A Pleasant Surprise

Alphabet Movie challenge: day 8

Hidden Gem

Answer: The Impressionists

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I realized that I neglected to write about The Impressionists

in the course of my “fan path”;

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a grave error on my part because it is a mini-series that should not be missed! and not just because how unbelievably lovely Richard’s eyes look in this program, either 😉

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As I shared in the Proust Questionnaire, Monet was a favorite of mine long before I knew about Richard Armitage. I didn’t know much about the Man vs. the Artist though, so it was very interesting to learn about the more personal side of things.

Monet and Manet; I wasn't the first to be confused
Monet and Manet; I wasn’t the first to be confused

How he met his wife and started a family with her; how he struggled, along with his artist friends, to fight against preconceived notions of what art should be;

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and how he became widowed, slowly fell in love with a woman who had been his benefactor, but was denied acknowledging the relationship for propriety’s sake.

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I also enjoyed peeking into the everyday life

of an artist from that time period;

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what was

involved

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to make his visions

become reality.

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The Impressionists made me look a little closer at the paintings I already thought I knew and even changed my mind about some I had previously disliked.

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The Impressionists

was a pleasant surprise 🙂

can't say the same for that goatee...
can’t say the same for that goatee…

(Non-Armitage answer: The Matchmaker, starring Janeane Garofalo)

Sparkhouse: the important parts

Sparkhouse is a sad story,

I’m not going to lie.

and not just because of this hair
and not just because of this hair

When I first watched the mini-series on YouTube, it haunted me for days afterwards. Not because of the tragic love story at the center of it all and not because of the gutsy girl who just couldn’t seem to catch a break, but because of John Standring. I just couldn’t seem to get him out of my head.

are you watching Richard Armitage on that tv? because nothing else could possibly be that distracting...
are you watching Richard Armitage on that tv? because nothing else could possibly be that distracting…

so I turned to fan-fiction.

I gobbled up every Sparkhouse story I could find, I was possessed!

*need MOAR!*
*need MOAR!*

Have you seen Sparkhouse yet? Not sure you want to risk it?

Let me help, here are the important parts:

Farmhand fancies employer’s daughter

*I know Thorin makes it look easy but swords are sharp!*
*I know Thorin makes it look easy but swords are sharp!*

He asks her out

for a drink

*a woman Vicar. that's funny*
*a woman Vicar. that’s funny*

It’s awkward

and a bit confusing

*glow-in-the-dark or cherry flavored? decisions, decisions*
*glow-in-the-dark or cherry flavored? decisions, decisions*

The next day

she tries to let him down easy

serious hair-part for a serious occasion
serious hair-part for a serious occasion

She leaves town

but then she comes back

*you only came back for your North & South dvd, didn't you?*
*you only came back for your North & South dvd, didn’t you?*

Financial problems force her to offer the farmhand

a shot at being farm-owner, if he marries her

*how many copies of The Hobbit do you really need?*
*how many copies of The Hobbit do you really need?*

He

warily agrees

*I won't make you dress like Sir Guy, I promise*
*I won’t make you dress like Sir Guy, I promise*

Then

there’s a Wedding

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and

a Wedding Night

*sorry Richard Armitage, duty calls*
*sorry Richard Armitage, duty calls*

some

Drama

*I need to replace my wife's North & South dvd. I broke it. yes, I learned my lesson*
*I need to replace my wife’s North & South dvd. I broke it. yes, I learned my lesson*

and they lived happily ever after!

well, maybe not right away…

I’ll let poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox explain:

Love’s Coming

She had looked for his coming as warriors come,
With the clash of arms and the bugle’s call;
But he came instead with a stealthy tread,
Which she did not hear at all.

She had thought how his armor would blaze in the sun,
As he rode like a prince to claim his bride:
In the sweet dim light of the falling night
She found him at her side.

She had dreamed how the gaze of his strange, bold eye
Would wake her heart to a sudden glow:
She found in his face the familiar grace
Of a friend she used to know.

She had dreamed how his coming would stir her soul,
As the ocean is stirred by the wild storm’s strife:
He brought her the balm of a heavenly calm,
And a peace which crowned her life.

handcloseup

Appealing

After resisting Guy of Gisborne for so long, you may be wondering what finally made me give in.

Two words: Hood Academy.

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Yes, the behind-the-scenes feature that focused on the

swordsmanship, archery, and horseback training the cast participated in prior to filming.

“but that’s not really Guy”, you say, “that’s Richard.”

(you’re totally not saying that because you all understand *winks* but let’s just pretend)

Must.See.More.
Must.See.More.

