WOAW’s First Poll- Downton Abbey

I just finished Season One of Downton Abbey on Netflix and I need your help, Blogtropolis.

As much as I love our friends on the other side of the Atlantic–as much as I love hats and wish they were in style here in the States–as much as I love London, and Will and Kate, and Shakespeare, and The Beatles– I just don’t love British television.

Apologies to all.  I’m sorry.  It’s weird, right?  What’s not to like?

It started with The Office. The American version is one of my all-time favorite shows, so I tried the British version on Netflix. I was bored and had trouble comprehending. I know I speak English too, sort of, but they are all so quick and witty over there. I couldn’t keep up. I called it quits after a couple of episodes.

My mother is a huge fan of Miss Marple and English mysteries.  I tried.  Again: “Eh” (*shrugs shoulders and squints*).

Friends rave about Monty Python and I wanted to love it. I really did. I just didn’t.

Since my history with British entertainment is as rocky as the English Channel, I don’t know what I was thinking when I tried Downton Abbey. After referring to the show as “Downtown Alley” over and over, I believe I tried it simply because so many people told me that I had to–that it was amazingly wonderful. That I would love it- the scenery, the drama, the history. Also, it was only seven episodes and available on Netflix.

I feel like I should love it.  That maybe I could love it.  But at this moment, I’m sort of “whatever.”  Now I feel guilty and I’m questioning my intelligence and taste in television because I’m not yet smitten with the Abbey crew. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? First The Hurt Locker, and now this?

When I thought about it, I realized that all of the people who recommended Downton Abbey to me are over the age of 50. Maybe I’m too old to completely blow off the idea of DA, yet too young to really appreciate it? I dunno. All I know is that I tried, and I’m on the fence about whether or not to continue.

To help you help me, here’s what’s happening in my head after Season One.

I kind of HATE Lady Mary, although I dig her sisters (yes, even mousy Lady Edith). I’m okay with the Ladyship and Lordship and adore the Dowager Countess Maggie Smith. My favorite character is Mr. Bates. He’s charming and full of integrity and sort of unattractively attractive, if that makes sense.  I don’t really get Matthew. I mean, do you like Mary? Do you not? If you do, why? She’s kind of nasty. Do you want to inherit the Abbey? And why is everyone so loyal to Butler Thomas? I guess he’s a good looking guy, but obviously he’s a troublemaker. And his co-hort, Mrs. Curly Sideburn Lady is miserable too.

The characters are interesting and the show is pretty to watch, but the story seems to move sooooo sloooowwwly. Is it me? Am I too American, expecting a cliffhanger at the end of every hour? Wanting immediate satisfaction and sensory overload? Do I not possess the frame of mind needed to enjoy this show?

Or is it the show? Be honest Downton-ers. Does it pick up in Season Two? Do things start to move?

The last episode of the season escalated the drama a bit and was everything that I wanted the first six episodes to be; however, the first six episodes felt long and drawn out.

For example, I was so excited when the Turkish Dude kicked the bucket on Lady Mary’s bed, but then besides some troublesome letters exchanged by the fancy people, it all sort of fizzled out. I liked when Anna and Mr. Bates had a civilized conversation about the possibility of liking each other, but again, nothing really moved that story along. I would have enjoyed additional unladylike action between Maggie Smith and Matthew’s Pseudo-Doctor Mom. I would have jumped with joy if Daisy had thrown a brisket at the mean blind Cook Woman prior to Cook Woman’s cataract surgery, kicked Thomas on his way out of the Abbey, and made out with William in the stables.

What am I doing wrong? Am I missing the drama?  Expecting too much too soon?  I don’t know. It must be me.

Right?

Since I can’t decide whether or not to stick with it, I’m posing the question to you fine folks out there, in WOAW’s First Official Poll (which I cross my fingers will work–I’m new, remember?). I will take your advice either way. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

Thanks for your help. It is much appreciated.

20 Comments

  1. You are HYSTERICAL! I don’t get British comedy either. And I totally agree – you have to be over 50 to “get it”. Whenever I attempt to watch British Comedy, I always have to turn the volume waaay up because I seem to have a VERY hard time understanding what they are saying.

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  2. All i’m going to say sat at my little english desk is……your weird, our comedy rules. It’s awkward and embarrassing. When we laugh we laugh because we are nervous and don’t know how to react. Whereas when we watch your TV we laugh because it funny and we can relax that its not going to make us cringe!!

    Please please look up a how called Miranda. Its so bad its brilliant. If you manage you watch it for more than 5 minutes, this will also give you an insight to me, I am just as bad as her in real life!!

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  3. I don’t get Downtown and I’m usually a costume drama fan. But to me, this is just a soap opera with frocks on. But if anyone’s after good Brit comedy I recommend A bit of Fry and Laurie, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spaced, Black Books and The IT Crowd to name but a few (I’m an eighties/nineties child!)

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  4. I was late to the game as well. However, in the course of one week I consumed both Season 1 and Season 2 (watched several episodes in one sitting and paid for it the following morning) and I am now on the hunt to see Season 3.

    British humor is particular and at the expense of being shunned by all, I prefer Gervais’ Office to Carell.
    That being said – the serene pace of the show is refreshing and the underlining commentary about women fascinates me (I am a RU Douglass grad).

    Give Season 2 a chance. The story really picks up. oh and Mr. Bates….totally agree with your assessment😉

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    • Love Mr. Bates. Thanks for reading and for your comment. The women’s movement issue is starting to flair up a bit. Sybil has been going to political gatherings and stuff like that. I love when a series sucks me in, and episodes later I realize I am hooked (and tired with bug eyes from staring at the t.v.!). I love good television!

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