Why I Have Fallen in Love with Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey, Season 5 - I am here!
So over the holidays, I really and truly had some down time - time where I had nothing to do. So I retreated to my couch, with copious amounts of wine and snacks, and Netflix. I had heard so much about Downton Abbey, which up to that point, I had never watched, and I really wanted to see what the big deal was about. And so I clicked on Season 1, Episode 1.

I am now getting ready to stream Season 5, Episode 1 - such is the addiction that has developed. I must say, I really do enjoy the show. But why is it so buzzworthy?

For me, it is:

A period piece set in Britain- I love anything historical and I love period pieces. The show starts off in the pre-World War I era and follows an aristocratic family and their servants. So you get everything fun and puzzling about British aristocracy and the servant class of the day - from the high brow accents and silly traditions, to the lower brow accents and quirks. From the sinking of the Titanic, to the house getting electricity, phones, a refrigerator and an electric whisk, and the race relations of the time - re-living these significant milestones and curious events through the story is fun; to be reminded of just how novel it all was at the time. This, in the age of rapid paced technology, where I can have a conversation with my phone, is a change of pace.

I watch it while getting ready for work on my tablet. I know. I need help!


The best of both worlds - So you have the aristocrats and you have their servants, and that is part of the allure as well. You are not saddled with having to listen to Mary Crawley all episode long, because really - what do they do? Have breakfast, have tea, have dinner, walk around the room, brush their hair, ponder their future lives. You are not saddled with having to listen to Mrs Patmore all episode long because really - what do they do? Make breakfast, make tea, make dinner, walk around the village, clean up, ponder their future lives. lol. You get the best of both worlds, with some pretty amazing storylines in-between. Seriously, the  show does well to highlight the struggles of the working class and the conditions they had to endure to survive in some cases, juxtaposed with the sometimes flippant lives of the upper class, with their teas and dances, though they too had their own issues to deal with.

Dowager Countess, played by Maggie Smith
Amazing character and plot development - I am not sure if there is any one character that you like or hate all the way through. Thomas Barrow for example - as loathsome as he can be - still had his moments. He has a soft and vulnerable side which we do see from time to time and even I will admit, without spoiling it for anyone who has not watched it yet, I have felt sorry for him at times and even rooted for him to stay.

Mary Crawley's place in my heart also fluctuates as she is a complex hybrid of snob and bleeding heart. That being said, with the characters being so diverse, the stories keep getting more interesting. Not only that, the plots don't drag on for weeks and weeks. So it is like a soap but without the coma.

* Spoiler alert ahead - don't read the red text*

I also like how, like Game of Thrones, major characters get snuffed when you least expect it. That being said - spoiler alert... skip the next paragraph, newbies.

Lady Sybil's death was epic! I have replayed that scene about 10 times. That has to be the best piece of television production, direction and acting I have seen in ages, i.e. Tom Branson makes me bawl every single time! Every single time!!!!!

I will say though, Tom Branson and the Dowager Countess, played by the ever wonderful Maggie Smith are constant favourites. The Dowager Countess' droll one-liners are everything! On the flipside, Lady Grantham's voice is sooooo grating on the nerves. I like the chick but why does she always sound like she is trying to soothe the helpless?


Matthew and Mary Crawley
The un-Scandalous love - In the era of the maddening Olivia/Fitz/Jake love triangle and all the accompanying sex scenes - heterosexual and homosexual - which sometimes can be too much to bear, it is really a breath of fresh air to just go back to Austen-like love, minus the debauchery. Where men courted women with prose and not with lines referring their private parts. Really, it is about emotions that everyone can relate to on a very basic level. I have not seen a pale bottom, a nipple, not even an ankle in the 4 seasons of the show I have watched so far. While clearly the debauchery did indeed exist in the time, I am glad that the show chose to go the modesty route, staying true to the spirit of the period and not bringing the 21st century's thirst for lust and R-ratings to the fore. The in-breeding is as raunchy as it gets here. I mean, Mary Crawley and Matthew Crawley are cousins.

It almost makes you long for a time gone by when men were gentlemen, and women were ladies and did not cheapen relationships or devalue emotional connections and friendship. Prudish love is underrated!

The landscape and the fashion - To a lesser extent, I love England as you know. The old castles and great aristocratic houses, the wide expanse of beautiful countryside. The weather - not so much. The fashion of the time is not my favourite, as compared to say, the 60s and 70s, but it is quite fun to see how modestly women dressed back then. No cleavage, no wardrobe malfunctions - and yet the men were still keen.

Do you watch it? Do you like it? I am about to go watch the first episode of Season 5 now. Toodles.

4 comments:

  1. LOVE Downton. The writing is fantastic, and you're right, it is so great to see how real men courted women back in that time. I am so happy it is back on! Stopping by fro m SITS! :)

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  2. Fun post. It took me up until last summer to watch Downton Abbey (I get turned off by things that are excessively hyped). It is wonderful and I missed it when my binge-watching was over. Maggie Smith is the best, her diva-tude is impressive. Excited for it to come back! I'm debating whether I'll wait until the season is over to binge-watch it or watch in live time.

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  3. Love Downton Abbey! Even when I get angry about some of the storylines, I have to keep watching :)

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