Interlaced Armitage

After work today I was screwing around, realized I was too tired after lecturing to write anything else analytical (finishing the planned conclusion to the “Losing Armitage” post, which is the next text on the calendar), but I didn’t have anything else more aesthetic or emotional ready to go. I was wondering what to post and then found these caps I made last week.

While capping, I was trying to capture the moment when the camera shifts from one shot to another, so you could see Geraldine’s and Harry’s face simultaneously. (This is a sort of artistic effect that I really like; see here for a prettier example from Robin Hood, which was shot at 30 fps). In these shots below, which were shot at the typical 25 fps frame rate for television and then interlaced to increase perceived frame rate, you also see combing (the vertical lines throughout the caps) as the result of capturing video. Interlacing doubles perceived frame rate (in this case, from 25 to 50) without increasing necessary broadcast bandwidth by only redrawing every other line of pixels on the monitor for each frame. The combing is a visible artifact of that process that we see when the frames are stopped and capped.

Harry Kennedy (Richard Armitage) and Geraldine Granger (Dawn French) in scenes from the last two episodes of Vicar of Dibley. My caps.

Enjoy this rare appearance of Harry and Gerry on the blog — I don’t write about them so often because this is possibly my least favorite of Armitage’s more well-known roles. I was flipping through drafts recently and noticed that the oldest unpublished surviving draft I have, from April 2010 and concerns why I don’t like these episodes much. I was a much braver, more disciplined blogger, then, I think. I don’t think publishing that would make me very popular. I like looking at Harry, and I still very occasionally enjoy Richard Armitage as Harry; I just have to be in a very particular mood, and to make sure I don’t think too much while I’m watching it. Which, if you’re me, is hard.

~ by Servetus on October 23, 2012.

55 Responses to “Interlaced Armitage”

  1. These are really interesting caps. I hope one day you will post your thoughts on this show. I’m curious about why you aren’t particularly fond of this character. As for it being an unpopular opinion, the world would be boring if we all had the exact same tastes. πŸ™‚

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  2. Very interesting. As for being brave enough to post your thoughts on Harry, I would love to hear him. I like Harry, but he’s definitely NOT my favorite character either (don’t tell Harry). πŸ˜€

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    • I think Harry’s the kind of guy who could deal with being told he wasn’t your favorite. After all, he loves Gerri πŸ™‚

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  3. Harry is adorable, but I loathed this show.

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    • Back in the day, mulubinba did a great post on all the gags in these episodes that relate to the show in general. I wish i could link to it but she’s hidden her blog for the time being. I have to say that what she explained didn’t change my opinion in the least.

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  4. Sweet, handsome, self-effacingly charming man falls in love with vivacious zaftig woman with a big heart. It is the stuff of which dReAms are made. Sighhhhh!

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  5. When VoD first came on my PBS station I found it very hard to get into the show and my husband hated it so we stopped watching it. This is rare for us not to like a show for the U.K. I did like the part with Richard, but have only watch it once.

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    • it was interesting to me that I mentioned it to some point and she knew about the show because of PBS (and then said, when I said, Armitage is the guy Gerri marries at the end, said, Gerri gets married? — so I guess she didn’t watch it all either.)

