I’ve heard only positive reviews of Downton Abbey from everyone who watches the PBS series, so when I happened upon an episode the other night, I thought I’d give it a whirl.
I’ve caught episodes of ABC’s Scandal, and Revenge, here and there, and even though I didn’t really know what was going on, I could kind of get the gist.
I cannot say the same for Episode 6 of Season 4 of Downton Abbey.
On Scandal, I think Olivia Pope is a “fixer” who manages to keep lots of secrets while she and the President of the United States try to contain their lust for each other.
Revenge is about Emily Thorne aka Amanda Clarke, trying to exact revenge against Victoria Grayson, the woman who tore her family apart when she was a child.
But all I could figure out by watching Episode 6 of Season 4 of Downton Abbey is that His Earlness had to go abroad, and, for some reason that everyone seemed to know but pretended not to know that I didn’t know, his valet could not accompany him. His valet was replaced by a man who seemed to be a VIT (Valet In Training.)
There was much talk amongst the kitchen wenches, and between several very thin women who all seemed to know the truth about the valet.
I, on the other hand, was not made privy to it. Even if I were, I wouldn’t have understood anyone anyway – – and that was before Maggie Smith’s character developed bronchitis.
There were several Americans in the mix I could understand, but that didn’t help me learn who they were, why they were residents of Downton Abbey, or why the valet couldn’t travel abroad with His Earlnessless.
Later, a very thin women sat in a boat being rowed by a very handsome man of color. It became increasingly obvious they were attracted to one another and eventually kissed.
Now, I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ babies, but I’m pretty sure an interracial tryst between a black man and a thin white woman who resided at the Abbey in the early 1900’s would most certainly be frowned upon. Just a guess.
Nearly every scene mentioned the much anticipated arrival of pigs. I assumed “pigs” was a British term referring to the many lustful young men in the series, until I saw a scene where there were real pigs (the actual animals) on the grounds of the Earldom.
But, as soon as the man who was outside looking at the pigs (again, the actual animals) showed concern on his face while crouching down to the ground, I changed the channel before I was forced to see either a sick or dead pig.
It was easy to leave Downton Abbey behind. I had spent nearly an hour with the characters, yet knew nothing about them, or how they related to one another.
I strained to understand every word they said, and I never found out why the valet couldn’t travel with His Earldomness. Therefore, I gave not a tiny rat’s arse about them, the Abbey, or why it was crawling with pigs and bronchitis.
I should just watch the entire series from the beginning, as friends have recommended.
The channel I landed on happened to bring me to another manse filled with British aristocracy, but, thankfully, I was able to understand what the characters were saying.
But The Royals offered little dialogue.
I arrived into the world of The Royals in time for two parties. One was a masquerade ball being thrown by Queen Helena, who wasn’t quite ready to receive her guests because she was receiving something quite different from a man in her bed.
As the Queen and this man emerged from her bedchamber, they kissed and looked at each other as only lovers do, which was a dead give-away that he was not the King.
The Queen’s butler witnessed the kiss, but his discreet, yet knowing look revealed he had been in (or possibly, even unwittingly come upon) this, and many other positions before.
The butler handed Queen Helena her royal crown so she could entertain the rest of her guests, most likely not in the same way she had just entertained her paramour.
As she turned to leave, she glanced back but, alas, her lover was gone. She replaced the royal crown with the simple, yet elegant wreath of flowers he had given her.
But, Queendom called, so off to the party she went, which was a good thing, because after all she was the hostess of this masquerade ball and, although her royal identity might have been veiled by a mask, she actually did have to show up.
The next scene took place at the other party, thrown by Princess Eleanor, who I gathered was allergic to clothing. The party was, in essence, an orgy. There were definitely pigs at this party, but not of the livestock variety.
When I woke up the next morning, every so often a scene from one of the pieces of fine cinema I had witnessed the night before insisted upon being replayed in my head.
But, because each show involved royalty, secrets, affairs, and pigs, I became easily confused. Did Maggie Smith participate in a pig orgy? Highly unlikely. If so, I’d need to extract my brain, lather, rinse, and repeat.
I will eventually watch Downton Abbey, mainly to find out if that pig survived, but I will give The Royals a flush.
I think I‘ll just stick to reruns of “Friends,” and “The Big Bang Theory” because I’ve seen each episode so many times, I don’t confuse Central Perk with the California Institute of Technology, or a W.E.N.U.S. with a swirling vortex of entropy.
9 Replies to “Downton Abbey Explained, Sort of”
Hysterical ….BUT you are missing truly good theater if you do not watch Downton Abbey. It is a good idea to binge watch from the beginning to get familiar with the cast. In the movie Cinderella the lead is being played by the girl who was in the rowboat. Oh well!
I plan to binge watch because I’ve heard great things, but coming in when I did was painful!
Lorraine is right! Hysterical and you are missing out…
My dad has the first few seasons on DVD and you can burn through em because you can skip long openings and credits and any Masterpiece Promos.
Also has great behind the scenes info.
I started with a cynical ” welll allRight I’ll trryyyy it”. Flash to me wondering where I can get repros of the clothes in the 20’s. To really wear. I’m a DA nut. Oh and the quips by Maggie Smith are worth it all…. I will lend you my set of DVDs!!
My friend, Roberta, has told me about Maggie Smith’s lines. I love the vintage clothes!
thanks for the heads-up. i’ve been feeling that i’m somehow behind for not watching these shows, that are so raved about. i can now feel good with my brady bunch reruns, modern family and food network cook offs. )
I knew I liked you, Beth K!
Yes, you must watch Downton from the beginning. While there are a few duds in the bunch, for the most part it is fun to see the clothes, hear the great Maggie Smith lines, and wonder why men are falling over themselves for the likes of Lady Mary. Plus, if you watch it on DVD you can turn on Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired (or non-British speaking), and fast forward through the dullards (Bates much of the time). I never catch anything when it airs on television, rather seeing it in a binge weekend on DVD a season or two after everyone has stopped talking about it. Our new favorite is Blacklist with James Spader.
I understood the beginning of your blog because I watch Scandal and Revenge but when you lost me for the whole Downton Abbey blog. I might watch the last 4 years if I can get it on demand. I think your blogs are great so please don’t delete me from your list.
I would never delete you, Annette! You’re one of my three readers! Maybe you can explain Scandal and Revenge to me?
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