Masterpiece Classic

Late Thursday night. Alice and husband Scott sit down in front of the television. Their dog Charlie attempts to join them on the couch, is rebuffed, and tries again.

Scott: So what are we watching? Masterpiece Theatre something?

Alice: Casanova.

Scott: This looks stuffy and boring. If I have to watch this I'm afraid I'll kill myself.

Alice: No one's putting a gun to your head.

Scott (looking at DVD case): Then again, there are many bosoms.

Alice: I'll bet they'll be heaving.

Scott: And Peter O'Toole's in it!

Alice: Maybe he'll show us his bosom!

They watch.

Alice: This Casanova person is rather dreamy, isn't he.

Scott: (suspiciously quiet)

Alice: This is much more madcap than I thought it would be.

Scott: (softly snoring)

Alice: Fell asleep already? Then I'm bringing in fictional, awake Scott.

Fictional Awake Scott (hereafter known only as "Scott"): I'm here and I'm awake! Boy howdy, am I! Mind if I push this real-life Scott off the couch?

Alice: Knock yourself out.

Scott: I cannot render myself unconscious, as I would then cease to be! Ha, ha!

Sleeping Scott is shoved to the floor, and Alice and New Scott watch the movie.

Scott: Ooh, Peter O'Toole's in this.

Alice: You said that already.

Scott: Ha, ha! But then I fell asleep! So. It's nice to see him in a movie where he doesn't appear to be waiting for his check.

Alice: Although it seems cruel to the viewer, when they're enjoying this young, dewy Casanova, to suddenly shock them with the crenelated, O'Tooled version.

Scott: You would never say "crenelated" in real life.

Alice: I don't talk about Peter O'Toole nearly enough.

Scott: You know, this is entertaining, but the soundtrack--it's like they bought some circus music on sale and couldn't wait to use it.

Alice: Did I say this was madcap? Madcap doesn't even begin to describe it.

Scott: It's bodice-ripping fun!

They watch someone's bodice getting ripped and marvel at the fictional Scott's timing.

Scott: I would say this is bawdy and irreverent. Those are good words. Write those down.

Alice: I'd describe it as a "giddy tour-de-force." If I were writing a review.

Scott: Is any of this real, about Casanova and this woman falling in love?

Alice: It wasn't mentioned in the Wikipedia entry. And I believe everything Wikipedia tells me.

Scott: Wait, is young Casanova making out with a man?

Alice: I believe there is some homo-erotic gamboling going on.

Scott: What?

Alice: Never mind. I just liked the phrase "homo-erotic gamboling."

More watching.

Alice: I was hoping to make fun of this more, but they're too good at making fun of themselves. It's not fair.

Scott: The writers really enjoyed mocking the British.

Alice: "Don't look over there, but I think someone's invented the sandwich." Ha!

Scott: The only thing more fun than making fun of the British is making fun of the French.

Alice: And let us not forget the Irish. The filthy Irish.

They watch some more. Pretend time is passing.

Alice: The fact that the aging-with-age Peter O'Toole is getting all seductive on this maiden and I'm not laughing or retching is very impressive indeed. Either he's an excellent actor, or I'm drunk.

Scott: You're drinking peppermint tea.

Alice: Then I've been O'Tooled!

Scott: Maybe you're drunk.

Alice: I like you, fictional awake Scott. You're so much more conscious than my real husband.

This sequence when they're in Naples is... odd. I don't buy that Casanova's son would be so bitter and hardened, when Casanova himself is such a romantic. "I learned how to be kinky from you, Dad! I learned it from you!" Feh.

Scott: Exactly. How did he get to see all the sex? When we didn't see any? We're almost at the end and there hasn't been a single breast exposed. It isn't fair.

They watch and watch and watch and forget to make jokes.

Alice: Uh-oh, this is becoming dangerously poignant.

Scott: Aw, geez, are you crying?

Alice: Casanova was so misunderstood! All he wanted was his own true love! And everyone else, with their dirty minds, they made it all about sex!

Scott: When there was absolutely NO SEX to be had in the entire show. We should talk to PBS about that.

