Monday, 4 April 2016

The Pros and Cons of "Call the Midwife."

(Hint: There are more Pros.) 
(Much more.) 
(I love this show. It's gold. I've only seen Season One so far, but I know it's gold.)


BBC shows. Let's just sit down and close our laptops (ha, as if) and just appreciate those. Their depth, their truth, their swish, their accents, their hairstyles and dress collars, their actors and actresses - their superb scripts and imaginative settings. Oh my, I do love myself a good BBC Costume show, or just any BBC Period Drama; of any length or size. They somehow always manage to rip the colourful seams in my heart into weakling treads; they always manage to make me weep and cry; they make me want to hug fictional characters made alive by the brilliant talent of those actresses and actors - (always such handsome human beings, those are, if I may add.)

Anyway, Call the Midwife is a new BBC show that is on that heart-ripping, GOOD show-list. I've only seen Season One so far, but suffice to say that I'm hooked. (Despite the Cons, who are, unfortunately present.)


I hate to be a bummer, but I'm going to start with listing the Cons. 

THE CONS:

1. The worldly viewpoint. It never fails to make me sad whenever I watch any show which includes things-I-do-not-support. Season one did not have much of it, and Call the Midwife is very sex-scene-free, but Episode 5 made me sigh, and there were a few little comments here and there the characters made that made me sigh also. But, as I said, it wasn't too bad - and overall it left me with very good feelsies indeed.


2. The birth-scenes. I hate the birth-scenes. It just makes me uneasy to see fake-births turn out so gritty and noisy... it's awkward to watch ladies screaming their heads off in their beds with their legs all over the place. And that's not just because I've never had kids; my mum thinks the exact same way as I do, so there. I always turn my head in those scenes, or turn off the sound (which my sister doesn't like me doing, so I hardly ever do it.) They don't actually show anything, but STILL. I really don't like the birth scenes. (And there's at least one in every episode.)

3. This isn't neccesarily a con, and it shouldn't come unexpected judging from number 1 and 2, but this show is not for children. (Not just because births involve screaming and blood, although that's a large part.) I like to say that it's a show for 'mature females.' (My dad watches it with us, but really, I can't believe he enjoys it as much as my mum and my sister and me. Although I'm sure there are many male viewers, I'm also sure that the majority of the viewers of this show are ladies. It's a rather womanish show. :-P)


HOWEVER. That said, let me dedicate the rest of this post towards the long, glowing list of enthusiastic pros. As I said in zee very beginning of the post, the pros of Call the Midwife by FAR outweigh the cons of it. I'm in love with this show; and I can't wait to dive into the brandnew, never-seen-by-me episodes of Series two and three. (And maybe Series four and five one day too, but we don't own those yet.) (But I heard that Jenny isn't even in Series four and five, and neither is Chummy, so I don't think I want to see those. Because seriously. Call the Midwife without JENNY?!! Tuh. That just about takes the giddy biscuit, Jeeves.)

Okay. THE PROS:


1. Would it be odd to say that I love the characters' faces? :-P Because I do. They make me happy just looking at them. Jimmy (the blonde fella in the picture above) annoyed me a bit, but oh, his grin is cute as a pineapple. Trixie's eyes are so glossy and glam, Cynthia's perfectly neat hair makes me smile, and Chummy - just the look of Chummy makes me smile in fondness. And then Jenny is so gorgeous.

2. Not only do I love their faces, I love (most of) the characters. They all have their annoying sides, which is amiable about the show, I think - but they all have a place in my heart. For instance, Trixie - she's incredibly annoying and silly, but oh, she has such a warm heart and her fashion sense is pretty stellar. And the grumpy nun - what's-her-name? - she's very grumpy, but she's without doubt my favourite nun. :-P


3. Jenny deserves her own paragraph. Like many tv shows, there is a main character, but there's almost equal amount of emphasis on all the other characters. Anyway, Jenny Lee is the main character of this show, and I love her. (Not all tv shows have lovable main characters so, oh, I was pleased to see that Jenny was perfectly lovable.) I related a lot to Jenny - she gets emotional, like I do. I love how she wants to help people, and I love how kind she is. (Also her HAIR. Can I get such perfect curls while cycling in the wind after being in charge of an intense birth scene? Thanks.)

