Downton Abbey

Posted: May 28, 2012 by Micah in Randomnicity

First off I would like to take a very very serious moment and thank all of our soldiers past and present who have given so much for this country. Happy Memorial day everyone and remember the only reason this blog (and other far far more important things) exist is because brave men and women have given their lives defending this country!

And that’s my serious quota for the year! Phew… just barely made it through that. So I had a fairly epic weekend. Hung out with my fiance’, worked on some writing projects (of a more serious nature), and had a really weird dream in which for some reason I had a long conversation with a gerbil while holding a pitchfork. I was holding a pitchfork, not the Gerbril. That would be ridiculous.

Also our car broke down! Again! So that was fun. Our car is apparently made of tissue paper and the bones of an elderly muskrat because if a stiff breeze from the lungs of a stiff 90 year old opposes it the thing breaks down. But we love Kevin (the car) anyway… just slightly less… Anyway though in the midst of all this car breakdownery I watched my first episode of Grey’s Anatomy a show that desperately tries to make you cry at least three times an episode (and fails in my case) and finished season two of White Collar (a great show). But I’m not here to talk about that. No. I’m here to talk about what we did afterword! That epic sensation sweeping the nation: pilates. Wait no! I don’t… I don’t do those. All you have to do is take a look at the alabaster slabs of amazing that some people call “six pack abs” but which I call “the eighth-fourteenth wonders of the world” to know that I don’t need to do none ‘a them pilates.

No what I’m talking about is that BRITISH sensation sweeping the Nation: Downton Abbey.

Micah Review: Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey: So Many More Characters Then Your Show

Okay so… I only watched the first four episodes of this show… back-to-back-to-back-to-back. Cassie REALLY likes it. So if something terrible happens in the 5th episode I’m sorry. But here’s a basic summary of the plot under a bold typed paragraph thingy surprisingly entitled.

The Plot:

The Crawley family (Mr. and Mrs. Crawley and their three daughters) are the residents of Downton Abbey. A huge mansion in which one could hide an entire Russian Army and still have room for their furry hats. In addition to having the ability to get lost for centuries in their own house without ever finding an exit, the daughters (especially Mary) are mostly annoying. But all that annoyingness changes suddenly when their cousin Patrick (heir to the Crawley estate) passes away. Now the estate will seemingly pass down to their third cousin (a relative unknown named Matthew Crawley) as Mary (being a woman and things) is ineligible (Don’t get mad at me women typed people, I wasn’t around to make the rules.)

Meanwhile, in the servants area of the house, we’re introduced to Mr. Bates. Bates is a newcomer to the house and is quickly (and rudely) introduced to all the behind the scenes drama that goes on in the kitchens and cauldrons of Downton… I’ll admit their is very little Cauldron drama in the show… I’m a slave to alliteration.

Will Downton be safe in the hands of its new caretaker? Will Mary reconcile herself with her new status? How will all the kitchen drama end up? And how many times can you excuse yourself from a party due to a “splitting headache?” (This happens a hilarious amount in the show. Every time anyone is even mildly upset with anyone else it’s “Oh my head.” And off they go into the night while every one else sits around totally believing them. If this seriously works I’m gonna start doing it WAY more often. “Micah I need you to take out the trash.” “Sorry… I’ve a splitting headache.” I should probably say it with a British accent huh? Just to be safe.)

The Negatrons:

I’m gonna do negatives first on this one cause I can and it’s my website… so there.

I occasionally get the impression that I’m watching a soap opera, a super well written soap opera mind you, but a soap opera none the less. A lot of the shows drama is built around “will Mary ever get a man” or “will Mary get her feelings hurt?” and to be honest I’m not a huge fan of Mary. I kind of think Mary is a horrible person… though I suspect that’s what the show writer wants me to think… blast it all… Still every episode has at least one “woman crying about being overlooked by a man” and some of the decisions made by characters are definitely just there to further the emotional plot rather than say… make sense.

My prime example of this sort of “obvious plot moving device” is in the newest show when the youngest Crowley girl “Edith” who is (to put it charitably) “not endowed with the face of a cherub” and (to put it less charitably) “has a nose the size of some ostrich I know” decided the best thing to do in response to Mary being hotter then she is (which, by the way, Mary totally is… not that that’s saying a lot… I’ve known more attractive Milk wagons) is to send a letter that will probably result in the disgrace of the entire family and (potentially) lead to an international wartyped incident… yeah… good revenge there Uglith… I mean Edith.

For some reason I occasionally want to throw the mother in a vat of soy milk… I don’t know why… I think it’s cause she’s supposed to be American but is actually played by a British person and sometimes the way she says things desperately makes me want to hurl a chinchilla at her. Kind of like how British people must feel when Americans try to have British accents… Subtle revenge by the British? I think so.

Fear my furry revenge!!

Parents might want to screen the show before watching it with your kids. Brief homosexuality and other such sexualities make brief cameo’s throughout the show. Nothing at all saturated but it’s worth watching before you and young Bobby sit down with a pack of M&M’s and a cool glasses of lemonade.

The Positives:

I can’t quite lay my finger on exactly why I like this show… The script is really well written but it doesn’t necessarily appeal to me like most shows do. I generally am attracted to shows that are smart, funny, feature amazing acting and do something I haven’t seen before (Doctor Who, Sherlock, Studio 60 etc.) and while DA (Downton Abbey as I will heretofore call it) is funny it’s never hilarious and while it is smart it doesn’t necessarily knock my sox off. It’s new but also has a strong “Pride and Prejudice” vibe and the acting is solid all around but there are only a few really stand out performances (which I’ll get to in a minute). So why do I like it? Maybe because it’s a show that combines all of those things into one? Maybe because it’s one of the few really well done period dramas around today?

I think it has to do with both of those things really, but I think the main reason is that, like it or not, I legitimately CARE about what happens to these people now. I really hope that what his name and what’s her name get together… I legitimately hope that the jerky guy with the stupid haircut gets his comeuppance. And I legitimately want to find these things out enough to keep watching.

And now on to two definite stand out performances in the show from two absolutely awesome British women! Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton. These two are definitely my favorite parts of the show and team up for some of the best all-around scenes! Maggie Smith as the Dowager Something-or-other and Penelope Wilton as the newly arrived Mrs. Isobel Crawley are constantly at odds and have some amazing on screen chemistry (is it chemistry if you spend most of your on screen time disagreeing with one another? Isn’t chemistry for couples? What’s the opposite of Chemistry???? Cookery? Crockery?) The two have some awesome on screen Crockery that always leaves me wanting more!

In Conclusion:

Downton Abbey is a great show! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it and while it occasionally lapses into dangerously soapy waters the characters and strong script always keep me coming back!

I give it 4 Dowager Somethings out of 5.

Yes… I thought this was what it was called… shut-up.

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