One woman and her big metal hat.

The polls have just closed in Alabama, but in my head, I’m repatriated to my ancestral home of England, at least for an hour here and there, as I find solace in a cold snap in bleak midwinter. How? By sucking up the second season of “The Crown” on Netflix.

The first season was very fine, but it was hard to separate how much I loved the story from how much I loved the details – the sets and the costumes and the big paste-jewel necklaces and tiaras and oh my, the coronation episode! In that way, it was “Downton Abbey” before it turned into a stupid crap soap opera. But season 2 is something else. Now that the characters have settled in, the richness of the big themes are emerging. Which is to say, how this institution of monarchy is simultaneously the best and worst sort of prison to be locked into, for all involved, how tradition murders freedom, how duty and autonomy wrestle one another for supremacy. And how this imperfect family manages to lead and follow a complicated country through the middle of the 20th century, when everything changed around it and yet, it endures. Through everything.

I’m a little overwhelmed, having just notched the sixth episode (of 10; I’m trying to make it last the week), which is all about Elizabeth’s uncle, the Duke of Windsor, the king who abdicated, and his ties to the Nazis in World War II. I’ve never understood the fascination with the Duke and his wife, Wallis Simpson, who were profoundly silly people, at least when they weren’t being downright evil, which is to say, consorting with Hitler and his pals. It was a marvelous episode, contrasting the Duke’s towering self-regard and self-pity with Elizabeth’s dogged sense of duty and simple Christian faith. (Billy Graham also shows up in this hour, of all people.) The big reveals, the depth of the duke’s wartime treachery, don’t come until the last quarter of the episode, and it all falls into place: Of course he schmoozed with the Nazis; they were going to return him to the throne after they won the war, with Queen Wallis at his side, at long last. He’d win his petty battle with his family, and all it would take was a few more months of his new friends bombing his own countrymen to prepare the soil. The final scenes show him playing bridge with Wallis and another couple, probably Trump relatives. And that was pretty much how his stupid life played out. Fitting.

(Princess Elizabeth did her own service during the war. She was a truck mechanic.)

Last season I marveled at how much drama a typical episode was able to drum up, when you considered what was at stake. In the coronation episode, the central conflict was over whether Elizabeth’s husband, then the Duke of Edinburgh, would kneel before her as part of the ceremony. (Spoiler alert: He did.) But isn’t that what our own lives are like on a day to day basis? Today’s episode: “Commute.” Logline: Nancy has to drive to the west side in snow squalls; will she be able to get there in 55 minutes or less? Tune in tonight! It turns out you can be a queen and still have to deal with a troublesome sister who is bound and determined to marry Mr. Wrong. You can wear a crown but have an irascible co-worker to handle. Yours likely isn’t Winston Churchill, but you get the point.

Oh, and Princess Margaret is killer this season. Gorgeous and tragic and doomed and very fond of strapless dresses.

The plan for this show is to cover Elizabeth’s entire monarchy, with each season covering roughly a decade. The actors will change after this year for an older cast. I can’t wait to see what they do with Margaret’s nervous-exhaustion phase. Every time she lights another cigarette – and she lights approximately 400 every episode she’s in – I want to tell her to think of her future wrinkles.

So enjoy it, if you haven’t checked it out already. Totally worth it.

I’m calling this race for Moore. Anyone else?

Posted at 8:56 pm in Television |

54 responses to “One woman and her big metal hat.”

  1. Suzanne said on December 12, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Moore is ahead. I am drinking. We are doomed.
    Let’s face it. Moore will be a US Senator, advised by his buddy Steve Bannon, and the GOP will simply go along for the fun. Will they try to oust Moore? No.
    “Thank you sir! May I have another?”

    243 chars

  2. Joe Kobiela said on December 12, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    I feel for your drive, I airline out of Metro to Tampa at 12:20 for my 6month recurrent training, it usually a 2:15 drive but tomorrow hard telling, best of luck to you.
    Pilot Joe

    180 chars

  3. alex said on December 12, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    I’m drinking too, but remaining optimistic:

    191 chars

  4. Julie Robinson said on December 12, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Jones just went ahead! 88.2% reporting. I need sleep but can’t stop hitting refresh.

