-training. Watch yourself Marissa, it's only a matter of time before she turns on you. That is how unresolved grief works.

Juliet is a fashion blogger, apparently. Good of the producers to make this revelation at the very end of Season 2. It is an idea born from the brain of Marissa. This Marissa woman is on fire, eh? She should be teaching at Harvard Business School, if that was the place you went to engage in collaborative experiences, which it isn't. Juliet markets herself as a "fashion guru". IF you say so, honey. She attends a store with a tall woman and proceeds to dress her. Cool. Is that it? Don't you need to write stuff, too? 'Cause "blogger" is what people call me, and it's because I write stuff in a blog... Am I being old-fashioned? Pedantic? OH! UPDATE: She means people take her picture wearing clothes, she puts it in a blog and that's it. Like a electronic scrapbook. Cool.

A mafia-style sit down between the person Annabelle and Caroline happens. Peppermint tea is ordered. As we already know, shit is about to get mad real. The air crackles with anticipation. What does Caroline do? She orders a glass of wine! I love her. She knows one of the unalterable rules of the universe is: Do not send tea to do alcohol's job.

Caroline has been unofficially elected to speak to Annabelle about her behaviour. She is a master surgeon, deftly pulling apart the layers and offering Annabelle a way out if she sincerely wants to break ties. The brilliance is that the unspoken is thereby laid bare: Stop abusing us if you want to stay friends. Then she invites the person Annabelle to a Tikibar-themed pool party at her home. No mixed messages there

Most Profound Statement of the Season
"Everyone was having their own personal drama as well as having a great time" - the person Annabelle, on the human condition

To Caroline's Estate in Surrey, everyone! 
I can't freaking wait!
The person Annabelle arrives without pants, in winter. What is with these women? Lady Julie patiently listens while the pants-less person Annabelle spews more of her fountain of bullshit. They hug. Annabelle is perfectly aware that she can control people by accusing them of being a bad friend. She lives in chaos. Caroline gives a small speech indicating that she thankful for her friends, closing the chapter of Gift-Library and then jumps in the pool followed by Fleming and everyone else. The evening ends with everyone drinking champagne in the hot tub. THE END

And how does this magnificent Odyssey end, Dear Reader? As we began, with each of the ladies in a talking head segment. But what they say is not nearly as interesting as what has happened since... 

The person Annabelle has decided not to return for a third Season. This is attention-grabbing bullshit, of course. She will, have no doubt. Speaking of which, it would be prudent if the producers spent the extra money to get some grief therapy for Annabelle to unwind the years of hatefulness she has been building up. (Writing a book ain't gonna do it.) She is currently directing her unbridled rage at Caroline, but this is a ruse and do not give it any creedence, Dear Reader. 

Lady Julie is her own man. Good for her. I predict she and Fleming will bond a bit more over a shared love of soup. 

Maybe they can bond with Marissa, who is busy building her food and drink empire. 

Caroline hates food so that relationship was never going to work. But Caroline and Juliet are the closest friends, vacationing together with their families. This does make sense because they both love fashion. (FA-SHUN!)

Food Caroline Talked About In This Episode
"Tuna Poke"

Food Caroline Actually Ate In This Episode
Tiny Chocolate bars


Don't forget to write! (Put it in her box.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, Lady of London S2E9

Same, Caroline.
Episode 9: Unbelievable Balls

More Meaningful Title: Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Caroline Stanbury

The Place: Hotel D'Angleterre, Copenhagen, Denmark

Opening Sequence...
They all exit their rooms like some sort of off-Broadway bedroom comedy. Caroline is not going anywhere, though; she is hiding in Fleming's bed, awaiting her man servant makeup artist. Fleming answers the door FOR Caroline. Get this! Caroline's got Fleming - a Baroness, in her own country - acting as her butler! You blow my mind Caroline.  In an act of upmarket social grooming, Caroline's makeup artist picks bits of caviar out her hair. Is there a more glamorous woman on earth?

Then it's time to pack up and move to Fleming's family estate in a short bus. This has never happened before, but they actually re-used footage of the ladies exiting the hotel. You can see that the person Annabelle is wearing a white shirt and NO coat in the scene, moments later she's wearing a black outfit WITH a coat on the bus. 
They arrive at the Valdemar's Castle and it's heartstoppingly beautiful and full of magic. Caroline crawls into a bed (I SAW THAT COMING) and orders her man servant makeup artist to get the champagne he was storing in his luggage. This woman is fantastic. Juliet's room is a canopy bed attached to the family chapel and my heart leaped out of my chest for the beauty of it all.

The first formal dinner happens... They all look stunning but the person Annabelle looks more beautiful than I've ever seen her and yet is behaving like she is possessed by a demon. 


Do you see the person Annabelle here?

Then stupid stupid Marissa starts shit when she asks what was said on the bus over to the palace... SHUT UP SHUT UP MARISSA! You do have a big stupid mouth. Her look of fuckery from underneath her eyelashes is psychopathic. A fairly heated exchange ensues between the person Annabelle and Caroline. Lady Julie is collateral damage in the form of the ragged doll they both have in their clenched jaws.



Drink the poison.

Best Line of the Episode
"I want to say to my husband, this was the best four days of my life!" - Lady Julie, on the disaster that is Denmark. I love that Lady Julie wants to share the best fun of her life with her husband, I love Relaxed Lady Julie (TM) right now!

