Gentleman Jack: Most women are dull and stupid
May 13, 2019 8:23 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Dr. Belcombe confirms that Lister is the perfect tonic for Ann Walker's nervous disorder. When news of a friend's death arrives, Ann's desperate reaction makes Lister suspect that she has secrets of her own.
posted by oh yeah! (13 comments total)
I let out such a cackle at Lister's look to camera and final line in this episode. I think her vengeance is going to be glorious.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:27 PM on May 13, 2019

I'm totally obsessed with this show.
posted by bleep at 10:31 PM on May 13, 2019

I enjoyed the Rawson brothers' mother's quiet reveal as the real threat in their family. Did I miss her in earlier episodes?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 5:59 PM on May 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nope this was her debut. She's great.
posted by bleep at 8:28 PM on May 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

The show is growing on me, and this episode I really liked Anne's talk with both her sister and her dad when she broached the idea of bringing Ann in as her "companion" and they were both, "cool, it'd be nice to see you settled." I was also really struck by how beautiful and expressive Suranna Jones's face is--sometimes she looked so much younger and more vulnerable than she does when running rings around the Rawsons.

That said, I think I'd also tremendously enjoy a different version of this show that was just Anne Lister, Rent Collector and Crime Solver.
posted by TwoStride at 9:21 PM on May 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Well, I certainly am here for LESBIAN JUSTICE!
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:06 AM on May 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

Something I noticed about Walker's outfits are that when she's feeling good she wears these big elaborate pink cupcakes and when she's feeling sad she wears blue or neutral (like that subdued mauvish purple one). I like imagining that she's using the available styles to express how she feels because it's one of the few things she has. We're all just doing our best with what's around.
posted by bleep at 1:36 PM on May 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Was pink a feminine coded colour in the 1830s? I've heard it has been masculine on and off over the years, though I guess the costume designers would be taking modern sensibilities into account.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:26 AM on May 17, 2019

This made me want to read the Wikipedia article about pink and it's pretty interesting, it looks like pink didn't mean anything in particular it just wasn't considered *inappropriate* for boys because men wore red in their army uniforms.
posted by bleep at 12:20 PM on May 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

An apocryphal tidbit I've heard about 'pink used to be for boys' goes: Red clothing from all-male military uniforms would fray and fade and be outgrown over time. It would then be taken apart and reconstructed into clothing for younger males. So the father's scarlet 'redcoat' would end up as the son's faded-to-pink jacket. Not sure if true at all, but it's something people say.

I'm also waiting for some MeFite 'Costume Truthers' to come into the GJ posts, because I've been growing suspicious of some of the colors in the fancy gowns. Like that huge mauve dress on Sophie, I was like "C'mon, show!, we're 30 years before the invention of aniline dyes! That color is chemically impossible in 1830!". I would expect a lot more of sister Marian's brown-on-brown outfits on everyone. But maybe I'm wrong.
posted by bartleby at 2:41 PM on May 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

This show has been predominantly delightful so far, so I wasn't quite prepared for the way this episode tore me up a little bit. Thoughts:

1. The revelation of Mr. Ainsworth's abuse of Anne Walker casts a new light on her 'nervous hysteria'. I'm not sure of the timeline, but I think this would have been after her brother and parents died. Thinking of how alone she must have felt, and listening to her cry over how desperately she could have used someone like Lister just to talk to, was heart-wrenching.

2. People have rightfully been talking about Suranne Jones as a tour de force performance in this, but I especially enjoyed watching the cracks start to appear in her caddish self-image. It's much easier to be a rake when you are already half-reconciled to the idea that all women will eventually leave you for a respectable marriage anyway - but as we've seen in the very first episode, it doesn't always keep Lister from catching feelings despite herself.

3. Team Everything Good for Thomas Sowden. Someone's inevitably going to find Shitty Dad Sowden's pocketwatch in the pig-pen/Thomas' bloodstained waistcoat/whatever, and I'm already dreading it.

4. Eugénie and Mrs. Cordingly. I love them. I loved their scene. For all that the whole downstairs plot has been revolving around Eugénie's pregnancy, we basically haven't heard anything from her or gotten any glimpse into her interior life, even compared to the limited amount we've seen of the other servants. I get that this is supposed to reinforce the idea that she is an enigma to the rest of the household staff, but still! I'd love for Mrs. Cordingly to teach John a bit of French, and for us to learn more about Eugénie that way.
posted by jurymast at 3:58 AM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don't get the idea that she's a cad or a rake. All she talks about is wanting to find true love and being upset about having to settle for less.
posted by bleep at 12:06 PM on May 19, 2019

I've been growing suspicious of some of the colors in the fancy gowns.

Not really equipped to be full #costumetruther for this, because back in the day, I was focused on late-Georgian/Age of Sail military clothing which is about 30 years before this, but seconding that it has to be a deliberate anachronism to use colors specifically associated with aniline dyes for the costuming. That indigo! That mauve! They're coal-derived, and this is clearly a coal-producing area, so maybe the idea is that it's a ~~~ little joke for those nerdy enough to care?

For a little more context on aniline dyes, and why their invention was a watershed in textile history, here this is a good, accessible overview. This has some examples of the aniline plaids that were popular for respectable ladies who nevertheless wanted to flash out, and which is why I CHOKED ON MY NERDY TEA when I saw Marianne nbd wearing one, but also now retrospectively love it because if this show were 30 years later, that is legit what she would wear.

(I think about how excited I was a couple years ago when electric blue came back in a big way, and then I think about how I would have LOST MY EVERLOVING SHIT if I'd just been wearing drab brown and gray for everyday with one nicer single-color slightly-less-drab dress or whatever for church, and all of a sudden aniline mauve and indigo and plaid exploded into my life.)

Two other notes that somebody more knowledgeable may correct me on:

- In England in the 1830's, the clubbed and powdered hair you see on the footmen in some scenes would've been deeply anachronistic even in a more provincial areas like this, almost like somebody wearing an Abe Lincoln-style stovepipe in 1950's America.

- Lister's old flame who gets married to a man also wears white, when Victoria pioneered white for wedding dresses in her 1840 wedding.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:57 AM on June 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

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