In the Atlanta area, we are fortunate enough to have two versions of PBS: GPTV, which broadcasts all over Georgia, and PBA, which is exclusive to Atlanta. We disovered it by accident one day after Arthur was over. Sarah and I love to watch Arthur together. Sarah was flipping channels, and boom — Arthur is on again! The logo in the bottom of the screen indicated it was a PBS channel. We watched the second Arthur.
It was in this way that we accidentally discovered Manor House was on last night. I have been wanting to see it for some time. I am a big fan of the historical “House” series since catching Frontier House. This summer I enjoyed Colonial House, but not nearly as much as Frontier House.
The interesting thing about Manor House is that it seeks to accurately portray life in a time not so far removed from ours — 1906. However, this was a time still dominated by class. We look at 21st century mentalities at war with the reality that as participants in this series, they must quickly learn their proper places. It is absolutely fascinating. And, like the other “House” series, it completely underscores the absolute wimpiness of modern people. We rely so much on labor-saving devices, for instance. Cooking and cleaning take all day, even only 100 years ago. Even only 60 years ago, as evidenced in 1940s House, which I caught part of last night as well. And the idea that everyone stays in his or her proper place is so alien to us today. It is really interesting to watch the interplay between the participants.
Diana Gabaldon, whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet, said once that when she decided to write a time-travel novel, she knew her heroine could not come from the 1990s (the time when she began writing her Outlander series), because the people of that time were too soft. She’d never be able to make it in eighteenth century Scotland. Her heroine would come from WWII Britain. Watching these series has shown me how right she was. If I have learned nothing else from these series, I have learned a respect for the toil that for our ancestors was just life. In addition to that, each series has been a most fascinating history lesson.
If you haven’t yet caught these shows, check out the links I provided and find out when your PBS station is airing them. They are the finest examples of “reality TV” out there, in my opinion.