Category: *

So, I used to be one of those people who, when someone…

So, I used to be one of those people who, when someone recommended a British TV show (e.g., Downton Abbey, Sherlock, The Crown, etc.), would almost apologetically respond, “Ya, so I’m just not that into British stuff.” 

It was my get-out-of-jail-free card when I really just had no desire to watch John Lithgow play Winston Churchill.

Enter The Great British Baking Show. Or, as actual British people know it, The Great British Bake-Off. 

The GBBS is Britain’s VERY famous annual baking competition to find the best amateur baker in all of Britain. I started watching this a few weeks ago after the Texas season of Top Chef left the most disgusting taste in my mouth and it was like LIGHT CLOUDS OF SOFT MERINGUE. 

If you’re accustomed to American competition reality shows (whether of the food variety or not), the GBBS is a most refreshing change of pace. It’s light! It’s fun! It’s cheery! All the contestants are SO honored and pleased to be there and grow to be great friends and also just happen to be AMAZING bakers and there is no actual prize money, just the title and the experience a glass cake stand???? 

Each week is themed (e.g., “cake week,” “biscuits week,” “bread week” [<< universally feared], “patisserie week,” etc.) and has a signature challenge (shorter bake where you can put your spin on a classic), technical challenge (complete surprise where they have no idea what they’re baking and a very basic recipe), and SHOWSTOPPER CHALLENGE (what it sounds like; they do crazy shit here). The challenges get harder and harder both as the season progresses and also as the series does. Like one week they tell the bakers to just “make a shortbread cookie” and a few weeks later they’re like “make a mirror cake with at least 3 tiers and 2 different flavors and 4 different types of sugar work in FOUR HOURS.” WTF??? 

The stuff these AMATEUR bakers come up with is incredible. The first time they told them to make baklava and I saw them all start to make phyllo pastry FROM SCRATCH I thought I was having a moment. But then they made them do it like three other times in separate seasons!! These people ARE. NOT. JOKING.

The hosts for much of the series were Mel and Sue, a wonderful comedy duo who make ALL the baking puns. They are delightful and when the going gets rough (as it sometimes does; not everything is sunshine–literally, it rains constantly in the UK in the summertime–out in Welford Park or Harptree Court or Scone Palace and OMG don’t you just love the names of British places??), they always calmly remind the baker, “Hey, it’s just [insert baking term here; e.g., cake, bread, pavlova, sugar sculpture, babka, rough puff, etc.].” 

The judges are Mary Berry (yes, her real name!) and Paul Hollywood (yes, also his real name!). Paul is like…. enh, whatever, he’s kind of a jerk and every time he pokes someone’s bread I just want to punch him. Mary Berry is a flawless queen. 

ANYWAY I love them all (even Paul, begrudgingly) and was quite disappointed to learn that when the show moved from BBC to Channel Four a few years ago, Mary and Mel and Sue left. But you know what? I ENDED UP LOVING THEIR REPLACEMENTS. That’s how amazing this show is. Prue, who replaced Mary, is ALSO A QUEEN. 

(I honestly can’t remember the names of the replacement hosts…. I think Sandy and Noel? Anyway they are cool and make baking puns so it’s all good.) 

Ok ok I need to wrap this up but please?? Watch this? It is honestly so lovely and beautiful and to see these people bake these incredible cakes and cookies and breads and all manner of things just because… they love it, because they love the challenge and the reward and the doing it? It’s honestly inspiring and it warms my heart. 

P.S. I’m thinking of watching The Crown because maybe I’m not “not that into British stuff.” 

P.P.S. DEETS ON WATCHING: FIVE of the most recent series are on Netflix in the US. I think you can buy earlier seasons on Amazon. 

P.P.P.S. GIFS FOR YOU:

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We love Mel and Sue. 

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Paul really is evil.

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Queen Mary

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TINY BEAN ANDREW I LOVED HIM

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Prue can really WORK a pair of glasses and always rocks a statement necklace. We love her, too! 

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Loved Candice from the second she said she wanted Mary to be her nan. Also respect a woman who wears heels, a dress, and a strong lip color to bake.

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We do not like Ruby but she had good facial expressions and her overwhelmed-ness was very relatable.

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Nadiya forever.

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GO WATCH, PLS. 

Homeland | “Pilot”What were his exact words, please?An American…

Homeland | “Pilot”

What were his exact words, please?
An American prisoner of war has been turned.

Things Carrie Wore This Week*

*361 weeks ago

PREVIOUSLY ON THINGS CARRIE WORE THIS WEEK: Carrie wore a dress!