Caroline beautifully resolves that Lady Julie has gained strength in recent months and that she need not be in Annabelle's shadow. This sends Annabelle into apoplexy. She sits at the end of the DINNER TABLE smoking like a chimney, laughing at the air and being miserable. Not to mention Fleming who is terrified these wild animals will tear apart her dining room and embarrass her in front of her family. 

Cut to... 
The Next Morning! 
They have all slept through breakfast! 
Fleming is incandescant with rage! 


Sophie apologizes and Fleming absolutely lets her have it!  That's a bit unfair, really, because they were ALL late. Sophie continues to be gracious in the face of it, while Annabelle cackles madly in the background when Caroline and Fleming get into it. 


I am Annabelle's misplaced rage.
The Drama!
IN the most hilariously scripted portion of the entire series, the person Annabelle exercises her acting chops while Sophie bites her lips to keep from laughing. A tell-all book as been written about he-who-shall-not-be-named (Hint: Alexander McQueen) and now a small little stupid tabloid has written a blurb about a man who died FIVE EARTH YEARS AGO and Annabelle blubbers like her home has burned down. The women - sans Caroline - band together and pretend her bad behaviour is forgiven and understandable. How manipulative. So grateful Caroline didn't fall for that shit.

Then shit gets really real. Fleming and Caroline attend the family plot where Fleming's mother is buried. Losing her mother at such a young age is *extremely* painful for Fleming and my heart breaks for her...

Enough real life... Back to the palace! Wearing a selection of - seriously - the most marvelous full length evening gowns, they attend a formal dinner in room so beautifully appointed I thought I saw roses floating above the table. I found the cocktail hour of the evening a little awkward: the person Annabelle behaves (drunken?) flirtatiously, Caroline is perfect, Marissa is surprisingly adept (because she a budding sociopath?), Lady Julie is silent and calm and Juliet is late. Fleming makes a speech to greet everyone ...and suddenly she and Marissa are sharing meaningful looks across the table! They exchange warm words, hug and now all is forgiven and forgotten! Marissa even gives a little speech about how much she "loves" Fleming! Wha'?

The final few minutes are back to being a surrealist hodgepodge of images. Am I too understand that Sophie gets so drunk that she literally physically assaults people in the grand ballroom, kicking them with her bare feet? Dear Reader, I will let you be the judge. They appear to jump around, screaming like lunatics; Sophie the ringleader and Lady Julie her loyal follower. Mark my words, Dear Reader, we are going to find out that Sophie is actually allergic to alcohol and/or secretly a werewolf and her behaviour is a result of mild poisoning and/or the full moon.

Food Caroline Talked About In This Episode
She attends two palace dinners and a breakfast

Food Caroline Actually Ate In this Episode
None << No one else could do this.

Next Week: The New Queen Bee Bikini

We need to shed a collective tear, Dear Reader, because this is touted as the "Season Finale" - not the Series Finale, thank God - just the season. I'm almost seriously depressed, if depression were a thing you could turn on and off. I've never had so much fun watching a show, what will I do with my time? It's like my own personal Gift Library is closing...



Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, Lady of London S2E8

Gonna 'afta be, innit?

Episode 8: Something Rotten in Denmark

More Meaningful Title: The person Annabelle spoils everything.

The opening segment is slow and creepy~~
Juliet wakes her children.
Caroline wanders around her giant closet, alone.
Marissa doesn't know the difference between bullets and shot.
Lady Julie...did someone just say wax her ass?

Marissa and Juliet attend a fashion show. Here are the words I heard them say:  Ebola. Fashion Week. Ass dust. Passion is fashion. NI-omi. The person Annabelle stalks the runway with a boob that is trying to run away. She almost smiles. It's heartwarming, like watching Pinocchio become a real boy. The other two women go out of their way to support her, the way you whisper quietly outside the door of a person on their deathbed. Then seal their friendship with a model walk-off, and Annabelle awkwardly hugs them both. 




Cut to... the person Annabelle and Naomi Campbell having a chat. Yes, the Naomi Campbell. (Point of process: The first is 'a' is long because it's followed by a vowel, 'o'. The 'o' is ALSO long because it in turn is followed by an 'i'. The 'i' is short because it is not followed by a vowel. So it's pronounced NAY-OH-MEE, not NI-omi.) I have adored this woman from her earliest days via Fashion Television. I know that she always carries Knorr spice in her purse in case a meal is bland and that she once had the George V in Paris cook her a roast turkey on American Thanksgiving, deliver it to her hotel room and ate it in her bathrobe with her friends. I mean, I sincerely am a fan...BUT I have never heard her speak! Naomi is so beautiful and sounds exactly like a whiskey-drinking jazz singer from the 1930s. I'm hyponotized. She says the most beautiful things to the person Annabelle, who almost smiles. I'm confused. If Naomi Campbell is asking you to call her - and saying her number hasn't changed - WHY AREN'T YOU CALLING HER?


The doctor will see you now.

Meanwhile ... at Gift Library! Kidding, you guys, it's still closed, but for some reason they are having an exit interview in the creepy abandoned warehouse. I would love to know what is really in those sparkling white binders that line the entire back wall behind Caroline's desk. All the embezzled cash, maybe? Caroline, wearing a large sheepskin rug as a shirt, and her last two remaining employees (Rania's back!) sit wet-eyed before retiring to the pub. Caroline does not follow them because they serve food there. With garlic.