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  6. Whew! Glad to know I’m not the only one who isn’t wild about Harry (to paraphrase a very old song). The flirting with Geraldine seems so forced at times, although I think it’s the script, not RA’s acting. Harry’s pursuit of Geraldine borders on stalkerish creepiness. (Ducking for cover now.) I guess because it was such a short story arc that the writers felt they had to forcibly drive home that Harry is instantly attracted to Geraldine but IMHO, that creates an unrealistic scenario, which, frankly, I find uncomfortable to watch. Yes, I realize the whole series wallowed in the absurd, but there are still limits. The very direct way he pursues her seems too contradictory to Harry’s very cautious, gentle and shy nature, and it stretches credulity. It would have made far more sense if Harry had known her for longer, loved her from afar, or knew her from some past experience, and is suddenly moved to reveal his feelings, which until then are unknown to Geraldine. I suppose they could only get RA for so long, and the writers felt compelled to use what they thought is every woman’s fantasy–to be swept off her feet by a handsome stranger –but it could have worked much better had it been written as an off-camera former or long term acquaintance or admiration. Instead, the relationship comes off like a preteen fantasy–“oh, I don’t know anything about you, but I love you instantly and we will never be apart.” That’s not love, kids. Geraldine’s a smart, accomplished woman and Harry seems far too worldly and sensible for that type of relationship to make sense to either of them.
    What really bothers me about my feelings toward this character is that RA has stated Harry is most like him in real life. I hope he meant the intelligence, sweetness, shyness and cute jumpers. I sense that his self-proclaimed “sparse”, “frugal”, “careful” and “cautious” relationship history means he hasn’t pursued anyone the way Harry does Geraldine, at least I hope not for his sake.
    Well, there’s my dose of cynicism for today.

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    • I agree totally. If it was fashioned as a fairy tale, some of the actions and dialogue broke the spell.

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    • The ‘handsome stranger sweeping Geraldine off her feet’ was precisely what i loved about the story, Northern Gal!

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      • Long live the romantics of the world–spreading light where we cynics cast shadows! LOL! Bollyknockers, I’m glad to know not everyone is as jaded as I am!

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        • Sorry, that was supposed to read “Bollyknickers”. Using a touchscreen before caffeine does not cut it for me!

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          • That’s okay Northern Gal – i think i prefer your version of my name! I’m trying to ban myself from replying to blogs on my iphone after a few predictive text incidents that have made me look barely literate (or drunk) but the immediacy is too seductive.

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      • Thanks, bollyknickers! I agree, the idea of Geraldine being swept off her feet by a handsome stranger is exactly what I loved about it too.

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    • It was clearly meant as a fairy tale, IMO. At least the part about proposing after an acquaintance of a about a week. But if there is instant attraction, I don’t see the speed of the development of their relationship as unrealistic. Quite the contrary, they take it very slowly, with Geraldine insisting to wait for the third date before they kiss (an it is implied that nothing more happens). When I look at some fanfic that is around, it usually doesn’t take them 24 hours to end up in bed.

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      • I don’t find the relationship hugely realistic but that’s not really my issue with it. And my generation has the “third date rule” anyway. But I’m not judging the realism of TV by the standards either of TV or of fanfic πŸ™‚

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  7. I loved VoD, partly because of the type of humour but partly for sentimental reasons – i grew up near ‘Dibley’ and could sit on my sofa on the other side of the world shouting “I remember that field/ phone box/ church/ cottage” The times i’ve walked along that bridle path, splashed in the puddle and NOT gone up to my neck… I have an enormous soft spot for Dawn French and casting RA as the love interest was the icing on the cake for me. But, i can understand why some might not warm to Harry – i’d be interested to read that article to see if i’m right about the reasons in your case.

    Something i read the other day brought into focus what i have been thinking for some time about why i like this blog – because it seems a place where debate can happen in a respectful, intelligent way. That’s rare, in my experience. So I feel sorry that you have felt the need to become more circumspect about what you blog – but i can understand why.

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    • I love Dawn French, too. I didn’t know anything about her until seeing this but after that i read her autobiography and was tremendously moved.

      Thanks for the kind words about the blog. I do think the commentators here are very kind to each other. I think I was in an especially tired mood last night —

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  8. Dear Servetus, you were ‘a much braver, more disciplined blogger, than now’? Because you’re such slacker nowadays, posting most days, writing 2000+ words…
    I swear, if anyone else saying these things about you, they’d get a verbal beating, and not just from me… *sigh*
    So excuse me, but watch what you say about our favorite blogger πŸ˜‰
    PS. One of the reasons why you may find watching RA on VoD is because I don’t think he’s a natural comedy actor *ducks*.
    Yep, I said it!
    I enjoy watching it very much, but in comparison with other roles, it’s not the top of his abilities. Maybe you just feel uncomfortable watching him not at his best.