(Also, how can she cycle so elegantly with a long skirt?!! #cycleskills)


4. The Costumes. No Period Drama Review of mine is complete without the mention of the costumes. Well, let me just tell you, Call the Midwife does not disappoint when it comes to frocks and hems and collars... I've always loved the 50's fashion style, but I think I fell in love with it more since I started watching this! (I WONDER WHY.) The midwives are pretty much always in their midwife costumes, so whenever they are not, I always get pretty excited. (Jenny's wardrobe is my favourite, but Trixie's wardrobe is pretty darn exquisite too.)

5. The music. I LOVE the way their weave in popular 50's songs into this show - it seriously makes it 10 times more fun to watch + so much more real, because those characters would have really listened to those songs. For instance, Doris Day sang Que Sera Sera in the last five minutes of episode one, and made me CRY, because it felt so real and it was so pretty with the narrator telling us sentimentally worthy things over it. I've discovered some fun new vintage songs through this show, and it's always fun to hear tunes I'm already familiar with. (Yep, love the music. Also, THIS SOUNDTRACK PIECE.)


6. The SMILES and LOVE whenever a baby is born. There is so much love packed into this show - love to the babies, love of the midwives, love of the parents... awww-ness alore.

7. Nonnatus House. I love monastries - their long cold stairs and halls and windows - and their huge thick doors. We went on a Church's weekend away lately, and that was in an empty monasty - it was gorgeous and I pretended I was Jenny Lee. (Unfortunately there wasn't a phone, or I would have picked it up and said, 'Nonnatus House, Midwife speaking.' :-P)


8. The BABIES. They're all SO CUTE. Sometimes I just want to dive into the world of midwives, just so I can hug and kiss all those babies.

9. I love the little midwife community - the inside jokes that go on between Jenny, Trixie, Cynthia and Chummy. For instance, when Trixie gave flirting lessons (no, not something I would heed to, but there's Trixie for you) to Chummy and when Jenny helped Chummy choose a dress - I love the friendship between these ladies. :-) (It makes one want to be a midwife.)

10. I wasn't very enthusiastic to start the series, to be honest - because who wants to watch stuff about births and only births? But that's just the thing - it isn't just about births. There are love stories, plots involving sick people that have nothing to do with pregnancy, stories with the nuns, and many little funny scenes like when Fred made toffee apples and sold them with chicken feathers stuck on. (Just watch it. I won't explain.)


11. CHUMMY. I was going to keep her till last but I can't wait any longer. I LOVE CHUMMY. Such a good chum, my goodness. (Did you spot the pun? Did you? Did you?) She's probably my favorite character in the whole show - I love her warm heart, the way she provides for comic relief, and the WAY she talks like a female version of Bertie Wooster. "What-ho, Mater." "T-T-F-N, Trixie." "One more push, old thing." Just can't dislike Chummy, you know, and the way she clumsily enters into the life of Nonnatus House. It was after episode two, when dear old Chummy made her appearance, that I decided I loved it. :-)

12. PLUS. SHE AND THE POLICEMAN ARE RIDICULOUSLY CUTE. Just shut up and go to bed and shut the front door. They are that cute. :-) (Peter's little smile makes my heart melt a bit. Just a bit.)


13. SO many episodes made me cry. In fact, the first four episodes all included a tear or two from my side. I loved the old man Jenny helped, and I loved that big Italian family in episode one, and how the baby was saved. There are so many heart-warming scenes and tear-jerking plots. (And you guys know how much I love a good cry now and then.)

14. On the other had, there were plenty of jolly fun bits. Fred, and the way he wants to ear money. The Grumpy Nun. (That's what I call her, so let me.) Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne, aka Chummy. And so on.


15. And of course, there were plenty of recognisable actors and actresses in here. Jenny Agutter plays one of the nuns, and so does Pam Ferris. Paul McGann's brother plays the doctor. (*Emma perks up*)

Basically, all in chorus: Naomi loves Call the Midwife and she cannot wait to start Season Two. She would also love to know if any of her viewers have seen and enjoyed this show, and if anyone else wants to be Chummy's friend really badly, and if anyone knows the name of The Grumpy Nun, because I've completely forgotten. Have a good day, people. Enjoy the sunshine. (Had to say that, because it's all yellow and bright and sunny around here, and I think I'd better go outside.)