Oishk, so “The Weekend” is… an episode. A real journey. It’s also pretty fucking flawless. I’m still not sure it’s the best Homeland episode (or my favorite), but shit is it good. 

Anyway, we begin with purple blouse.

I included this shot because you can actually see that Carrie is wearing legitimate heels here. Good for her! The “pissed off all my college boyfriends”/“all of them?”/“both of them” exchange here is so good and reminds me that Carrie is actually funny this episode and cracks SEVERAL jokes. I don’t really think of Carrie as a funny person and it’s hard to actually tell which parts of the episode are the “important parts” where she was being real instead of fake but ….. ANYWAY THINGS SHE WORE.

I love this silly purple sleeveless blouse. I know the navy blouse is more ~iconic~ but the purple one looks so much nicer. She needs color. 

Of course the rest of the episode is Carrie in this grey shirt and old jeans and I was thinking a lot about how this outfit is exactly the kind of thing that she’d have at this cabin…. just real kinda whatever clothes. 

This episode is a lot about removing walls and boundaries in their relationship and showing us a side of Carrie we didn’t know (e.g., the side that knows what a “nosegay” is, or a side that is actually funny) and this is the most casual thing we’ve ever seen her wear, save pajamas. So while it’s an unremarkable outfit choice, at least sartorially speaking, it totally and completely fits for the moment.

After watching this episode, I got to thinking about the importance of the cabin not just in the Carrie/Brody canon, but in the Carrie Mathison canon. In some ways it represents the real Carrie. In several other ways, it represents Carrie’s own delusions and wildest dreams – it was here she playacted adventures with her sister and dreamed of greater, more exotic places. 

Every trip to the cabin represents something disarmingly free of artifice and yet entirely built up out of it. In this episode, she takes Brody here, seemingly on a dare, and is surprised that she might actually be falling for him, despite simultaneously feeling that he is possibly a terrorist (and definitely turned). 

In season two, they return, almost as a cleansing act, and she considers, again, what a life with him might be like. That night, Franny is conceived, turning the dream into something terrifyingly real. 

Later, in season five, while the life she built in Berlin is at risk in every possible way, she tells Otto that when it’s all over she’ll take Jonas and Franny to the cabin and never leave. There they’ll stay, cocooned from reality. 

None of this has much of anything to do with her clothes, except that we only ever see the same grey t-shirt, faded blue jeans outfit one other time, at the beginning of “The Smile.” 

In fact, we see this outfit in successive scenes, as the last thing Carrie thinks of before her first ECT treatment in “Marine One” is that weekend with Brody. 

Maybe it was an unconscious thing, maybe this is just the costume department’s “casual Carrie outfit.” Maybe not though. At a time in Carrie’s life when so much else was faded and without definition, maybe this was her attempt to get back to that person she was at the cabin. Maybe that was the most honest with herself, and with anybody else, she’d ever felt. Maybe that was, despite all the secrets and lies and bullshit and so much else, the real Carrie. 

IN CONCLUSION: SO WHAT IS THE TRUTH DOT GIF.

“I’m all alone… I’m… meditating.”↳ Carrie Mathison…

“I’m all alone… I’m… meditating.”
Carrie Mathison in every episode | “The Weekend”

Things Carrie Wore This Week*

*360 weeks ago

PREVIOUSLY ON THINGS CARRIE WORE THIS WEEK: I discovered the Great Earring Change Conundrum and Ashley taught me that I’ve been using “begs the question” wrong my entire life.

So… “The Good Soldier” is, like “Blind Spot,” fairly unremarkable from a clothing standpoint. I mean, Carrie does wear a dress! 

And, oh hey! The features of that dress are nearly identical to that of Brody’s military uniform. See previous discussion of that here

The ways their dress in this episode mimic each other are really quite remarkable, especially for a show like this where costuming seems so much like an afterthought. They were clearly drawing a line between Carrie and Brody in this episode in a set-up for “The Weekend.” (Note that Carrie doesn’t wear the dress again until “Representative Brody,” the episode where she–pathetically and soul-crushingly–thinks she has a shot with Brody.) 

Now here I am discussing symbolism again…

The dress itself is kinda unremarkable, though she does look great in it. It strikes me as actually super casual given the rest of her work wardrobe though.

Carrie does wear something different, at the end of the episode when she arrives for Brody’s polygraph. I LOVE HER PURPLE BLOUSE. It is iconic. My favorite part of this post series is just declaring anything I want to be iconic. 

I love this silly purple blouse. 

This post is almost over because the only other thing Carrie wore this episode is bedroom eyes for Brody.

