What’s up with Downton Abbey?

While I’m not immune to advertisements, I can say I’ve never been a slave to fashion. Have eschewed trends rather than chase them. So it stands to reason I’m a late comer to Downton Abbey.

I can hear the Dowager Countess now.

“Oh, I see you’ve only just arrived. How dreadfully painful this must be for you.”

I know Maggie Smith’s voice because I managed to see all the Harry Potter movies (although I did not go to midnight first showings nor have I adopted a character’s garb for Halloween. Not that trendy, this one.)

Don't tell me when or how Matthew and Lady Mary wed, I want to find out for myself!

Don’t tell me when or how Matthew and Lady Mary wed, I want to find out for myself!

My recent and late interest in the PBS Masterpiece Classics series began over the holidays when the local PBS channel began promoting the Downton Abbey catch-up marathons.

How quaint. A chance for the uneducated among us to catch up with those in the know. I had little interest in the spots but they were not to be ignored. “Catching up on seasons 1 and 2” began to work on me. I must have missed out on something.

Then there was a blurb in the news about Arby’s commercial for Downtown Abbey. Cute. I like cute, and tho’ still in the dark the media were coaxing me out my dull little world into the life of lords and ladies and footmen. Oh my.

Over Christmas the local PBS guide for January arrived with “Season 3: Intrigue, Crisis, Romance, and Change – Downton Abbey, Masterpiece, Sun Jan 6 8 PM” tastefully printed under a photo of an aristocratic woman. “Who IS that? I know this face.”

“This face” belonged to Shirley Maclain. Now I’m really curious. Tension is building.

This past Sunday, Parade Magazine’s cover touted the “Sunday Night Obsession.” Lester Holt on NBC’s nightly news told me that night, viewers around the world would be “dressed to the nines and gathering for tea and drinks on the couch” to watch the premier of season 3. I turned down the sound, flew to my computer to open Netflix where I thankfully found and loaded Season 1 into my instant que.

I don’t mind missing out on trends. Lord knows I’ve managed this long in my own little world, but this is too big to ignore.  And while the rest of the world gathered for season 3, I was playing catch up.

They had me at the opening credits – the music, the scenery, the attention to detail. I love history, intrigue and the twists and turns. Well done. I was hooked. Over the past few evenings, I’ve enjoyed season 1 and am four episodes into season 2. With persistence, I’ll be ready for S3, E2 by Sunday.

There is something to be said for taking in a series all at once. Something decadent perhaps like eating a whole pie. It all unfolds before you like a well-planned garden party. Nice and tidy from start to finish.

But then there’s something mssing too – isn’t there more drama, more intrigue, doesn’t it get even mre delicious when it’s doled out – savored over time? And isn’t that a tidy metaphor for life.

As I’m using my evenings to catch up on 14 episodes of one of televsions best series in many years, I’m seeing photos of Mary and Matthew kissing – don’t show me that. I don’t want to kn0w they marry, although i can see it unfolding. But wait! Now he’s lost the use of his legs – but in the Parade cover photo, Matthew is standing behind Mary. I don’t want to know, although I’m guessing his mother finds a cure for his paralysis.

Yes, this is well done, and worth the wait. But now I can’t wait until after supper tonight when I get to see another two or three episodes unfold.

So while all the talk and all the ads from 2010 were lost on me, they managed to get me eventually. I wonder if that isn’t always the case. I wonder how often the marketing people get their way without me even knowing. Hmmm, good thing I’m in marketing!


2 responses to “What’s up with Downton Abbey?

  1. Here is what it is: family. love, paternalism, deception, romance, deceit, history, character, familiar characters, wealth, justice, injustice, luscious beauty, some surprise, and familiarity.

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