Sunday, 29 March 2009

Oh my Fug! -- The Tudors

The Tudors is a new mini-series (well, maxi-series really; they're on to season 3) that uses Henry VIII as an excuse for a soap opera. I've never seen it and I never will, but while googling 'Anne Boleyn' I chanced on pics racy enough for pornos and, you guessed it, some total crap in the garb department.

Meet Anne Boleyn and her fuddled up wardrobe. Haven't I fugged this thing before? Yes, it's the infamous 'Florentine' dress. I didn't know queens went for cheapass Halloween costumes.

Oh, dear bugger. A poodle just died on her head! Come on, people, they were using ermine corpses back then and actually tailoring them.

And why can't she put on a chemise? Those flagrantly unperiod sleeves are showing off a lot of skin. Oh, and I'm real sure they used spiderweb textures on their bodices. And honey, don't you want to impress your pretty, poncy Henry look-unlike? Don't you want to show off your wealth with a jeweled French hood instead of cheapass braid trim? I'd say your jewellery looked Victorian if it wasn't obviously plastic. And what's he got around his neck? Wow, they had Swarovski crystal beads back then!

It's not all bad. This looks pretty and would be great in the Society for Pre-Raphaelite Anachronism. It isn't Tudor, though. It's Arwen in a corset.

But I guess historical inaccuracy doesn't matter, because she spends most of her time slipping out of her dresses anyway. The little hussy traipses around in her corset. I know this is supposed to be some kind of allegorical costume scene, but that's no excuse for parading your bare arms around. And ruffs are not Tudor. Neither is your little French twist, or the fucking shiny metal heart tacked to your cheek. And Henry? Plastic crowns and patent leather don't become you. I'm surprised your little strumpet isn't laughing in your face.

Oh, and we've got some great promo stills. Behold the strapless Tudor nightie! And if they're about to do the nasty, why has he got bare arms and a doublet? Are we supposed to believe that he took the doublet off (he'd have to, to shrug out of the undershirt) and then put it back on? Half clothed royalty must be Anne's fetish and she really likes it when he wears his chains of state to bed!

Henry's doublet has as much to do with Tudor as my pasty gothic ass has to do with tan lines. I've said it before: little caps over the shoulders are Elizabethan. Mid to Late Elizabethan. Henry liked big puffy sleeves and wide fur collars, and — check his portraits — lots of red and gold and white. But I guess that's not manly enough for the BBC's new sex-crazed bad boy. Oh noes, put him in black leather! And let's slap Anne in a gaping, sleeveless bodice with ugly trim!

Does it not piss off anyone else when the guy's fully clothed and the gal is flashing her twat? The whole deal with the real Anne Boleyn is that she won him over with elegance and wit. She had to, because she wasn't really all that pretty. Which brings me to the most disturbing thing about this series. It isn't the clothes, or the 19th century carriages, or the asphalt driveways or the modern radiators. It's the way they've portrayed historical figures as naked nymphets. Fans are saying that this series is OMG soooooo much better than it would have been with a pudgy Henry and an Anne who didn't look like 15 year old jailbait. But I think pretty teenagers get boring real damn fast. And wouldn't it be nice to have a plot instead of porn?

Ahh, well. When the official DVD press release posts images like this, you know the thing is a flimsy excuse for tits and ass. And if skinny supermodels are your kink, it does not disappoint:

Oh yeah, I'm real sure Henry'd go for Anorexic Anne. This chick is way too scrawny to be fertile.


  1. It's a real shame because a lot of the clothing is pretty, fancy, and detailed. It's just also WRONG. And, as you noticed, usually wrong in the direction of showing more female skin.

    A side-note about this show: if anyone mentions 'spoilers' I may have to hurt someone. Either the writers of the show for mangling history or the watchers for not knowing it, depending.

