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Season 1 Discussion


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It's 1832 in West Yorkshire, England -- the cradle of the evolving Industrial Revolution -- where landowner Anne Lister is determined to save her faded ancestral home, Shibden Hall, even if it means bucking society's expectations. In addition to reopening the coal mines, a part of Lister's plan to help her family is to marry well. But the charismatic, single-minded Lister -- who dresses head-to-toe in black and charms her way into high society -- has no intention of marrying a man. "Gentleman Jack" examines Lister's relationships with her family, servants, tenants and industrial rivals, and would-be wife. The real-life Anne Lister's story was recorded in her diaries, and the most intimate details of her life are revealed for the series.

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Liked the show overall, but sometimes felt a weird creepy mildly rapey vibe from Anne.  

But I'm sensitive to the fact that I might bee to harsh when it's a homosexual relationship between two women, so I'm open to being told I'm wrong.  Am I wrong?,

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I certainly got a predatory vibe from her. It's interesting because, thinking about it, I think I expected her not to be like that because she's female while it is pretty typical male behavior for books/movies set in this time. She was certainly very stereo-typically "male" in all aspects of her life so IDK why I was surprised by it. 

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(edited)
12 hours ago, RealReality said:

Liked the show overall, but sometimes felt a weird creepy mildly rapey vibe from Anne.  

But I'm sensitive to the fact that I might bee to harsh when it's a homosexual relationship between two women, so I'm open to being told I'm wrong.  Am I wrong?,

We discussed it a fair bit in the original (now deleted) thread. It made me uncomfortable in the first half of the season. Some counterpoints (to me) are that Anne refused to take Ann’s money unless they were committed to each other (ideally married), and that historical spoiler

 

they did have an on-again, off-again thing for a long time wherein Anne would back off when Ann told her to back off. Sometimes she’d back off all the way to another country, as we saw in the show. That said, RL Anne Lister was definitely a player with a lot of conquests.

Another poster wrote a great piece, which I will never be able to reproduce, about how the power dynamics aren’t precisely what they seem at first glance, and that Ann clearly has quite a  lot of power over Anne. And is capable of emotionally devastating her. 

If we’re talking strictly the physical stuff in the first few episodes, yeah, Anne is definitely pushing the issue, and yes, to modern eyes it can be uncomfortable. (I think it doesn’t help that Sophie Rundle looks about 17.) Anne does stop when told to stop at various key scenes, but probably not as soon as us some of would like to see. 

Edited by kieyra
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2 minutes ago, kieyra said:

We discussed it a fair bit in the original (now deleted) thread. It made me uncomfortable in the first half of the season. Some counterpoints (to me) are that Anne refused to take Ann’s money unless they were committed to each other (ideally married), and that historical spoiler

  Hide contents

they did have an on-again, off-again thing for a long time wherein Anne would back off when Ann told her to back off. Sometimes she’d back off all the way to another country, as we saw in the show. That said, RL Anne Lister was definitely a player with a lot of conquests.

Another poster wrote a great piece, which I will never be able to reproduce, about how the power dynamics aren’t precisely what they seem at first glance, and that Ann clearly has quite a  lot of power over Anne. And is capable of emotionally devastating her. 

If we’re talking strictly the physical stuff in the first few episodes, yeah, Anne is definitely pushing the issue, and yes, to modern eyes it can be uncomfortable. (I think it doesn’t help that Sophie Rundle looks about 17.) Anne does stop when told to stop at various key scenes, but probably not as soon as some of would like to see. 

Thank you for this response.  I'm glad to have a little more context and I'm glad I wasn't the only one. Yes, towards the end of the season the power dynamic evened out and I felt more comfortable.

Does anyone know if a season 2 is forthcoming?

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Just now, RealReality said:

Thank you for this response.  I'm glad to have a little more context and I'm glad I wasn't the only one. Yes, towards the end of the season the power dynamic evened out and I felt more comfortable.

Does anyone know if a season 2 is forthcoming?

Yes! I believe S2 was confirmed before S1 finished airing. I think it got big viewing numbers in the UK. 

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S2 is definitely coming.

I didn't see Anne as rapey or predatory.  She was brasher and more confident in her sexuality.  She has always been more certain about what she wanted.  Ann presents as more frail because of her very real mental illness.  She's more delicate and she conforms to more standard standard views of femininity. 

