In my younger years I was a television junkie. I turned the TV on during the Today Show and turned it off during Letterman. I didn’t sit and watch it all day, mind you, but it was ON. Omnipresent in the background, you might say.
And I paid attention. I could rock the pink category in Trivial Pursuit like nobody’s business. (For you children, Trivial Pursuit is the “hard copy” forerunner of last year’s wildly inferior Trivia Crack. You had to actually use your arms to roll dice and move game pieces. It was a gruelling process.)
Television is not high on my priority list these days. I mean, I don’t have a clue why The Walking Dead killed off Glenn or why Kurt Weller’s name is tattooed on Jane Doe’s back.
Often I go days without ever flipping on the 42” screen that dominates my cozy little den. When I do, it’s to catch two-thirds of a day-old Jimmy Fallon on Hulu, or fawn over a composite of Jeremy Renner clips on YouTube. That, however, is a confessional blog for another day.
Three or four times a year I binge-watch shows that comes highly recommended, like two of my favorites, House of Cards or Newsroom.
So I know I’m five years behind the curve, but lately I’ve been on a Downton Abbey spree. Fabulous wardrobes; historical references; wonderfully, Britishly understated melodrama.
My husband, however, refuses to watch along, mentally placing Downton Abbey in the same category as monogrammed handbags, ostentatious gift-wrapping, and herbal tea lattes.
Yes, the show’s language, clothing, and notions of class-distinction are antiquated. Okay, so Lady Mary isn’t a cowgirl. And Lord Grantham doesn’t grunt, but rather makes eye contact and speaks in grammatically proper sentences. And Carson, the butler, wouldn’t be caught dead discussing a fart. Ever.
Compared to Django or The Hangover, Downton could almost appear, well, educational.
Still, I contend that Downton’s cast mimics the characters of every other tv show, albeit better dressed. Like Mad Men or Grey’s Anatomy or whatever drama you prefer, there’s the schemer, the snob, the liar, the gossip, the rebel, the clueless, the pot-stirrer, the goody-two-shoes, the scandalous, and the pitiful, all interacting for the purpose of amusement.
Come to think of it, Downton mimics the characters I know in real life as well, all of whom interact for the purpose of amusement, they just don’t realize it. Without them, my life would far less interesting. Also without them, I would have no reason to don my tiara and feel superior. (I do hope you detect the tongue in my cheek.)
So here’s to the characters, fictional and real, who make the plot lines of my own little drama infinitely more entertaining.