Monday, May 7, 2018

Tears, Tears, and Yup, More Tears: My Adoration for Call the Midwife

Truth? I didn't start watching it right away. But one friend and then another and then another (all writer friends, which was interesting) kept saying watch it. You need to watch it. And so I did. Made the husband watch it, too -- assuming it was not his thing but hey it was Sunday night at 7 PM and he had ended up loving Downton Abbey more than I did -- stuck around for the PBS after show with Eddie Manous--who I recently got to meet when he was in conversation with Sean Penn the other night for a store offsite even, but that is neither here nor there.

And here's what happened: I fell in love with this show. It shouldn't have worked for me. I am snarky and jaded and I can see a plot line coming a mile away and sometimes the characters are a bit too broadly drawn and the happy resolutions are a bit too happy and there are nuns! Lots of nuns. Although honestly I'm a sucker for stories with nuns and not just that movie/play (you know the one) where the hills are alive with the sound of music and the Nazis get outplayed and the Von Trapps walk to Switzerland in lederhosen and capes, singing.

And yet. I love this show. Its characters feel real. Its birth scenes definitely feel real.Which is a good time to mention that its about Nonnatus House -- a group of Anglican nuns who served for years in the East End of London as midwifes. (And yes, I love when they say, "Midwifery" pronouncing the i as a short vowel like in 'if'.) Sometimes I say the word aloud just for fun.

Seven seasons ago it began in the late-ish 1950s, with London just about a decade out of WWII and National Health Care just coming into play and if you've never seen it, although over the years some birthing hospitals came into play, most of these births were home births and the pre and post natal care (which was meticulous) often occurred though cheery home visits as well. Season 7 finale has crawled us up to November 1963. The Nonnatus nuns are augmented by a team of lay nurses who live in the house with them. And let's just say everyone has a story.

I won't do a character analysis for you today, but I feel one coming. I have loved them all -- even if occasionally Dr. Turner is a bit much for me because despite his backstory the man is just too damn nice. A few of the most lovable have been killed off in incredibly sad ways -- one this season and her funeral was last night in the Season 7 finale and it was immeasurably sad in a million ways that should have been treacly but worked. So many sad and happy/sad things last night and then because we'd eeked up to November 1963, in the middle of everything JFK was killed over in America and so the world felt like it was falling apart, as the world often does.

The show is about life and death and all the stuff in between and last night was about grief and how we navigate this new, terribly unfamiliar world after something awful has happened and we are strangers to ourselves. And damn you Fred Buckle (a character I shouldn't like but adore) who made me weep uncontrollably while he was helping (I'm trying to avoid spoilers) a grieving and recently widowed husband.

There was a birthday celebration for Sister Monica Joan at some point after that and Trixie made a surprise appearance and if only Miranda Hart had returned as Chummy I probably would have never needed to watch TV again because it would have been that perfect.

Yeah. You need to watch these 7 seasons. And the Christmas specials, one of which I still haven't seen because my local PBS showed it on New Year's Day and then it disappeared into the ether and not even Netflix has it and what is up with that?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love Call the Midwife! (and I love Downton Abbey and The Crown too!). My husband lovingly refers to all of it as my British BS. :)