But she managed to get to 29 and still be single even with the money she had.  Didn't she admit she had developed a crush on Anne early on? There's also focus on how Anne would stop when Ann asked her to but I always focus on the time when she took the initiative. 

While she was making out with Anne, she was caught by her aunt (Mother? whoever the older woman was).  Both she and Anne jumped up while the woman warned Ann about Anne.  Anne looked nervous but Ann just laughed it off and brought Anne up to her bedroom where they had sex for the first time.   She was also the one who made the final grand romantic gesture.

She did go back and forth--not about Anne but whether or not she was capable of living  as a lesbian.  And Anne was very passionate about trying to convince her.

But overall, I felt boundaries were largely established and respected.  I'd feel the same way if it were a mean too, BTW.

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Living in England, I have to say GJ has had terrific ratings here, and very positive reviews in the national media.

S2 was signed off way before S1 had even got half way through its season. I am hoping S2 will flesh out the lead characters now that the show has established itself and worthy of further episodes.

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10 hours ago, Zola said:

Living in England, I have to say GJ has had terrific ratings here, and very positive reviews in the national media.

S2 was signed off way before S1 had even got half way through its season. I am hoping S2 will flesh out the lead characters now that the show has established itself and worthy of further episodes.

I actually went and sought out some U.K. TV forums to lurk on when our original GJ thread got deleted. I think it was on “Digital Spy” or something, but I’d take any other forum recommendations if you’ve got them. 😉 But yes, it seemed to be well received wherever I was reading. 

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On 7/19/2019 at 10:54 PM, kieyra said:

We discussed it a fair bit in the original (now deleted) thread. It made me uncomfortable in the first half of the season. Some counterpoints (to me) are that Anne refused to take Ann’s money unless they were committed to each other (ideally married), and that historical spoiler

  Reveal spoiler

they did have an on-again, off-again thing for a long time wherein Anne would back off when Ann told her to back off. Sometimes she’d back off all the way to another country, as we saw in the show. That said, RL Anne Lister was definitely a player with a lot of conquests.

Another poster wrote a great piece, which I will never be able to reproduce, about how the power dynamics aren’t precisely what they seem at first glance, and that Ann clearly has quite a  lot of power over Anne. And is capable of emotionally devastating her. 

If we’re talking strictly the physical stuff in the first few episodes, yeah, Anne is definitely pushing the issue, and yes, to modern eyes it can be uncomfortable. (I think it doesn’t help that Sophie Rundle looks about 17.) Anne does stop when told to stop at various key scenes, but probably not as soon as us some of would like to see. 

I think the show went out of its way to show that Ann was interested in Anne from the very beginning and loved the attention. From the very first scene she's looking at Shibden Hall all interested, and when she sees Anne during the visit at Shibden she seems very fascinated with her. Then there's the vivid anecdote about when Anne visited them when Ann was like 17 and she never forgot. Ann was also the one who wanted Anne to "stay the night" right away.

In fact, in the diaries Anne is taken back by how forward Ann is sexually. So much so that she gets it in her head that she must have had other lovers and she won't be able to measure up, so she's actually nervous to stay the night.

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I stumbled upon this series on a flight and watched the 4 episodes that were available, but now I have to go back and re watch the entire thing because I think they didn't show 4 epis in order. I absolutely loved this show, and I'm thrilled it gained a strong viewership and will be coming back for more. It's so refreshing to see a period show that explores another perspective of Georgian life. Loved it!

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I recently did a re-watch of the show and thought I would put down some words/thoughts since the initial Season One discussion topic got eaten during the server issues.

I loved the many (many) shots of Anne exiting her carriage before the footman (or whatever the proper title may be) could open the door for her.  Kinda mean of me, but I thought it was even funnier during the scenes when the carriage door that she had flung open basically hit the poor footman in the face.  Cue jaunty music!

As has been pointed out here, Ann really does show an piqued interest in Shibden Hall and all things Anne Lister from her very first scene.  Later, when Ann proclaimed that she had been in love with Anne since even before she met her (I think she says she was 14 when she first saw Anne), I completely believed her.  The set up was so good.

