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.

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 arms dealer 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.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, Lady of London S2E3

Episode 3: We are all One-sie 

More Meaningful Title: Brits start some Shit

There is an extensive montage of how each woman spent the holidays filmed on what looks like an iPhone and then we re-convene with Lady Julie and Annabelle having a coffee in the lobby of a grand hotel. I am encouraged that Annabelle drives a classic Mercedes like me, only mine is nicer. Lady Julie and Annabelle have formed a charming mommabird/ babybird relationship during Annabelle's convalescence from her show jumping (?) accident. 

Point of process: This blog can’t tell from the show, nor from last season, what sport Annabelle was taking part in when she died and was brought back from the dead was injured. She is too tall to be a jockey and too old to be learning how to ride in the first place, if she is truly an 'aristocrat'.

The person Annabelle feels comfortable sharing a children's book she is writing inspired by her … not sure, poor treatment at school for being dyslexic? I understand that English schools can be merciless on sensitive children. Annabelle mentions that by the time she was 8 she had seen 23 child therapists. This is really intense and goes a long way to informing us of her emotional landscape. This is probably why she derides Marissa's 'happy family' in the previous episode, she is likely a bit jealous.

'Happy Families' Marissa and her "most well-known restaurateur in the world" husband investigate a Thai resto location that she intends to turn into an 'American street food' restaurant selling – get this, everyone – organic hot dogs, fries and shakes. A recent tweet indicates that she is now calling herself the Duchess of Hot Dog. Lord have mercy. This may be a little high-concept for the streets of London, we shall see.

Meanwhile... at Gift Library, Christmas sales were dismal. Caroline laments in the direction of Rania's exquisite eyebrows that it will be a national story if Gift Library 'goes under'. Rania's squints and nods in an effort is seem like she cares. In the talking head segment, Caroline goes into a long song and dance that she built this company herself over the course of 2 years. A quick Google search indicates that her own father was a director on the board, later resigning.

Frantic budgie Lady Julie on the other hand is trying to start a business selling JUB and heads off to a meeting with Caroline in a cake shop for advice on submitting her business proposal to potential backers. We watch Caroline order two pieces of cake, then pretend she didn’t order them when they arrive at the table. Well-played, Caroline. Caroline proceeds to insult Julie in every way out of blind jealousy amidst dropping a few useful tips. Lady Julie pants like an over-eager puppy. Her intention is to make money to support her family estate, Mapperton. It's a noble gesture but it's hardly her problem. She already has four children, a job, a TV show and a well-connected husband whose full-time job is to support Mapperton, so she hardly needs another project. It's narcissistic.

Your head is too big for your body.
This blog finds Lady Julie bizarrely child-like despite her very important position. Part of my problem with Julie is the shade of blonde she colours her hair. It is so yellow, turning her skin red and her eyes colourless that I find her off-putting. She always looks on the verge of a complete cardiovascular collapse, despite being a yoga instructor. She's also a ditz. In one scene she can't remember in which building she was married nor where her children were baptized when she is standing in front of them. I am antagonized by her and yet she is so well-meaning. However, watch how Caroline runs this meeting like a Boss. She starts with 'why am I here?' and when she has had enough she says 'are we done here?'. She may be running Gift Library into receivership but she's no fool. Her time is precious and she always looks calm. That's how to behave as a grown woman. Point, Caroline.

Lady Julie Montagu gives Juliet a private yoga lesson. I'ma let that sentence sink in for my Shakespeare sisters, whilst I alliterate. My question is, Why? Other than the show, how do these two know each other? Since when does Lady Julie have a single moment to spare??

Now the plot! 
It is NYE in London and Juliet is hosting a formal dinner at a beautiful hotel downtown. The guests arrive and check-in to the their rooms, then have a formal dinner, finally retiring to the balcony to ring in the New Year.

Getting ready for parties in hotel bathrooms while pre-drinking, playing on your phone and joking with your best girlfriend is everything and I could have easily watched an hour of them doing just that. Caroline's bodacious big-haired beauty of a best friend is finally introduced, she is married to Caroline's brother, her name is Sophie. Try to remember her, she becomes important later. Poor Lady Julie is attending the party alone and worries that she will feel left out. Luckily, hostess Juliet is her new BFF. Caroline Fleming is attending with a similarly blond girlfriend. The person Annabelle, in a black backless gown with gold epaulets, is attending with another person she refers to as a 'friend'.

"I intend to behave appallingly." - Caroline Stanbury, on making friends

The look on Marissa's face when Juliet enters - arriving late to her own party - wearing a glittery garbage bag is magnificent. I was surprised to learn that Juliet is listed a 'fashion blogger' on Bravo's website. Caroline asks point-blank 'did you get pregnant with twins' and pulls disparagingly at Juliet's voluminous dress. This is a bit ironic because Caroline could be speaking from experience, she is the mother of twins. 

Juliet correctly refrains from speaking to Marissa, a woman who has just demoted her from BFF to mere friend, and invests her energy getting to know Caroline Fleming. A worthwhile pursuit if you ask me. Not being the centre of Juliet's world is not how Marissa saw her last day of 2014 going, so she walks over and gives Juliet a hug. Juliet does not possess the necessary spectrum of emotional intelligence to understand the meaning of this hug, and it will only serve to fuck with her head. Point, Marissa.

"Let's continue to party!" -Juliet, on the Syrian refugee crisis

Dinner happens. For some reason, Lady Julie is very sensitive to everything Caroline says. Caroline is merely calibrated to her normal bitch response, but Lady Julie collapses in piteous weeping in a stairwell after losing a headstand contest with Caroline Fleming. Yes, you read that correctly. The person Annabelle comes to her aid, calling Caroline a 'cow'. Wrong, she is a Unicorn.

Because watch how Caroline handles this! 

She listens to Lady Julie's snot-filled blubbering. She apologizes, she commiserates, she explains her point of view in a sweet voice, she puts her hands on Lady Julie to reinforce all of these things and when she feels that she has sufficiently prostrated herself, she turns on her heel and goes back to having fun with her husband with a smile on her beautiful face. 
Fucking perfection
Ladies, take note. This is how to behave in public. You don't, as stupid Lady Julie does, refuse to accept a perfectly reasonable apology and continue to bawl in a corner over your brusied ego when you already live at the top of the food chain.

Best Line of the Episode:
"I forgot my trousers." – Cem Habib, on the state of his marriage to Caroline Stanbury

Then the best thing in the world happens. Caroline - not to be outdone by Marissa and her amateurish personalized turkey hat - arrives with adult size onesie animal costumes and everyone puts them on and drinks champagne!!1! (emphasis MINE)

Food Caroline talked about in this Episode:
1. Cake
2. Sucking on Lady Julie's 'balls' (i.e. JUB)*

Food Caroline actually ate in this Episode:
1. Cake? This was ambiguous.
2. There is actual footage of Caroline eating the NYE dinner. *chorus of angels*

Next Week: A Royal Hangover

*Caroline mentions 'balls' a lot, actually. She has said, while referring to her breasts, that they 'should have been balls not boobs'. And now we have the glorious mental image of her sucking on another woman's 'balls'. On NYE she shares a prolonged liplock with another female. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.