The first season just ended last night, and I am already having withdrawals. Highly recommend this show if you haven’t already become a huge fan!
Mr. Selfridge is the new drama series through PBS/Masterpiece. The show depicts the extravagant and trying real life of an American man, Harry Gordon Selfridge, played by Jeremy Pivens. Harry is the man who changed the shopping landscape of Chicago’s Marshall Field’s in the early 1900’s. Which changed America’s way to shop. With his new found success, he packed up his knowledge, life, wife and family to bring that very same concept of a modern shopping experience to the ‘dead end’ part of Oxford Street, London, England, through his own department store, Selfridge&Co.. Quickly, we are introduced to the inner workings of his finances during the grand store’s construction, and how his personality plays a major part in his success to get financiers. Harry is, indeed, an interesting business man, and quite forward thinking! He gets the deluxe, multi floor department store built on the dime of a social lite, Lady Mae. Immediately, the store is a huge hit. People from all over visiting the store to seek out the top shelf goods.
Selfridge&Co. was the first store to promote attractions alongside a shopping experience, as Harry did with the French aviator,Louis Bierot, and then Ernest Shakleton, and they were the first to sell women’s beauty/cosmetics at the entrance, displayed for everyone to see. Which was quite controversial for the early 1900’s. The store was somewhat a spectacle, but for the wealthiest or upper class. But Harry was no fool, as he implemented the first mid-season sales, and received acclaim for doing so. So much great press surrounded the store, that the King himself requested an after hours shopping spree.
Harry comes across as an upbeat, almost superficial, man who speaks eloquently about the people in his life and at his sore, but yet crass for the Brits…just like an American. He quickly opens up to us as a complicated character, as we see he has an internal struggle. He has a loving family, wonderful wife, the store is moving ahead fantastically, but yet he isn’t satisfied enough. He has eyes for the local singing artiste, and takes her on as a full time mistress and has her work as the ‘spirit’ of Selfridges. We see him buying her furs, jewelry, and even a swank apartment. Then soon after, we learn of his sad childhood, with respect to his father, and the imperfections that plague him from it. Harry’s affair is short lived, but not without his wife acquiring first hand knowledge from the mistress herself. But, little Mrs. Selfridge is not so innocent, either, as she has been swept off her feet by a handsome, 6’5″, talented painter. Though her affair never goes beyond a kiss, or it seems, she has fallen for the young man. But Harry tries to mend his marriage, but he fumbles with his fickle heart.
All this is going on as we meet and learn of the gracious staff of the department store on such intimate levels. Each staff member is highlighted with their talents, and we learn so much about them. Like, Agnes Towler, the pretty woman Mr. Selfridge hand picked; who was having rough times at home…where Mr. Selfridge himself helped her out of. Mr. Henri Leclair, the gorgeous Frenchman, who has been Mr. Selfridges’s longtime friend and displays manager, creating magical window fronts. Mr. Crab, the finance manager who is uptight, yet down to Earth. Mr. Grove, the seemingly normal department manager. And countless others. The cordiality of these people is profound, and not like anything you’d come across today.
The show is amazing. So well written, and certainly portrays the 1900’s in a way that is relatable. The finale, like I mentioned, was last night. The show doesn’t come back till 2014. Ugh, that is too far! But, in the meantime Madmen is on, catching Sunday’s episode soon. Then Breaking Bad will be back…Downton Abby after that is over…uhm, I believe Dexter is back soon, right? And then, The Walking Dead to follow.
I am a TV Series Junky!