45 comments:

  1. Hm.... I might have to watch the show some day. I have heard about it from others, and I think generally those I know like it. They just were disappointed by later seasons. I am not sure exactly why, but I think it had to do with deteriorating content. So just a warning when you get along to the later seasons. But I would certainly be interested in watching at least the earlier seasons.

    Sarah
    sewcharacteristicallyyou.weebly.com

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    1. I know, I heard that too - that's also why I'm not that keen to watch the later seasons. :-)

      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Aw, so glad you're enjoying it! I love that episode with the old man, think I cried all the way through. And weirdly, I think the show still works once Jenny leaves, although you wouldn't think so. The 'grumpy nun' I think is Sister Evangelina?

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    1. Yes, the episode with the old man was the most emotional for me too. I LOVED HIM. :'-( :'-(
      Ohhh yes. Sister Evangelina! That's it.

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  3. I love "Call the Midwife" wholeheartedly! It is definitely one my favorite shows. CHUMMY. Goodness, she's amazing! All the sayings she comes up with always makes me laugh. :) I believe I've watched all the seasons of it (the ones that are available on Netflix anyways), and I've only grown to love the show more with each passing season. The books are fabulous too! Great post, Naomi. <3

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    1. Chummy's amazing, RIGHT?!!! :-D I know, the way she talks is so hilarious. :-)
      I bought the first book a few days ago, actually - can't wait to read it. :-) Thanks, Eve!

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  4. No, I haven't seen it! It looks beautiful, though--all the 50s costumes and the bicycles and the London streets and everything :-)

    Jenny sounds SWEET. Like someone you'd want to be friends with :-)

    To be honest, I don't think they should show birth scenes on TV. There is NOTHING wrong with labor/birth/etc (obviously), but it is NOT something you show onscreen. (In my wery humble opinion.)

    You know, I have to say this: Every time someone mentions this show, I always get a little bit confused, because it's about Anglican nuns and I didn't know there WERE any Anglican nuns. (I am right about that, aren't I? These aren't Catholic sisters, but Anglican ones?)

    BBC costume dramas are awesome. Agreed 100% :-)

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    1. It IS beautiful. :-)

      Yeah exactly. Well, I don't think it's wrong to have a birth on-screen (at least, a mild one) but I definitely think CTM takes some a bit too far. Again, that's why I don't enjoy them and try to avoid 'em. :-P

      I have no idea if they're Catholic or Anglican! (Ha. Isn't that awkward.)
      I just went and looked it up, and you're right. They're Anglican nuns. I didn't know there were Anglican nuns, either! Well, now we've both learnt something. :-P

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    2. Maybe a mild one would be okay . . . but yeah, I more mean the "graphic" kind.

      I wonder if they take vows, too, like Catholic nuns? I would imagine they do, or else why would they be called nuns?

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    3. Yes, vows are mentioned in the show, I think. :-)

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    4. Gotcha! Another example of "you'll learn things you never knew you never knew," I guess :-)

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  5. Wait, Paul McGann's brother is in it?! :) That nun in the last picture, Pam Ferris, she's in "Our Mutual Friend" (which also has Paul McGann, not his brother :) ), and you would probably like her, if you ever watched past episode 1. :D

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    1. Yes! Stephen McGann, I think his name is. He's the doctor + very friendly guy. :-)
      Oh, really? Pam Ferris is also in the 2003 version of Pollyanna. :-) (Yeah, maybe I should retry OMF. :-P)

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    2. She was also in Little Dorrit as Mrs. General and in Matilda (the children's movie, not a period drama - haha!) as Principal Trunchbull - two rather negative characters compared to her sweet portrayal as Mrs. Boffin in OMF. I finished watching OMF with my mom yesterday (her first time to go all the way through OMF) and had not remembered it being so horribly dreary. Episode 1 was sooooooo bleak. As was episode 2. But there is a very sweet scene in episode 3 (that includes Paul McGann, because duh! :) ) followed by more dreariness. But it all ends rather well. Although the last scene is perhaps not the best scene to have at the very end, but all of the wonderfulness already happened. :)

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    3. Oh yeah, she was in Little Dorrit too. :-D
      Ha, see - it IS a bleak movie. I still want to rewatch it one day though, and see what all the fuss is about. :-P

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    4. I don't know if it is even explainable. There is love, heartache, societal clashes, obsession of money/greed, humor (Mr. Venus, especially :) ), self-sacrificing devotion, deceit, beautiful charity/generosity, snobbery, but most importantly, there is Eugene Wrayburn (even more importantly, there is Paul McGann who plays him). :D

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  6. I just saw ten minutes of Call the Midwife last night, and I cried! I will definitely watch this soon! Great review, and I love the pictures! :)

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    1. I know, right?!! It's so emotional. How do they MAKE that. :-P Hope you enjoy it, if you do watch it all!

