There is such a thing as true love, only it doesn’t usually involve a scenario in which the perfect princess marries the perfect prince and they live happily ever after. No, in reality, true love is as inexplicable as a natural disaster and often stranger than fiction.
Is it any wonder then that the Charles and Camilla “wedding blessing ceremony,” as sweet and honest as it was, couldn’t possibly compete with one of the most watched television events in our history: the Charles and Diana wedding of over two decades ago? Popular television events usually, though not always, involve captivating, beautiful people. And it’s fair to say that among those gathered for the Charles and Camilla blessing, there were only two people good-looking enough to draw viewers: Princes William and Harry.
News reports are cropping up about how nearly every other program in England drew more viewers than the public portion of the royal nuptials, including a horse race and a fictional soap opera wedding. So no one watched it. Does that matter? Doesn’t appear to, if you go by Charles’ ear-to-ear grin upon exiting St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.
This honest and “low key” affair, the second time around for both bride and groom, involved real joy, real smiles, real happiness. Naturally it didn’t make for good television. Only someone with Diana’s presence could make anything involving the royals truly interesting. Camilla, bless her heart, is not a media star. She doesn’t look comfortable in front of the camera and next to her, Charles – not generally known for his charisma — looks like a million bucks. He managed to find the one woman in Britain that wouldn’t, couldn’t, and maybe most importantly, didn’t want to upstage him.
Both the BBC and A&E ran specials on the history of the infamous couple, with slightly different perspectives. The BBC focused mostly on the public relations campaign to boost Camilla and Charles’ image with the British public. This, in order to legitimize a relationship many felt damaged the Royal Family, Charles’ future as King of England, and the memory of the beloved Diana.
A&E’s version was less pointed, focusing instead on the true love of Charles and Camilla, portraying Charles as a man trapped between his duty and his heart. They even had footage of the poor little Prince as a small boy, wandering around a platform while his mother, the Queen, basically ignored him. Both the BBC and A&E felt strongly about portraying Charles as someone woefully lacking in self-esteem and good judgment.
But for all of his life, Charles was only doing what his old mum wanted him to do, which is why he didn’t marry Camilla in the first place. Tradition was his undoing. Too many people paid the price. Finally, it seems Charles is following his own heart and now his judgment looks better than ever.
Watching Charles and Camilla validate their union was good propaganda for marriage, a ceremony which has more importance if it caps off a wondrous love affair that has lasted a lifetime. Their vows were made in earnest, not idealism. That is, in this story of Prince and Princess, the ultimate fairy tale.
More Brits to Love
For lovers of British mysteries, a new gem has appeared on BBC America called “Wire in the Blood.” Robson Green (“Touching Evil”) plays a profiler of sorts who operates on an almost psychic level of intuition to help police solve the crimes. British television has it all over us in the crime/mystery genre. “Wire in the Blood” plays on BBC America Mondays at 9 p.m.
Finally, all eyes have been on the U.S. remake of the British hit comedy “The Office,” which airs on NBC, Tuesday nights at 9:30 p.m. Is it as funny as the British version? Not really. Is it still funny? It’s very funny. Funnier than it has any right to be.
To succeed it needed a good star. Steve Carell plays the dorkily evil boss made famous across the pond by Ricky Gervais. Carell’s brand of laughs is slightly different from Gervais’, who managed to look ridiculous and mean at the same time. Carell can’t quite manage the mean part but ridiculous he does extremely well. Die hard fans of the original must come to terms with the sad fact that Gervais and Co. are never coming back. The American version is the next best thing, and after an episode or two of feeling like they’re having a bad déjà vu, they’ll learn to love it, too.
This Week’s Notable TV
Thursday, April 14
The Breakfast Club (***), 7:30 p.m., WE.
Battlefield Britain: Hastings: 1066, 9 p.m., KCET.
The Meaning of Food: Food and Culture, 10 p.m., KCET.
Friday, April 15
Barton Fink (**), not the Coens’ best, 7:30 p.m., FMC.
At Close Range (**), with Sean Penn and Christopher Walken, 8 p.m., IFC.
Diana: The People’s Princess, 10 p.m., WE.
Presumed Innocent (***), with Harrison Ford, 10 p.m., TNT.
Saturday, April 16
Laura Ingall’s Wilder: Little House on the Prairie, 8 p.m., ABC.
Star Wars (****), the first and best, 8 p.m., UPN.
Spy Kids 2, 9 p.m., ABC.
The Next Best Thing (*), yet another awful Madonna movie, 9 p.m., LIFE.
St. Elmo’s Fire (**), vibe the ‘80s, 8:15 p.m., WE.
Don’t Say a Word (**), silly thriller with Michael Douglas, 9 p.m., CBS.
Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage, 9 p.m., KCET.
Revelations, 10 p.m., NBC.
Monday, April 18
The American Experience: The Massie Experience, 9 p.m., KCET.
Easy Rider (****), 9 p.m., AMC.
Hitler’s Lost Plan, 9 p.m., HISTORY.
FDR: A Presidency Revealed, 10 p.m., HISTORY.
Tuesday, April 19
Beaches (*), it supposedly makes people cry, 7:30 p.m., WE.
Frontline: Death of a Princess, 9 p.m., KCET.
The Silence of the Lambs (****), 9:15 p.m., AMC.
Blind Justice, 10 p.m., NBC.
Wednesday, April 20
Boys Don’t Cry (***), Hilary Swank’s more deserving Oscar winning performance, 8 p.m., IFC.
His Girl Friday (****), with Cary Grant, 8 p.m., TCM.
Revelations, 9 p.m., NBC.
National Geographic’s Strange Days on Planet Earth, 9 p.m., KCET.