we do not own a tv so i happened upon downton abbey a year ago, quite by accident, while browsing the masterpiece theater website. being an avid fan of period flicks from any time period i eagerly devoured all four episodes. i wouldn’t call myself a huge fan as there are some things i really don’t care for as you will see in the following list, but i do enjoy watching and plan to add the series to my library.
i recently saw a piece on the news speculating as to why we americans are so taken with a british series and what it is that makes us want to watch: supposedly the riveting drama and romance of the time period. from my perspective, i couldn’t disagree more; but then i watch for very different reasons.
~ i have to check in with my favorite character.
it is not lady mary.
it is not cora, or anna, or even mr. bates.
it is the house.
the opening credits with the dog on the lawn and the maids opening the raised panel shutters give me goosebumps. i lose a lot of important dialogue because i am busy looking at the interiors: linen fold panels in the library, the open shelves and copper pans in the kitchen.
~ i love the lifestyle that goes along with the house. ring a bell for a tea tray to be brought to your room first thing in the morning. a walk in the garden, change for lunch. change for tea in the afternoon, change again for a formal dinner in the evening. while the director’s slant (in my opinion) is to make such a life seem dull and meaningless, don’t tell me you haven’t watched and for just one second thought how lovely it would be to have a day whose primary duties were nothing more than growing roses and pouring tea from a pot worth millions.
that being said:
~ the life of a domestic looks very gratifiying to me as well. yes, it was hard work, no, they weren’t well paid but everyone (thomas excluded) seemed to be somewhat contented in their position and there is something appealing about the role and skill of the housekeeper meticulously running the household like a very well oiled machine. i also think it would be great fun to wear a uniform. a black dress with a lace apron is much more pretty for housework than yoga pants and a hoodie.
i do not care for:
~ isobel. ::ducks to avoid flying objects:: i’m sorry. i think she is a goody two shoes. i think she has far too lofty an opinion of herself and her ideas and since they are (in her opinion) right, it gives her license to traipse all over other people’s boundaries like clumsy goat in a rose bed. i guess i have known far too many people like her. i *do* however, love the work of penelope wilton, and i think it cool that she took the role of isobel to fulfill a long time dream of working with maggie smith.
~ i don’t like all the cliches and cheesy catch phrases. by the end of season 2 episode 1 i was ready to propose a drinking game. bottoms up every time one hears the words “the times are changing…”
~the writer and director have in my opinion taken too many liberties and the piece has lost a certain amount of authenticity. i’m too much of a stickler for realism. try as i might, i just can’t visualize a lady’s maid and her mistress confiding in each other about their respective romantic issues, or for that matter, a lady ducking into the butler’s personal quarters for a bit of a friendly chat.
~it has become very predictable. we all know what will happen. anna and mr. bates will find a way, and the butler will pass on. the earl of grantham will pitch a fit when sybil marries the chauffer (until he remembers that “the times are changing “), edith will be hurt enough times to soften her nastiness, and mary and matthew crawley will get together in the end possibly producing an heir so we can have a season 4 (season 3 is being filmed as we speak…).
what do you want to bet?