‘The Gilded Age’ TV Evaluation: Slumming in Excessive Society

“Downton on Hudson” Maybe a label too apparent to pin on “The Gilded Age,” the most recent recycling effort by creator-turned-writer Julian Fellowes. How about “up, down, new stairs, previous stairs”? An excessive amount of Dr. Sis?

gilded period

Beginning Monday, 9 p.m., HBO

The so-called Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century was an American phenomenon and manifested itself most prominently in New York, the place Mr. Fellowes carried out his nine-part play, notably on Manhattan’s Higher East Aspect, and extra particularly. is positioned within the east. 61st Avenue and Fifth Avenue. That is the place Russell, George and Bertha (Morgan Spector and Carrie Coon) are about to maneuver into their new dwelling, a Robber Baron’s monstrosity simply off Central Park. (The scaffolding is up ceaselessly, somebody remarks; some issues by no means change.)

Russell can go in, however he cannot transfer In: The doorways of New York society are closed to him and different “newbies” out of 4 Hundred, compiled by social mediator Ward McAllister (Nathan Lane). It would not assist the brutally formidable Bertha Russell purpose that her Versailles-inspired vault holds the fish store all summer season. (Talking of which, previous and principally Dutch New York names that go like handed hors d’oeuvres embody Fisch, Astor, Schermerhorn, and Stuyvesant. Tiffany’s within the upstart attempting to interrupt the glass ceiling Morgan and the Rockefellers; George Russell, together with his railroads, appears to be based mostly on Cornelius Vanderbilt.) For many of us, the stakes — getting the suitable invites to the suitable events — will appear very low.

Enter smarts. Regardless that Mr. Fellows borrows most from himself—”The Gilded Age” is a colonial “Downton Abbey,” a type of prequel to the ’30s “Gosford Park”—he additionally shopped from one of the best of one of the best, together with George Is. Elliot, Charlotte Bronte and, extra appropriately, Edith Wharton and Theodore Dreiser. Marion Brooke (Louis Jacobson), discovering to be penniless after her father’s loss of life, meets her aunt, rich widowed socialite Agnes Van Rijn (Christine Baransky) and her dowry sister, Ada Brooke (Cynthia Nixon). travels from Pennsylvania to New York to reside with. On the way in which, her purse is snatched and she or he has to reap the benefits of the generosity of Peggy Scott (Danny Benton), a future author who has simply completed her schooling at a black school and lives along with her household in Brooklyn. There are some issues with .

Due to the climate and a few annoying intrigue, Peggy additionally finally ends up at Marion’s aunt’s home, and Agnes is sage sufficient to see the younger lady’s potential, hires her as a secretary and takes her to her lavish residence. Offers me a room. (One would possibly need to use fancy phrases about “The Gilded Age.”) Peggy and Marion’s adventures would come with unsuitable suitors, upward mobility, and Marion’s schooling, in keeping with Agnes, of who and what’s, and what’s unacceptable. Is. each habits and people.

As a result of he works with varieties – varieties he himself has arrange in his numerous applications – Mr. The companions can transfer the narrative alongside its observe with out sacrificing dialogue to the inconvenience of character improvement. We all know who these individuals are. They’re clichés—not disagreeable however downright shocking. Whereas the present is clearly the story of the very comfortable Marion and the unlikely Peggy, the true drama resides in Russell, the least plausible character within the collection. (Solely 5 episodes had been made accessible for assessment, which does not bode properly, however possibly it will get higher?) Mister Spector is not taking part in the position of a ruthless tycoon as a lot as the thought of ​​a ruthless tycoon, his epic Vanity precedes him in any Stanford White-designed room he is able to enter. Bertha, performed by Ms. Coon, might need been sympathetic if she had been a barely pathetic heroine, if she had not been portrayed as so clearly abrasive, defensive and blind to her personal flaws. “I am bored with all of the boring and silly ladies who resolve how we reside our lives!” She says, on a regular basis planning easy methods to higher kiss their bust.

Louisa Jacobson and Denny Benton


Alison Cohen Rosa / HBO

“That lady has the resilience of a cockroach,” says Agnes, studying that Aurora Fenn (the good Kelly O’Hara) has invited Mrs. Russell to lunch. “Who else will likely be,” she asks, “the most recent arrival from Ellis Island?” Ellis Island didn’t start processing immigrants for the subsequent 10 years, however it’s an exception that proves the final rule that the present is devoted to getting the New York interval proper. The “East River Bridge” because it was referred to as then will open in a yr. (“Why would you need to go to Brooklyn?” somebody asks. Rimshot Q.) Marion and her lawyer-cum-suiter Tom Rikes (Thomas Cockerell) head to Madison Sq. Park, the place the torch of the Statue of Liberty is lit for six. years. The unique Metropolitan Opera Home is being deliberate by a bunch of upstarts, banned from shopping for packing containers on the Academy of Music. (“Do we all know who this group of malfeasances belong to?” Aurora asks, a line for supply for which Ms. O’Hara deserves credit score.)

There are numerous subplots each above and beneath: the Irish scullery maid being seduced by the footman; The scheming girl’s maid, Turner (a delightfully poisonous Kelly Curran), who has labored for individuals higher than Russell however nonetheless climbs into George’s mattress one evening. With a forged together with Linda Amond, Donna Murphy, Taissa Farmiga, Audra McDonald and Invoice Irwin, the collection really belongs to Ms. Baranski, though she, who’s considerably youthful than Maggie Smith, performs the identical position right here as Ms. Smith. “Downton Abbey” – a supply of rule-making, knowledge and withering reposts. “Why do not we exit and stroll within the gutter,” she says, as she enters a room, admiring some rich strangers. “It would save time.” So will not have the ability to watch “The Gilded Age” in any respect, though watching it would not really feel like a waste of time a lot as wasted by luxurious.

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