SNARK WEEK RECAP: The Kent Chronicles pt. 4

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This Snark Week I offer you: The Kent Family Chronicles, more specifically, parts 1 and 2: The Bastard (1978) and The Rebels (1979). These are adaptations of an apparently very successful series of 18th century-set historical fiction novels by John Jakes, both of which were made in the 1970s and offer a fiesta of polyester and scoffing. Yes, there’s a third in the series: The Seekers (1979), but seeing as that’s set on the frontier and I have no interest in screencapping a bunch of Little House on the Prairie costumes, I’m sticking with the first two. I’ll be splitting the combined two movies into five sections for a full week of snark! If you want to watch along, you can find both movies on YouTube.

Here’s part 1part 2, and part 3!

Sonny Crockett is dissolute, shagging all the barmaids. Yet another bar brawl with zany music happens, and Sonny, Philip, and Mountain Man all get arrested.

1979 The Rebels

“I’M JUST TALKING TO THE LADY JEEZ”

But wait! The arrest doesn’t matter, because some faux-Liberace guy in a totally unconvincing toupee tells them they are needed for A Special Mission…

1979 The Rebels

By George Washington himself!

1979 The Rebels

Aka, Peter Graves…

peter_graves airplane

AKA THE CAPTAIN FROM AIRPLANE (1980) (Love Boat appearances = 4)

Meanwhile, Joan Blondell is getting her 1840s on, and is happy to take care of baby Abraham while Philip goes off and does Important Man Things.

1979 The Rebels

That’s just … not 18th century. Zipper!

Meanwhile, in Virginia, BITCHFEST 1776 IS GOING DOWN. Married Mrs. Waverly (who shagged Sonny Crockett last time, and who is now a widow but clearly didn’t get the mourning memo) is getting in snarky digs about Sonny to his ex-fiancée, Peggy. Both are embracing the bouffants and spackle.

1979 The Rebels

ZIPPER!

1979 The Rebels

I actually don’t hate the dress from the front. The hair, on the other hand…

1979 The Rebels

“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over this tropical print floral and pre-pleated ribbon trim. Also, Aqua Net. And spaaaackle.”

1979 The Rebels

Another eye-catching dress!

1979 The Rebels

Not great full view.

Meanwhile, The Mens are off to Fort Ticonderoga to get guns to defend Boston. There’s a lot of horses, mountain men, and ridiculous accidents, culminating in Philip falling in a river and becoming very ill.

1979 The Rebels

There’s also a LOT of unconvincing facial hair.

Philip is sick enough that Sonny Crockett and Mountain Man Eph Tait leave him with Rachel, aka COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER TANYA TUCKER (Love Boat appearances = 3), whose hubby is away fighting and has been On Her Own in the backcountry for 6 months.

1979 The Rebels

Pretty sure she’s re-wearing slutty Charlotte’s leather corset from The Bastard.

1979 The Rebels

Ah yes, the manicure of a hard -working homesteading woman!

1979 The Rebels

“Just hanging out in the woods with my brown makeup palette.”

Tanya warms to Philip as she nurses him. She’s got a baby.

1979 The Rebels

Feather that hair, woman!

Tanya has been Alone Too Long. She asks Philip if they can “comfort” each other, and he’s Down for Sexytimes.

1979 The Rebels

Right. Exactly what an 18th-century haircut would look like. Also, what an 18th-century shift looks like.

Because I will get bored of this plot thread, and there will be no other costumes to mock, 1. Philip gets better, 2. Philip and Tanya (implied) shag a lot, 3. Tanya’s husband comes back, so 4. Philip has to run for it.

During their endless, boring expedition, Sonny Crockett gets run over by a sled and has a permanently bum leg (he walks with a cane). He can’t fight anymore, so he goes to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. There, he gets into all kinds of trouble shagging the local ladies.

Thomas Jefferson (Kevin Tighe of The Six Million Dollar ManLove Boat appearances = 1) and Ben Franklin lecture Sonny Crockett about how he should stop shagging all the ladies because it brings disrepute to their cause. Sonny is all eye-rolly about it.

1979 The Rebels

Luxuriate in the velour!

1979 The Rebels

So many questions about Sonny’s outfit: why the windowpane on the cravat? why the plaid? why the hair? why am I asking unanswerable questions?

There’s various political conversations, including with John Adams (William Daniels of St. Elsewhere, The Graduate, and The Blue Lagoon — as well as THE VOICE OF K.I.T.T. ON KNIGHT RIDER):

1979 The Rebels

The costume department turned many a couch into a waistcoat, methinks!

