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Case Number 27300: Small Claims Court

Buy Mapp & Lucia: Complete Collection at Amazon

Mapp & Lucia: Complete Collection

Acorn Media // 1985 // 502 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 7th, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson used to be the queen bee in his house, until his wife threw away his costume.

The Charge

"People might like a rubber after their tea, particularly if it's raining."

The Case

I can't quite remember the context of the above quote and it has nothing to do with this series but I wanted to capture it for perpetuity.

Here we have another repurposing of an old-school over-the-pond production. Mapp & Lucia aired in two five-part series from 1985-1986 in Britain. Starring Geraldine McEwan as Lucia and Prunella Scales as Mapp, the series followed the exploits of the two women vying for social stature in the world of 1920s small-town England.

Elizabeth Mapp is the center of the solar system in her small hamlet, until the magnetic and glamorous Emmeline "Lucia" Lucas rockets into town for the summer, takes a lay of the land, and decides to become a permanent resident. This doesn't necessarily rock Mapp's world and the two strong-willed women enter into a no-holds-barred give-and-take over the course of ten, 50-minute episodes. They'll vie for the best spouses, lie to each other's faces and ensure that everyone in town knows who the current Queen of the Castle is.

As much as that sound like it would a high-larious romp, Mapp & Lucia more or less plays it straight. There's humor here, not so much gag and slapstick, but rather clever and awkward. Seeing these two women strive to undercut each other at every turn becomes a sort of weirdo exhibitionist experience. It's as if I accidentally wandered into the Rich Entitled Old Lady wing and stared though glass for a few hours, while Mapp and Lucia dropped passive-aggressive neutron bombs on each other over the course of dinner.

Look, I am not the designated audience for this. I was, in fact, lethally bored by the dialogue-heavy machinations of these two, and the melodramatic plotlines that bolstered their slings and arrows. I can objectively say that the acting is all well and good and there is enough narrative to untangle; so, then, if this type of Brit satire/drama/period experience is up your alley (or, say, your great-great-grandmother's), I can see no reason why Mapp & Lucia wouldn't deliver.

Not much to write home about when it comes to the four-disc DVD set: standard def 1.33:1 full frame quality that betrays its videotape source, Dolby 2.0 Stereo, no subtitles, and a text biography of author E.F. Benson.

The Verdict

Not guilty, though I'd rather eat metal shavings from a steel fabrication plant.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Acorn Media
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 502 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Foreign
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Bio


• IMDb

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