Thursday, September 6, 2012

Proud to Say I've Never Seen "Downton Abbey"

The Cast of "Downton Abbey"
I can actually hear more than a few friends gasping by that admission. "Downton Abbey" is a BBC import that seems to have found a rabid fan base here in the States. I have no idea as to why. It may have great acting and great characters (two of the marks of any great drama), but I seriously do not give a single crap about the lives of a bunch of wealthy, post-Victorian Brits and their servants. I honestly can't think of anything more boring, except maybe The King's Speech (more gasping from even more friends).

Look, I'm the first to say that the true hallmark of great drama is the examination of the Human Condition. This why we still perform and attend productions of Shakespeare's plays, 500 years after they were written. They have actual relevance to modern life. But they also do something else - they transport us to another world. They take us away from the doldrums and ennui of everyday living, while examining human behavior and entertaining. Personally, I find nothing entertaining about stuffy, pretentious British drama. 

I can also hear many of you gasping - "Shakespeare's pretentious, you douche!" Sorry - you are VERY wrong. Good old Will wrote plays for the common man, using common themes and common characters. He wrote entertainment. He was the J.J. Abrams or Joss Whedon of his day. Hell, he was even the Elizabethan Michael Bay.

Do you relate to a wealthy early 20th Century British aristocrat, or do find yourself more intrigued by  a young man willing to go to any lengths to be with the woman he loves? Are you more interested in a king with a stutter, or a man whose daughter has been raped and disfigured by hooligans? Would you rather watch a servant break down over a snarky comment from her employer, or see a tyrant stabbed to death by thirteen of his supposed allies? 

This is all academic, of course. I like zombies; aliens; ghosts; monsters and ghouls. You may actually enjoy the comings and goings of rich people you have no hope of being. But give me a light saber battle over a pithy comment, any day. Even better, combine the two in something that's actually interesting, enlightening and entertaining.

Yawn.... But I guess that's why (as my mother is wont to say) they make chocolate and vanilla (though personally, I prefer raspberry swirl).

More, anon.


Jason Adams said...

Downton isn't stuffy at all, it's a big ol' ridiculous soap opera, just with Maggie Smith googling her eyes in the background. There's young men willing to go to any lengths for the woman they love - there's young men driven to any awfulness for the man they love! There's haunted Ouija boards and Weekend At Bernie's storylines and murder and disfigured heirs and pregnant ladies slipping on bars of soap and all manner of ridiculous shenanigans. You are misjudging the show, fine sir. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've never seen it either.

Prospero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prospero said...

Well, I may have to reconsider. Thanks, JA. Always admire your opinions

The Mrs. said...

it's pretty hilarious. i was like you in the beginning, laughing at my parents who were so into it.

but then i watched first 7 episodes (watched a few ones from this past season with rents) and am hooked. some of maggie smith's lines SLAY me. as well as a few other characters. there's even a sex-related death! ;) give it a whirl. maybe a raspberry is it? swirl.