I really can’t recall a more pleasant surprise than the dialog found in Downton Abbey.
Yes, I know … this makes the fourth day of me ranting on about the show. And for those of you tired of it all, I apologize.
The Lady Violet-isms are priceless.
Rather than run you through the various things that made me laugh out loud today … and yes I do indeed do things other than watch the back episodes of Downton Abbey … let me share a brief conversation with you.
And although I am a voice for the NPR station here … and have done the promos for Downton Abbey and the follow-on show After Abbey … I had not watched a single one of the episodes.
The pressure and friendly recommendations of friends and Facebook posts had me wondering a bit. And for whatever reason I began watching it on Saturday … as a way to spend time on a cold weekend here.
Thanks to the quick wit of the characters … Lady Violet Crawley most of all … I was soon watching the episodes … one after another … to see what would happen next.
Quite addictive, I’m afraid.
So late last night there was a post by a dear friend … about the whole thing. And the responses were interesting to say the least.
One response came from a mutual friend. Quite the intellectual if I do say so myself.
And I realized that in all my euphoria over the whole series, I had failed to mention the way I actually see the show. What draws me to it. Besides the quick-witted intelligent dialog.
Allow me to share some of the back and forth that appeared on Facebook.
DEAR FRIEND: With everything going on during the past two weeks, I had lots of Downton to get caught up with…. Now I wish I hadn’t…. Now the season is over….and I’m sobbing…again… Oh my…
VARIOUS OTHERS: Hugs and prayers! It will be warm and sunnier and new life and all things beautiful will come around … Hang in there.
MUTUAL FRIEND: Just so you know that I’m sympathizing with your pain, I share the following with you shared by a friend of mine to me. His comments follow … with the greatest trust that I’m not completely destroying our bond
MUTUAL FRIENDS FRIENDS QUOTE: OK, so I refuse to watch Downton Abbey since it is basically corporatist propaganda justifying the vile class system in early 20th century Britain, and I think by proxy the emerging two class society here in America. But this comment to last night’s episode floating around this morning’s blogosphere was just too good to pass up:
MUTUAL FRIENDS FRIENDS QUOTE: “Season Four, Episode 6: Surviving Crawleys and servants book passage to India on the airship R101. Excessive baggage (vintage wine, jewelry, and automobiles) makes the craft tail heavy, and everyone but the dog perishes in a fiery crash. The dog being the only cast member not committed to a film or theater project in the United States.”
So at this point, I laughed out loud. The wit of the Season Four Episode 6 scenario was almost as funny as the dialog in the show itself. And the obvious implication that the actors will be looking for greater things was exactly what I had said the other day.
I continue …
DEAR FRIEND: … I know it’s not everyone’s cup o tea…but we … just love the drama, the characters, the setting costumes, comedy, tragedy… And how it draws us in… Ahhh yes!
A few other comments by others followed.
Something about the first quote of the MUTUAL FRIENDS FRIEND bothered me. The part of “corporatist propaganda … vile class system … and … by proxy the emerging two class society here in America.”
Although I have my own strong feelings about politics, policies … and the vanishing middle class here … I thought about what appealed to me on a deeper level about the show.
And then I felt obliged to comment.
HAPPY HOLLY: … had to laugh at the second part of your quote … actors negotiations notwithstanding.
HAPPY HOLLY: But the first part … well, Downton Abbey reminds me in some ways of MASH. Not supportive of the Korean War but illustrative of its errors. Your friend has a classic case of “contempt prior to investigation.”
HAPPY HOLLY: But I understand, I suppose. I have always avoided this genre in the past for similar reasons. So glad I have let Maggie Smiths acting and friends recommendations over-rule my previous beliefs.
MUTUAL FRIEND: Enjoy fully the role you are playing in your choice to observe a stage within the stage (see, Act II, Scene 7, As You Like It)
And I do … I do.
But contempt prior to investigation … to rule out something based on a predetermined supposition as to its content … well, that just deprives you of something you just might benefit from.
At this point my DEAR FRIEND … a peacemaker at heart … wrote the following:
DEAR FRIEND: I love that Downton inspires us all so… ……and has led to such interesting discussion! . And I’m still being affected by the season 3 finale … I love when theater or movies or a tv show can play with my emotions like that!
I am in complete awe of Maggie Smith who can make a statement by just raising an eyebrow … Or turning slightly in her chair… Or delivering a zinger while maintaining her ladylike demeanor.
I love that the plot lines take us through all ranges of emotions …. Just darn good theater… and I have such respect for actors and directors and all who contribute to a production who are responsible for the end result that makes us laugh and cry … And think…
Especially think …