    84 chars

  5. alex said on December 12, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    fivethirtyeight reports that the race is dead even and the remaining votes coming in will be from blue areas. The betting markets just put Jones as the favorite at 90%.

    168 chars

  6. Peter said on December 12, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    NYT has called the race for Jones. I can’t wait for the Trump tweet.

    69 chars

  7. Peter said on December 12, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    CNN and WaPo have called the race for Jones as well.

    52 chars

  8. Sherri said on December 12, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Holy fuck, Jones has won, thanks to turnout and black voters! Despite the gutting of the Voting Rights Act done by the Shelby County decision, African American voters came to our rescue.

    As I’ve said before, African American women are the core of the Democratic Party.

    274 chars

  9. Heather said on December 12, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    AMAZING!!! I want to personally shake the hand of every African-American voter in Alabama in gratitude.

    103 chars

  10. Jolene said on December 12, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Jones is speaking now. Actually sounds like a smart, committed, decent person of the sort you want to have in government.

    121 chars

  11. beb said on December 12, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    “Roy Moore retires from Politics to spend more time with someone’s kid” — The Onion.

    The Russians say “Hope for the best, expect the worst…” I was hoping Jones would win; I expecting Moore to. For once I can put on my happy face!

    Like Peter I’m waiting to see Trump’s tweet about this. I imagine that he’ll claim that Alabama was never a part of the United States.

    374 chars

  12. Andrea said on December 12, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Wow! I can hardly believe the Jones victory! It feels like a vindication of sorts. I really thought the best outcome we could hope for was a close race in a state where it should be a blowout. I have spent the past few weekends doing GOTV activities from afar — handwritten postcards and texting voters through Indivisible — mostly so I could feel like I was doing something. Perhaps all of our collective efforts really helped Alabama voters know that we cared. Our messages were always positive. Who knows, but I certainly feel renewed and will volunteer again.

    565 chars

  13. Deborah said on December 12, 2017 at 11:18 pm


    11 chars

  14. alex said on December 12, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Sherri, it would be wonderful if this were a harbinger of better black turnout everywhere, but I suspect a lot of it had to do with Jones’ record as a prosecutor who brought acquitted klansmen to justice for the murders they’d gotten away with. My state — one of the other most backward red states in the country — went for Obama in 2008 largely because of black turnout , the likes of which had never been seen before and haven’t been seen since. Unless Cory Booker runs in 2020, I don’t see it happening here again for a while.

    531 chars

  15. Scout said on December 12, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    This is more than a win, it’s a message. I think I’ll sleep better tonight than I have in over a year.

    102 chars

  16. Diane said on December 13, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Trump’s tweet could not have possibly been written by him; it’s grammatical, coherent and relatively polite. Someone must have changed his Twitter password.

    225 chars

  17. beb said on December 13, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Is Trump a sick man? This doctor thinks so:

    119 chars

  18. Jolene said on December 13, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Unless Cory Booker runs in 2020, I don’t see it happening here again for a while.

    It certainly has been true that turnout has been lower when Obama was not on the ballot, but I believe that grassroots organizing efforts are growing in several places. I actually read about some organizations recently, but can’t find the reference right now. If I locate it, I’ll post it. I would think that tonight’s victory would help to energize such efforts.

    463 chars

  19. Dorothy said on December 13, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Adrianne and I called it yesterday!!! I’m so happy. Managed to shut off the t.v. at 9:45 last night when Moore was up 52% to 47%. I didn’t have much hope. So I was very happy a half hour ago when I went to my computer bleary-eyed and heard the news.

    I watched the first three eps of season 2 of The Crown on Sunday. Might get in two or three more later today after my biopsies (more about that after I know the results). If I’m sleepy, though, I might only see one episode today. Here’s hoping I’m not too tuckered to see three more (not MOORE) this afternoon.

