Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Downton Abbey (again)

I know I've said this before, but are we the only people who think this series is utter b*****ks? Yes, we do watch it. But with a mixture of mirth and wonderment.

The plot. This is weird and yet predictable. Example: when the vengeful lady's maid places soap on the bathroom floor, you KNOW that her ladyship will slip, that she will lose her baby, and that said baby will be the longed for heir. In the last episode, my lord is far more concerned with the them-against-us cricket match than the recent loss of his daughter. One of the servants turns out to be an amazing pianist. Matthew leaps unscathed from his wheelchair. I could go on and on...

Acting. Wooden. (Odd, that, as I've seen some of them being good in other productions.) But not Maggie Smith, of course, because she is always wonderful.

Script. Clunky.

Characters. Unsympathetic. We've decided we don't really care about any of them. And we've tried, really we have. Upstairs find themselves falling out over every trivial thing, while those downstairs seem to spend all their time standing around chatting.

Anachronisms. Where to start? "Don't be such a girls' blouse". This originated in the 1960s. Cook calls some one "Mr. Stick-it-up- your-jumper". This expression is thought to originate in the 1930s, but was made popular by Tony Hancock in the 50s. "Learning curve" - not certain about this one, but I'm pretty sure it came much later. There are lots of these, and they really jar. How DO they get past all the editing?

That's all. Rant over. But please tell me what the appeal is (beautiful set, vintage cars and costumes apart). Or if (faint hope) by any chance you agree...?

And yet we go on watching, just to see whether the emperor is wearing (very subtle) clothes, after all.

20 comments:

  1. I can't really comment as I've never seen it - but I do agree with you about Maggie Smith - she is always wonderful :-) x

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    1. She's incapable of acting badly, isn't she?

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  2. Maggie Smith with her sarcasm is a legend

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  3. Well we're watching it and enjoying the setting, characters and period. But I think we're just ignoring all of the above in full knowledge of the inconsistencies and plot devices! It's pure escapism.

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  4. I do agree with you on most of your points . My husband predicted what would happen in the cricket match! But I still find it entertaining and very amusing at times. Love the clothes. I too thought that big girls' blouse was way out of time . Maggie Smith's one liners are brilliant. A newspaper columnist said this week that they should be embroidered on cushions, which I thought was a gem of a comment too.

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    1. Yes! Especially "what IS a weekend?"!

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    2. Ha ha yes, I remember that one!!

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  5. In such programmes the suspension of disbelief is always necessary. I've not seen series 2 nor series 3 but if I watched it I'm sure that I'd just go with the flow. It's easier to do that with things that don't require one to sweat the small stuff. I once was 'required' to watch a film called 'Die Hard'. It seemed to me to be very much like a million other films I've seen clips of (but never watched) and reality didn't seem to play any part in it. Surely many films are simply escapism.

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    1. I can suspend my disbelief up to a point, GB, but the anachronisms especially keep bringing me up short. They are so glaring!

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  6. It will be some time until I'll get to see the current series, because it is not on German TV (and I wouldn't want to watch it in German anyway), but a friend of mine is going to buy the DVD, as he has done with the previous series.
    Of course, I love the house, and sometimes I must admit I like something easy and predictable to relax to, with life often being anything but easy and predictable.
    What bothers me is that, for instance, when a scene is supposed to be set in Ripon, it was not filmed in Ripon. I'd like it to be more authentical.

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  7. I feel the whole series depends too much on its furnishings, rather than its actual substance. But I'm very much in a minority!

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  8. I must be very gullible because I love it all. I agree, Maggie Smith is brilliant.

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    1. Not gullible at all, Maggie. It's a entirely subjective, isn't it? And most of the poulation can't be written off as gullible!

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  9. I've not seen it either. But it's a funny thing, that details of costume or the set are pounced on if inaccurate, yet anachronisms of behaviour or speech are let through and you're seen as an awful old fogey if you object. I never quite forgave the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice for making them snog in the street. Impossible.

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  10. Haha. I've been fighting a losing battle with friends over this one - and feeling very out on a limb. You've made me feel very normal! Thank you!
    I just cannot work out the appeal. It is awful! What was Maggie Smith thinking about? She's way better than Downton!!

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  11. My daughter-in-law loves Downton Abbey but I had never seen it until a month ago, when I stumbled across Sunday-afternoon reruns of previous-season episodes, back to back, two at a time, on our public (translation: no commercials) television channel on what they term Masterpiece Classics.

    Do not try to diagram the previous sentence.

    I have said for years that I was born a hundred years too late, that I would have made a great Victorian. Now that the years have passed all to swiftly, I suppose that would make me a great Edwardian/George Fifthian. (Am I making sense? I swear to you that I am not tipping the bubbly.)

    What I'm trying to say is that I am a hopeless Anglophile and love anything that is British,set a hundred years ago, and includes the marvelous Maggie Smith.

    Some of the rest of the actors leave me cold, however, and more and more I'm coming to view Downton Abbey as just another highly improbably soap opera, but in period costume.

    However, I'm hooked. I continue to watch every Sunday afternoon. My wife, on the other hand, finds it boring as hell, er, I mean all get out.

    I do like to gaze at Elizabeth McGovern, however, whom I first saw in the film Once Upon a Time in America.

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