A Brontë on History Bites
What is History Bites, you ask, and What does it have to do with the Brontës? History Bites is a brilliant (if I may say so) Canadian skit comedy program which still runs on the History Television channel. This is how they describe themselves- I cannot do better:
History Bites is a skit comedy show that asks, "What if television had been around for the past 5,000 years?"
Each episode explores an important historical event by channel surfing through news, sports, talk shows, commercials, and game shows. The Sports Desk covers Gladiator fights. Martha Stewart plans a Roman orgy. Pharaoh Ramses meets the press. A Mongol barbarian appears on Larry King. The X-Files delves into the latest plague. Cops are Knights.
By viewing ancient events through television parodies, History Bites connects our past to our present. Spoofing popular TV formats makes historical events as urgent as today's news; and it gives today's urgent news stories a historical context. Viewers discover that history does repeat itself and there are lessons to be learned from the past.
Of special interest to us is one episode in particular:
When Irish Eyes Are Starvin'
IRISH POTATO FAMINE 1840'S AD
The great Irish Potato famine that caused a huge wave of immigrants to leave the old world for Canada. It's a story of immigration and economics done as a telethon to raise money for food, or money to ship the Irish off to the new world. There are also on-the-street interviews with apathetic English citizens, and Larry King grills the politicians who did too little, too late. Other parodies include Dennis Miller offering his thoughts, Martha Stewart on how to cook for a famine, and the game show "Who Wants To Have A Wee Bit Of Potato?"
And who has generously decided to sponsor an Irishman but our very own Emily Brontë! Sadly, I don't have any pictures of her from this episode. I have drawn some, however! Not really accurate, since the last time I saw this show was more than 5 years ago… nevertheless, better than nothing! She starts off, in the field reporting for the telethon. It's a bit damp in Ireland.
She there interviews a miserable man named 'Murphy.' Emily "Brontie", despite the rain, is inspired on the spot and asks him if nothing does grow "on those hills, surely something… something must flower in that verdant heath?" "Naw, t' hap o' dairt's good fur nothin'," replies 'Murphy'. "..How awful." She will not let her spirits down, for this Emily- this blond ringletted and very sprightly Emily, is as I said 'sprightly' and cheerful. But considering the other people involved in the telethon it's alright- at least she isn't trying to slip in promos for Wuthering Heights. Some of the composers involved in the charity are obviously only there to spin their operas (hmph).
Sometime later we return to Emily. She has sponsored Murphy's immigration to America and she has just recieved a letter from him. After excitedly opening it, she reads. "Alas, the streets here are not paved with gold. They are, in fact, not paved at all. And they seem to expect me to pave them," she smiles weakly before reviving. "I finally got a chance to read your book, Wuthering Heights! While the characters were most intriguing, I felt that the conclusion extends far beyond the natural ending… and the… *mumble* …contrived…"
(As you see only one was inked. I just began applying for grad programs, and I am so anxious/excited that my hand is unsteady a mite- as you can see from the first illustration and my inky fingers which you cannot see. The joys of dip pen sketching!)
The photos in this post are from other History Bites episodes and feature fans of 'The Greekles,' and Ivan the Terrible on Oprah with Dr.Phil.