SNARK WEEK RECAP: North & South Book II, Episode 1


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Starting with our second Snark Week, I’ve picked a shitty frock flick to recap, because I love sharing the blow-by-blows with you. This year, I asked you to choose what film/series I should recap, and the clear winner was North & South: Book II (1986), the sequel to the be-mulletted and peach-acetate-satin-ified Civil War epic North & South (1985).

In series one, which I recapped a few Snark Weeks ago, we established many of our key characters as the story wended its way to the outbreak of the Civil War. This time, war has broken out! And in case you care, note that I refuse to recap any of the war/battle shit.

Here’s a reminder of our key characters:

The Southern Clan

North and South (1985)

Patrick Swayze, son of a Southern plantation family and West Point graduate. He’s is in love with Tits Out (Lesley-Anne Down), who is in an abusive marriage, but she’s left her hubby and the two plan to marry.

North and South (1985)

Swayze has two sisters, Slutty Brunette, now married to a Southern secessionist; and what I previously called Sweet Blonde, but will now call Southern Blonde, who is married to a Northerner (the younger son of the Northern Clan).

The Northern Clan

North and South 1985

George Hazard, son of a steel factory-owning family, who is married to Northern Blonde (previously called Perfect Blonde, but I’m worried there are too many blondes).

North and South (1985)

George’s sister Virgilia (Kirstie Alley), an ultra-radical abolitionist, and whose name still sounds like a venereal disease.

Let’s get to it!

Southern Blonde is trying to find her Northern soldier husband Billy in Washington, D.C. Northern troops are mean to her because she is a Southerner. All the “military encampment” scenes are basically lots of oom-pa-pa music.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Southern Blonde skirt hikes all over the place.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

She has to beat off Northern creeps with her whip, while enslaved woman Semiramis drives.

Southern Blonde finds her husband, Billy, who has been recast from the previous season, which always upsets me. He’s been assigned to a group of sharp shooters, and she’s upset.

North South Billy 1985

Season 1 Billy: John Stockwell, who I actually kind of liked | Season 2 Billy: Parker Stevenson, inherently cheesy

We’re only 10 minutes in and I’m cackling because of this back shot of Tits Out and Southern Mom:

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Chinese pattern brocade! Zippers!

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Southern Mom (left) and Tits Out (right) are waiting to say goodbye to Orry and cousin Charles who are off to the war.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Tits’ dress is ALL TITS ALL THE TIME (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Southern Mom’s is fugly.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Tits put on her best winged eyeliner for the occasion.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Once again, the Southern clan is Very Close.

Up north, the Northern Clan is throwing an evening party for George’s farewell as he’s off to war too. He’s uncomfortable with all the praise, given he hasn’t actually done anything yet.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Northern Blonde in black, silver, and purple.

George’s brother, Number One (Jonathan Frakes), continues to want to take control of the family business. His schemey wife, Plastic Cameo, has also been recast; she’s even more hilarious now. She continues to whisper schemey things in his ear about getting what he’s due etc.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Wait til you see more.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Plastic Cameo (brown) is also getting her tits out, while Northern Mom worries about her son.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Northern Mom’s dress doesn’t suck?

Tits Out has run away from her abusive husband, David Carradine, who is seething about it. In the meantime, he’s put in charge of a local militia/troop/whatever and is mean to them.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

The scar is from a fight with Tits. He deserved it.

Both Patrick Swazye and George Hazard are somehow KEY to their sides’ political leadership, and are called on by Jefferson Davis/Abraham Lincoln to participate in important conversations.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

The Swayze-ster has been aged with a quick shot of that Halloween white colored hair spray.

Southern clan’s Cousin Billy CHARLES [sorry, I keep confusing names!] (who annoys me, he’s a galump and reminds me too much of Andrew Shue of Melrose Place) is out soldier-ing. He meets a woman dressed as a man and shooting it out with Northern troops, who I shall call Spunky Filly. She’s played by Kate McNeil of As the World Turns. They engage in a ridiculous shooting match where the Northernerns run away for no reason. It turns out Spunky Filly is smuggling medicine to Southern troops, although she doesn’t SUPPORT secession. Billy CHARLES escorts her home, where he discovers she’s a widow and waggles his eyebrows at her. He also declares that he’s not in support of SLAVERY, of course not, he just feels he must fight for “the Southern way of life.” Which, is slavery.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Ya know, the hairstyle of your average Southern widow c. 1860.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Her bodice is very t-shirt-y.