Marissa, the inventor of toaster strudel the mafia-style sit down over cups to tea, arranges to meet Fleming to discuss - what else? - Marissa's big mouth. The last time this happened she straight up dumped Juliet as a friend. Chamomile flower tea is ordered. Shit's about to get mad real. Turns out, Fleming is STILL STILL upset about something Marissa said about something about someone about something. Marissa apologizes again. They hug. But Fleming STILL STILL does not accept the apology and I'm so bloody frustrated with this situation that I am secretly scared Fleming is fucking crazy for real.


This is Fleming rn.

Lady Julie poses nude atop a pop art painting in effort to advertise JUB, a la Top Dog. She looks amazing and has the best bottom. She says, "I do like my bottom". Fascinating.

Caroline, Sophie and Fleming (who uses the term darlingheart in a sentence) meet for lunch to discuss the scripted trip idea of all the ladies going to Denmark. Fleming tries to hug Caroline. Caroline requires therapy shortly therafter. Same, Caroline.

The ladies, wearing a selection of ridiculous black felt hats, skintight acid-washed jeans and spike heels, dressed as slutty rabbis apparently, all arrive at the ginormous warehouse that is Heathrow airport. All except the person Annabelle. They stand about like fools until she appears at the last minute in a sour temper. She fails to properly greet her host. The person Annabelle admits to needing "support", and then mumbles something on camera. I rewinded it several times and CAN NOT hear her. The upshot is: she can't ask for help out of her funk, someone has to notice her, then help her. That's the game of it all. Enjoy playing, ladies! She then lurks about in doorways, and refuses to wear a coat in subzero weather. This is absolutely going to end in tears.

On to Denmark, friends!!

Cellphone footage of them playing around in economy class did not live up to my expectations. Try harder, Bravo. 

The hotel is magnificent and immediately Caroline crawls into bed with Fleming. If I ever play hide and seek with Caroline Stanbury, I will know where to look. She is so fuzzy and warm she OFFERS Fleming a an unsolicited HUG >>> 1/1.1m1.fd[k[adpiah[efj (sorry, I fell on my keyboard)

Fleming is a national celebrity in Denmark and carries herself like a Queen amid paps. She authentically complains about losing her privacy (pronounced: "privah-sea") but needs to be treated with the utmost deference in person. It's a tough balancing act and she would emotionally drain me, personally, but Caroline has no emotions, enjoys the spotlight and sucks up to her at every moment, linking arms like a pair of Japanese school girls. It is a self-reinforcing feedback loop that seems to work. How utterly fascinating. Fleming speaks at length about her Danish royal heritage and it is truly awe-inspiring. She is the hostess with the mostess. They decide to hit a local furrier, 'cause that's what Danes do when they let their hair down? Dunno.


This is Fleming rn.

"I could not be wearing less clothing". - Caroline Stanbury, in winter

Lady Julie starts fussing because she doesn't approve of fur, also she's hungry. (Where are your JUBs, Lady Julie?) And like a Baroness, Fleming indicates everyone should do as she feels on holiday, so off Lady Julie goes to grab a coffee. Apropos of exactly nothing and having to do with nobody, the person Annabelle decides to attack Lady Julie, and assigns adjectives to Lady Julie that are better suited to herself, like "childish" and "rude". Being mean to Lady Julie is no-no, bitchface! You are on notice, the person Annabelle.

They attend a fur store and try a bunch of expensive coats. The person Annabelle sits in a chair and makes strange fashion suggestions like the drunk skeleton from The Last Unicorn. Go be unhappy somewhere else. It's becoming clear that she has fixated on the death of Alexander McQueen in an unhealthy way and is soon to follow him to the grave if she doesn't change her internal dialogue.

Best Line of The Episode
"You put so many bandaids on...they all fall off!" - Juliet Angus, further excerpt from her PhD thesis in clinical psychology




The Drama!
Darkness falls and all the ladies are a-flutter with thoughts of Annabelle exploding at dinner. Interestingly enough, Caroline indicates that the person Annabelle has taken advantage of Lady Julie. It takes one to know one, Caroline. Fleming indicates she intends call everyone on the carpet, Caroline warns her off. With Fleming, that's like trying to stop water moving down hill.

3, 2, 1... CONTACT

The person Annabelle - who is very likely very drunk - takes the bait and goes around the table insulting each of the women. Each is struck dumb with shock and embarrassment. Lady Julie - the person Annabelle's closest friend for heaven's sake! - bears the brunt of it and is STILL GRACIOUS. (In the talking head segment she says "This is not the Annabelle I know". You are classy, Lady Julie.)

Caroline, in a move that makes me love her because she can literally speak to a woman like a man, turns around and says "sometimes to you are too ...to yourself, not with us".  Y E S

Go back and re-watch what she did there: She told the gentle truth. Caroline correctly understands that the person Annabelle is suffering and gives her an easy out. The person Annabelle, who was looking for a fight and reason to fuck everything up and leave Denmark in a huff is absolutely robbed of the opportunity. Mark my words, she won't stop there. She will find another way to throw the hook in next episode. And I think we are all agreed that in a past life Caroline was a military general and a zen buddhist monk. Fucking perfection! 

And what happens? The person Annabelle hears NOT A WORD OF IT. She claims Caroline is being "sneaky" in the talking head segment. Way to go, Me Me Me, you are the architect of your own prison.

