Meet Ross Poldark, Your Perfect Election Diversion
I discovered Poldark somewhere around the time Hillary Clinton developed pneumonia and Donald Trump blamed her for starting the birther movement. I needed a refuge from my all-consuming obsession with the 2016 election and Ross Poldark stepped in to save me as he has saved so many others. Since Season Two just began airing on PBS last night and many of you are uninitiated, my comments will entice and not spoil your entry into the vibrant 18th century world of Ross Poldark.
Aidan Turner’s Captain Poldark returns home to Cornwall, England after fighting a bunch of upstart colonists in the American War of Independence to find that his father has died and left behind a failing estate. He must figure out a way to move forward. Incidentally, while we Americans won the war the Brits seem to have won the television battle, because like Downton Abbey and Sherlock, they see Poldark before we do. This scheduling annoyance makes it nearly impossible to search the Internet for “shirtless Ross” pictures without encountering spoilers [Oh stop judging. If you haven’t already done this you will].
Ross exudes a masculine sexuality that only exists in a fictionalized representation of an era devoid of toothpaste, antibiotics, and reliable birth control. The man practically oozes smart, hot, and damaged. Poldark’s central My Fair Lady romance hits every fantasy mark and highlights Ross’s habit of doing what’s right instead of what’s expected.
Unlike most noblemen, he straddles the class divide and has forged deep alliances with both the nobility and the working class. He moves easily amongst all ranks of British society because men and women alike respect him for his loyalty and fair opinion. Ross despises the cold application of British justice and its impact on the poor. He does what he can to mitigate the effects of poverty on his childhood friends and they adore him for it.
Everyone wants to bask in the light of Ross Poldark, including hapless cousin Francis and villainous George Warleggen. Both of these men envy Ross and yearn to possess the Poldark mystique. When Ross swaggers through the grimy streets of Cornwall or knocks on a door it’s as if Jesus himself has come to call. Men bow, women swoon, and babies coo.
Rather than annoy, this adulation feels organic and earned. Ross’s confidence comes from an unwavering sense of right and wrong. If you get into a bind either of your own making or one forced upon you by heartless elites Ross will break down prison doors to get you and your family out of trouble. And when he suffers a loss or a setback, his many allies repay his loyalty with their own.
Poldark is the perfect antidote to a chaotic and emotionally fraught election. Nate Silver might let you down, but Ross Poldark never will.
[Watch Season One on Amazon Prime and Season Two on PBS].