During the scene when Anne is visiting Ann just prior to her going to the Lake District and while Anne is looking at the paintings Ann has drawn, Ann is staring at Anne's face so intently...like she is trying to memorize it.  Then, Anne says that Ann should draw her one day which Ann later did - from memory.  I thought that whole scenario was effective.  Another thing about that particular scene that I liked was that Ann gave Anne some really solid advice about attending Vere's wedding.  Anne seemed impressed.

Speaking of the Lake District, I think Catherine Rawson said that she was taking something like 9 hats and I believe they were only going to be there for about 3 weeks.  Poor James, having to load all of those girls' trunks!

Speaking of Catherine - when Anne breaks the paper knife given to Ann by Catherine in what appeared to be a fit of jealousy, was it due to Anne being jealous of Ann/Catherine's relationship or just because the extended trip was throwing a fly in the ointment of Anne's seduction plans?  I couldn't tell if Anne thought Ann/Catherine's "relationship" was something more.  Maybe I was overthinking it. 

I thought the "downstairs" stories were a bit muddled at times.  The John/Eugenie story was abruptly dropped when she was no longer pregnant.  Not that I blamed her and I guess we really didn't need to see more.  But, at some point, James (or maybe it was a different servant) was asking Cordingly about Eugenie.  John walks in and overhears them.  Then, we see John walking across the courtyard.  I don't think we saw him again until he appeared as a guest of Thomas Sowden's wedding.  Oh well, perhaps more to come during Season 2.

Speaking of Thomas Sowden, I really didn't need to see so many cuts of him slitting his father's throat and then the ensuing pig feast mania.  LOL

The Eugenia storyline with the new coachman/Thomas Beech was also a little strange.  Again, maybe there will be more to it in Season 2.

Sophie Rundle really held her own against Suranne Jones who is pretty awesome in general.  I had seen Sophie in a couple of things and thought she was a very capable actress, but she really impressed me in this series.  The manic episodes were hard to watch, but she really sold them I thought.

Loved all the scenes with Anne and Marian.  Suranne and Gemma had wonderful sibling chemistry.  Marian's exasperation with Anne and subsequent eyerolls never got old to me.

Suranne Jones gave one of the most perfect side-eyes that I have ever seen on television to Captain's Sutherland's mother when mother whisper-talked the referral of a physician in Edinburgh for Ann as a "ladies physician".   

I noticed that Anne never tells Ann that she loves her.  (Please correct me if I am wrong on that matter.)  Ann says that she loves Anne/is in love with Anne several times.  On the couch, just before they are interrupted by Eliza, after Ann tells Anne that the Mr. Ainsworth proposed via letter, maybe a couple of times during all of the back and forth with the "religious despondency" issues and, of course, during the last proposal scene at the collapsed pit.  Anne showed that she loved Ann many times, but I don't believe that she ever actually said the words.  Season 2?  And will Mariana show up to throw a fly into the ointment during Season 2?  

Wow - I just realized how long this post is.  Sorry to create such a long list, as I generally don't like to do that!  

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On 10/6/2019 at 3:37 PM, whisperingtheblues said:

Speaking of Catherine - when Anne breaks the paper knife given to Ann by Catherine in what appeared to be a fit of jealousy, was it due to Anne being jealous of Ann/Catherine's relationship or just because the extended trip was throwing a fly in the ointment of Anne's seduction plans?  I couldn't tell if Anne thought Ann/Catherine's "relationship" was something more.  Maybe I was overthinking it.

Maybe I'm misremembering, but I think that in the diaries she simply broke it accidentally. However, I do think that the show meant to say something with that moment. I think probably both of those things you mention. I don't think you're over-thinking it.

In the diaries, however, Anne was a bit thrown for a loop because of how sexually forward Ann was, and she at times thought that Ann couldn't have been a virgin like she said. I think that in the end Anne did believe her, did believe that she was a virgin before her. Either that or she always went back and forth with that, I'm not sure. But anyway, what I'm getting at is that one of her theories, when she didn't believe Ann, was that Catherine had been Ann's lover and had taught her things. 😁

Now, before anyone mentions the reverend, IIRC in the diaries Ann never says that she slept with him. She always denied it and claimed that the farthest they got was kissing. So that was a creative licence on the show's part. Like Sowden's murder plot. The guy existed but was never murdered.

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