As someone who has no qualms about saying

that she generally does not like longer hair on men or guy-liner,

I saw this interview:

and began to rethink things.

That was then followed by this:

*bites fist*
*bites fist*

and I was done. I had to check the infamous Guy of Gisborne out,

if only to witness some of this in action:

I spy with my little eye...the tongue of concentration.
I spy with my little eye…the tongue of concentration.

Behind-the-scenes clips win me over every time,

I’ve always found them very a-peeling…

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Simplicity

I had gotten to the point in my fan path where I felt I really couldn’t avoid Guy of Gisborne any longer.

The leather and guy-liner aside, there had to be something to this character.

Sir Guy: the man, the myth, the legend
Sir Guy: the man, the myth, the legend

After I realized that the show was called Robin Hood and not Guy of Gisborne

I found it on Netflix and settled in to see what all the hoopla was about.

surprisingly, it wasn't *just* about this.
surprisingly, it wasn’t *just* about this.

My immediate first impressions:

*Richard’s not the star of this show?

*Robin is a twerpy douche

*is this supposed to be funny?

because the subtleties are cracking me up!

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I needed to watch more than just one episode in order to form an opinion of Guy

and to get a real feel for the show.

that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

4 hours later a box popped up on my television screen asking me if I wanted to continue watching.

That sent me into a fit of giggles, like the TV was judging my viewing choices

*laughs*

(the TV does this to guard against being left on, unattended)

she's still watching?--I know, it's bizarre.
she’s still watching?–I know, it’s bizarre.

A lot of negative things have been said about this show;

the acting, the costumes, the writing.

I find it generally enjoyable. I think, as adults, we judge it unfairly.

It’s a family show, sprinkled with contemplative points amid the action and veiled humor.

It was easy to see that Guy would take the forefront though.

My kids, who wandered in and out during my first viewing,

became more interested in Guy’s plight than the seemingly obvious hero of Robin.

"she gave her heart to the man in the long black coat"
“she gave her heart to the man in the long black coat”

Guy wore black, he was mean, and he held a job that gave him power;

this automatically equaled “bad guy”.

Robin was dressed in a more mismatched style,

had a lighter disposition, and was essentially homeless; this equaled “good guy”.

And, of course, there is always a girl stuck in the middle…

"Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, Here I am, stuck in the middle with you."
“Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

As my kids became more interested,

my son for Robin’s magical archery skills

magic, because there's no other explanation.
magic, because there’s no other explanation.

and my daughter for pretty Marian and boyish looking Robin,

they both soon remarked on the flipped issues.

Robin was doing the right thing by fighting injustice, yet he was stealing from unsuspecting travelers to do so.

Guy was being ruthless with the peasants, but it was the Sheriff who was forcing that kill-or-be-killed mentality onto him.

Marian was attached to Robin because of childhood memories and their shared values,

yet it was Guy who appreciated her for who she was and was always trying to protect her.

My 9 and 13 year olds were a bit less articulate in their explanations, of course,

but their musings and questions told me that they understood what was going on under the surface.

you get me, you really do get me.
you get me, you really do get me.

After I went on to watch the rest of the episodes on my own, with my adult sensibilities,

I had many positive and negative reactions to the characters, storylines, realism, etc.

adult sensibilities.
adult sensibilities.

But it’s that first simplistic impression that stays with me,

and it’s why I find myself going back to Robin Hood, aka Guy of Gisborne,

again and again.

in addition to *other* factors...
in addition to *other* factors…

Highly Distracting

While researching the numerous examples of the audio heaven that is Richard’s voice,

I came across the commercial adverts.

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Something that I find myself doing a lot of,

is trying to guess the identity of the narrators in television commercials.

Often times I will recognize an actor by his voice alone,

and will then spend countless hours trying to figure out which character the voice belongs to.

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The way they pronounce that certain word or phrase will end up driving me crazy until I figure it out!

Yes, I could just look it up on the internet but where’s the challenge in that?

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Needless to say,

I like voices.

So I was very curious to see what kinds of commercials

Richard has lent his voice to.

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I think the jewelry commercials are my favorite,

so sweet.

(click on titles below to listen)

Platinum jewelry

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Palladium jewelry

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The Winter-Olympics one is nice too

BBC Winter Olympics

because we know Richard has a personal fondness for skiing.

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I’m not entirely sure what the “Santander” ad is about though

Santander

I get too distracted hearing the precise way Richard enunciates Santander

I keep saying it over and over again,

out loud.

(and also the way he pronounces customer)

sen-ten-dahrrr
sen-ten-dahrrr

Highly Distracting…