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  7. There are more cons in season four and five unfortunately. I stopped watching it a little before the end of season five. My mom was ahead of me in the show and from talking to her I gave up on it. I was already fairly frustrated with it anyways. You'll know why when you get there. :) The previous seasons are so worth it though.

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    1. Oh, ew. Well, maybe I'll just stick with the first three seasons, then. As I said, those are the only ones we actually own. :-)

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  8. (I've been expecting this. *wink*)

    Well, as we've kind of already talked about this, I don't have a heap to say. But there are a few things that made me perk up. (I never have nothing to say. Haha.) Namely, the fact that Paul McGann's brother plays in it?!! *immediately Google searches Paul McGann's brother* Wouldn't it be cute if all the same brothers (it looks like they're four of them) played in the same movie? :D Anyways, that was just a random thought. *ahem* :P

    I love their fashion and hair styles and bicycles!! It's such eyecandy.

    I think I'd like to try this, someday. :D (Oh, and just so you know, we finished Arrow (which is kinda sad 'cause I like it :P), or rather, got up to where they brought out the last DVD (season 3), so now I should find more time to watch Lark Rise. :D But Belle is on the agenda for this week! (Still haven't watched it yet!))

    It was a lovely sunny day today, also. We were burning off brush and wood that had been strewn across the paddock (result of lots of trees), and so we had about 5 huge bonfires lit in the paddock beside our house, all day, creating a lovely smokey sensation. ;P

    And oh look! You ACTUALLY didn't use the word 'golden'. Hehe. ;)

    ~Miss Meg

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    1. I know, four McGann brothers - and all actors. I wonder if at least TWO of them play together of something. That would be cool. :-)

      Yeah, you stick to Lark Rise and Belle first. One thing at a time. ;-P

      No, I try to not use the same words TOO much. Hee. :-)

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    2. Miss Meg and NAOMI- your wish came true! ALL four McGann brothers played in a costume drama (or indeed a drama, not sure if it was costume or not) called The Hanging Gale!! It was about the Irish Potato famine!!! When I was at the height of my Paul McGann obsession, I discovered this delightful fact!!

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    3. And WHICH MCGann? Stephen is also cute, Mark is the next cutest and Joe is the last cutest!!

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    4. They DO act together! How fun. :-)
      (And this is Stephen.)

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    5. Really?! How neat! That's so cool! I'll have to look into it. :D I love it when family act together. :)

      ~Miss Meg

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  9. WAIT -- Paul McGann's brother?!? So THAT'S why I recognized that guy! I want to watch it now. ;-) Well, I wanted to before, but now I have ever more reason to.

    Really, I love the looks of this. I know I'd like it. I already want to be friends with Jenny. (I know a girl who looks almost exactly like her, by the way. Only she has blond hair. She used to be me and Sadie's violin teacher years ago.)

    Somethin' about those fifties -- they wear gorgeous dresses and they make you cry. Brooklyn taught me that. :-P

    I loved your review, Naomi! Marvelously done.

    ~Emma

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    1. I know - same here. I was like, 'He MUST be related to Paul McGann.' Annnnd I was right. :-P

      Really? Cool. :-)
      UGH YES. AND BROOKLYN. :-)

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  10. I love Call the Midwife! I am interested in the medical field, and have entertained the thought of becoming a midwife- so I find the birth scenes quite fascinating! :D I feel like the medical side of this show is a big part of what draws me in. I love all the characters too- especially Trixie :D

    Season 4 & 5 go down a dark and much more mature theme(s)- I would definitely skip season 4- I did not enjoy it at all, and I actually refused to watch S5 because it turned me off so bad. But then my Mom watched season 5 and told me how good it was! I really liked season 5- but again, mature themes that had me muting/ not looking at the screen. My favorite character Trixie is also a victim of darker stuff- she is still her spunky self, but very grieved. I really would like the watch the first three seasons again, because of the light/bright and happiness in them!!