Food Caroline Talked About In This Episode
Chicken Liver
White wine spritzer, the cocktail of upscale Vegas hookers everywhere. YES

Food Caroline Actually Ate In This Episode
Chewing - actually masticating - in the fabulous Danish restaurant. *chorus of angels*

Next Week: Unbelievable Balls

Reader's Note: The next episode is filmed in an actual Danish castle and looks so beautiful I could die...

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, Lady of London S2E7

T
She ate the dog with a fine Chianti.


Episode 7: The Cougar in the Room


More Meaningful Title: Best. Episode. Ever. Because. Accents.


In the intro, Lady Judy gestures frantically, vogueing to a beat only she can hear. Fleming cooks. Caroline puts her hair in a bun, takes it out of a bun and ties it back into a messy bun in perfect silence, a contemplative move reminiscent of Waiting For Godot; and the person Annabelle checks the sights on her shotgun while standing at her dining room table. If I didn't know better I would think I was watching a Dadist film. Haruki Murakami writes in '1Q84' that once a loaded gun enters the narrative, it can not remain without being used. It begs the question, how will these lives converge?


We begin with a relaxed Lady Julie and Sophie (like tequila and Clamato juice, I'm in love with this pairing!) quietly shopping for a shooting weekend in some sort of men's kilt store in order to 'look the part'. (Reader's Note: Lady Julie keeps referring to it as a SHOO-ting week-END, in a bad approximation of a upper-class British accent.) Juliet joins them. They look at socks and try on felt hats. It's amazing. Sophie is so friendly and knowledgeable about shooting in the talking head segment, but... wait! Something has happened, they are being vague...

Cut to Caroline Fleming and Caroline Stanbury curled up in bed together (hopefully, one day I will come home and Caroline will be curled up in my bed) talking about, I can't be certain... Could it be the same topic? Yes, yes it appears to be. The plot is thickening! Fleming is still? very upset about Marissa's cougar comments from last episode. She needs to repeat over and over again that she is "in love with a 30-year-old" who writes her embarrassing poetry. That's cool, Fleming, do you!


Best Line of the Episode

"It's my nightmare!" - Caroline Stanbury, on romantic love. Same Caroline.

Cut to Marissa, lying reframing explaining to her husband why she doesn't like Fleming's new beau: He kicked her out of a cab in the middle of the night!


WHOA...


WAIT!


WHAT?


WHEN??


WHY DOES THE BEST STUFF HAPPEN OFF-CAMERA ON THIS SHOW?!?!?


Follow me, Dear Reader, because we need to peek behind the curtain for a moment. According to Google, Sophie's birthday is 28 December and in 2014 that landed on a Sunday. It was this night that Marissa is claiming she was abandoned by Fleming and her man when they threw her out of the cab on the way home. (Please note: Fleming does not deny this happened, but alleges it was not so dramatic.) As a result, Marissa was bitchy and irritable with Fleming as punishment, making all the cougar comments to deliberately  "subconciously" get under her skin. Not a good look, Marissa. And the clincher? Marissa is 'best friends' with Fleming's sister and now Fleming's parents are casting a glance askance at the boyfriend, harshing Fleming's flow when she's just tryin' to get it in.


For simplicity sake, let's diagram this problem backwards on a restaurant napkin, the way my friend Carolyn did to explain why her engagement was called off...

Fleming is doubly angry --- Danish parents are in a uproar --- Fleming is angry --- Marissa calls Fleming a cougar at bowling and complains to Fleming's sister that the bf is an ass --- Marissa gets kicked out a cab --- [insert reason why bf did this to Marissa]

We are missing a big piece of the script story here, Bravo! Why did that happen? Englishmen who date Danish Baroness' are not normally the kind of pricks that ditch middle-aged females on the side of the street for no reason. What did Marissa do to deserve this? Other than being Marissa.



I love her. I'm scared of her. It's complicated.

Images pass along the screen in a blur. The English countryside is featured, the day is blustery and damp. Women wearing fur hats shoot magnificent birds. First the hat is on the person Annabelle, then it dons the head of Caroline Fleming. It's a sorting hat, indicating who is good at SHOO-ting and who is not. 


Let's recap!

Juliet hates Marissa.
Marissa finds calm Juliet "boring".
Fleming hates Marissa.
But Marissa loves to watch the person Annabelle shooting (FA-SHUN!)
Caroline Stanbury hates shooting and drags everyone to the pub. 
The person Annabelle hates the pub and rolls out of there wearing the giant fur sorting hat like a crown with a pair of pheasants hung on her shoulder like an old pair of ice skates, looking like a Vogue photo shoot circa 1995. She brought a man-friend on the shoot and leaves him behind like so much Eurotrash. Fucking perfection.


"I'm Happy"

Meanwhile...at Gift-Library. Kidding, you guys. It's already closed. Sophie asks Caroline about it and Caroline does an excellent pissed-off cockney accent. I tremble with delight.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, relaxed Lady Julie and Marissa are drinking champagne in a bubble bath together! Talks turns to Fleming's upset and Marissa indicates that she is more than ready for a fight. Okay, twinkle-toes, let's see this. To be extra passive-aggressive, they both arrive late and slightly tipsy to a formal dinner where everyone else await in hunger. Fleming - barely able to contain her rage - gets in an argument with Marissa about models in the fashion industry getting their bodies creamed by a special person (who must be known as a "creamer", yes?). 


