It’s been a while now since Versailles has aired in France and I did my last bit of ado on it. Since then the show has aired in several other countries as well, Canada and Belgium, for example, my own native country Germany can watch it on pay-tv right now and it will most likely be view able on free-tv at the end of this year or some-when next year. Yes, it does take that long over here for new shows to air on free-tv. We usually get them on tv when the rest of the world has already watched them, but that is not what this shall be about.
I have come across several articles about the show and while those I have read in German are all together flattering, there are some others that make me wonder have we actually seen the same show? Did I see an other version of it, or have they? Did they see one where there is some sort of background bonking going on in every scene? Am I too corrupted to see what they see? Will I go to hell?
All these articles have one thing in common, apart from comparing Versailles to Game of Thrones, they state it is ‘very pornographic’. Is it? I can’t really see it… and wonder once again why I can’t. Is it my upbringing? Is it the fact that I grew up with phone sex ads being aired on tv after midnight or the occasional 70’s and 80’s soft porn on tv on Friday nights? Have I simply seen too much to be shocked?
What I certainly have seen is Game of Thrones, that magnificent and bloody show that shows as much exposed cleavage as you would see on the red light district of Hamburg, and I do love that show. It has it all, hasn’t it? Previously mentioned exposed cleavage, uncovered bums and other body parts, a naked whore that gets killed by a a-hole King with a crossbow for pleasure, a wedding massacre like we have not seen it since the wedding of Henri de Navarre and Margot de Valois, brother kills brother, people get poisoned and burned alive, all in all woah.
Compare Game of Thrones to Versailles in matters of display of bare skin…. doesn’t GoT has far more of it? And isn’t GoT far more bloody?
I can somewhat understand that a person might be slightly shocked, when watching a show about someone like Louis XIV, to see him wake from a wet dream in pretty much the first scene. Perhaps one can be kind of shocked about the fact that Bontemps wipes the royal love juice of the King’s belly, but c’mon… Louis XIV had someone who wiped his behind for him, is he supposed to clean up his wet dream’s outcome himself?
In a different scene we see George Blagden as Louis XIV grope the bosom of Sarah Winter as Louise de La Vallière at church. The man is King and can grope whomever he wishes, whenever and wherever he wishes. The 17th Century was, underneath all its etiquette and vast display of gallantry, rather debauched after all. People back then had the same urges as we have now and a sex is part of life, it always or we would not be here today. We have plenty of it in the show as well, but I would call none of it pornographic. We see scenes of love-making between males and females, and males and males. Yes and that is perfectly fine as it is.
Raise your hand if you think the very first scene in which we see Alexander Vlahos as Monsieur going down on his Chevalier is funny, surprising, hot and plain amazing. I certainly do. It is just as amazing to see him walk about in a dress. Yes, Monsieur enjoyed cross-dressing and that is perfectly fine as well. He did this four hundred years ago and he was not the only one who did it, yet due being the brother of the King and thus in the spotlight, he was criticized more for it by some than for example the Abbé de Choisy. Admire him for it, for having the guts to wear a gown, and spare him the pointy fingers. He had enough of it during his lifetime, for simply being who he was and loving who he loved, and we, as a modern society, should be able to accept him as he was.
There is one thing about Versailles we can argue about, but it is not how much bare skin or sex scenes it contains, it is the story itself. The mix of history and fiction. The altering of history. I have said it before and will say it again, the show works perfectly as it is…. but it would have worked just as well if some of the fictional and altered happening were left out, completely. The court of Louis XIV has the potential to tell so many interesting stories and none of them need to be altered to make them more interesting. This is what I read in articles with French origin as well, while the British and Americans seem more worried about a uncovered breast, the French worry about their history being altered…. and the fact that the show is shot in English and not French. Sacrebleu!
All in all, no I am not able to see something ‘pornographic’ in Versailles. What I see is a story well told by a brilliant cast, that wears marvelous costumes and has witty verbal exchanges, as well as well acted love-making of various kinds. Perhaps that British MP has watched a different show than I.
(Did he watch it at all? Maybe he only saw a teaser. Maybe he puts the light out during sex? I mean, how else could he be so shocked otherwise about something natural? Is it the idea that his parents could have done the same with the lights on? Shouldn’t politicians have other things to do than complaining about a tv show? Like trying to establish peace in the world? Talking of politicians…..you know what looks and sounds silly? Donald Trump.)