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Tara Ariano

Jenny: The Protagonist

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I just started watching in season 3 and haven't seen seasons 1 & 2 yet. Jenny, or more accurately Jessica Raine as Jenny, reminds me of how I pictured Cherry Ames when I read the books as a teenager. Those books are super old fashioned compared to teen books today but show a single female making it on her own similar to Call the Midwife. If there ever is a Cherry movie or TV series made they should look to Jenny/Jessica as inspiration.

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Honestly, I don't really think I'd even miss Jenny if she just stayed permanently at the mother house and decided to join the order.

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I binged watched most of the episodes.  I want to like Jenny, but she did one thing that pissed me off so much it is coloring everything about Jenny for me.

 

In the episode with Nora (the mother of 8 kids who is pregnant again), Jenny realizes that Nora has been trying to cause/induce a miscarriage.  Jenny attempts to engage with Nora, but Nora refuses to talk about it.  The Nora's husband comes in and Jenny in the SNOTTiEST tone sells Nora out.  Jenny then flounces out of the room having dropped the bomb and leaves Nora to face the consequences alone.  Now, as it happens, Nora's husband does know what is going on, but I HATE JENNY FOR THIS!!

 

How does Jenny know that she wasn't leaving Nora alone with a man that would be furious about finding out she was trying to lose the baby?  How does Jenny know that NORA'S HUSBAND isn't coercing her?  How can she be so convinced that Nora is safe when she leaves?  

 

At that moment, I HATE HER and I HATE HER and I HATE HER.  

 

She puts on her smug & virtuous face, her patient doesn't fall on her neck thanking her for her patronage, so she pulls a nasty trick and sashays away.  Maybe Nora would forgive her but I won't.

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I'm finally sinking my teeth into this series and loving it! I am wondering if we find out any more about Jenny's affair with the married doctor. I've only heard one reference to it. Thanks!

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I fast forward through her scenes. I think I can't tolerate the combination if Meaningful Narration and that character, and I don't know if there will be another season but I wouldn't miss her if she stayed put where she's gone off to. I don't mind her narration in general, but it's hard not to see her marked by the show as special when I haven't seen her do anything particularly special. The other midwives seem far more innovative and community minded.

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I fast forward through her scenes. I think I can't tolerate the combination if Meaningful Narration and that character, and I don't know if there will be another season but I wouldn't miss her if she stayed put where she's gone off to. I don't mind her narration in general, but it's hard not to see her marked by the show as special when I haven't seen her do anything particularly special. The other midwives seem far more innovative and community minded.

Well, she (Jennifer Worth) wrote the books the series is based on, that's why she's the narrator, everything is from her point of view.

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I don't see how they can keep the narration since the character is gone.  That Jessica Raine is not only putting the entire series in jeopardy by leaving, but she's also depriving us Vanessa Redgrave.  

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Just began watching an excellent British police drama, Line of Duty.  Nurse Jenny, Jessica Raines, is a featured actor in the 2nd season.  There's a lot of Nurse Jenny Lee in her Line of Duty character....obviously the qualities and quirks of the actor.  I rather enjoyed Jenny on C the M, and didn't find her boring.  Just another 'type', apart from the other midwives.  She was the staid, somewhat reserved one.  But I wouldn't have minded having a midwife like Nurse Lee as opposed to the obtuse and distant doctors who delivered my first two. 

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I'm in the process of reading the books. Someone upthread mentioned they hadn't seen Jenny do anything special. Well, most of the stories in the series which the other midwives handle, according to the books, are actually handled by Jenny. But it would be a weird series if Jenny was super busy midwifing all the babies, while the others sat around doing nothing.

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I have a hard time with Jenny.  I don't know if the actor just doesn't work for me the way the rest of the cast does or what, but she leaves me cold and much of the time, I'm not exactly sure what some of her acting choices are trying to convey to me. 

 

I didn't realize Jessica was leaving, but I think I'm fine with that.  The other girls and nuns are by far more interesting.

