4 Life Lessons From Downton Abbey+comment
Downton Abbey is Back!
Megan and I are diehard PBS and Masterpiece theatre nerds, so we’ve been all aboard the Downton Abbey train from day one. In the very first week of this blog, we were telling readers to check out the latest BBC show. Even when Season 2 kind of jumped the shark (the paraplegic cure, Lavinia’s end, the creepy/burned-faced fake cousin, or Lord Grantham’s creepy crush), we stood by it. And Season 3 was definitely difficult. How many awesome cast members did they have to kill off?? (We will miss you Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley.) But as we all get ready for Sunday night’s US premiere of Season 4, let’s look at some life lessons we can glean from Downton Abbey. Set those DVRs and enjoy!
How many other shows have not one, but two Academy Award winning actresses well into their 70’s with juicy, strong roles? None. I don’t think there isn’t a woman out there that doesn’t have a slight Maggie Smith crush. Or if they don’t, they should. Maggie Smith is amazing as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. She is snobby and entitled and asks “what is a weekend”, and I love her. First, who doesn’t want a title like that? It sounds incredibly intimidating. She is hilarious, cutting, strong, opinionated and all kinds of awesome. And in Season 3, they introduced Shirley Maclaine as Cora’s mother (Elizabeth McGovern), but rumors are she is returning for Season 4 with her son played by Paul Giamatti. This means more dueling grandmothers! I can’t wait.
Quick recap, Lady Mary is the eldest daughter and was prepared to marry her cousin to keep Downton and the family fortune secure until said cousin died in the Titanic and new, distant, and much less wealthy cousin (Matthew Crawley) was set to inherit all of Downton. While today it is creepy to think of marrying your cousin, this was totally acceptable in the 1920’s and within the British aristocracy. Either way, Lady Mary was totally skeptical and annoyed that her parents wanted her to marry Matthew – low and behold, they were right. Although getting these two together has been difficult, sometimes parents do know best (once you get over that cousin-marrying part). Now that Matthew has died and she is a single mother to a newborn, we will get to see Lady Mary Dating Diaries Part II. Maybe another Turkish aristocrat that dies in her bed? Maybe another new money, crass businessman who doesn’t understand their old ways? Either way, Lady Mary’s parents have proven to be better at chosing the men in Lady Mary’s life than she has.
Downton wouldn’t run without the staff. The British aristocracy can’t seem to dress themselves without multiple ladies in waiting. From moving the body of a dead lover, to causing a miscarriage, the servants of Downton can make life easier, or completely f*** things up. And personally, I’m convinced my life would be better if I had a Mr. Carson to keep things running smoothly. Either way, we’d recommend you never cross O’Brien.
They may be ladies, but they are not afraid to play dirty. Watching Mary and Edith (the second and less attractive sister) fight teaches you that crossing someone who lives with you and knows your every move is probably not the best idea. These two aren’t afraid to ruin each other’s lives – basically do not cross Mary or Edith. Their ruthless behavior may explain youngest sister Sybil’s dedication to service, and why she was completely unafraid to run off or be poor. However, now that it’s just Edith and Mary and both are now unmarried with no prospects, we may see them join forces. I hope this is the case as I like the pro-women’s rights version of Edith.