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    1. My sister is interesting in the medical field too (a midwife, to be precise!), and she finds the birth scenes more fascinating than I do, too. So I definitely understand. :-P

      OH That's it then. I'm not watching 4 and 5. :-P The end.

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  11. The costumes look very pretty! I don't think it would be my thing though, because I wouldn't like all the births :P

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    1. Yeah, I understand. That's what scared me off at first, too. :-)

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  12. GAHH THIS SHOW THIS SHOW!!!

    (Wonderful review, btdubs--beautiful and perfect and you encapsulated NEARLY every darn thing I love about this show.)

    I've watched seasons 1-3, and I WUVS DEM. (Some episodes more than others, as you say.) We stopped there, because 1) Jenny's gone, and WHAT YOU SAID about that, and 2) I've heard that certain, shall we say, themes are introduced into the latterly seasons, and we thought maybe we'd just Rather Not, if you know what I mean.

    I thiiiiiiink S2 is my favorite. *consults Wikipedia* Yes. S2 is my favorite :) (But I shan't say anything more than that, because spoilers.)

    There definitely are cons, and there definitely are things that I wish were handled in a different way :-/ But it is cool that it's true to life--it deals with tough, raw, not-so-pretty issues, and that's very interesting.

    Can I just say…I have a favorite couple, and I'm not sure if they've become a couple yet, so I'm not going to mention them, but THEY ARE MY FAVORITE.

    CHUMMY! Chummy is absolutely one of the most worthy, precious, amazing characters you will ever meet, don't you agree? :) I love how she finds love with Peter ;)

    Okay, I'm going now. But I really liked this post like a whole lot :D

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    1. OLIVIA!!! You've seen this and lets TALK about it. :-)

      I plan to stop at season 3 too. I know about Certain Themes introduced into the latterly seasons. (Yes. Maybe rather not. HAHAHA.)

      OHHH I KNOW WHO YOU MEAN. DO YOU MEAN THE NUN WITH THE GLASSES AND THE DOCTOR?!!!!! Because I cannot WAIT to see their romance evolve on screen. (They're my mum's favourite couple too - she's seeing this for the second time.) Yeah, they look RIDICULOUSLY cute. :-D

      Yes, CHUMMY IS THE BEST.

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  13. I'm going to have to see if I can convince my mom to try this...it may not be our cup of tea, but IT LOOKS SO GOOD. Is there any misuse of God's name? I was reading the content advisory on imdb and it didn't mention any, but I thought I'd ask you too just in case. :)

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    1. No, there isn't much misuse of God's name. Maybe only a few times - not quite sure how many.
      (YOU SHOULD TRY IT.) :-)

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    2. Thanks! I'll definitely tell you if we try it out! :D

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  14. Love this show! Of course I'm disappointed in some of it, but those scenes can be easily skipped :) Was sad to see Jenny leave, but I like the new girl, Barbara just as much :) On the births, I don't have a problem with them for the most part. Maybe it's because I've seen real live births, and I hope to be a midwife some day. I thought they were very well done :)

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  15. What a lovely post! I absolutely adore Call the Midwife, I love how 'real' it is and how well it balances between happy and touching stories. I was a bit worried when Jenny left that the storylines would become less good (also because after that it was not based on her memoires any more), but I still really liked the show after that (testament of good writing I think!). You should read this article about Call the Midwife in the webzine Femnista, in delves into the faith elements of the show: https://issuu.com/femnista/docs/femnista_march_april_2016

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    1. I really enjoyed reading that article - thanks for sending it to me! :-)

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    2. You're welcome! Did you know Femnista? They usually have really good articles. I used to write for them as well, but don't have time atm unfortunately...

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    3. Yes, I do! I read the online version occasionally. :-)

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    4. Yes, I do! I read the online version occasionally. :-)

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  16. I HATE the birth scenes as others have mentioned. I have had 2 kids w/o spinals or epidurals. Sure it is incredibly painful but they never would have made that racket. These people (in the 50s) grew up w/ death all around the (plus 2 World Wars). They would have never carried on like such wimps except in truly dire situations - like 1 in 10 or whatever the real odds are.

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