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I think it has to be the actress because Jennifer Worth's writing is so full of compassion and piercing observation, but in terms of the series, I agree, Jenny often comes across as both bland and patronizing n her service to her "lessers". 

On 5/4/2014 at 2:10 PM, yeswedo said:

I just started watching in season 3 and haven't seen seasons 1 & 2 yet. Jenny, or more accurately Jessica Raine as Jenny, reminds me of how I pictured Cherry Ames when I read the books as a teenager. Those books are super old fashioned compared to teen books today but show a single female making it on her own similar to Call the Midwife. If there ever is a Cherry movie or TV series made they should look to Jenny/Jessica as inspiration.

I hadn't thought of Cherry Ames, but you're right,she certainly at least looks the part. I read a couple of old Cherry Ames books as a kid in the late seventies. More seriously, she sometimes reminds me a bit of the character Colleen McMurphy of China Beach, especially getting ON her virtuous and moral high horse regarding a woman who needs an abortion. 

On 6/15/2014 at 8:07 AM, lafcolleen said:

 

In the episode with Nora (the mother of 8 kids who is pregnant again), Jenny realizes that Nora has been trying to cause/induce a miscarriage.  Jenny attempts to engage with Nora, but Nora refuses to talk about it.  The Nora's husband comes in and Jenny in the SNOTTiEST tone sells Nora out.  Jenny then flounces out of the room having dropped the bomb and leaves Nora to face the consequences alone.  Now, as it happens, Nora's husband does know what is going on, but I HATE JENNY FOR THIS!!

How does Jenny know that she wasn't leaving Nora alone with a man that would be furious about finding out she was trying to lose the baby?  How does Jenny know that NORA'S HUSBAND isn't coercing her?  How can she be so convinced that Nora is safe when she leaves?  

 

At that moment, I HATE HER and I HATE HER and 

Right there with you all the way. When I was a young teen, before I was sexually active, the whole abortion debate was picking up speed as the incredibly socially divisive issue it now is. I remember one of my first inklings of understanding came when I imagined a woman very like the one portrayed. What if you had a baby every year for a number of years and were struggling to take care of them? What if another child was an apocalyptic possibility? This was my first understanding of needing a termination. 

And husbands could be against even contraception as we saw in later seasons. In terms of Nora and her husband, I adored the scene where the husband basically apologizes for getting Nora pregnant and she answers that it isn't like he ever has to force her. The husband then lies on the bed with her and they hold hands and cuddle and contemplate the insoluble. I thought this was a lovely portrait of love between spouses. But Jenny had no idea that this was the case. 

I'm surprised that some midwives didn't have a way of providing the occasional termination. I wrote about this over on the Mrs. Maisel thread and I think shocked people, but a friend of mine, now in her seventies once told me that she gave herself a knitting needle abortion. I'd heard of course about the failures, but I never knew that some women did this successfully. 

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It's been a while since I saw that episode, but I know I didn't think Jenny was making moral judgements against  Nora at all.  Jenny   was frightened and angry because Nora was doing horribly reckless things that were likely to prove fatal to Nora herself.    She told Nora's husband so that he would keep an eye on her and not let her cause her own death as so often happened with do it yourself abortion attempts.

As for leaving Nora alone with a man who might not be safe, half the men in Poplar were rough by today's standards, it wasn't the midwife's place to interfere in marriages.  If they had they probably wouldn't have been welcomed back. In any case, nothing the husband was likely to do would have been as unsafe as what  Nora and the abortionist were doing.

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23 hours ago, AuntieMame said:

 

I'm surprised that some midwives didn't have a way of providing the occasional termination. I wrote about this over on the Mrs. Maisel thread and I think shocked people, but a friend of mine, now in her seventies once told me that she gave herself a knitting needle abortion. I'd heard of course about the failures, but I never knew that some women did this successfully. 

I've no doubt that some midwives of the era would have helped women out when necessary, or at the very least they'd have known somebody who did terminations and would have passed on that information to women who needed it.  

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