It goes without saying that I am crying with laughter


Caroline Stanbury, dressed as Tuxedo Mask (this woman loves costume!) realizes that Fleming is about to explode and schools Marissa on how large the problem is for Fleming. Marissa decides to beat her up in the parking lot face the music and asks Fleming to talk during a bathroom visit. By her own admission, the thought of this too much for Fleming and she tries to crawl out the window. Fleming does an imitation of Marissa's American accent.


FYI I am crying with laughter.


Marissa kinda listens, apologizes, uses the old "I'm not gonna lie about my feelings" bullshit - the national anthem of basic bitches everywhere - apologizes some more and Fleming accepts her apology.


EXCEPT SHE DOESN'T - because that is how this show works!


And you know what is happening in the next room while the camera wastes time on this non-issue? 



~~~SOPHIE IS FUNNELING BOOZE WITH JULIET ~~~~

You had one job, Bravo! This is not a drill! 

Okay people, we need to have a huddle because I am seriously concerned about Fleming and this mystery dude. IN general, guys who start fights between women-friends and who cause drama with gf's parents and sisters always turn out to be bad news...

Next Week: Something is Rotten in Denmark


I don't know how they are going to top this episode, but looks like they're gonna try because it will feature Naomi Cambell, a trip to Denmark and a potential fight between Caroline and Annabelle?? If I had to pick three things that had no relation to each other, those are the three things I would choose.



*sings* ...my empire of dirt...

Food Caroline Talked About in This Episode

She orders fois gras at the shooting weekend.

Food Caroline Actually Ate in This Episode

Well, she must be hungry because she hasn't eaten in the past two episodes, so this week she gorged herself. And by that I mean, she delicately held a spoon above a bowl in an imitation of eating soup while sitting in Fleming's bed. Well played, Caroline. She chases this with a lollipop. This woman eats like she's trying to get pre-diabetes.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, Lady of London S2E6


Are you talking about sex?

Episode 6: Are We Fired?


More Meaningful Title: The Producers at Bravo Want You to Feel Sorry for Rich People with Bad Judgment, Whilst Still Being Jealous of their Lives


Quickly, quickly now, everyone! 
Take cover to endure the editing blitzkreig so that we can get through the opening montage, quickly!
Images of London change to images of the country and we arrive in the dressing wing of Caroline Stanbury's house. She stands bereft in the closet next to her expensive candy-coloured purses. She advises that she will take a 'couple hours' to dress but she ends up wearing her usually uniform of ripped jeans and a bias-cut biker jacket. Disappointing.

Caroline Fleming is shopping for vegetables at an outdoor market. Normal.


The person Annabelle is wearing a black dress and someone is slavishly thanking her for it. Am I to understand that because she was the self-proclaimed muse of Alexander McQueen, she has somehow been imbued with his genius and now she is a fashion designer, or something...? She walks around with hair in her eyes like a sheep dog, for God's sakes.


Lady Julie is walking with her kids.

Marissa is drinking red wine with her kid. Don't believe me, watch the show.

Juliet is talking with her kid and the kid is smarter and more socially aware than Juliet.

And we begin with Marissa and the person Annabelle who have developed a ...friendship? Wait, I feel a little betrayed because I thought Marissa was too "middle class" for Annabelle. Marissa uses the words organic, authentic and real correctly identifying mistaking Annabelle for a vegetable. Same, Marissa. She then embarrasses herself by describing the person Annabelle as - and let me try to parse this out correctly - "FA-SHUN! FA-SHUN!" despite Annabelle not appearing in any of the FA-SHUN! photographs she provides. Marissa requests assistance with choosing exactly the right kind of trucker hat and Annabelle provides no constructive feedback other than she hates it all. Well reasoned, well argued, I guess. 




The fireplace makes me think of Hell

Meanwhile... at Gift-Library (BTW, why the christing fuck is it hyphen-ated?) Caroline needs a special pillow because her heiny hurts. Mine would too if it was just two bones clicking on a plastic chair, like a dog with long nails on the linoleum. A woman named Pauline (where is Rania?) is literally trembling in front of Caroline and accompanies her to an investors meeting, by which they mean a meeting with Caroline's father and his cronies, who refuse to throw more money at this ridiculous flight of fancy. In the talking head segment, Caroline tells us that she has been working at Gift-Library for seven years, not just two years like she told us last episode. Does that make the situation better or worse, Caroline?

There is a commercial break and we return to Caroline being escorted into a dark SUV while sad music plays. She is either being arrested for securities fraud or someone has died. 
No such luck! 
She calls Rania (WHERE IS RANIA?) and says 'we grew the business too fast'... 
Wait, that reminds me of something....
AH, yes! Yes, you did Caroline! That's right, because in the first episode you bragged about 'acquiring' The Wedding Shoppe. So, let me get this straight: Instead of building the existing business with your investor's money, you bought a second business as a soft place for you to land in the event of disaster. Because while Gift-Library staff most certainly will be out of work, Caroline will still have The Wedding Shoppe from which to draw an income...

W O W 


...That is some very creative accounting, Caroline. I am interested in what the British Tax Code says about that...