    570 chars

  20. David C. said on December 13, 2017 at 5:59 am

    What a pleasant surprise. I can’t wait for the fundies screaming this morning about ‘Merica turnin’ its back on Jeeeesus.

    121 chars

  21. ROGirl said on December 13, 2017 at 6:02 am

    From a USA Today editorial:

    A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.

    I didn’t watch any news shows last night, was most pleasantly surprised this morning when I saw the results.

    323 chars

  22. Suzanne said on December 13, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Some of my faith in humanity is restored. Although, this will make Trumpers double down on the fake news idea anod that the Moore accusers were a set up to bring him down. Nonetheless, a victory for good sense!

    210 chars

  23. basset said on December 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Meanwhile, the entire USA Today editorial, from the core of the Gannett empire:

    194 chars

  24. Connie said on December 13, 2017 at 8:13 am

    It’s been more than a year since I could bear to watch any television news. But happy to see this morning’s headlines.

    119 chars

  25. jcburns said on December 13, 2017 at 8:52 am

    I dunno Nancy, I didn’t watch The Crown last night and I have a whole different take on the Alabama Senate race. Coincidence?

    125 chars

  26. jcburns said on December 13, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I would love to see this as a starting point for voting reform. We gotta gather up all that crap that GOP politicians have placed in the way of American citizens casting their ballot and push it into a landfill somewhere. Gerrymandering, voter ID, restricted hours, mysterious no-paper-trail voting computers, it’s gotta go. I’d like to see this kind of turnout–and better–everywhere, every time.

    398 chars

  27. Icarus said on December 13, 2017 at 9:03 am

    I’m pleased with the results in Alabama but something isn’t right. It might just be Ed’s post (Gin and Tacos) about how special elections aren’t really the big deal the media makes them to be, or it might be the polite un-Trumph like tweet feels like we played into their hands or something. Maybe this was a practice run for 2018 and the GOP will tweak their game along with increased voter suppression?

    406 chars

  28. Julie Robinson said on December 13, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Don’t forget that while we’ve been focused on Alabama, Congress has been tweaking all the different ways they’re going to screw us.

    But screw it, I’m headed to Orlando tomorrow morning. Gonna see our son perform in Forever Plaid:Plaid Tidings, which is a silly Christmas show about an imaginary 50’s pop group who sing in close harmony. That, our daughter, and the warmer weather should be just the trick. I hope to watch The Crown while there; Mom is coming along and she’s also a sucker for those shows.

    Dorothy, holding you in the light for your tests today.

    567 chars

  29. Sherri said on December 13, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I’m watching The Crown with my husband, and he’s not a binger, so we’re proceeding an episode at a time. We usually have time to watch one show together per evening, though he’ll be off work next week and the pace may pick up.

    I think we should celebrate victories when they come, and not worry that they don’t really mean anything for the future. Of course they mean something! The people of Alabama will be represented by a decent human being. Doug Jones owes his election to African Americans. A Democrat won a state-wide race in Alabama. Those are all amazing things.

    586 chars

  30. Judybusy said on December 13, 2017 at 11:15 am

    We had friends over for dinner last night, so didn’t do the play-by-play. My wife checked in and stated the AP had called it for Jones. However, it was so close, she wanted to wait until morning to breathe the sigh of relief, because Gore.

    A friend also reminded everyone on FB that NJ elected a Democrat for governor on 11/07. Have you all tuned into the podcast Majority 54? It’s hosted by Jason Kandor. Last week he spoke with an elementary school prinicpal from NJ and he described how horribly Christie treated educators during his term. Worth a listen.

    What this says to me, is that we have to work extra hard to fight voter suppression, GOTV, and that liberal Democrats can do well, so don’t be afraid. As someone upthread said, the Republicans will pull out all the stops going forward to win races.