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    • I don’t think he’s a natural comedy actor, either, although I think he comes up with some good ways of hiding that. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to write more about this. That problem actually intrigues me. It’s not that I think he’s terrible.

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      • I don’t think any of the ‘guest’ actors were at their best in this show. The ensemble cast were so tight knit and well loved (or not) by the audience for a few quirky in jokes that newcomers always jarred some what. The same is probably true for occasional viewers.

        So have we persuaded you this topic deserves a whole post of it’s own yet?

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        • Sounds like it needs a week of posts πŸ™‚

          Seriously, I have never doubted it would be worth it, just have been afraid of publishing what I’ve had to say. I didn’t know there’d be this much interest or sympathy to a diverging view point — what I pick up about VoD is always “we love Harry, what a sweet show.” I spend a lot of time IRL separating people from their illusions and it’s not necessarily something i love to do πŸ™‚

          I’ll think about it. When I finish “Losing Armitage” there’s another burning post, but maybe after that. Of course it’ll be Xmas by then …

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  9. Harry’s proposal did come a bit too soon to be realistic, but he did have his own doubts about proposing so soon which made it feel a tad more realistic to me. According to the character, he discussed it extensively with his best friend/sister before the proposal.

    I liked RA’s various expressions in the proposal scene as they go from nervousness to confusion to happiness to laughter to mock fear to joy. From what I know of RA, he is a meticulous actor and his facial expressions contribute greatly to the comedy of the proposal scene.

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  10. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the VoD, Servetus. I think Harry really is “the boy next door ” and very charming , however I never found him and Geraldine convincing as a couple. To me it comes across as a mother and son relationship. I can feel the good vibes between them and you can see the fun they had during the shoot, but the romantic chemistry is missing, at least in my opinion.
    Nevertheless I still enjoy watching the show.

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    • I think French herself was bothered by the fact that he’s a decade younger.

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      • I’m very curious to learn why you don’t like VoD (Harry? RA’s acting?) because most people I know are enchanted by it. I don’t think the age gap is a problem because wherever DF is on the scale of attractiveness in relation to RA, she does look younger than she is and about his age.

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      • And rightly so. She is 14 years older, and, I’m sorry to say, to me she looks it. I’m just absolutely not a fan of inverse age difference (as much as I wish nature were kinder to women πŸ™‚ ).

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        • Unfortunately we’ve been socialised by film and TV over the years to expect the woman to be younger than the man. No one would have even noticed if he had been 14 years older. Perhaps we need a few years of inverse age difference on TV to acclimatise us. Apart from reproduction there are some strong biological advantages to the woman being older.

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          • That was pretty to close to the difference between Lucy Griffiths and Armitage in RH, wasn’t it? She was in her very early 20s and he was in his mid-30s. I have to say I had a hard time factoring that out even though it wasn’t unreasonable historically and it sustained the dynamic of unrequired adoration on his side (or they made it do that).

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            • Judging by the amount of Guy and Marian NC-17 fanfic around, i don’t think the age difference bothered most of the audience and i strongly doubt it would rate a mention if they were cast opposite one another now that she is in her late 20’s.

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              • And historically Marian would have been several years younger than Lucy was. I know most people don’t have a problem with it / wouldn’t know. It was just an added dynamic for me in watching the piece — it (anachronistically) enhanced Guy’s sinister qualities for me.

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          • I’m not a specialist, but is not heterosexual attraction rooted in reproduction? While some advantages might exist if a woman is older, I don’t see how they can be biological, if she is past reproductive age. So I’m blaming this perception of mine on nature, rather than TV. People, of course, can be acclimatised to just about anything, for better or for worse πŸ™‚

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            • I would tend to say it’s not — or at least not exclusively. I’m infertile and I’ve never lacked for men wanting to have sex with me.