Alice: This is so sad.

Scott: If you cry more, I'm going to wake him up, I swear it.

Alice: (quietly weeping)

Awake Scott kicks Sleeping Scott, then storms out of the house, in search of some Red Bull.

Heretefore Sleeping Scott: Wha--? Did I miss it? Why am I on the ground?

He gets back on the couch and watches the credits with her.

Scott: How was it?

Alice: It was quite good. You hated the music, and the lack of explicit sex.

Scott: Sounds like me. But why are you crying?

Alice: I'm afraid you're going to have to watch it to find out.


I think Sleeping Scott was a "giddy tour-de-force" myself. Let me know when you make fun of some Canadians. eh.

Definitely the most creative movie review I've ever read. (Change Scott's name to John and that would be my husband snoring on the couch--er, floor. Me- I save my snoring for the shoot-em-up movies.)

Very fun.

Mary, mom to many PBS-lovin' kids

I loved Casanova and loved this review. Masterpiece theatre is awesome - I might need to go actually read the book now.

I loved Masterpiece's Casanova. And the review was of the same tone, playful and fun. It was, of course, impeccably acted and directed. Thank you PBS.

How delightful to have an altogether fun read. My friend would have watched it with me as he frequently mentioned how he wanted me to read the book. Kudos for you, the film and the written review; I loved it. grammary

What fun! I'm going to have to try this fictional, awake-husband game. Or maybe even just the fictional, not-watching-sports-right-now husband game. hmmm.

I loved the movie so much!
I really want to watch it again.
I think I'll buy it.
The review was great. I didn't even realize it was a review until I read the comments.
I am going to read any book on Casanova , providing of course that it is not so much fiction and more non- fiction. Any books someone could recommend?

I never got to see Part 2. I was traveling on Sunday night and was all prepared to watch it in my hotel room, but there was nothing but fuzz on the PBS channel at the appropriate hour.

Apparently it was too "steamy" for those folks in Oklahoma.

I was curious about Casanova and looking forward to watching it. Unfortunately I fell asleep before I had watched 30 minutes of it. I suppose that says something about how I liked it!

Masterpiece can do better, has done better, and should do better. I was totally disappointed.

Great review! I could relate!

Loved this version of Casanova. The actor playing young Casanova (David Tennant) was a joy to watch--witty and adorable!

Tacky and Tawdry. One of the worst from Masterpiece Theater. I hope this is not signalling a slide toward the standards of commercial TV. I can't believe Peter O'Toole would lend himself to this cheap production.

Tacky and Tawdry. One of the worst from Masterpiece Theater. I hope this is not signalling a slide toward the standards of commercial TV. I cant believe Peter OToole would lend himself to this cheap production.

I felt the same!!!

I loved this movie, and you absolutely nailed it in this review.
I completely agree about the circus music, but somehow, it works.

Alachua, FL

Casanova was very entertaining. I also liked the quips/asides to history and culture.

I especially liked the ballroom scenes. The music was wonderful, the choreography enchanting, the effect spectular.

I'd like to see more programming like this and look forward the next MP Theatre.

Frontline and Moyers are also essential contrubutions to AMerican democracy. Frontline is current and relevant. I'm amazed how far they go to get the story in Iraq.

Moyers is helping to save our rights and freedoms in America (e.g., saving the Internet).

After watching either, I'm moved to effect policy in some way.

PBS is the best!!

Please keep up the good work.

Best Regards,


I LOVE Masterpiece Theatre! I cried at the end of Casanova, too. Has anyone seen Queen Elizabeth (I)?

very funny. nice one

Cassanova is ova
and I am all alona
awaiting my Lova's

Beneath our sheets
she's crying in bleets
that I'm good,
but no Cassanova!

That's why from now on
when we turn PBS on,
here in our Casa,
we'll watch only NOVA
and avoid like the plague
that darn Cassanova!

(Good show, PBS! Thanks!)


i loved the series i only was able to see two shows. im intrested in buying it the cassanova series,how do i get it. pbs is my favorite channel.i watch pbs all the time,thank-you k.o.

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