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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sick Leave and Unintentional BBC Comedy

This time last week, I was in the process of succumbing to a nasty virus that put me flat on my ass and out of commission. It's been years since I've been that sick and, for a few days, I was sure that a week of recovery time was not going to be enough. Turns out, I was wrong about that part (which is good, because I can't afford to be two weeks behind on everything, both work and private). Still, up until Thursday afternoon, I felt like doo doo (to put it bluntly...and childishly).

Sunday evening, my temperature crept past 100°F. Monday morning, I managed to drag myself to the doctor to get a sick note and, for the next two days, my temperature lingered around 101°F-102°F. On its own, that was unpleasant enough, but there were all sorts of special guest symptoms crashing the party, even after my fever subsided. I canceled my radio plans for Friday, as well as awesome dinner plans that I'd been looking forward to for weeks. I was absolutely livid when I heard that a project manager from work suggested to my boss that I should be able to handle a task for his game from home because "it's just a small little thing." I had fever dreams of coughing into said project manager's open mouth and then creating a few small JIRA issues for him to resolve from home after the virus took hold. 

Barely able to keep my eyes open for long stretches of time -- or move, really -- and unwilling to deal with absolute silence in my apartment for hours or days on end,  I loaded a couple of series' worth of BBC period dramas into my video player queue. I needed to lift my spirits and I know I can always rely on Downton Abbey for a good chuckle.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that Downton Abbey is TV's #1 television comedy. It is probably the #1 unintentional comedy of my heart.
"What's Downton Abbey? Basically, it's about a bunch of honkies that live in a church."

I don't know how "normal" people watch historical dramas. Whenever I watch one, I can't help but imagine what it would be like to live during the time depicted in the show. Almost without fail, however, I realize that if I were to travel back to that would be an utterly shitty experience for me as a woman of color. Really...almost any point in history. I wouldn't even have to go back that far. Maybe, at most and just maybe, I'd go back to the 1980s. But even that was kind of a fucked up time...and I grew up in the 1980s. So I sure as shit wouldn't hop into a time machine back to the 1880s. Fuck that.

There are US productions like Mad Men that give rise to similar feelings inside of me. However, there's something about the Britishness of it all that makes me chuckle, like when Baron So-and-So of Idontgiveafuckshire laments the loss of the ancestral family manor and is forced to move into a slightly smaller mansion. If the So-and-Sos were 1970s inner city youths rallying to save the community center, they would have organized a talent show via music montage and called it a day. The "first world problems" of the aristocracy come across as so petty and meaningless against the stark contrast of their servants' problems (sometimes literal life and death shit). And then, the icing on the cake is that the servants try to shield their employers from the grim realities of life outside of the aristocratic bubble, like "Oh Lord Tiddlywinks mustn't ever discover this shit that is just too real."

I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's the British class system, maybe it's just straight up all about the accents...but it is hilarious. Sad, too. But mostly hilarious.

Um...and now that I've read back through this post, I'm glad I'm getting back to work tomorrow.

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