This: is rocking my heart in a wonderful way.
Happy Twenty/Twelve, beauties and beastlies! :) I hope this week has been a sweet one for you. I know I should probably try to make this first post of the year inspiring or pretty or riveting. I should make this post matter.
But I'd rather make this post about Downton Abbey.
Are you into Downton Abbey? Because I'm so hooked.
And I'm doing my part to hook other people. That's the beauty of Downton Abbey, in case you aren't watching it yet. Part of the joy in watching this program is
Because in the immortal words of Indigo Montoya from The Princess Bride: "I do not think him is what you think him is."
This show is probably not what you think. Or it may be everything you think. Regardless, you might be very surprised by how weirdly compelling it is.
Important Note: Some mature content. Would probably be PG-13 if it was a movie. I'm not policing what you watch or read - but we have some (awesome) younger readers on here. If this show had been on when I was in Middle School, I would have preferred Saved by the Bell reruns.
Please let me count the ways I love Downton Abbey:
1. The characters on this show are exceptionally written. I figured with a cast this big, I wouldn't care about individual stories. But I care about every single storyline on this show. I care so much that it's hard to even pick favorites. But if I had to pick ... like, if someone was going to take away my coffee unless I picked ... these are the Crawleys (and maid!) I'd vote for:
As if there's any other choice. Dame Maggie could star as a tap-dancing tree and she'd still be the scene stealer. I have this theory that her presence elevates the performance on any set she's on. Maybe the cast is good before she gets to work. But I bet when Dame Maggie shows up, and she brings it, and then they have to bring it x100 just to try and elevate to her level of awesome. But that's just my theory. (Just some leftover love for Professor McGonagall, maybe.) In this show, she's Lady Violet - conniving and uppercrust and (often unintentionally) funny, too. And surprisingly tender-hearted. Even in her upper crustiness, you can't dislike her. It's impossible to dislike her. She's a wicked-wonderful gem of a character.
"Put that in your pipe and smoke it." - Lady Violet
Anna. The neato burrito thing about Downton Abbey is that you see the inner workings of rich society family who owns the house and, also, the inner workings of their staff (a bevy of maids and butlers who take care of them). I like the staff. I adore William. I like Daisy, too. But Anna! Anna's big job is serving as maid to the girls - and, in my not so humble opinion, she's the quiet hero of Downton Abbey so far. She's sweet and kind and loyal. She's not necessarily inclined, not so far, to up her status (like lots of staffers at Downton), but she's fierce about what she loves. And who she loves. I think that's my favorite thing about her; that she's sweet and driven. Sweet and driven aren't traits commonly paired together. I wish they were more often though. People don't have to be aggressive in order to be assertive and confident. Anna's a very modern woman, even though I don't think she'd classify herself as such.
Also, Thomas and O'Brien:
Are the most dastardly villains on television since Murky and Lurky tried to suck all the color out of the world.
2. I love the clothes. I know it's girly point to add to this conversation, but ... I'm pretty sure it's just girls reading the post at this point :). So, full confession: I pause the DVD just so I can freak out a little bit over what the girls are wearing.
3. I love the time skip. Downtown Abbey's Season 2 will start with some significant time skippage between the episodes. I think that's a pretty cool jump to make. I've succeeded in not reading anything about Season 2 (which is already airing for you lucky Englanders). But I'm seeing lots of pictures. And they're making me very excited ....
My favorite line from the show so far is this:"She doesn't wish to keep it secret. She wishes to keep it private. There's a difference."
That quote doesn't reference what you might think, if you aren't watching the show yet. But it still sums up everything I love about Downton Abbey - the difference between what stays secret and what stays private. The pressure to fall in love (and the motive for falling in love). The snapshot of a society that was about to shift in a major way (the life you were born into vs. the life you make for yourself). The strange frazzled ties that bind families, friends, and co-workers (do we unite over what we love or what, and who, we hate?). There are lots of secrets in the house but, in the end, everybody kind of knows everybody's business, too.
Mostly, I love the show because it's darn fun to watch.
You can watch all of Season 1 on PBS (I watched it all on Netflix for free ... not sure if that's still an option?) (And then I got Season 1 for Christmas and I'm watching it again don't judge me.)
And here's a peak at Season 2:
I'll be DVR'ing that this weekend. As if I won't be planted on the couch, with my dog, watching the show as it airs ... (Biscuit loves it too. Especially when they go on fox hunts. She barks at the TV and wiggles her tail so fast it's a blur.)
(And for the record - my parents are also into it. Like I said, weirdly compelling.)
So ... are you a Downton Abbey watcher, too? I'd love to hear what you like about it! And if you want, maybe we could come back to this post after Sunday's episode and talk it up? Thanks for indulging me this week! I promise not to pester you with television talk too often. This blog will return to regular programming next time.
* Sometimes, when people talk about period dramas like this one, or Pride and Prejudice, they lament about how they were born in the wrong century. But I have no doubt I was born in the right century. First off, I like showers and indoor plumbing. Second, I like to wear jeans. Third, I'm guessing glasses at the strength I wear them weren't so cute back then. These days, glasses are hipster but back then, I'm guessing they were more spinster, you savvy? There are also hygiene issues I'm not sure people take into account when they wish they could live in ye olden days. But most of all, I'm confident I wouldn't have been a cool girl at the regency dance with the Crawleys. I probably would have been a maid dumping out chamber pots or something. So I'm quite happy in my own century.