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Season Five

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Episode 51 - The Scarlet Letter (1850)
Subtitle: Le Freak, C'est Chic
Abby calls Daniel: Knees Up Mother Brown
Daniel calls Abby
: Let's Get It Started In Here
Casting: An Armando Iannucci ahistorical comedy, with Steve Buscemi  as Chillingworth, Rupert Friend as Dimmesdale, and Aubrey Plaza or Ali Wong as Hester.
AdviceWhen texts start with a prolonged essay, especially when the author is writing as themselves, this can often operate as a bit of theory. These essays tell us how the author wants us to read the text. Whether or not we think that's the best way to read it is a different question!
Clue(s) to the Next Episode
: There are a ton of housekeepers in literature, but they are always secondary or tertiary characters. Our next book talks about a housekeeper's wants and needs much more explicitly.
Show Notes: We reveal the launch of our satellite show, SMFMS Bookends, and talk about the new schedule for Season 5: a once-per-month episode, followed by a Bookends episode.

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SMFMS Bookends 1 - The Scarlet Letter (1850)
Subtitle: And now we enter (book)end game.
Abby calls Daniel: Toad in the Hole
Daniel calls Abby
: Corndog
Remedial Bad GoodReads: Frankenstein (1818), S1E1
Daniel's Media List: Adorno's Lectures on Negative Dialectics (1966), China Mievelle's October: The Story of the Russian Revolution (2017), Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (2023), Red Dead Redemption II (2018)

Abby's Media List: Danya Kukafka's Notes on an Execution (2022), The Thief of Baghdad (1924), Pentiment (2022)

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Episode 52 - Rebecca (1938)
Subtitle: Like Jane Eyre, it's chocoblock full of tampons
Abby calls Daniel: Worzel Gummidge
Daniel calls Abby
: If I only had a brain
Casting: An early 1960s musical with a Rebecca leitmotif. Debbie Reynolds as the narrator, young Marlon Brando as Maxim, Gloria Swanson as Mrs Danvers, Frank Sinatra as Jack Favell, Rosemary Clooney as Beatrice, and Danny Kaye as Giles.
AdvicePay attention to how an author uses memory, which is another way to be very unreliable.
Clue(s) to the Next Episode
: We've just covered a text where a fair-haired wallflower competes with a dark-haired vixen named Rebecca over the heart of an aristocratic man. What if that were the exact premise of our next book?
 

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SMFMS Bookends 2 - Rebecca (1938)
Subtitle: Meditations from a Holy Fool
Abby calls Daniel: Conkers
Daniel calls Abby
: Grey Squirrel
Remedial Bad GoodReads: Othello (1603), S1E2
Daniel's Media List: John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946)

Abby's Media List: Yorgos Lanthimos's Poor Things (2023), Sophia Coppola's Priscilla (2023), Patricia Lockwood's No One Is Talking About This (2021)

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Episode 53 - Ivanhoe (1819)
Subtitle: Everyone's a Nepo Baby Under Feudalism
Abby calls Daniel: Sherwood Forest
Daniel calls Abby
: Dodge City
Casting: This is a Muppet movie--Kermit as Ivanhoe, dual Miss Piggies (one in a blonde wig and one in a brunette wig) as Rowena and Rebecca, and for the human lead, Andrew Scott as Brian Bois-Guilbert.
AdviceAbby walks you how to speed read.
Clue(s) to the Next Episode
: This text has a pale woman named Rowena who gets with the aristocratic male lead. Our next text is no different. Her name isn't Rowena, but it's pretty close.
Show Notes: The hosts asked Justine, our resident medieval expert, to provide corrections on the SMFMS red phone hotline, but she was too busy, so she ghosted the show.

 

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SMFMS Bookends 3 - Ivanhoe (1819)
Subtitle: We're All Really the Wormwoods
Abby calls Daniel: Bubble and Squeak
Daniel calls Abby
: Road Kill
Remedial Bad GoodReads: Wuthering Heights (1847), S1E3
Daniel's Media List: Orlando di Lasso's The Royal Wedding (1568)

Abby's Media List: Blitz Bazawule's The Color Purple (2023)

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Episode 54 - The Time Machine (1895)
Subtitle: Welcome to the Year 5318008
Abby calls Daniel: Doctor Who
Daniel calls Abby
: Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman
Casting: A Tom Hooper film that gives us equal parts The King's Speech period drama realism, and Cats CGI buttholes and furry freaks. Paul Bettany as the Time Traveller.
Advice:  Be very careful about any disdain you show for popular fiction--this is usually rooted in classism, sexism, or racism.  Think carefully about exactly what you object to and who gets to decide what's considered 'literary' or not. Yesterday's maligned popular fiction becomes today's classics.  And even if a text is very poorly written, you should analyse why it's so popular. What has it tapped into in the popular consciousness that resonates with people?
Clue(s) to the Next Episode
: It's spring time, which means one thing: spring cleaning. Our next text needs it, because it is very dusty.

 

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Episode 55 - The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
Subtitle: If It's Yellow, Let It Mellow
Abby calls Daniel: Maggie Thatcher
Daniel calls Abby
: Ronnie Reagan
Casting: A Robert Altman anti-Hollywood, alt-western. Tim Robbins as Jim Casy. Chris Cooper or Tim Roth as Tom Joad.
Advice:  Join a union. Support unions, even if it's not your industry, even if it inconveniences you. Most of the workplace benefits you experience today (and take for granted/couldn't imagine not having) were only given to you by strikers who were starved, beaten, and murdered.
Clue(s) to the Next Episode
: It's time for our annual Shakespeare, and we'll be doing one of his comedies. Shakespeare tends to have beach comedies, woods comedies, and villa comedies. We did a beach comedy last time with Twelfth Night, so it won't be one of those.

 

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