Ever the sociopath, Caroline correctly imitates the sad body language she sees in others but doesn't actually feel anything other than the pinch of rejection that her natural charisma could not get her out of this mess. To pass the time she turns her attention to hosting friends from - where else? - America! She says she met a man in a club in 'Los Angeleez' and they 'clicked'. No, she doesn't mean her husband, she means Michael Sam, former NFL player most famous for being openly gay, and his partner. She sits with her 'other half' while her guests put her children to sleep. The same children she is leaving Gift-Library to spend more time with. Like I said before, in every situation Caroline must have a servant. And no, by 'other half' she still doesn't mean her husband, she means her make-up artist Luke. If Caroline insists on calling her guests her "gay boys", can I call her a fag hag?


The person Annabelle talks about her stupid book again. At some point we are going to have to acknowledge that this is a desperate cry for help.I hate to break it to her but the movie has already come out. It was called Inside Out and maybe she can rent the video and watch it with some of her FA-SHUN! friends. Or continue to worship the Devil. I'm cool with whatever she decides.


How do you get your mouth to do that?

Cut to...
Beaulieu Palace, where a distant titled relative of Lady Julie's husband whom she has never met (lol!) gives them a tour. In attendance are Caroline "The Danish Earth Mother" Fleming and the person Annabelle. Like Mapperton - and all property on planet earth - Beaulieu needs to generate an income in order to pay its taxes. For some reason, this comes as a surprise, a shock and an insult to Lady Julie who has a pathological need to throw herself behind a cause, no matter how stupid or undeserving. I can't generate sympathy for rich people who are faced with the simple task of having to make a living and neither should you, Dear Reader. Bravo wants us to both envy these people (the purpose of the show) and feel sorry for them (the plot of this episode). Pick a lane, assholes.

But this summit was not called to enjoy tea and crumpets, it was called to discuss Juliet's behaviour. It is agreed that Juliet is a trainwreck and they need to sort her out. Fleming argues that it's really a burst of love and attention that Juliet needs and volunteers to reach out to her. Fleming invites Juliet to her home to cook...pesto? With almond butter? ...or coconut oil? It was hard to follow because Fleming kept alluding to sexual intercourse and Juliet ended up looking like the normal one. NO ONE SAW THAT COMING. Juliet is like a haunted mirror that infects others with her poison while remaining herself immune.





Best Line of The Episode
"Wigs alter your personality" - Juliet Angus, excerpt from her PhD thesis on clinical psychology

Top Dog must be top of mind, because someone is trying to steal it. And by someone I mean Juliet. She arranges a bowling night with day-glo wigs, and mustard yellow custom bowling shirts and fast food...can hot dogs be far behind? 
Juliet is a Top Dog copycat. ( did you see what I did there?!?!? OMG!! )
Lady Julie and Juliet go off in a corner and continue to gibber and throw feces at each other talk about nothing. Ignore them.

The ladies each choose a shirt!
Juliet is Bam Bam
Sophie is Frank The Tank (yes, you are baby)
Caroline Stansbury is HRH
Marissa is Mother Theresa
Lady Julie is Loose Lips
and Caroline Fleming is Cougar...?



Marissa makes a bunch of off-colour comments about Fleming with 'little boys' and Fleming takes exception. We know this because she gets silent. As Caroline tells us in the talking head segment that "silence is deadly", then again that is how I describe my farts. Marissa - upon hearing of Fleming's displeasure - decides against the mature of tactic of either apologizing or shutting up. Instead she seems to challenge Fleming to some sort of duel. 




Next Week: The Cougar in the Room (Classy, Bravo.)

Food Caroline Talked About In This Episode

None
Food Caroline Actually Ate In This Episode
None

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, Lady of London S2E5

Entitled white people pointing at each other.

Episode 5: Clean Up Your Mess

More Meaningful Title: Paging Dr. Freud

This week, in the absence of a coherent plot, we ricochet quickly from woman to woman in staged vignettes that depict an approximation of real life. Totally meta, this film major is always down for some pastiche (you thought it was food, right?). I'ma break it down for you again because nothing has really changed...

Marissa and her husband pick up a key from a kindly marionette on a dark street corner. It's the key to ... who fucking knows because they cut to a dinner between she and her husband at a 'chef's table'. Marissa brags that she sits there a lot, which means she sits, from my experience at chef's tables, in the basement or next to the bathroom a lot. Stepford Academy Valedictorian and Class President Marissa goes into her 'motherhood is the only fulfilling thing on planet earth' spiel and her husband - who always looks vaguely embarrassed by her - gives her a pep talk which sounds like this: Eh, what what, quite right, right-o, good on you chap, stroke on Charles... etc.

Meanwhile... at Gift-Library, Rania mutters something about business and Caroline Stanbury blinks her large alien eyes in response. This is because their personalities were fused during the hiring process and Rania can now read her mind using a customized baby monitor.

Caroline Fleming continues to pray whilst her dogs eat. Still charming! 

Lady Julie is working on JUB. She attends an investors meeting and, to the surprise of everyone she has ever met, nails it.

The person Annabelle is drinking tea "laced" - her deathwish words not mine - with milk and sugar. She calls this the "French style". Somehow, I expect more from a woman who was once married to a RothschildWhatever. She redeems herself later in the show by wearing a toque and eating avocado toast. Maybe she's an aristocrat with a the heart of a middle class spinster. Maybe she's a mystery, wrapped in a riddle, surrounded by an enigma.

...and the spinning bottle of editing comes to a stop with Juliet who appears at Gift Library with Mr. Mustard and an ice pick.  for seven minutes in heaven with Caroline. to speak with Caroline.

