Friday, June 25, 2010

Beryl’s Lot (season 1, episode 3, “Box and Cox”) – 1973

In this episode Beryl takes her first night class – only to show up and find its been cancelled. She and another middle-aged woman decide to drown their disappointment at the local pub. Meanwhile, her husband takes advantage of his freedom at home by holding a card party with his buddies. Beryl’s friend passes out at the pub and Beryl has her brought home to sleep it off. Robin has a lot of scenes in this one, milling about, making comments, etc. Lots of nice close-ups, too…you can practically count his eyelashes. Mmm. When Beryl worriedly tells him that daughter Rosie has left word that she will be sleeping over her boyfriend’s place that night, Robin’s “Fred” quickly leaves, saying there’s something he must do. Next day. The point is blatantly made that Fred is very tired by lots of yawning and stretching. At the end Rose arrives home to be questioned by her mum, only to protest that she was NOT with her boyfriend at all, just at his PLACE with his SISTER while he was out of town, and, goodness, did not even get a WINK of sleep what with the phone mysteriously ringing all night, the police and fire brigade showing up at all hours….etc. Much confusion on her part while Beryl and Fred start to giggle.

Had no idea what the title “Box and Cox” even meant, so…internet search to the rescue: says:

Meaning - To take turns.
Origin - The term comes from the comic play 'Box and Cox - A Romance of Real Life in One Act', by John Maddison Morton. This was first produced at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, London, in November 1847. Box and Cox were two lodgers who shared their rooms - one occupying them by day and the other by night.

Still not sure how that describes this episode, but oh well.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bartelby - 1970

This is actually the movie that got me on my current Robin fascination…the one that got me started on wanting to see ALL his movies. Purely by chance, I had rented this from Netlflix, and was taken aback when I saw his familiar face in it! I then sent it back, but when I decided to do this blog a few months later I refreshed myself re-watching it using Netflix’s “Play it now” feature, which allowed it to come through surprisingly smoothly. I’d never tried streaming their stuff before! But it’s not available for everything.

It’s a weird but interesting movie. About an introverted sort of guy that gets hired in an office but starts telling his boss that he “prefers not” to do the work. The boss is dumbfounded and doesn’t know what to do. He knows he needs to save face by getting rid of the guy, but also is intrigued by him and wonders about his background and why he acts like this. Robin has a small part as an office worker. I just love that suit-and-tie-but-with-long-hair look on a guy. He has a few good scenes of being sarcastic with the guy, and cheeky with the secretary.

So…the boss, instead of forcing the guy out, he decides to avoid conflict altogether and moves his whole office to another building. Bartleby then keeps coming back to the abandoned office, which gets the other workers in the building upset. The original boss finally comes back and makes arrangements for him to be carted off to a mental institution.

Check out the super creepy anorexic girl near the end of the movie, one of the patients at the institution. Now, I’ve always been super-skinny myself, so I hate it when skinny people get accused of being anorexic. But the true anorexic look is scarier than anything you’ll see in a horror movie, and I don’t think I’ve seen anyone this skinny before outside a concentration camp documentary! Who is this girl? Did she die soon after? She has a small speaking part and seems like she’s in a daze. So sad!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Beryl’s Lot (season 1, episode 2), “Quite a Reception” – 1973

Beryl isn’t as angsty as she is in episode #1, but she does decide to sign up for night classes and read the philosophy book Robin’s character Fred had suggested to her. But all that is pretty much the “B” storyline. “A” storyline focuses on her arranging a friend’s daughter’s wedding reception at the hotel where Beryl works as a housekeeper. Bring on the snooty hotel owner that turns the whole thing into a mess….and drives out the entire wedding party to the local pub instead. In this fun scene, Robin lets his hair down (literally, as it’s usually neatly parted and brushed for this character) as he joins in on the drinking and dancing and singing. He even winds up dancing with 17 year old Rosie, who has been ditched by her latest boyfriend. With all the arguments between them and the previous adamant protests from her that “Fred just isn’t my type!” we can now see where this will be going…

Friday, June 4, 2010

Beryl’s Lot (season 1, episode 1, “Getting Up”) – 1973

I was happy to find someone online selling a few episodes from this early ‘70s British TV show. It is not a sitcom, but more of a serious, slice of life hour-long drama. With just a little bit of humor tossed in. The show centers around a woman named Beryl, who upon turning 40 starts to go through somewhat of a midlife crisis. She is married to a nice enough guy, has one grown out-of-the-house married daughter and one 17 year old daughter “Rosie” who is living at home. But she is dissatisfied. In this episode it is revealed that she “had” to get married at age 17 when she became pregnant, and now feels as if her whole life since then was nothing but cooking, cleaning and kids. Her husband doesn’t understand, he’s content with his lot in life.

Robin plays their boarder, Fred Pickering. Somewhat a change from his other 1973 roles, his character is rather conservative and rule-abiding. His hair is short-ish, but long enough to give him a wonderful Brian Jones-circa-1964 look. No backstory for him is given in this episode, but he seems to look to Beryl as a mother figure and tries to look out for the family’s best interests by doing a lot of nose-poking into their affairs. For example, when 17 year old Rosie starts dating a guy who is bad news, Fred makes it a point to tattle on her to her parents in typical big-brother style. Rosie is played by an actress named Verna Harvey and dated Robin briefly during this time. According to his book, it seems as though he pretty much dated every pretty actress he ever co-starred with!

I also loved his sarcastic attitude when kindly Beryl allows a friend to temporarily stay with them after she gets thrown out of her hotel room for nonpayment. Ah, that familiar pissed-off scowl, so reminiscent of Horror Hospital….

It’s a good show. I only have 6 episodes of it, I hope I can find more.