Virgilia wants to become a nurse, because “apparently that’s the only way a woman can participate in the war” — I guess this is the first she’s hearing of patriarchy? The nurses don’t want her because They Know about Her Past. Virgilia is convinced it’s because she was married to a Black man.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Virgilia’s bonnet is not subtle.

The Northern boys (George and younger brother Billy) are having a fancy farewell dinner with their wives (Northern Blonde and Southern Blonde). At the same restaurant, Virgilia is having dinner with her Senator? friend in order to ask him to intervene in her nursing exclusion, while he clearly wants to get lecherous.

1986 North South Book II ep 1
1986 North South Book II ep 1

This dress used to belong to Northern Blonde, and was DESIGNED BY WORTH we are informed. Worth is rolling over in his grave.

Slutty Brunette hauls her Secessionist Husband to a party where various Confederate leaders are at, and is pushing him to ingratiate himself with them. He fails because of some principles, I’ve already forgotten. Villain Bent is there. He tries to get Secessionist Husband to join his get-rich-quick scheme to get ships through the blockade of Southern ports. Secessionist Husband says no way, but Slutty Brunette is on board.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Fewer shitty extras this time!

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Slutty Brunette goes whore red.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Sequins? uhhh…

Back at the Southern plantation, Tits Out is bonding with Southern Mom. She confesses that she’s worried she’ll bring shame to the Southern Clan because she has partial African American ancestry. Southern Mom is totes cool, says she already knows.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

The kind of makeup you wear for bonding with your future mom-in-law.

David Carradine sets fire to some important outbuildings as a ruse to kidnap Tits Out, who he wants back. Southern Mom is wounded fighting the fire.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

As one does.

Slutty Brunette goes to Bent’s house to talk blockade running/money making schemes. She throws herself at him, then pulls back. Somehow Tits Out comes up in conversation, and Bent alludes to knowing about her mixed ethnicity.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Ok, as per season 1, Slutty Brunette’s wardrobe is actually pretty fabulous, even if she’s addicted to skirt hiking. She’s got a dark red velvet coat…

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Over this cute dress.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Bent and Slutty Brunette are destined for ALL the shagging.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Bent has acquired the portrait of Tits Out’s mixed race mother.

Southern Blonde wants to get back to the South. She tells enslaved woman Semiramis that they will find a way!

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Alright, this is cute even if it’s not my colors.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

I like the stripey accents!

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Not so much on the makeup.

George, his wife Northern Blonde, and a Northern general and HIS wife head out to see the first big battle of the Civil War. All kinds of locals are out watching, acting like this is Such Fun (although George and Northern Blonde KNOW that war is hell). Of course, the battle (which I refuse to recap) doesn’t go well, and everyone runs in terror.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

Northern Blonde’s dickey effect isn’t doing it for me, but I like general’s wife’s pink and black!

1986 North South Book II ep 1

The extras aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great.

1986 North South Book II ep 1

What’s with the short sleeves on this young teenage girl?

1986 North South Book II ep 1



Stay tuned for episode 2 tomorrow! Enjoy my suffering!




41 Responses

  1. Leslie Spilman

    Southern Blonde looks familiar… is she played by the actress who was ‘Ginny’ on General Hospital, many moons ago?

    • Bea

      This is ALL the Soap Stars!
      As the World Turns, General Hospital, Days of Our Lives….

    • Kaye Dacus

      Southern Blonde is Genie Francis who played Laura (of “Luke and Laura” fame).

      She’s also married to Number One (Jonathan Frakes — because they met and fell in love filming the first N&S miniseries!) :-)

      I know way too much about these two (I don’t count #3) series because I was obsessed with them as a teenager/young adult!

      • Tracey Walker

        I wrote almost the same thing because I hadn’t seen your comment. I’ve been watching General Hospital since I was about ten and still do! Laura is now the mayor of Port Charles and I’m just in love with William Ryker so I’m a fan also.

    • Tracey Walker

      Genie Francis. Played Laura (of Luke and Laura fame) on General Hospital. She’s married to Jonathon Frakes (number one) and I wonder if this is where they met.

  2. Susan Pola Staples

    Why am I picturing Tits Out as an old woman versuon in Book 3?

    I hope Worth’s ghost gets his revenge.

  3. Trystan L. Bass

    Yeah, at the top, because we’re recapping who the characters are from the first series massive eyeroll And yes, this thing totally DOES romanticize the Confederacy & the Lost Cause South, so let’s take the piss out of it.

  4. Michael McQuown

    Mercifully for him, Swayze can no longer be embarrassed by all this, although he probably just collected his paycheck and moved on. Genie Francis in married to Jonathan Frakes of “Star Trek” fame. And Alley can’t be held responsible because she’s another victim of Scientology.