Now, exactly what they are talking about remains a complete mystery. Something about how Lady Julie has once again done/said/breathed/blinked/existed the wrong thing and something about the off-camera threat Caroline made to Juliet and Gregor Angus. Both Caroline and Juliet are careful to gloss over it. But this is confusing. If a woman has threatened you, you don't drive up to her place of business unaccompanied and have a chat about it in the dead of night. It's like they're advancing the plot of some OTHER show... I'm bored to tears until Caroline says something about 'machine-gun your family'. Oh! that's what your AREN'T going to do! Great, Caroline, everyone for sure 100% believes you! That wasn't a glib verbalization of a deep seated unconscious wish AT ALL. Gotcha. For some reason, all blame past/present/future rests on Lady Julie. Well done, you pair of calculating harpys. End scene.

Marissa, on the other hand, is kicking ass and talking names in the high-stakes world of hot dog vendoring. She doesn't spend her office hours talking about other women, she spends them in productive meetings with people she treats as equals. The comparison between Gift-Library and her success is compelling. My prediction is that once Caroline figures out that Marissa is about to eclipse her, the resultant sabotage will be epic and very watchable.



Take it from Olivia and govern yourself accordingly

So, to re-cap.
The person Annabelle is psychoanalyzing Lady Julie on how to handle Caroline Stanbury, Caroline Stanbury is psychoanalyzing Juliet in the talking head segment, Lady Julie is psychoanalyzing Caroline Stanbury to her bestfriend/daughter (yes, she is one of those mothers, are you at all surprised?) and Caroline Fleming - in the producers' effort to keep this satellite of normalcy orbiting in the same space occupied by the Trainwrecks Ladies of London - is having an actual therapist attend her home and proceeds to ...act like a lunatic with DickFever(TM)*. Everyone has a breaking point. None of these women appear to have a college degree to rub between them and yet they all think they are genius'. Sounds familiar, Bravo.

Best Line of the Episode:
"Ten percent of the population are highly sensitive people. It's called HSP."
- Lady Julie, on a disorder and statistic she invented to obscure the fact that Caroline Stanbury is her pack leader and Galactic Overlord

Sophie! Sophie! Sophie!
I want her to get drunk again so I can watch her stagger around like a sailor on shore leave. Sadly, it's not my birthday, it's hers. Sophie has a birthday party in the basement. At a chef's table. somewhere with sugar skulls and stairs, wearing a suit tailored so tightly her amazing ass looks like a shelf. Caroline brings a pinata full of sex toys and #Iwanttopartywiththesechickssobadithurts

Fresh off her JUB win, Lady Julie can think of no better reward than to sacrifice herself to the volcano god humiliate herself totally and give Caroline a present of a T-shirt with the word KALE on it in a misguided attempt to pre-empt further attacks from Caroline. That's not how bullies work, Lady Julie. Caroline says she likes it because it's a 'frat t-shirt' (another Americanism!) and then dismisses Lady Julie entirely. Lady Julie pants in relief. If you are keeping track, Caroline has now received a personalized turkey hat from Marissa and a KALE t-shirt from Lady Julie. Based on the weight of tribute alone, Caroline clearly sits on the Iron Throne.

You can't have a reality show episode without grown women screaming bullshit at each other so, now we turn to the fighting... all the women start speaking about something, its mostly Juliet and Lady Julie - the two most emotionally fractured humans to grace the set - and for the life of me I can not figure out what they are fighting about. Nope. No idea. Stop asking. Fuck off.



This episode was boring and I hated it.

But wait. I need to bring the focus back on Caroline Stanbury for a sec. Watch how she conducts herself at this party: She is bright and engaging, she stays focused on her hostess the birthday girl, she brought a pinata. She does not - as these other fools do - stand in a corner and embarrassingly argue about nothing. Don't you get it yet? She is cashing paycheques from a reality show and not damaging her personal relationships!! This woman IS a genius.

Next Week: Are We Fired? (Only if you churn out another garbage episode like this one, Bravo)

Food Caroline Talked about in this Episode
None, because she is on a 'detox'. But she means alcohol only. Then proceeds to drink her face off at Sophie's party. ALSO SHE SMOKES THIN LITTLE CIGARETTES. That leather biker jacket isn't just for show, she's a real badass!

Food Caroline Actually Ate in this Episode
A skinny latte (but, is that food?)

*DickFever(TM) is an actual phase of life and I suffer from it, too. No shade Caroline Fleming, we are sisters in this thing. With enough awareness we can start an online support group.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, Lady of London S2E4

They could have been anything you like, sweetheart. 
You paid for them.

Caroline Stanbury: The Early Years


Episode 4: One Royal Hangover

More Meaningful Title: Sophie Lets Her Freak Flag Fly!

This episode is so layered I can barely handle it. Let's take a moment to try and absorb everything that is happening all at once. First, it’s important to note that Europeans – including the English – party hard after their children are in bed. Americans are unaccustomed to this because they make their life all about their children resulting in disastrous effects on their marriages and friends. The party gets more raucous and Caroline wearing a unicorn costume (they call it a 'onesie') poses astride a prone man, lying exhausted on a settee wearing a tuxedo. Do you have a visual? 
It's okay, I will wait...
You good? You sure? Ok, let's get started.

First Layer: Caroline was just playing around posing for a picture, making weird neighing noises. The man lying on the couch is not complicit in any way. He enjoys it for a moment then becomes bored then becomes uncomfortable, each feeling lasts three seconds. Please note, Uberfollower and lack of self-esteem-haver Lady Julie is taking the picture.

