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The Vaudeville Circuit in 18th Century Scotland

15 May

We hate to admit it, but we’ve become hooked on a show on the idiot box. The show is ‘Outlander’ on the Starz network, and it’s based on the work of the writer Diana Gabaldon.  We’ve not read her work, but the premise is that Claire, a woman from England circa World War II falls though a time warp near a Stonehenge-like rock formation and ends up in eighteenth century Scotland.  Now, you might think that Claire’s new space-time location is going to be pastoral and slow-moving, but it just ain’t so. After she arrives, stuff gets really complicated. She meets a sociopathic Redcoat who’s the ancestor of her 1940s husband. She meets a young Scot named Jamie that she ends up marrying (much to the disgust of Jamie’s sort-of girlfriend, but not to her 20th century husband, who conveniently has not been born yet.) The Scots don’t trust her ’cause she’s English. The English don’t trust her ’cause she’s in the company of Scots. She gets accused of being a witch! (One of the show’s exteriors is the same castle where scenes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” were shot. We kept hoping that John Cleese would show up and proclaim, “She turned me into a newt!”, but no such luck.)

No such luck

No such luck

It’d take a long time to sum up everything that’s happened in the show, so we won’t try.  In fact, we’re only going to focus on something that occurred in the last episode, as the logic of the thing struck as as a bit odd. To set up the scene, Jamie’s been captured by the Redcoats (Jamie is always getting captured by the Redcoats.) Claire, is determined to find her man and free him (she’s kinda spunky that way).   She is in the company of Murtagh, an old family friend of Jamie’s clan. They learn that Jamie has escaped from the Redcoats (Jamie is always escaping from the Redcoats.)  They need to find Jamie, but how do they signal their location? They hit the vaudeville circuit!  Let’s put on a show!

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney

Let’s put on a show!

Seriously. Murtagh performs a Scottish sword dance, but his act fails to pack ’em in.  They finally hit on having Claire dress as a man and sing a traditional bawdy song, but with a twist – it’s set to the music of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” They kill with the new act! They make the rounds. Jamie is sure to hear of their act! He does! He goes to find her and … gets captured by the Redcoats.

The episode has a cliff-hanger ending, as Claire shames a group of strapping men into joining her in storming the prison where her hubby is incarcerated.  We don’t know what’s going to happen next, but we suspect that the bawdy song thing won’t help much.