Favorite

On "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" 

click to enlarge tv1-1.jpg

MY BIG FAT GYPSY WEDDING

8 p.m. Sundays

TLC

People love to steal a peek inside secret societies and closed worlds. The Italian mafia, the Freemasons, the Vatican, the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous — you name it, if there's a velvet rope blocking the door to keep regular folk out, we're always itching to speculate on what's going on inside. Here, TLC — rapidly cementing its place as The Freak Show Channel, with more weird medical and mental conditions per hour than any other network on cable — gives viewers a look inside one of the world's most secretive groups with the new show "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding." While that title sounds deceptively festive, the show is actually some of the strangest viewing on TV: a rare, behind-the-scenes window into the world of Europe's Irish Travelers. Secretive, full of cultural quirks and harboring what seems to be a strange duality about sex, the Travelers have purposely made themselves social outcasts for centuries. Even though their lifestyles suggest many of them are flush with disposable cash, most of them prefer to live in what we would consider to be camping trailers — a throwback to the days of horse-drawn wagons. Girls are married off well before they're 18 (often after they've quit school at a young age to help care for their siblings) and weddings and first communions are lavish to say the least, with little girls and brides often wearing custom-designed dresses that weigh more than they do and including hundreds of yards of fabric, flashing lights, and imported crystal embellishments. Unmarried Traveler girls aren't supposed to be seen alone in public and adhere to fairly strict rules concerning the opposite sex to avoid being "scandalized," but when they go to a club, the young women (the ones on the show, at least) dress in spangled hot pants and elaborate makeup like they're going to Carneval in Rio, and when they get there, they dance like strippers. Like I said: Weird. Definitely worth a look, just for the sheer voyeurism of it all, and to remind ourselves that the Good Old Way of doing things ain't always the best.

NETFLIX PIX:

KEN BURNS': THE WAR

n A few weeks back, I reminded you of Ken Burns' excellent series "The Civil War," which pretty much rewrote the book on what a historical documentary could be when it appeared on PBS back in 1990. Given my love and admiration for his work, I'd be remiss if I didn't give just as much space for his 2007 mini-series "The War," which is available in its seven-part entirety on Netflix. It's built around a premise as equally brilliant as "The Civil War," which is this: To encapsulate the loss, fear, courage and triumph of the vast conflict of World War II by looking at the war through the lens of four American towns: Luverne, Minn.; Mobile, Ala.; Sacramento, Calif., and Waterbury, Conn. Using war diaries, moving first-person recollections of young soldiers grown old, artifacts and histories of families from those towns, Burns pulls off a kind of miracle: He makes the War — 50-odd years fought by then — real again for Americans who have never known that kind of national commitment and sacrifice. As in "The Civil War," Burns draws on some of the best voice talent in the business, with letters and newspaper clippings read by folks like Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, and Adam Arkin, and principal narration by Keith David. By the time Burns' searing exploration of that most crucial crossroads of the 20th century came out in 2007, cable TV giants like The History Channel and The Military Channel had long since cracked the bones of World War II and used the marrow to sell commemorative plates and dish soap. That — along with more entertainment choices and the public suffering from hardcore Nazi Fatigue thanks to cable TV — was probably why the ratings weren't as big for "The War" as they had been for "The Civil War." They should have been, however, because it's nothing short of excellent. Catch it now on Netflix. If you're a history buff, you won't be sorry.

— David Koon

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by David Koon

  • Join us Sept. 21 for Pig & Swig!

    Make plans to join Arkansas Times at 6 p.m. Sept. 21 for Pig & Swig, an event centered around two of life's finest pleasures: sippin' whiskey and fine swine. The event, which benefits the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, will be held at the Heifer Project Pavilion and Urban Farm near the Clinton Center.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • French Hill to join anti-violence leaders for MacArthur Park press conference

    A press release from the office of Arkansas Congressman French Hill says that Hill will join a press conference set for tomorrow that will spotlight the efforts of the Victory Over Violence Coalition, which seeks to promote peaceful resolution of conflict.The press conference will begin at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Little Rock's MacArthur Park, at the corner of E. 9th and Commerce Streets.
    • Sep 15, 2017
  • Family of man shot by LRPD claims cruiser dashcam video confirms their account

    Attorneys for the family of a man killed by an LRPD officer in October 2016 allege that a video released to the media yesterday, shot from a dashcam in the officer's cruiser, both proves the family's account of the shooting and shows that the LRPD didn't fully comply with the state Freedom of Information Act when the family requested all materials related to the case. Attorneys for the family say the video was not included in materials released to them following a recent FOIA request.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in The Televisionist

  • Netflix pix: revenge!

    Is there anything more satisfying than watching a character take a just and righteous revenge on someone who has smugly screwed them over at some time in the past? Not in this writer's book. I love the cinema of revenge, and Netflix Instant happens to have a crop of Revengers that includes some of the best ever made.
    • May 30, 2013
  • Netflix pix: 'Kumare'

    With Easter just passed, I've been thinking a lot about faith — why we need it, what purpose it serves, and just how devout many of the people who claim to be religious really are. It's a question for the ages, and will probably be debated until the sun goes supernova or language finally devolves into a series of squeaks and grunts, whichever comes first.
    • Mar 28, 2013
  • Netflix Pix

    Hidden gems from Netflix Instant.
    • Dec 19, 2012
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Bumbling Bielema

    • The person named Allen with the canning co just filed bankruptcy, if any one is…

    • on September 19, 2017
  • Re: Bumbling Bielema

    • And yet Bielema is paid millions of dollars. I'm no fancy football expert, but it…

    • on September 18, 2017
  • Re: Bumbling Bielema

    • Coaches are out there to snag up at the end of the season, the kind…

    • on September 18, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation