It's really hard living in two countries. One can never get on a television show bandwagon at the right time (zone). Take, for instance, my slow-to-catch-on, then completely obsessed, and eventually betrayed reaction to Downton Abbey. Or the fact I fit 7 seasons of Doctor Who into two months of binge-watching "enculturation."
Now I come to find out that everyone - EVERYONE - is right. Call the Midwife is brilliant. Heartbreakingly, wonderfully brilliant.
But SPOILER ALERT*. If you haven't seen any of it, don't read further. Or keep reading if you don't intend on seeing any of it and then I'll endeavor to change your mind. Because really.
*disclaimer: I've actually only seen the first two seasons. Much like Downton, I'm way behind the curve on this one.
1) Jenny may be the star of the show, but Chummy is the heart. She is so beautifully charming, innocent, cultured and kind that I can't help but smile in every scene she's in.
2) CTM is amazingly easy to binge-watch. The first two seasons are available on Netflix UK (Netflix US may have more or less) and there's only 6 or 8 episodes per season. I watched the first two seasons this past week whilst depressed over the unrelenting sun.
3) Not since Penny and Desmond have I rooted for a couple like Dr Turner and Sister Bernadette. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration. But when he kissed her hand in Season 2, Episode 5, I audibly gasped and ran downstairs to tell Matt exactly what happened to two people he had never heard of before.
This is how the conversation went:
Me: So Bernadette loves Doctor but she's a Sister and his wife is dead and he has a kid and there's a three-legged race and she scraped her hand and he kissed it and she turned away because GOD! Also, tuberculosis.
4) Nuns singing.
5) Every story, new mother, old mother and wounded veteran with oozing leg wounds will break your heart and make you cheer. I've not read the book, but if the writing on the show is any indication, the real-life Jenny connects you to these characters as if they are members of your own family. Even the curmudgeons win you - and her - over.
6) Alec is no Jimmy. Also, we're mad at Jimmy (aren't we?). And who's Gerald?!
7) Faith plays a prominent, though gentle role. The Sisters take their vows, their community and their work seriously, exhibiting this merciful - and often painful - calling with quiet wisdom. (Other writers have gone into more depth exploring the relationship between the Gospel and Call the Midwife.)
8) Leaving the more sentimental overtones to the beginning and end, the writers fill the episodes with dry humour and affection for their characters. For example:
“It’s a baby, not a lubricated penguin. They don’t just come sliding out."
“Where would we be without Nurse Franklin bringing up the rear, like poodle in the circus?”
“Will you test me on the prostitution laws?” ... “Shall we begin with importuning or do you want to ring the changes in procurement?”
"We will be with you and make sure that when you forget, we remember."
9) (Some) Guys get it, too. Last night after the kids went to bed, Matt and I watched the last three episodes of Season 2. Cuddling and warm, happy thoughts of love ensued.
10) I feel a fair bit of nostalgia about Asher's birth here in Ireland, which is really saying something. The way the antenatal clinics were run, never seeing a doctor unless absolutely necessary, the gas and air (let me just say that when they say "it takes the edge off" what they really mean is "when you put the gas and air tube in your mouth, you will bite down on it so hard from annoyance, frustration and pain, you will actually bite the edge of it right off") and even the little instrument they use to hear the heartbeat, called a Pinard horn.
But when it comes right down to it, my midwife for Asher's birth was much like the midwives portrayed here. Kind, compassionate, tough and skillfully able to handle me and my baby from start to finish. I can't help but smile every time Jenny cheers, "That's a good girl," to the women she attends to.
Every one needs cheering on from time to time, don't you think?
So are you watching? Should I keep going? Does Season 3 break your heart a la Matthew Crawley?
(PS - I love the Chummy and Friends illustration up top. Find this and other beautiful images at janachristyblog.wordpress.com)