Monday Meltdowns: Lady Edith v. Jodie Foster

WARNING: DOWNTON ABBEY SEASON THREE, EPISODE TWO SPOILERS!  (You can still read the Jodie Foster parts, though. Just skip down to "Meltdown #2!)

Sunday was a big day for old people making awkward, confusing, and ill-timed confessions!

Meltdown #1: Lady Edith

On the second episode of Downton Abbey this season (or the third episode, if you count the premiere as one and and two; I'm not sure how the metric system works), poor old googly-eyed, Jennifer-Grey-nosed Lady Edith is all set to get hitched to the old coot she's been stalking for the last few episodes.  I must say, I think Edith has gotten a somewhat undeserved bad rap: after all, wasn't Season One's Mary the real nasty, slutty brat who drove Edith, already suffering from severe middle-child syndrome, to her treachery?  And then Edith had to get it on with a farmer, and then she got dumped by a farmer?  And then everyone else is married to hotties except Edith, who is not only willing to accept a one-armed old fart, but seems to genuinely like him?

Too Happy for Melodrama, Girls
So, I was rooting for this marriage, and might've thought it stood a chance except for the fact that it aired adjacent to the much-awaited (and daresay much sexier) season-opener nuptials of Mary and Matthew.  Downton may love it's weddings, but it's just not going to let us bask in back-to-back Crawley sister weddings.   That portentous family photo before the ceremony said it all: no way are we going to tie a neat little bow around three betrothed, beaming sisters.

So, sadly, Edith's beau leaves her horribly and publicly at the altar, a shameful exercise in cruel timing uncharacteristic of the ever-polite and considerate Sir Anthony.  The Dowager Countess rises to physically shield Lady Edith from further embarrassment, and Sir Anthony speed-walks from the church in a surprising display of physical vigor.  Edith returns to Downton and flings herself on her bed, ripping out her veil as a little metaphor, exactly as you would expect her to.  And thus the antenuptial Edith pity-party returns like a fog settling on Downton, with Edith angrily kicking out her prettier happier sisters and sobbing into her duvet.

As genuinely disappointed as I am for Edith, I will say: if her handful of comments immediately preceding the wedding gave any indication of how married Edith was going to comport herself, we might have dodged a bullet.  I.e., as flowers arrived, Edith cooed, “something happening in this house is actually about me!"  True, your sisters have stolen the limelight lately, but maybe you aren't quite cut out to handle it.  Does anyone else think Edith is totally going to ring up that farmer again?

Lady Edith Meltdown Mash-Up:

Meltdown # 2: Jodie Foster at the Golden Globes

 Jodie Foster, invoking Sally O'Mally's "I'm 50!" mantra from Saturday Night Live, became the second-youngest woman (after Judy Garland) to ever receive the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes last night.  Foster, indeed, has been in the business since she was three years old, so she more than qualifies.  But the actress used her nearly twelve minute acceptance speech only to vaguely accept the award, instead giving an emotional and sometimes incoherent tirade about privacy, family, being gay, blowing snot on co-stars, loving Mel Gibson, and making movies. I think? Because it was pretty hard to follow. 

Sally O'Mally: I'm FIFTY!
I'm not sure if this speech was written down and teleprompted or entirely extemporaneous or both.  When you read the text of it, it makes some sense.  It's eloquent and honest and moving and deeply personal.  But her delivery seemed completely unrehearsed; she was manic and frightened and bitter and a little mad and a little mean.  She was at once thankful (to her table 222, her family, and again, surprisingly, to Mel Gibson), and resentful (of whom? The media for keeping her in the spotlight? The movies for taking her innocence? All of us for tuning in?)   Ms. Foster looked at times purposeful and compelling, and at times looked to have lost her way and gotten tangled in her own metaphors and messages.  Frankly, she reminded me of Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention: I kept thinking, "I know there's a point in there somewhere, guys, and I know you're a legend, but it's been eight minutes and now we're all just nervous for you!"  Across the internet, "rambling" has been the word most used to describe it, with "confessional" as a runner-up.  But, the other actors seemed to love it.  So maybe, like modern art, this is a form of expression I just don't understand.

(Also, for all of those people calling this a "Coming Out" speech: Jodie Foster "came out" in 2007, and e'rybody already knows she's gay and raised two sons with her longtime partner. So I don't think that was her thesis.  But, at this point, you could tell me her argument was that muppets should have their own actor's union and I would shrug and say, "Maybe you're right.")

Jodie Foster Golden Globs Cecil B. DeMille Award Acceptance Speech:

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