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              • I by no means implied that procreation has anything to do with any specific sexual relationship; rather, it does in a sense that we are trying to avoid it πŸ™‚ But in general, would you disagree that sexual attraction is mainly the nature’s mechanism to ensure survival of the species? But I’m not actually equipped for this argument – I’m an engineer πŸ™‚ It only seems to me that blaming a perception that an older man is OK, and older woman is not, on media is quite unfair to both the media and people holding that perception.

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                • Possibly the fact that people want to have sex (as opposed to not wanting to) is a natural mechanism, although I have never been convinced of that. What seems less controversial to me is that wo wants to have sex with whom specifically or what is considered attractive in any setting is not a matter of biology — it’s a result of cultural norms that have to do with the distribution of power. There’s no other way to explain the drastic divergence in notions of sexual attractiveness and appropriate pairings over the course of human history and from culture to culture.

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                  • Well, this is where my lack of education comes into play. I was under an impression that men, given choices, overwhelmingly choose young women for partners, quite across times and civilizations. (I’m not young, by the way, so the concept brings me no joy). I also suspect that I’m looking at things from much more materialistic point of view than the majority.

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                    • It would depend on how you define “choice,” but for example, in northern and western Europe east of the Elbe, there’s a very stable sexual / marital pattern from the point at which reliable records exist (fourteenth c. or so) that persisted into the twentieth century of men marrying women who were about three-five years younger than they were. Am I saying no man anywhere chooses to have sex with a woman who’s generations younger? No — just that that’s not the only pattern or even the predominant one.

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  11. Very interesting caps, Servetus, despite the interference lines.
    As regards your thoughts on HK/VoD, oh please do tell!!! I’d love to know why this is not your favourite incarnation of RA. He isn’t mine, either. Or rather, it depends. For my “good girl” days, I turn to Harry as my comfort viewing – the sweet, infatuated man, the romantic tale, the against-all-realism story. But for my usual “bad girl”-every-day-self I need a darker character to interest me (Sir Guy does the trick beautifully…)
    So please come out with something controversial. πŸ˜‰ I have really enjoyed reading everybody’s reaction on this post, already, and would love to read more!

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    • I actually like the lines — but I’m a strange bird, visually.

      I’m very relieved to have created a safe place for ambivalence. Always makes me feel good.

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  12. I love “Vicar of Dibley” but I do not belive in Harry, for me he is highly suspect and fully unreal πŸ˜‰

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  13. Actually, I’m curious: am i the only one who thinks that the discussion about the kiss ‘with tongues’ was crass? As well as references to dildos etc…? I know it makes me prissy… but it just seems out of place and unjustified… Then again, maybe that’s the style of the show, for whatever reason.

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    • My guess (and this is just a guess — I am sure others know better) is that the reference to the unwanted wedding gift from her uncle relates to a gag from earlier in the series. A lot of the stuff i didn’t like that was like that related to things that only ongoing viewers of the series would have known (like the confusion during the proposal scene about whether Harry wanted Gerri to perform the wedding or to marry him).

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      • rbb, I agree. I’ve got a raunchy sense of humor at times but this didn’t fit the tone of Harry’s character even if it fit the series in general. The “kiss with tongues” exchange was what made me think “creepy”. I don’t care how adorable he is, that would make me have some serious misgivings (at least until I cashed in on that kiss!)

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        • You might be misattributing ‘creepiness’ , though πŸ™‚ I believe Geraldine said it first, and Harry merely repeated it a couple of dates later.

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      • Oh i see. But i think a show might be allowed to reference itself? I just though it was not very funny. And some jokes were so primitive and used…like when guys are supposed to paint a nude model and they are just staring…

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        • Oh..but this was fantastic , for me anyway πŸ™‚ In general as time passes, more and more things makes me laugh- even the famous “horse poo” πŸ˜‰

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        • There are things I book under “British humor” and certain kinds of jokes about men are among them. I don’t get them but obviously someone does. And in certain settings jokes are funny precisely because they are repeated, I think.

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