    813 chars

  31. Joe Kobiela said on December 13, 2017 at 11:41 am

    How was the drive this A.M. took about 20 minutes longer than usual but not to bad from Auburn to Metro.
    Elections are a funny thing, still gets me that if the Democratic party would have run anybody but Hillary, Trump wouldn’t be president, and that would probably be a good thing.
    Enjoy your victory.
    Pilot Joe

    325 chars

  32. adrianne said on December 13, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Let’s revel in the win without second-guessing.

    47 chars

  33. Bitter Scribe said on December 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Moore, of course, is facing defeat with his expected degree of class, refusing to concede and ranting about “military votes.” What a waste of carbon.

    149 chars

  34. Mark P said on December 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Moore’s defeat means that the Republicans can nominate a despicable person who should probably be on a sex offender registry and still come very close to winning in Alabama. Alabama will go Republican in the next general election. But, I agree, we should celebrate this victory kind of like the British celebrated Dunkirk. It’s an almost miraculous escape that gives us some breathing time.

    390 chars

  35. Deborah said on December 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    I wish we could put the brakes on the tax bill. Is there anything that can be done? Do we even know what’s in it? Or is it all s big secret again?

    I’m back in NM again, headed to Abiquiu shortly. It seems like we were in London a month ago instead of Monday night, and in NM a year ago when it’s only been 2 weeks. Lots going on. It’s much warmer in NM than Chicago, but it is winter. No snow in the mountains though, darn it.

    429 chars

  36. Bitter Scribe said on December 13, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    A lot of people were fascinated with the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson because the story was irresistible: The King of England giving up his throne for the woman he loved—an American, no less. Yes they were silly people, and yes he was a fool for thinking that England could have avoided war with Nazi Germany, but the notion that he would have been willing to retake the throne as Hitler’s puppet strikes me as…tendentious, at best.

    442 chars

  37. Sherri said on December 13, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Dahlia Lithwick’s mea culpa:

    162 chars

  38. Deborah said on December 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    From midnight tonight until 4am tomorrow are the peak hours for watching the Geminid meteor shower. A good time to be in Abiquiu, although it’s supposed to get cloudy around then, hope not.

    189 chars

  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 13, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Solid clouds here, but I may take a look after midnight just for luck. Finally got my Christmas decorations up; Mr. Jones helped buoy me to carrying the boxes up from the basement and unpacking the stuff we’re going with this year. I’m amazed at how much we had up ten years ago, but this is plenty.

    Not only did Moore lose, I heard on the radio that Omarosa was canned? I’m still waiting for a diagnosis on that poor woman. She and Bannon both are Axis II disorder candidates.

    480 chars

  40. alex said on December 13, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Gotta love Siri…

    She overheard me saying “serious breach of trust” and chimed in with “Sorry, I couldn’t find any trailers for “Bridge Road.” The word “serious” always seems to set her off.

    I don’t have an Alexa yet. Probably won’t get one. I can just imagine a SWAT team showing up and spraying our house with bullets because of something misinterpreted in a casual conversation.

    390 chars

  41. alex said on December 13, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Jeff, the evening news (lamestream edition) said that Omarosa could have served out her sinecure for a full year had she not barged into the residential portion of the White House demanding to know why she was being pink-slipped. The Secret Service grabbed her, took her pass cards and ignominiously kicked her ass to the curb. Can’t wait to see what spiteful dirt she’ll be sharing on GMA (or more likely ET).

    410 chars

  42. Julie Robinson said on December 13, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Our son bought a Google Home and I find it creepy. I think he mostly uses it to listen to Spotify, and it does have a nice speaker. Still creepy, though.

    We put up way less Christmas stuff this year too, and I’m finding, as Ma Ingalls and Mary Poppins said, that enough is as good as a feast.

    295 chars

  43. Dexter said on December 14, 2017 at 3:36 am

    I suppose most Netflixers here have already seen “Godless”, starring Chelsea’s own Jeff Daniels…all my friends raved about it; seemed to me to have cast Daniels in a Bad-Rooster Cogburn role. It was a slow burn until Ep7 then Oh My Gawd did it grab your attention. Still, didn’t really grab me.

