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S02.E08: Philadelphia


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Baron von Steuben helps train the Continental Army during the American Revolution; John Adams and Thomas Jefferson campaign for president; Benedict Arnold switches sides to fight against George Washington's army.

 

 

Guest stars: Stephen Merchant as George Washington, David Cross as General von Steuben, Joe Lo Truglio as John Adams, Jerry O'Connell as Thomas Jefferson, Jayma Mays as Abigail Adams, Chris Parnell as Benedict Arnold, Winona Ryder as Peggy Shippen, John Lithgow as George Washington

 

Narrators: Nick Rutherford on General von Steuben, Patrick Walsh on the election of 1800, Erin McGathy on Benedict Arnold

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Okay, just watched my first episode of this show and I love it. It is hilarious. It helps that I was just in Philly a week ago taking in the historical sights.

 

And now I have to do some reading to figure out what's actually true and what's not so much true.

 

Are the drunk storytellers really drunk though? No one was slurring their words.

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I really enjoyed this ep, but I have to admit I was confused about the Benedict Arnold story. I guess I need to look that up. Like HalcyonDays, I want to double-check the facts on this ep.

 

Loved all the performances. I wish Lithgow had had more to do.

 

I thought the drunk story tellers were all good.

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I'm pretty sure Peggy wasn't living at Benedict's place when Gee Dubs showed up. I think she was still in Philly, but Benny was up at West Point (his HQ was across the river, which is where he slipped away from when he found out the Jig Was Up.)

 

George mounted several attempts to capture B-Arn, none of which succeeded. Arnold was paid $6K for the defection (was supposed to get the balance of $20K when West Point was captured, but that never got paid, obvs.) and was made a Brigadier General in the British forces. He fought for a while against the Americans before moving to England.

 

I recently read Arnold's diaries. What a douche.

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I was endlessly amused by the friendship and then shit-talking rivalry of those two eminent bros, Johnny Adds and Tommy Jeffs.

 

I guess the third narrator called Peggy a c--t? And then was conflicted by the thought of mass feminist outcry against her using the word, as against "Well, she was!"

 

And total agreement about the spot-on hilarious insight of "That should've been two separate letters!"

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The Benedict Arnold story got one fact wrong that I know of: Maj. John Andre was not in his uniform when the Americans captured him; he was wearing civvies. Technically, this made him a spy, and his actions punishable by death, so Andre was hung as a result. (Had he been in uniform, he would have been held as a POW, and probably would have lived.)

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This might have been the best casting across the board. I think Mrs. Adams was my favorite. 

 

I like it when the actors tend to over act. I think it's needed for this kind of format.

 

It's ok to be gay in Paris. No, it's not. We're kicking you out. Oh. 

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Are the drunk storytellers really drunk though? No one was slurring their words.

 

 

I think all the storytellers are drunk, it's just the level of drunkeness varies from person to person - there have definitely been episodes (like the Charlston one for example) where people are on the floor drunk, or puking.  

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Are the drunk storytellers really drunk though? No one was slurring their words.

 

They are drunk, but I think Derek has toned it down.  I don't think anyone wants to see them puking.  Derek films them for several hours at a time and uses the best footage for the show.

 

I guess the third narrator called Peggy a c--t? And then was conflicted by the thought of mass feminist outcry against her using the word, as against "Well, she was!"

 

I thought she called Peggy a tw@t.

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Wow, a gay man in history in this episode and a lesbian in the next one!  This might not mean anything to you, but, as a 49 year-old gay guy, I still get a thrill to when it's shown that LGBTs are part of American history.

Edited by Aldo Alvarez
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I really liked the Adams and Jefferson story. It was amusingly told and it was news to me.

 

It was also the perfect Drunk History story. It featured people everybody knows, but it was a whole different story than what we typically know about them. It also had the crazy finish where they both died on the same day which also happened to be the 50th anniversary of the signing of the declaration of independence. Awesome.

 

Are the drunk storytellers really drunk though? No one was slurring their words.

 

What will always be my favorite slurred word on this show was Lakota Indrians in the Lewis and Clark story.  Mostly because they actually wrote "Lakota Indrians" on the screen just in case I missed it.

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I can say that unless I am brown out drunk (that is the stage before black out drunk) I am still pretty coherent and do not slur my words. Not everyone sounds like Jim Lahey from Trailer Park Boys when they're shitfaced.

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They are drunk, but I think Derek has toned it down.  I don't think anyone wants to see them puking.  Derek films them for several hours at a time and uses the best footage for the show.

 

 

I thought she called Peggy a tw@t.

They have an EMT there during filming. They won't leave until they know that the narrator is okay to be by themselves. During Derek's NPR interview, he said that he drinks with them to make them more comfortable so he's just not filming them. I liked the Benedict Arnold narrator. I believe that's she's the girlfriend of Dan Harmon, creator of Community. She makes a lot of cakes on her Instagram.

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Peeayebee! Good to see you, gurl. ;)

More lady narrators, please! I'm echoing everyone's appreciation of Erin McGathy's "Well, she was!" You know the next morning she was rubbing her head asking, "Did I call someone a twat on national television? I didn't... right?"

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^^^ Yeah, that was great.  So funny.

 

Also loved Derek Waters casting himself as the most handsomest American von Steuben had ever seen.

 

Can't get enough of Drunk Historty overall (though I do question some points of historical accuracy).  I remember being dubious of the whole idea when it was first being promoted, but it won me over in the first segment.  I find myself laughing throughout the half-hour, and have to watch it again to catch all the parts I missed the first time around.  Long Live Drunk History, is what I say.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I had occasion to be reading Alexander Hamilton's letters (...what?), and one letter to his then-gf and eventual wife from the day describes the scene with Peggy Shippen weeping and wailing and using the infant as a prop, just as acted out here. He was convinced she was innocent, innocent, I say! (Al never could read the ladies...)

 

So anyway, I take back my skepticism about Peggy not being with B Arn at the time of the perfidy. I type corrected.

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