Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Lesser of two Tragedies

I was surfing channels in the afternoon and landed up on BBC Entertainment playing reruns of an old sitcom from the late nineties, I think. What intrigued me was the sight of a very young Benedict Cumberbatch playing a character called Peter Powell as a more-or-less milquetoast preppie trying very hard to be cool with a group of similarly wannabe friends in what looked like the Brit version of a honkytonk bar. In the scene I landed in the middle of, Peter eyes the young bartender, a sassy lanky leggy brunette with a throaty laugh, downs a pint of beer for Dutch courage, walks up to the bar and asks her to make him a cocktail of her choice, she raises an eyebrow and mixes one called Tequila Tragedy. And in what is definitely not the smoothest move in the book, he proceeds to offer up the glass to her and says, "Actually, I just wanted to buy you a drink. What's your name?"

And in true Brit tv tradition as a friend informs me, the bartender turns out be a no-nonsense Aussie gal who flatly turns Peter down. "Well, atleast, tell me your name. Come on!" he pleads.

"I'm Fee." She replies shortly, turning to another customer.

"What, like Fiona?" Peter persists.

Fee rounds on him looking rather pissed off, "It's Ophelia, if you must know! Ophelia Scherbatsky."

'That's an interesting name. I like it." Peter smiles at her.

"Well, I hate it! I hate it because any girl would hate being named after the two most tragic women in all of literature." says Fee with an air of finality.

"Yeah," replies Peter, desperately trying to prevent her from jettisoning the conversation, "Yeah, Ophelia is rather tragic. Losing her mind and getting dumped by Hamlet and drowning and all that. But Kitty Scherbatsky wasn't tragic. She and Levin lived happily ever after, right?"

Fee shakes her head vigorously. "Kitty Scherbatsky went from being a free-spirited, independent young woman with a mind of her own to being married to some hypocritical, monkish country farmer who cheated on her with Anna Karenina and she had to take him back and spend the rest of her life with him because Russian law in those days wouldn't permit her to divorce him! I think hers is the sadder story. I mean, I know I'd rather drown!"

Deflated but not dejected, Peter nods lamely and adds, "Yeah, drowning does sound like the lesser tragedy when you put it like that. Erm, it was nice meeting you, Fee!" and walks back to his friends, making up his mind to have a longer conversation with Fee the next night.

Watching this led to exactly two revelations - that Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother is not the first sassy female television character to bear that last name and that only the BBC could possibly produce a Friends-style sitcom that has characters discussing the fates of women from world literature in a honkytonk bar over a glass of tequila!


15 comments:

loop said...

This post made me smile :) Thank you.

Aayushi Mehta said...

:D

Isha said...

Wow. I want to watch this show.
And British sitcoms. So much love.

Tangled up in blue... said...

loop, this made me smile, too. Love the Beeb! :D

Aayushi, indeed! :D

Isha, Britcoms are brill, aren't they? This one was called Saved by the Bell.

traveller said...

Oh What an eye for details even for television shows. I am amazed indeed!

Riddhi G.D said...

Heehee I loved the trivia about Scherbatsky. And Fee sounds like one helluva girl, no?

Tangled up in blue... said...

traveller, thank you! :)

Riddhi, yeah! I mean, I thought using that last name on HIMYM was really quirky. Imagine my surprise then! And yeah, Fee is such an awesome character! I loved her! :D And that Aussie accent - "Pass me the buttaah!" :D

Riddhi G.D said...

Aussie accents ftw! And Brit ones. And German ones. And FRENCH ones. Oh what the hell, accents in general. Let's not forget urdu *swoons*

Tangled up in blue... said...

Ooh ooh Italian ones! :)

ramya said...

Oh wow, the Scherbatsky bit is interesting. I've picked up Anna Karenina and tried to read it a couple of times but nothing really registered except for the opening line, which also I keep misquoting :p

The channel's got some good shows :)

Riddhi G.D said...

Kari-My boss is italiano ;)
Ramya- paraphrased, all happy families are boring as fuck in their twee little lives. all unhappy families are unique in their sob story.

Tangled up in blue... said...

ramya, I agree. They've got reruns of Yes, Minister too! At the ridiculous time of 4 in the afternoon though. And it took me three months to finish Anna Karenina. I think it's a problem with the English translation, it didn't work very well for me. I have this friend who's an Anna Karenina nut. He keeps buying different editions in the hopes of finding a good translation. I think the only way out of it is to simply learn Russian. :D

Riddhi, wow! Is he cute? ;)

sulagna ™ said...

my god what wonderful observation..and yes must say a very interesting read :) got here through a fellow bloggers blog ..

mgeek said...

I'd rather be Kitty than Ophelia. May be because there's more to life than death. May be because I like broken things.
And there is nothing sad about taking back anyone home. Love need not always be exclusive, restricted and limiting...

Tangled up in blue... said...

sulagna, welcome to my blog! :) Will check out your blog soon.

mgeek, there's a play called The Secret Love Life of Ophelia that explored what would have happened had she lived. It's quite an interesting read really. As for Kitty, that's what I always thought - I thought her choices indicated the maturity of her thoughts as against the flighty fickle girl she was at the beginning of the book. But the point is, it was easier for her to forgive Levin than for him to forgive himself. He remains the same proud self-righteous man to the very end. And that Kitty's lot was to love such a man is sad. She's not the broken thing, nor is he. It's their marriage that's broken really.