So

many

BEDROOM EYES

SHE IS LITERALLY BITING HER BOTTOM LIP BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO SLEEP WITH HIM SO BADLY.

Oh mon dieu. 

I can’t with you, Carrie Mathison. 

IN CONCLUSION: I CAN’T WITH YOU CARRIE MATHISON. YOUR PURPLE BLOUSE IS NEAT. AND YOUR HAIR LOOKS AMAZING.

“I like it when life is like that… heightened somehow.”↳…

“I like it when life is like that… heightened somehow.”
Carrie Mathison in every episode | “The Good Soldier”

Things Carrie Wore This Week*

*359 weeks ago

PREVIOUSLY ON THINGS CARRIE WORE THIS WEEK: Carrie wears a skirt, an almost-chambray shirt, a definitely chambray shirt, and bedroom eyes for Brody. 

So as I watching “Blind Spot” (which, guys, this episode is so good and the original Carrie Mathison Appreciation Episode) I was getting kind of nervous because Carrie basically wears the same thing the entire episode. The episode takes place over two days, and Carrie doesn’t change because she’s minding Hamid overnight while Saul further proves how undeserving of Mira he is. And, while I can spin off 4000 words about an oversized plaid or an ~iconic~ pink blouse, her outfit choice–black pantsuit, black sleeveless blouse–isn’t that inspiring. 

It doesn’t look bad. In fact, Claire Danes can pull off an all-black ensemble better than most (it seems like this is not that hard, but I have seen some bad all-black ensembles in my day). 

Here’s that sleeveless blouse. It’s pretty ugly. I don’t get the lapels at all. I get that they’re filming in Charlotte in the middle of the summer and as a person who grew up in the South I totally understand how godawful hot it is. But in reality this scene should be taking place some time in November. 

I got this wider shot to note that the pant length is actually quite appropriate. The hems aren’t dragging on the floor and they’re also not half a foot from the ground. All-around solid. 

I additionally noticed the earrings she wears during this episode. They’re more than just basic studs. It’s difficult to get a good picture of them, but they’re kind of like silver (or gold, I actually can’t tell) knot studs – see here.

Oh here are some more bedroom eyes Carrie wore for Brody. Girl, wyd???

Still the same earrings the next day when she tells Saul to fuck off….

And below we have the scene where she is taking down her Brody board and has a bit of an anxiety attack…

NEW EARRINGS!! Mind you, this scene takes place the same day as the previous one with Saul, likely just an hour or so later. 

Now she’s got these greenish dangly ones on. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve just quit my job and told off my longtime mentor, I ALWAYS go home and change out my earrings. I feel like a new woman! 

And then when I go to my sister’s because the thought of being alone is too crushing and I think I might actually hyperventilate, I ALWAYS take the time to change back into the earrings I was wearing before. Too much change makes me uncomfortable!!

And thus we have what I’m dubbing The Great Earring Change Conundrum. I’ll just take a second to say that I’ve watched this episode probably ten or so times over the years (remember: the original Carrie Mathison Appreciation Episode) and have never noticed this. It was the NEED FOR CONTENT for this wonderful post series that drove those eagle eyes into gear. 

(Also, TGECC can likely be solved through the very easy explanation that they filmed that scene with the bulletin board much later than the rest of the scenes and thus the continuity was fudged…. but it kinda begs the question: what happened to those earrings? Did someone lose them? Did they forget to take photos of Claire’s outfit or look at the dailies from the episode to make sure the entire outfit matched up? Or did they just think: fuck it! it’s not like anyone would actually notice this! If the last, they were right… for 359 weeks. But your guess is as good as mine.)

Up top I said Carrie basically wears the same thing the entire episode, because she does switch into pajamas at the very end. I think Carrie must have a set of pajamas permanently at Maggie’s, because this is her exact pajama situation (she must have left the second t-shirt at home though). Those pajama pants are the same ones she wears after stair sex with Ginger McNotBrody in season three…

Claire does an excellent hungover face. 

IN CONCLUSION: THE GREAT EARRING CHANGE CONUNDRUM. I’VE SEEN THOSE PANTS BEFORE. AND NOW, IN GIF FORM:

“You really wanna know the truth? I’ve been on my own for a…

“You really wanna know the truth? I’ve been on my own for a while now.”
Carrie Mathison in every episode | “Blind Spot”

Things Carrie Wore This Week*

*360 weeks ago

PREVIOUSLY ON THINGS CARRIE WORE THIS WEEK: An ~ICONIC~ pink shirt in “Clean Skin” and peak Carrie hair. 