Sonny heads back to his rooms, where slutty Molly (Deborah Richter of Hill Street Blues) just lays around naked, feathering her hair, and waiting for him. They shag.

1979 The Rebels

Yes! The great bangs trend of 1776!

The brother of Mr. Waverly (the slutty brunette’s husband that Sonny killed in yesterday’s post) shows up to attack Sonny! I fast-forward! Sonny makes it out alive!

1979 The Rebels

Do you think Sonny and Molly go to the same hairdresser?

And now I would like to pause and note that the costume designer for these, Jean-Pierre Dorléac, also designed the costumes for the original Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th CenturyThe Blue Lagoon, and — wait for it! — Somewhere in Time. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

And pt. 2, this outfit never makes it on screen but it’s too good not to include:

1979 The Rebels

What animal is that print supposed to be?

Key stats:

  • Love Boat appearances: 8
  • Shitty wigs: does 1 bad toupee count?
  • Tits out: 2 pairs
  • Actors who have made me keel over: 3

Tomorrow: THE CONCLUSION featuring some of the best bouffants I’ve ever seen!!

 

 

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

22 Responses

  1. picasso Manu

    Whips out magnifying glass ( I truly did!) Not animal print, flowers… Not ones that ever graced the Earth, but flowers.

    And I’m not surprised Sonny and the other guy are best friends: They’re both epic douches!

    Reply
  2. Sam Marchiony

    William Daniels will forever be the one true John Adams (and checking his wikipedia record, he’s also done JQA and Sam). My 1776 fandom feels acknowledged, lol.

    Reply
    • Nzie

      100% agree. He would be the sole inducement to me to watch this. Except that the rest is so obviously horrible that just watching 1776 on repeat would be a better idea.

      Reply
    • Victoria Hannah

      Also what’s really crazy is that the High School where his character taught and principaled in Boy Meets World was called John Adams High School.

      Reply
  3. Allison

    I cannot believe they brought in THE William Daniels (1776’s John Adams himself) for this. Based on the screencap, the costume looks pretty similar to the one in 1776. The waistcoat and the cut of the jacket are different, but the color scheme is the same.

    Reply
    • Emily’s

      And not just 1776–he was John Adams in The Adams Chronicles, an endless PBS production from about the same time!!

      Reply
  4. Nzie

    I feel like the “plot” is just interludes between shag fests in this show. I find that annoying because it isn’t taking the past seriously, but maybe there’s fewer polysatins and velours to notice when it’s people under sheets? I mean, sheets are pretty hard to get wrong…

    Reply
  5. Esther Krug

    The books that the series were based on are basically shag and rape fests with a dash of American history. Pulpy filth that I found fascinating in middle school. Mr. Jakes’s books got passed around a lot.

    Reply
    • Karen K.

      I read most of the series in the 8th grade after finishing Flowers in the Attic and Rosemary’s Baby. Cannot believe they had the entire series in our school library! As a library aide, I was able to find the best trash on the stacks.

      Reply
  6. angharad

    I feel kind of confused by the plot – mostly just shagging? Also, anyone else get the “off on a secret mission” song from Galavant playing in their heads once they were told about the special mission from George Washington?

    Reply
  7. Rebecca

    I can’t believe they actually brought in William Daniels for this! I had to do a caption double-take on the post, just to make sure you weren’t actually posting a picture from 1776!

    Reply
  8. Bea

    I alternate between FF’s Snark Week and SBTB’s Elyse Watches the Bachelor(ette) posts to laugh myself sick.

    Reply
  9. Elizabeth

    Each day, I get to the day of the Kent Chronicles post and you promise us another – but wait, there’s more!

    Reply
  10. ctrent29

    Oh . . . this is “The Rebels”. Of the three Kent Family Chronicles novels that were adapted, this is the only one that I actually disliked. Come to think of it, I didn’t like the novel either.

    Reply
  11. Jacqueline

    I hate the fact that William Daniels is in this – because I love him as John Adams in “1776” and this weird miniseries does not deserve him.

    Reply
  12. Karen K.

    Wasn’t Kevin Tighe also in Emergency? I loved that show, had such a crush on Randolph Mantooth back in the day.

    And the zippers on those dresses — NOOOOO! I can’t decide if that’s worse than Tanya Tucker’s manicure, the bouffant hair, or the 1970s makeup.

    Reply
  13. SarahV

    Not gonna lie. Peter Graves as George Washington up there looks gooood. he can totally get it.

    Reply

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