  2. I agree with you on everything except the sex issue and Anne. She is portrayed as a slut, yes (one of the few girls on the show who is, mind you), but the actual Anna WAS a slut. The real Anne was reported pregnant BEFORE she and Henry eloped, which they did BEFORE Henry and Cathrine were legally divorced. Elegance and wit my ass. Also, she was a power-hungry bitch and did not really care for Henry. The scenes where she is seen yelling at him for wasting what time she could have used making a "more advantageous marriage" are inspired by actual court accounts. . . .

    Speaking as someone who loves reading about the Tudor legacy, I did see many inaccuracies. But you're wrong if you say that their lives weren't a living soap opera. And you're wrong if you say that there wasn't so much sex going on. And, at that point in his life King Henry wasn't very pudgy yet.

  3. I do agree the costumes leave much to be desired in design and accuracy. Though I don't appreciate the mismatched time periods in the costumes, I resent you comment on them belonging in the Society for Creative Anachronism.
    I am a Tudor 1536 persona based on Jane Seymour, which takes great pride in making accurate and stunningly detailed Tudor replica outfits. Though I have in the past substituted some period materials for modern passable materials for the sake of sheer bankruptcy in cost, there is a difference in knowingly finding a substitute and sheer ignorance of proper time period correctness. There is no reason that you should slander a research society that promotes education of history let alone attempting to make proper historical costumes.

  4. Personally, I do like a lot of the women's costuming from The Tudors, while it may be almost entirely period-innapropriate, the aesthetic value of them can be quite nice.

    However, I completely agree that if you are creating a show/movie, etc. about historical figures in a certain time in history, DEFINATELY do your research and try to make it as accurately depicted as possible. Unfortunately television and movies nowadays are solely about all of the glitz, glamour and sexual appeal that you can cram into a specific program, rather than on accuracy.

  5. What is the most sad is that it is in fact based in the UK where they can get the people from Tudor Tailor, and make fantastic historically accurate clothing. I know they did not have a budget so they used what was out there, from many movies and plays they took most of the costuming from. You will see gowns from Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love etc.

    It could have been better, but the costumers and directors and producers made a nasty choice I would not watch this if you paid me.

    Worse yet? Check out a book called "Kiss the Rose" look at the photo you have, people now think?? The Henricians wore Elizabethans!!! So many people will not take the time to read and learn, they think Movies and TV is real (SIGH For the future)

    Totally and completely sets me off

  6. Okay. I realize you are all historical costumers and accuracy is your number one goal, but film/television/theatre costume designers are not aiming for the same things. As a trained and professional costume designer, I can tell you that there are many things that go into a design which include not only historical accuracy, but also a concept that is meticulously thought out and designed around. While I completely agree it is frustrating to see princess seams on a Tudor gown, if you can get past that then sometimes the overall design is beautiful. Costume designers are designing for a modern audience and will tailor the costumes to the current taste. This is why we see god awful orange poly tapestry gowns in any medieval movie from the 60s.
    I'm in the SCA so I'm well aware of the garb police and since historical accuracy is the main focal point of the SCA, it's expected. However, please have some respect for costume designer who did not pull things out of their ass or just "use what was out there." Just because it doesn't follow the historical lines of a medieval/Tudor/Elizabethan gown does not mean that it is poorly researched. If you know anything about film costuming, there are several big costumes houses, including Angel's in London, that designers turn to. Many costumes from many different films make it into many different films. This is nothing new.

  7. Mairin: I believe that you misunderstood the reference in the post. The intent was that if there were a Society for Pre-Raphaelite Anachronism, the gown would be entirely appropriate - nobody said that the SCA was doing, or should be doing, gowns like that. And I'd imagine that the costuming in general would be gorgeous in a SP-RA, too - maybe we need one!

  8. I watched part of one episode of The Tudors, and changed the channel when I saw Sir Thomas More and Cardinal Wolsey standing together, with More wearing the chain of office of chancellor - a chain that should have been worn by Wolsey, bestowed upon More by the king after Wolsey's death. Some overtly Elizabethan looking costumes being worn in the mid 16th century made me ill as well.

  9. and Welsh-bred Henry with black hair and brown eyes...where did E 1 get her red hair