Full-on pansy

I’ve watched Downton Abbey since day 1, but that doesn’t mean I’ve turned into a full-on pansy writing Downton Abbey fanfic.  The show actually irritates the crap out of me. I mean, the whole Mary and Matthew dynamic makes me want to book a tour on a Carnival ship. And if you look up deus ex machina in a dictionary, Julian Fellowes picture is right there.

So, then maybe I should stop watching. But, no, I can’t, because I keep waiting for the promise of Season 1—that here, in this splendid house, on these never ending grounds, and in the manners and customs of these gentle good folk, an entire way of life is gasping out its last breaths.

That’s what made Season 1 just so damn compelling— fin de siecle avalanching down the mountain with Downton Abbey and Lord Grantham right in its crosshairs. Yeah, yeah, the whole succession issue thrown into uproar by the sinking of the Titanic, and yes, the Mary/Matthew dynamic with its real issues of inheritance and wealth, and, yes, Maggie Smith has got just the best lines. But see, while you’re watching all that, you know what’s coming: obscene, horrific violence across the trenches of Europe that will pitch Lord Grantham and the English class system onto the dustheap of history. There will be risings of workmen, worldwide epidemics, disaffection and delusion and the whole modernist movement. Carson and Ms. Hughes will be the only ones left, caretaking the dust filled hallways and the white-sheeted furniture, imploring the occasional passer-by to sit and hear a tale.

Lord Grantham is an elegant dead man walking.

IMHO, Downton Abbey should have ended there; a fine ghost, fondly remembered, but gone. We hardly knew ye. And I swear I read an article that Julian Fellowes had planned exactly that, one season, but the rabid popularity of the show caught him completely by surprise and he, hastily, decided to go on. I can’t seem to find that article now so maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but, given the subsequent seasons, I don’t think so.

Because there are now plot points that have absolutely no point: Matthew’s paralysis, Bates’ imprisonment. There are so many gods falling all over each other’s machines that there’s absolutely no tension: Lavinia’s very timely Spanish flu death, Matthew’s very timely inheritance (with a contrived moral quandary that, also, was pointless). And the noble, stalwart Lord Grantham is now some silly English kaniggit saying “Gad!” and “Drat” to all this new-fangled efficiency and (gasp!) trade. It’s enough to make me stop watching.

Except Maggie Smith has got the best lines.


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One Response to Full-on pansy

  1. Mimi Rosen says:

    I love Maggie Smith.