Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You Got Your History in My Entertainment

I firmly agree with the idea that there are no guilty pleasures, only pleasures, and if you are doing something for entertainment that entertains you, then success.  But, there are things that I enjoy, even as I fully appreciate that they are flawed.
So, I personally am unable to watch "Braveheart". (I watched a lovely special about the making of "Braveheart" and the history (or not) within that really only confirmed this.  One of my friends said, basically, so it's almost entirely historically incorrect, it's great fun!  And here's the thing A is and was (likely) correct that it is great fun.  I, personally, am unable to separate myself from the knowledge of the actual battle of Stirling Bridge to enjoy a movie where the climax is that battle and there is no bridge.  This is a me thing, not a "Braveheart" thing. 
So, I am watching and enjoying "Sleepy Hollow" even though it's revisionist history (although Ichabod Crane* is a fictional character, within the show he interacts with a number of known historical figures) is revisionist, and while I personally find just about all the historical parts zzzzboring, they are fully committed to the thing that they are doing and it's keeping me engaged week to week.  (I still think they should try teaching the horseman ASL.  Hey, headless guy learning ASL makes just as much sense as a headless guy who's a crack shot.) 
"Reign" on the other hand is more in the vein of "Braveheart".  While I get the sense the "Sleepy Hollow" writers have mountains of research they are sifting through to pick the parts that work well for the show, on "Reign" I get the sense that they picked a historical figure and time that sounded fun, and are basically discarding most of the messy history stuff to make a show about royal intrigue that is much like "Gossip Girl" set in the renaissance. And even though I wrote an extensive paper about Mary Queen of Scots, I find the show (so far) fun.  The costumes look a little renaissance the prom version, the supposed burdens of kingdom ruling are mentioned only in passing, and I sort of feel like some of these people deserve a better show to be on, but so far (I'm a few episodes behind) it's fun.  It's ridiculously wrong from a historical perspective or even from a why does everyone in 16th century France speak English with an English accent.  (Look, I get that they speak English for me, but why an English accent?  None of these people are supposed to be English.) 
So yes, sometimes even with contemporary shows I find it's easier to pretend they live in an alternate universe, one where police investigations always get wrapped up, court cases make it to court in no time at all, and football trainers can become general managers because they wish it. So, why not pretend that this is what the history might have been. 

*Per Wikipedia there was a real Ichabod Crane who may have the inspiration for the fictional character.