    Roy Moore said The Lord will prove him out and he ain’t conceding nuthin’, so there! I saw him on the tee vee a-blabberin’ out Psalms 40: “I waited patiently for the Lord;
    And He inclined to me,
    And heard my cry.
    2–He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
    Out of the miry clay,
    And set my feet upon a rock,
    And established my steps.
    He has put a new song in my mouth—
    Praise to our God…

    This fucking wacko actually believes Jesus is gonna come down and stuff ballot boxes and demand a re-count?

    823 chars

  44. David C. said on December 14, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Omarosa seems to be the only one in the tRump inner circle who didn’t meet with the Russians. She was reportedly there as his liaison to blacks. She didn’t seem to meet with many of them either.

    194 chars

  45. basset said on December 14, 2017 at 7:04 am

    I read “Cat Person” as directed & was left vaguely uneasy… here’s an interesting assessment:

    198 chars

  46. Dorothy said on December 14, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Oh Julie you made my heart sing quoting Ma Ingalls!

    I had a few needle biopsies done yesterday after three (not too suspicious) growths showed up on a mammogram. Might have the results by tomorrow, but more likely Monday. I’m really not too worried but of course that could change if they turn up as cancer. But most indications are that they are benign. Fingers (and boobs, if possible) crossed for good news.

    419 chars

  47. Deborah said on December 14, 2017 at 9:33 am

    My husband read Cat Person and associated it with the behavior of cats, among other things. In regard to how cats sometimes act like they don’t know what they want (example: they stand by a closed door and yowl but when you open the door they turn around and go the other way). He thought both characters exhibited that kind of behavior, which was more excusable in the woman because of her youth. That wasn’t the only thing he said about the story but I thought it was an interesting take. A good story can be taken many different ways by different readers.

    558 chars

  48. Deborah said on December 14, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Dorothy, I’ll be thinking about you, hoping for the best result.

    64 chars

  49. Icarus said on December 14, 2017 at 9:46 am

    I don’t have an Alexa, Google Home or similar type device yet. I suspect I will someday when all the kinks are worked out and it truly does benefit me in some way.

    I did recently buy some Smart Socket wifi plugs…this is a gadget you put in an outlet to control it from your smartphone. It has provided me with an easy way to turn the lights on/off in the garage (and schedule them too) and also reboot the modem without having to go down to the basement to do it manually like a cave person.

    504 chars

  50. Heather said on December 14, 2017 at 10:26 am

    One of the chapters in a book I’m reading for a grad school class is on digital surveillance, data collection, and privacy–it scared the crap out of me. Not going to be putting any potential listening devices into my home, but of course I already have Siri in my phone.

    270 chars

  51. brian stouder said on December 14, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I think Dorothy has Thread Win at 46!! (gotta love crossed boobs!)

    66 chars

  52. Suzanne said on December 14, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Dorothy, hope all is well when the results are back.

    I was thinking that I hoped Omarosa would write a tell-all book, and I kind of hope she does, but then I thought that most true Trumpers wouldn’t believe a word of it because of the color of her skin.

    254 chars

  53. Scout said on December 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    We’ve got an Alexa which is now able to communicate with our Sonos speaker system, so we really get a lot out of it. At this point, since 65% of America is likely talking the same shit about the tRump (mis)administration as we are, we’re not too worried they’re going to come after us for any garden variety gripes they’re monitoring on our device. She sure does talk to the mothership a lot, though, so maybe we should be.

    I’m glad I saved a free clicks for this:
    Frida is my all time favorite movie and now knowing the backstory of the horrors its star had to endure in order to tell the story makes it even more significant. Big props to Hayak and Taymor. They PERSISTED in the face of Weinstein’s virulent misogyny.

    904 chars

  54. 4dbirds said on December 14, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Best wishes Dorothy. I admit it, I had to look it up.
    expressing or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, especially a controversial one.
    “a tendentious reading of history”

    226 chars