This past Wednesday, My Boo Eccleston™ starred in ITV's new two-part drama about Lord Lucan, called — wait for it — Lucan.
To be clear, he didn't play Lucan. Lord Lucan, the Earl who brutally murdered his children's nanny and then disappeared forever, was played by an extremely talented Shakespearean actor who will forever be known as "That guy who had sex with a pig on Black Mirror": Rory Kinnear.
But if you're going to put My Boo Eccleston™ in a movie where he lounges with baby tigers, frolicks with silverback gorillas, struts around with tiny monkeys on his shoulder, chills with snakes, and affects an (admittedly not that great, but definitely hilarious) posh accent, then the rest of the cast might as well pack up and go home.
With that said, the show does present Eccleston's character, John Aspinall, as a sort of dudebro spirit guide to Lord Lucan, and the source of most of Lucan's problems.
The set up is this: Lucan was a wealthy Earl who had one good night at the roulette table, winning over $20,000. It earned him the increasingly ironic nickname of "Lucky Lucan," and so rather than investing his enormous inheritance in stocks and whatnot, he instead gambles it all away — always hoping his early success would return. It doesn't.
So as time goes on, Lucan spends more time gambling (at Aspinall's private club), less time with his family and his wife — who is a little bummed about being both broke and not having her husband around — asks him to stop. Lucan doesn't feel like it. So instead, he turns to Dudebro — and hardcore MRA — Aspinall for advice.
You see, Aspinall knows all about pulling the rug from under ladies, ladies who think they should get the kids automatically because the court favors women in custody battles and Alpha Males shouldn't have to take that shit, bro.
Early in, we see Aspinall's much younger and very attractive wife heading out for the day. He — wearing his PJs and lounging with the aforementioned baby tiger — confronts her about the rumors of her infidelity. When she tries to deny it, he announces that he already knows for certain that she's been fucking one of his zookeepers — which he will not abide! — and that as a result of her adultery, he'll be able to seize her kids and she'll be dead to them from now on. Then he carries on reading the paper. This bro is cold as fuck, dude.
On Aspinall's advice, Lucan starts trying to find an equally clever way of entrapping his wife, who literally just wants to see more of him, and would prefer that he not totally bankrupt them. But since Veronica Lucan isn't convenientally sleeping with anyone else, instead Lucan's brilliant idea is to convince everybody that she's totally nuts. He begins gaslighting her, trying to leave her at an insane asylum, and then kidnaps his kids on a flimsy court order and has their longtime nanny removed — just to fuck with her head.
All the while, Dudebro Aspinall is whispering in Lucan's ear about the way the Alpha Male must protect his family, must show his family who is top dog, etc. There's even one borderline ridiculous scene where Aspinall takes Lucan's kids to his private zoo, shows them the silverback and starts whispering in their ears about the importance of Alpha Males.
The long and the short of it is that I was kind of surprised at just how much this show was willing to point and laugh at the basis of a thousand MRA rants: the bitch stole my kids, the bitch is crazy, the bitch is fucking around, the bitch won't let me do what I want, etc.
Because all of the above scenes are definitely not a rallying cry, nor made to seem awesome — instead, it paints both men as enormous self-absorbed at best and sociopaths at worst. I suppose, to be fair, it's helpful that most of the audience is already aware of where this will lead, but in any event it was interesting to see such a heavy-handed suggestion that entitlement masquerading as inequality was the basis for Lucan's actions. There isn't even really a suggestion that Lucan has snapped or that he himself is insane — he's simply driven by privilege, self-worth and entitlement.
Did anyone else watch?