Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Downton Abbey: A few bangers and a lot of mash

I'm scratching my head about the popularity of Downton Abbey.
And yet I look forward to it each and every week.
Even though nothing ever happens. Not really.
There are hints of a juicy steak, but all we see is day old hamburger.
Let me give you a couple of examples.
The dog gets sick. Lord Grantham looks at the dog, and says something to the effect that "I don't think he's going to make it."
Cut to the dog laying on the floor.
Lord Grantham takes him to bed.
He is never mentioned again. Yet he is still in the opening credits.
Now Lord Grantham has a new dog. Problem solved.
So it was like Julian Fellowes says, "I have an idea. Nothing is happening, so let's kill the dog."
The end.
Cora meets an art patron who comes to her room and tries to nail her. Lord Grantham comes in and slugs the guy. He broods til the end of the show. Then everything is back to normal.
Edith gets pregnant and goes away. Nobody is the wiser.
Edith returns and an adoption is arranged. The kid is raised by the locals til Edith decides her life as a publisher isn't exciting enough. So she snatches the baby.
Everyone raises an eyebrow, but then Marigold is put in the room with all the other children and ignored.
There is a bit of tension between the farmer's wife and Edith. Again, a hint of juice to come.
Then the farmer loses his lease, and is forced to move away.
Problem solved.
And these are the salient plot points.
Why the hell are we watching this every week?
It's not for the fashion. Not for its sex appeal. The only one who has cleavage is the Dowager and she's 84!
It's not for a rollercoaster plot.
Watching Downton is like watching Caillou, a children's show where a dilemma must be wrapped up in fifteen minutes.
At least in the children's show, Caillou learns a life lesson.
There are no lessons to be learned on Downton Abbey, no three episode arcs.
Nothing bad ever happens to anybody.
Not really.
It's as tired as the bags under Carson's eyes.
It's too bad because Downton Abbey had such great potential.
Matthew and Sybil died early on. Barrow had a gay kiss. Mary's lover croaked between her legs, and had to be carted off. It was promising, very promising indeed.
You might even say it hinted of spice.
Alas, by season three, it was completely unseasoned, like British cooking. Few bangers and a lot of mash.
It's exhausting hoping that something good and juicy will finally happen.
I was hopeful when Bates, Anna and Cora's lady maid all got charged with various murders.
The actors did their best. Bates was brooding. Anna was teary. Baxter did her best impression of Morticia Adams.
I'm still not sure what happened. Everything was resolved behind the scenes.
Now they're in the clear.
Except for Barrow. You could cut the tension between him and Carson with a butter knife.
Go. Stay. Go. Stay.
Polish some silver.
Bring the scones.
Include a terse debate about the British class system.
Here's what I'd like to see. I'd like to see Anna come into Mary's room and bash her with a candlestick, then strangle her with one of her twenty five necklaces.
I'd like to see the first dog come back to life and eat Lord Grantham.
And I'd like to see Carson tied onto the bed by Mrs. Hughes, dressed only in her corset, while Mrs. Patmore feeds him his tea.
That's what I'd like to see.
It's never going to happen.
But a girl can hope, and dream, all the while tuning in to watch the dead dog's ass every Sunday.

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