Ok so my favorite part of revisiting season one via this series is that I’m discovering SO MANY things Carrie wore that I had never noticed before. That’ll make sense in a few minutes. 

This is Carrie’s first outfit of the episode and, true to form, she enjoys a muffin (that we never see her eating) and some melon while watching Brody shower. Not that that’s creepy or anything…. 

If this was a director’s chair post or any form of serious commentary I would talk about how it was kind of amazing that they jumped ahead like three weeks in the timeline since that’s something that we’ve never seen in-season before. But it’s not! We are just looking at her shirt. And those stud earrings. Season one was really the season of Carrie wearing ear jewelry. 

Here is Carrie at the CIA in her typical “hands-in-pocket” pose. I love this woman. This jacket on the other hand!! What is up with this jacket and that single gold button? She looks like she should be pledging a fraternity at an SEC school. I don’t understand that navy blazer with the single gold button. Combined with the collarless shirt underneath that has a hint of chambray…. I don’t know man. I mean, I can’t say she looks bad. She looks actually quite good (again, grading on the Carrie Mathison curve). 

(In case you are wondering and were fooled by the first photo in which a similarly hint-of-chambray shirt looks to have an actual collar, these actually ARE the same shirt. It’s just a collapsed placket in the first photo. Thank you for your attention to detail.) 

I’m decidedly less into this outfit. Standard dark grey or black suit. The shoes are awful (though at least a heel). I really don’t like the shirt. 

Here’s a better close-up. She looks better in this light, away from the wood paneling of the Brody family home. Then I remember it’s actually a SUNDAY and now she gets an A+ for even putting on pants with a zipper (Estes just wore jeans and a polo like a normal human). 

So Carrie sneaks away to go spy on the Brody family because she’s like an addict in need of a fix. And…. IS…. THIS…. A…. CHAMBRAY…. SHIRT??????

I would like to say that I would have made less of a big deal of Carrie’s chambray in season seven if I’d known she’d already worn one in SEASON ONE, but that is a lie.

Here she is wearing it AGAIN, the next day!! 

This is the only other angle we get of her chambray ensemble. I can’t tell if she’s wearing jeans (again, this looks sorta like her formal jean from the last episode?) or what pants those are. It also looks like she’s wearing this chambray shirt as an overshirt, because the sides look open. But we never see anything else. 

Despite my general criticism of her chambray shirt deployment in season seven, I still have to give it to Chambray #2 (there are so many more overshirts and overSIZED shirts to come on this show and when all is said and done you can damn diddly bet I will do an Official Ranking). 

Here is Carrie at the bar with Estes wearing more actual jewelry than I’ve ever seen her wear. Her earrings are DANGLY and her bracelets are PLURAL. AS IN MORE THAN ONE. 

Ok real talk I love this scene so much. It’s one of my favorites of the entire season. What a waste killing Estes. There was so much more story to tell between him and Carrie and their intriguing backstory (first alluded to in this scene). I would watch at least 50 episodes of a prequel series detailing Carrie’s early years in the CIA where the season one finale was him chasing her up to New York City (though maybe that’s like a season two or three finale?).

Look at this ensemble that Carrie threw together for a night at the bar (why didn’t she just keep chambray on?). This is like…. shockingly cute for her. She looks amazing!! The purse is cute and goes, the skirt is adorable. SHE TUCKED IN HER SHIRT. 

Ok, while we’re on the topic I brought up…. Carrie never tucks in her shirt (except here). You’d think at least in season one days, when she was, like, a legitimate professional at Langley, she would have. Not that that’s at all a requirement, but she’s generally wearing blouses that would probably look better tucked in. I’m not sure if this an actual character comment on Carrie and her sense of fashion, or something Claire prefers or actually what the dealio is here. 

All of which is to say, the blouse looks great tucked in here. 

Here’s a better angle where you can see (ever so slightly) her shoes in the reflection of the slider. To me it looks like nude pumps which means she kind of whatever’d the shoe choice. But this should not detract at all from probably the best-looking thing she’s ever worn on this show. 

Now we are back to grey suit, hands in pockets, untucked collarless blouse. It’s literally her first outfit of the episode, but with all the color leeched out of it. Her earrings are still dangly. 

Nevertheless, this outfit remains iconic simply because of the scene it was in. Homegirl finally gets her fix. 

Oh, Carrie…

IN CONCLUSION: THE ORIGINAL CHAMBRAY. PLURAL JEWELRY. CARRIE AND ESTES: THE EARLY YEARS.

“Besides, I’m better at spilling my guts to total strangers…

“Besides, I’m better at spilling my guts to total strangers anyway.”
Carrie Mathison in every episode | “Semper I”