We attempt War and Peace


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One of the amazing things about having your child start sleeping through the night is that you get back some of your free time and at least a few of your brain cells. The first couple months we were barely hanging onto sanity with the skin of our teeth and mainly having conversations about what we had hallucinated the night before.

Today, we are living like intellectual kings. We keep up with the news. Some of us are also keeping up with the Kardashians (did you hear about Saint West’s birthday present from Ralph Lauren??) We have long, thoughtful conversations about work, and we spend relaxing evening quietly sitting at our respective laptops without stray hands reaching up from under the couch to thrust a thoroughly-chewed book in our face for a sixth reading. Life is beautiful.

Not feeling challenged enough by trying to analyze the U.S. election, we decided to embark upon the next level of intellectual rigor: War and Peace.

Neither of us have ever read this Russian classic and don’t intend to because we would rather subject ourselves to another round of three am feedings than reading 900+ pages in Russian.

But, when we saw that the BBC, whose programs we usually like a lot, had released a re-telling of War and Peace for the small screen, we got excited and decided to try it, as a way of watching, essentially, Classy Cliffnotes.

Here is an accurate account of our viewing of the first episode.

Me: Wait, what’s going on?

Mr B.: it’s some dude. Something’s happening to him. Also, there’s some sort of war going on.

Me: Who’s that guy?

Mr. B: it’s the dude’s dad. He’s dying.

Me: But who is this other guy?

Mr. B : Some soldier dude. He looks rich.

Me: Who’s the chick?

Mr. B: His sister? Maybe? Hard to say.

Me: What are all their names?

Mr. B: There are like 500 characters in this show and we’re only 20 minutes in.

Me: one of them was named Andrei, right?

Mr. B: I think at least four or five of the characters were named Andrei.

Me: What is this battle? Why are they fighting already?

Mr. B: The Napoleonic wars!

Me: But they didn’t resolve the plot point with that other crazy chick.

Mr. B: Which one, the sister?

Me: No, Natasha.

Mr. B: Which one is Natasha?

Me: I don’t know. I think both of the main women are named Natasha.

long pause. a ball ensues. there are also several fights and someone’s honor is questioned

Me: Who are these people??? Why are they COMPLETELY NEW PEOPLE that were not in any of the previous scenes?

This went on for the better part of an hour until we decided to call it quits. So essentially, here’s what I know about the greatest novel that my people have produced: It’s long, there are a LOT of people, all of whom have different names, and they are all either for or against Napoleon, or they are having a Crisis of Conscience. Needless to say, we have resolved that we are too stupid for War and Peace. Back to watching Friends. And getting sleep. Beautiful sleep.