Normally spotting Shakespeare references in TV shows is Bardfilm’s territory, but it’s late on Shakespeare’s birthday and I’m in the mood 😉
Schitt’s Creek took the tv world by storm last year, right as it was wrapping up its final season. I’m not going to go into why the show is so good, because I don’t think I could do it justice. It’s not, however, a show in which you expect to hear any Shakespeare. Unless you listen very closely, that is.
Unlike YouTube I can’t link directly to the timestamp I want, unfortunately. And this episode is near the end of season 4, so there’s going to be hefty spoilers if you’re not already watching the show. But! With that all out of the way, when two characters announce that they’re going to bestow a particular honor on Catherine O’Hara’s Moira Rose (near the very end of the episode), she responds by declaring, “An honor that I dream not of!”
Anybody? That’s Juliet’s response when her mother asks her how she feels about getting married.
Having caught that (after watching the whole series several times), I’m now left wondering if I should go back and listen more carefully for other references. It is not a show that feels the need to bog itself down with Shakespeare. Given that O’Hara’s character is a former actress there’s a handful of Shakespeare jokes, but as far as I can tell this is the only actual quote I’ve heard.
I discovered this weekend that the 1999 Ben Stiller movie Mystery Men was finally on Netflix. When my kids were younger I kept coming back around to it as something I wanted to show them, given the rise of superhero movies, but it was never available for streaming. This one’s weird, it’s more of a “super anti-hero” movie where a bunch of normal guys with arguably no powers at all wish they were heroes. You’ve got Paul Reubens as “the spleen”, who farts at people as a weapon, Hank Azaria as the fork flinging Blue Raja, William H Macy as the Shoveler (“God gave me a gift. I shovel well, I shovel very well”) … the list goes on, all easily recognizable character actors. Janeane Garofalo as “The Bowler”. Ben Stiller as “Mr. Furious”. You won’t necessarily like him when he’s angry, but you won’t have to worry too much about it.
Why are we talking about this? Because when we sat down to watch it I noticed something I hadn’t seen twenty years ago – William H Macy delivering his version of Henry V!
Here’s something different. What exactly did class and status mean in Shakespeare’s time? Can we put it into a modern perspective?
Middling Culture has put together a status calculator to answer that question. You provide your answers for questions about your job, education, gender, and general position in the community (do you hold an office with the church?) Then it tells you how you would have fared back in Shakespeare’s day.
Elite Middling/New Gentry You are of new gentry status! This means that you were born to a middling family, but you may have been granted a coat of arms in your lifetime, and that you became extraordinarily wealthy.
I think that’s good? Of course a number of the questions make no real modern sense (do you have a coat of arms? Were you gifted your accomodations by a wealthy noble?) so you’ll have to take some creative guesses. I actually ran through it twice and forgot what my first answers were.
They look very excited about the project, and there’s a number of requests for feedback as well as informative links about how the calculator works. I think it might be cool to see some of the answers side by side with your final result, you know? How much does gender play a role? What about the coat of arms, or your position in the church? Is there any individual answer that flips your status entirely?
One of the earliest posts I ever made on Shakespeare Geek was about an ad for a videogame that featured the Henry V “Band of Brothers” speech. The idea of spotting Shakespeare references in the wild, and sharing them, has always been a central theme for the site.
Just because I’ve gotten too old to understand the references doesn’t mean I plan on stopping any time soon. I get that “Jordans” are a type of basketball sneaker, I’m not that old. I just have no idea who this Zion Williamson character is. But not only does he have his own line of Jordans, he’s introducing them with Shakespeare.
I guess this guy is on the Pelicans? Here’s how much I know about basketball, I didn’t know that was a team. I’m deep in Celtics country. Which reminds me, apparently our new star is named Romeo. That’s surely got to come up again!
Here we go, it’s that time of year again! Happy Shakespeare Day!
This year the party’s online! The Town and District Councils have collaborated with many key stakeholders in the town to enable this virtual Birthday Celebrations to be staged. The tribute will be aired on Friday 23 April at 11:00am and can be accessed via the link www.shakespeares-birthday.uk