Brit Lit / Masterpiece / TV shows

Jane Eyre vs. the Super Bowl

Jane Eyre

Like the stereotypical husband who always forgets his anniversary, year after year I too manage to forget a momentous annual event that my loved ones cherish.

The Super Bowl.

“That’s happening again?”

“Every year.”

“Who’s playing?”

I should never ask this question. First, it reveals my woeful ignorance of current events. Second, people have started lying to me for fun.

“It’s the Denver Broncos against the Peoria Dirt-Scoopers.”

Image courtesy of Naypong at

Image courtesy of Naypong at

I nod, because at least one of the names sounds familiar. Likely because “Broncos” is very close to the word “Bronte.”

“Great. Which one belongs to the NFL and which to the ACL?” (I like to toss around acronyms, even when I’m not sure they apply.)

“Uh, do you mean AFL? You’re thinking of a torn ACL, which is a kind of injury.”

“It’s easy to get confused. People get injured all the time in football.”

This is not my only vocabulary transgression. I was 23 before I figured out what a down was, despite 8 years of marching band.

I nod wisely when my friends talk about how they are faring in Fantasy Football, and envision dwarves tackling orcs.

Image courtesy of franky242 at

Image courtesy of franky242 at

I have been known to book fancy family dinners on Super Bowl nights, and wonder why it was so easy to get a reservation. I once tried to schedule a major interview at kickoff time.

But the full extent my mismanagement of priorities was revealed in 2007, and nearly estranged me from my entire home state. That was the year PBS aired the 2006 Masterpiece version of Jane Eyre (with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson) against the Super Bowl. The same year my hometown team, the Indianapolis Colts, won. I toggled back and forth the two channels, not because I really cared about the game, but out of a strong sense of civic duty. There are certain unspoken rules for loyal citizens of the United States. You vote, serve jury duty, and watch the Super Bowl when your home team makes it in.

Image courtesy of franky242 at

Image courtesy of franky242 at

I confess it was about 6 minutes of the Super Bowl vs. 106 of Jane Eyre.

Someone somewhere is asking, how can 19th Century British Literature be more exciting than the Superbowl? To which I reply, in the time it took the Colts to move the ball 10 yards across a patch of grass, a crazy lady escaped an attic, burned down a house, tried to fly, and left her husband a blind widower.

Image courtesy of arztsamui at

Image courtesy of arztsamui at

Jane Eyre can take on the Super Bowl for sheer excitement level any day.

So this Sunday I’ll pop in my DVD and hang out with Mr. Rochester. He’s got the shoulders of a football player, at least.

“Young kid playing football” courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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