Hey everyone, well now that the raw rancid excitement of our 300th postiversary has faded away like the stale smell of last month’s groceries let’s get back to doing what we do best huh? And when I say best I mean: moderately better than I do other things. Some people are all “raise the bar” “challenge yourself” and stuff like that but personally I just assume set the bar on the ground and take a nap on it. And so following that grand tradition here’s an article wherein I will make fun of something that millions of Americans are completely addicted to. Namely: Downton Abbey.
Downton Abbey Part 2: The Show that I Do Not Watch
It’s probably worth noting here that there are going to be a LOT of spoilers in the next few paragraphs. Especially for seasons 1-3 I haven’t watched season 4 (as you may have guessed from the title of this article.)
I talked about Downton Abbey once before way back in the golden olden years of old (check it out here.) Back then I spent about a thousand words saying that Downton Abbey was basically just a well written soap opera. The characters were interesting, the setting was cool, and the time period worked really well for the material. The stories really didn’t change your life or even touch on anything deeper then “but who will I marry?” but they were interesting enough and Maggie Smith was awesome so hey, whatever. No harm, no foul. It was a fun little boat ride down a merry little British stream. It wasn’t a sweet trip down awesome rapids or a beautiful walk through epic scenery, filled with dinosaurs and poems to roses but it wasn’t too bad.
And then someone took that little boat, filled it with bear traps, and lit it on fire. In season 2 the focus of Downton Abbey shifted from a long, somewhat boring story about moderately interesting characters placed in hilariously unfortunate positions; to a story about… well I have no idea what frankly. Someone gave the writer of this thing a bad batch of Earl Grey or something cause all the sudden the timeline, storyline, and umm… dateline of this story went berserk. And not only did Season 2 leak storylines from each of its tinty British orifices but none of those storylines actually went anywhere… at all. Some dude showed up at Downton wrapped in bandages and spent a few epsiodes claiming to be the “HEIR TO DOWNTON” and then he just sort of… left. We spent three episodes watching Captain-Sir Grantham-face not have an affair with a maid only to have him (in a shocking turn of events) decide to continue not having an affair. The shows eight episodes also spanned a two year period so at no point in any episode did you know how long it had been since the previous episode. At one point I’m fairly certain Sybill took three months to answer Tom about whether or not she was in love with him despite the fact that they probably saw each other on a daily basis! I mean I know your british and its forbidden for whatever reason we’ve invented but… three months? What the hey???
My other big problem (and this problem has been with the show forever) is that no one in Downton Abbey ever shuts up. Every third sentence in this show is “well I shouldn’t tell you this but…” or “I promised not to tell anyone this but…” or “I swore to my mother I would never ever never tell anyone this but you seem to have two ears and a face so I guess I can tell you” it’s like these people lack the genetic predisposition to not say everything to everyone ever.
This season they at least did some things of consequence but they also seemed to fall in love (or perhaps I should say MORE in love) with heartfelt tragedy. Every fourth person in this season was either dead, dying, bankrupt, or in jail. Gibbs (easily the character in this show most grounded in reality) got shipped off to jail so that he wouldn’t be around to spout logic or common sense or any of that crazy stuff. Matthew and Mary get married (the start of a long drawn out campaign to make Matthew as wonderful a person as possible so we could kill him later.) Meanwhile the kitchen staff are involved in (by my count) the fifth different love triangle since the show started but this time we’ve mixed it up by making it a love Octagon between Thomas, Jimmy, Anna, Jeeves, and P.G. Wodehouse. A lot of things happen in here that didn’t have a point at all… some cousin or something gets drunk a lot, Edith keeps being super ugly and unhappy and annoying and whiny and dumb out everything, and Matthew continues his long, slow, smiling march to death. Bates gets let out of prison because of… something… and comes back to Downton to some controversy because some other guy was putting Lord Granthams pants on in the morning and apparently that’s something everyone wants to do. Anyway, this all of course culminates in a massive speech from Matthew to Mary all about how happy he is, and how wonderful life is, and how he’s so super glad that he isn’t going to die in a car crash!!!
And that’s pretty much all I’ve watched. I suppose at some point I may watch season 4 but the show seems to be desperately racing itself to see how bad it can be before people stop watching it. I’m not saying it’s a show no one should watch, I mean it’s not Once Upon a Time in Wonderland but neither does it seem to be Season 1 of its own run. With each passing season it’s gotten more “soap opera-ish” and less “well written look at British society.” But to each their own, if you like Downton more power to you, hope you enjoy it!! If you like Once Upon a Time in Wonderland… actually no, don’t watch that show. Ever.