First up, I think HBO did a kick-ass job of portraying history accurately (I fucking hope it was accurate) in their show Deadwood, which is probably the greatest cowboy dialogue of our generation. They also delight in throwing the word “cunt” around and you know how I love that kind of reckless offensiveness. Private message to Ian McShane: I would do filthy shit to you, cocksucker.
But meanwhile, in Showtime land, it seems the good writers and peons of the network have issued a hearty Fuck-you to any kind of historical accuracy regarding Henry VIII besides his number of wives, their hair color and number of offspring. Also, it IS set in England, so they did technically get that right. Well done, scripters.
Because I am a huge British Renaissance nerd, I probably go into each show armed to the teeth with way too much fucking information. So I’m not going to start listing the nit-picky things they fucked up like battle dates, seasonal continuity or what have you. Seriously, it’s the HUGE, GLARING details that are way more fun to mock. Here’s a little list I like to call: Top 3 Ways The Tudors are Fucking Up History!
3. Everyone’s Teeth. While it’s an over-stated and under-proved concept that everyone in Britain until, well, now, has had fucked up ideas of dentistry, there were actually a smattering of anti-tooth decay remedies available. Of course, some of these involved alum, some involved retardedness (i.e. eating sugar to help combat mouth rot), and most people ignored them entirely. Yet Showtime would have us believe that despite our modern concept of British teeth looking like this:
Instead, actually, Renaissance ladies looked like this:
Maybe she's really Canadian?
Suuuure, Showtime. Thanks for playing.
2. Her Royal Hotness. I do realize that beauty is a relative concept and changes over time, and of course female beauty is constantly subjected to current social conventions and concepts. Nonetheless, Showtime has made some pretty creative casting moves, if any art from the actual time period is to be believed.
Catherine of Aragon: Sex Machine
It becomes more clear why Catholicism was disbanded...
There's something different here...
1. The Royal Codpiece. Since we’re going into the new season featuring Katherine Howard (the one who actually totally foreal cheated on him and LIKED it), I feel I should point out that there is a VAST difference in the way an audience will perceive a young woman who cheated on THIS guy:
Who wouldn't hit this?!
Vs. maybe understanding why the hell she might cheat on THIS guy:
You used to be cool, Hank.
Do we see the distinction? One of these things is not like the others. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s necessary to portray Henry as a slothful, turkey-leg devouring sociopath… And yet. At 6’4″ and 350 lbs, his BMI rating would have been “42” — you’re considered merely obese at a slim “30” so brother was 12 full points over that. I’m just saying that rippling pecs were probably not part of the equation.
Also, most modern doctors assume that he was impotent by age 45 due to the weight and ulcers on his leg. By age 54, he had to be carried everywhere on a chair, and he died a year later “amidst the horrendous stench of his bursting leg ulcers.” Might some of these details not contribute to our understanding of a 19-year-old young woman not wanting to bone her husband?!
Regardless, I’m still all set to watch the new season. I can’t lie. I’m just so pleased that they’ve turned my MA thesis topic into a fucking soap opera. WIN!