    • hsc

      ….And “FETTUCCINE!!!!”

      (for those who remember those Jenny Craig commercials Alley did).

  5. Kendra

    I don’t “believe” North and South is an ode to the Confederacy, I am recapping what is happening in the show and adding my thoughts about that. I didn’t write plot points with Confederate soldiers saying essentially “I’m not fighting for slavery, I’m fighting for the Southern way of life,” the scriptwriter/filmmakers did. Don’t get all testy at me for accurately picking up on what they’re throwing down.

  6. Lily Lotus Rose

    Oh boy! I have very vague memories of the first one from my childhood. This series did not age well at all. Poor Patrick Swayze, so handsome, but that hair! Whenever I think of this series, all I remember is Patrick Swazye in a uniform and sporting a mulllet. I was quite surprised to see Number One (who always looks great with a beard) in this and poor Jean Simmons in that hideous Southern Mom get up. I’m pretty sure that Irene Cara portrays the slave, but she’s not listed on IMDB. Northern Mom looked so familiar to me…she’s the actress who played the housekeeper on Benson! I can’t wait for the other recaps to see who’s who in bad costumes. This is a snark-worthy choice for sure!

      • Boxermom

        I was coming on here to say this. Strangely enough, they both played the same role in “Fame”; Irene Cara in the movie, and Erica Gimpel in the TV series.

    • hsc

      Earlier in her career, Northern Mom– Inga Swenson– played Helen Keller’s mother in THE MIRACLE WORKER opposite Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke.

    • M.E. Lawrence

      Dear god–that’s Jean Simmons?! I love Jean Simmons. (But presumably even much loved actresses with actual skills need to eat as they age.) And this does look like a fabulous ’80s giggle feast.

  7. kathleenjowitt

    I have to say, coming to this without enough coffee (yes, it’s twenty to seven in the evening here, shh) and expecting it to be about the Elizabeth Gaskell novel is quite something. That’s a lot of décolletage.

  8. hsc

    Great job, as usual, and I salute your bravery!

    But WTF was that “shitty extra” in the foreground of that shot wearing around her head?

    A “let’s get physical” headband? Bandages? A blindfold so she didn’t have to look at Slutty Brunette’s sequined whooore red gown?

    Looking forward to the later installments of this!

  9. Juliana Stoy

    That gold brown dress on Plastic Cameo is just, straight up, 1986.

  10. Marian Rivera

    Northern blonde ‘s party dress and Southern blonde’s dinner dress are pretty.

  11. Roxana

    The costumes are mostly awful and some of the color choices seem wrong to me, but I’m no expert.

  12. Katie

    Short sleeves are actually fine on a (young) teenage girl in the 1860s. The fabric, fan front on the bodice and wanna be fichu thing, along with the bonnet, are however, made of whimsical fuckery.

    Also, is anyone else getting serious “Scarlett O’Hara’s curtain dress” vibes from Slutty Brunette’s red velvet ensamble?

  13. Saraquill

    I keep confusing Tits Out with other characters who have their tits out. How do you keep track of them, Kendra?

  14. Karen Lavoie

    Maybe you should assign other monikers to the damsels who are displaying excess decolletage (sp) so readers can tell them apart. I am offering the name “Boobs A Lot” to be assigned as you wish.

  15. Karen Lavoie

    And as for Slutty Brunette, I am amazed by how the costumer got Southern Belle and Renaissance Maiden together in one dress, accessorized by that oversize crappy looking Edwardian belt thing with the poor sad little bow on it. Ugly trifecta for the (not)win. But I did enjoy looking at Patrick Swayzes perfect jawline. . . .

  16. GinaP

    I do appreciate you slogging through this mini series, it must be painful! Fun fact, when the crew traveled to Virginia to film dirty dancing, Swayze stirred up a ruckus because all the Southern ladies recognized him from this series.

  17. Nzie

    I think we’re finally getting to the parts I vaguely remember! I didn’t put together that it was a multi-season thing at the time. Also somehow I guess I missed a lot of the one sister’s sleeping around. Just as well. Your recaps are much more fun than trying to slog it out again.

    Poor Jean Simmons in that awful dress.. I mean, it doesn’t look well fitted, either. Like some others, too talented for this drivel.

  18. Attack Laurel

    Kendra, I love your work, and I’m compelled to admit I went to prom in a double of Slutty Brunette’s red party dress. Except mine had full length sleeves. It was 1987, I had no choice.