Saturday, March 12, 2016

The End of Downton Abbey

Well, I did it.  Even though I kept telling myself I wasn't going to watch the Edwardian version of Dynasty one more season, I did.  Sigh.  Like many I had become increasingly annoyed with the plots but kept coming back, and now I feel something will be missing in my life.

The plotlines were annoying because they would set up a potential tragedy and then everything just worked out.  No long term problems.  Everyone happy.  Barrow tries to commit suicide.  Later in the program he's ok.  Carson has Parkinson's--it's ok, Barrow will take his job.  The only people who suffer are the non-main characters.  Lord Merton has leukemia--oh, no he doesn't!  The Drews have to leave their home because Edith can't get a grip on the fact that her child was raised by the woman.  The Crawleys can be magnanimous with their servants when it fits the plot but are really not nice people.  And in the end, everybody (except the gay guy) has a boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse.

Others have written about the total absence of faith in the show in a time when it would have been far more a part of their lives.  Other than the obligatory uses of the church for funerals, weddings, and christening, these people are beyond the pale as secularists.  At least one time when Daisy said, "Oh, my God," (which she probably wouldn't have said), Mrs. Hughes the Scotswoman told her not to take the Lord's name in vain, to which Daisy (who became the world's most annoying character--she acts 14 despite the fact she would have been 27 at the end of the show) gives a snarky reply.  I chalk this absence of God in DA up to political correctness, bad writing, and bad research. 

Someone wrote a piece on Hermeneutics that the show was about terror.  No, it was about terrible things happening to people, sometimes due to the WWI, sometimes due to lack of medical knowledge, some of which were written well (like Sybil's death, one of the few real moments in the show) and some of which were not (let's just get Lavinia out of the way, shall we?  The Spanish flu will do!).  And why did those girls and their American mother never go  to the U.S.?  Robert did once, but don't you think in 13 years they might take one trip to New York?  To alleviate the boredom, if for no other reason?

But, heh, the clothes were great.  Like Jane Austen novels, they signify a time of outward grace and manners, let's just overlook the fact that their lifestyle depending on the hard work of the poor.  We live in an unmannerly time, when people come to funerals in shorts and tank tops, when men don't know when to take their hats off.  Manners are deeper than that, but do display a respect for social order and decency and community. 

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