Obsessed Edwardian StyleMarch 5, 2012 —
The simple truth is that I am absolutely, completely obsessed with Downton Abbey. I deprive myself of sleep to watch it, I watch it in the library, I discuss it in my Indian History class, I rant about it in broken French in my French class and spend hours reading blogs and articles about it.
Downton Abbey is a British Masterpiece Classic period drama set in Yorkshire, Britain in the early 20th Century. The series spans the eight years following the sinking of the Titanic over the course of 17 episodes. It is centered around the aristocratic Crawley family and their lives at their country estate, Downton Abbey. The show is filled with drama of both the aristocrats and the servants of the estate—there is adultery, murder, a World War, corruption, illegitimate children, bribery, scandals, and political unrest. The list continues on, and on. Some compare the Crawleys to the Kardashians, while others call the show an Edwardian Fiddler on the Roof; I don’t mind either since I am a proud fan of both. Downton has the best elements of the two—it’s a melodramatic soap opera, a guilty pleasure, and a classic, award-winning drama, which combined creates perfection.
I generally hate when shows cram so much drama into each episode that the show is almost completely implausible. However, Downton Abbey escapes this fate that every CW and ABC Family show succumbs to by captivating the audience with compelling characters, invigorating dialogue, beautiful sets (there are blogs dedicated purely to the lamps of Downton Abbey because they are that beautiful), humor, wit (Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess makes me laugh every time), accurate portrayals of history and incredible fashion (I will rave about this in a later post). The extraordinary acting makes you travel back to the time where telephones are revolutionary and corsets are necessary; you become part of the lives at Downton Abbey. The main driving force of the show, though, is the relationship between Lady Mary and Downton-heir, Matthew Crawley.
I rarely squeal. There are few things that make me abandon my cynicism and sarcasm, cause my knees to buckle and my voice to rise by an octave. What does? Don putting his hand on Peggy’s in Mad Men, Tim Riggins just being Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights and almost every scene between Matthew and Mary in Downton Abbey. I am not a romantic, but the relationship that these two share gets my heart pumping every time. The writers, while submitting to some of the clichés of TV couples (they are together then not together then together again, their families don’t approve when they are together then approve when they are not together, they cheat, they love, they almost die, they recover from injuries without a scar, all the usual), created complex characters, that almost everyone can relate to, and an even more complex and genuine relationship that almost everybody secretly, and not so secretly, wants. Even when they just look at each other, there is so much raw emotion that it is hard to contain myself. Their relationship makes me forgive and forget every mistake that the show, the soap opera, has. Their relationship causes me to squeal into my pillow at 2:30 in the morning on a Tuesday night because my roommates have been asleep for hours. Their relationship causes me to rewatch the last scene of the Christmas Special episode three times in six minutes. The only thing that their relationship does not fix is the November premier date for season three. I can confidently say that I will be rewatching that last scene many more times until November.
all images from CARVINAL FILMS/ITV