Second Layer: The man on the couch is Juliet's husband, Gregor, a reasonable and hard-working man. Juliet complains to Caroline that this 'crosses a line' while pointing an accusing finger.





Third Layer: Caroline leans towards Gregor's face and whispers "you know you want it". Why do women – Caroline being just one – act inappropriately with other women's husbands? The answer is complicated. Caroline always needs to be the centre of attention, hence taking the picture in the first place, and probably needs to imagine at all the men are secretly in love with her in order to keep her very fragile ego intact, hence the pseudo-flirting. I imagine that Caroline has done this before and more than one red-faced, drunken Englishman has taken his chance with an illicit kiss, something Caroline can then use against them in the future. Luckily for Juliet, Gregor is too smart to fall for this shit.

Fourth Layer: It is important to remember that Caroline would never have done this if she respected or valued Juliet as a friend, instead she makes things worse by incorrectly stating that Gregor 'loved it'. Lady, you are a witch.


'DO I LOOK EVEN REMOTELY SEXY?!?!?' - Caroline Stanbury (pleasesayyespleasesayyes)

There will be a tremendous amount of discussion about what should have happened. Here's my take: When a woman behaves like an asshole, let her. If this was a Jane Austen novel (and I always encourage you to imagine it is) her outrageous behavior would be quietly noted by the other women and she would be slowly ostracized from the group in future outings. But that was back when women had self-respect and a common understanding of human decency. Instead, we get Ladies of London.

The party breaks up into two rooms and most of the players go to bed. Gregor – for some weird reason – wants Juliet to clear the air with Caroline and so, like a lamb to the slaughter, she is verbally assaulted by both Caroline and Sophie, heretofore known as the 'Stanbury sisters'. For a hot minute Caroline is worried that she may have gone a step too far and proceeds to bore the world at large by re-framing the story until it no longer resembles the truth. But like the sociopath we know she is, Caroline recovers quickly and the following day at brunch (in Juliet's disgusting confetti-strewn post-NYE hotel room) she both retracts her apology to Lady Julie and calls Juliet 'crazy' for being polite to her guests. Remember that thing I talked about where Caroline accuses her accusers leaving them off balance, here it is again. As expected, Lady Julie emotionally collapses a second time, Juliet is back on the defensive and Caroline is now back in the power position. Required reading for this portion of the episode is found here.



How Caroline Stanbury feels right now.

The person Annabelle who had previously encouraged Lady Julie to accept Caroline's seemingly earnest apology the night before has heard enough and walks out to enjoy New Year's Day in the land of normal people, if she can find any.

"Glitterfoot" def. a disease of the wealthy and hungover, not contagious

I'm going to gloss over the middle bit because Caroline is boring when she is failing and that is exactly what is happening to Gift Library. We have a drop dead date regarding a debenture for added drama (get it? This show inspires me to poetry!). If on January 31st she cannot meet her creditors she will go out of business. 

*sound of toilet flushing wads of cash

In the talking head segment Caroline says that no matter what happens, her husband will catch her when she falls, or some shit like that. To her face, Cem says 'you have lost your personal motivation in the business'. Then I laughed maniacally into the dark void of my own soul. I guess for a 'Turkish dude' who speaks English with a very apparent Russian accent and business dealings that require him to travel bimonthly to Kazakhstan – a former Russian satellite state – he would know all about 'personal momentum'. I wish they would just admit he's an armsdealer and get it over with. My prediction is that his business. and maybe their relationship, does not withstand the increased scrutiny of the show.

Marissa appears in Hustler The London Sunday Times with a hot dog and - quelle surprise! - Caroline makes fun of it. She's just jealous she didn't think of it herself

Caroline Fleming returns to Denmark to visit her dear grandmother who has a plum-coloured car that matches - wait for it! - the trim on her adorable cottage home. She also plays the piano and makes sassy remarks. If she can shoot a rifle with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth a la Betty Draper, she will be my perfect woman.



Have you ever seen Betty Draper and Caroline Stanbury in the same room?

But do not despair, Dear Reader, that all the excitement has passed us by because a strange astrological triangulation occurs and Lady Julie, the person Annabelle and Juliet meet for coffee to discuss ... their mutual dislike of Caroline Stanbury! It appears there was an off-camera threat made by Caroline to Juliet and Gregor. Something about driving them into the ground. Or running over them with a car. It's unclear, sadly; but juicy enough to upset Juliet when Lady Julie mentions it in front of the person Annabelle, in a cowardly attempt to deflect attention from her own Caroline-induced pain. Juliet is correct to be upset because Annabelle is egging the situation on without having any skin in the game. Annabelle clearly still hates Juliet from their dust up last season. Juliet would be wise to demur and keep her infernal mouth shut but she instead she loses her temper and pops off with a bunch of nonsense. Again. And Annabelle is smug. Again.

Next Week: Clean Up Your Mess (in which Juliet speaks Spanish?!?!)




Food Caroline Talks About In The Episode:
   1.      Brunch – she eats none
   2.     Romantic dinner with her husband - she ingests nothing

Food Caroline Actually Ate in This Episode:
1. Nothing.