I have been extremely lax in my at-least-one-post-a-week resolution lately. My apologies. Family stuff has happened, house guests have visited, etc. But my biggest excuse is that I recently started watching Downton Abbey.
To say I like it would be an understatement. My mother, among other people, had been recommending it for awhile now and it was sitting on my Netflix Instant queue, so last weekend I gave it a shot. I was hooked 15 minutes in. M teased me about it, saying it was a silly soap opera. But he is wrong. DEAD WRONG. Okay, it is sort of a soap opera, but a very well-written, beautifully shot soap opera with interesting characters! And the characters have British accents, too, so that makes it way less trashy than Days of the Our Lives or some other daytime TV soap.
I was in a BBC-induced stupor the past weeks watching all three seasons of this show. I’m in love and am very, very upset that I have to wait until September or whenever to see what happens next. These characters are so well-written and fleshed out, I almost feel like I know some of them.
Robert and Cora Crawley. Image via Artsbeat.
Robert and Cora Crawley, Earl and Countess of Grantham – These two own the house (well, Cora really owns it as it’s her money), and are the heads of the household. Robert is a pretty chill dude. He’s also super close with Mrs. Bates, his valet, and is protective of his family and servants. He’s a sweetheart and very loyal (except when under pressure, ahem). Cora is okay… She’s American and holds onto some of her old lifestyle choices, as her parents, while rich, were considered to be “nouveau riche.” As such, she thinks working is a good thing, though not if she’s the one having to do any of the work.
Violet Crawley. Image via Tumblr.
Violet, Countess of Grantham – Maggie Smith plays Violet and she knocks it out of the park. Violet is Robert’s mom. She’s right up my alley – old and curmudgeonly, but still (almost) loveable. She has some of the best lines on the show, too, and the faces she makes when reacting to things are priceless. She was also very nice about relinquishing her flower prize, and the scenes between her and cousin Isobel are the tops.
Edith, Mary, and Sybil Crawley. Image via Beauty Banter.
The Sisters Crawley – Edith was just a heinous bitch for all of season one, but she softens a bit after the war and some personal losses. She’s like the Jane Brady of the three. Edith and her older sister Mary seem to go out of their way to hurt each other. I guess when you’re rich and don’t have jobs you really don’t have anything better to do. I feel like I’m supposed to like Mary, and I do to a certain extent, but she’s also sort of unlikeable. She is only concerned about things relating to her and doesn’t seem to give two cookies about anything else. Sybil, though, is a sweetheart – even both her sisters love her. She’s very political and even wore pants once!
Isobel and Matthew Crawley.
Matthew and Isobel Crawley – Matthew and Isobel are a son and his mother. They are both cousins to Robert and, since Cora and Robert haven’t popped out any sons, Matthew is Robert’s heir. The first season is kind of a will-they-or-won’t-they thing between Matthew and Mary, but you are rewarded in the end. And then the show punches you in the head and heart at the end of season three. Anyway, Matthew is a total dreamboat and works for a living (the very idea!) and Isobel is a nurse-ish thing. They move into Robert and Cora’s guest mansion during season one to get Matthew accustomed to Downtown and get very involved in everyone’s lives. Also, as I mentioned above, Isobel and Violet sort of vie for the head-matriarch position (which Violet will always have, if you ask me), and watching them together is awesome. Isobel is a total martyr and really pushy, but she has a good heart and seems to have a soft spot for those down on their luck.
Mr. Carson. Image via Wikipedia.
Mr. Carson – Mr. Carson is the large-nosed butler at Downtown. He takes his job very seriously and expects others to do the same, but he’s also a nice fella. Mary is his favorite of the family and when no one is watching he sings while polishing silver.
Mrs. Hughes. Image via PBS.
Mrs. Hughes – Mrs. Hughes is the housekeeper at Downtown. She seems pretty cool, I have no problems with her.
Mr. Bates. Image via Time.
Mr. Bates – Ooooooooh man Mr. Bates. Where do I begin? I love him. He is the best. He’s super honorable, trustworthy, and smart. He served in the army with Robert, which is how he was hired on as Robert’s valet, and during the war was injured, so now he has a limp and walks with a cane. At first all the servants (and some of the family members) are like, “A cane? Can the dude even work?” But Bates shows them all what’s what and works like a champ and is the best ever at everything. He’s also a secret bad ass.
Thomas and Miss O’Brien.
Miss O’Brien and Thomas – Why are these two such dickbags? I absolutely hated them the first season. I couldn’t really figure out why they hate everyone so much – especially Mr. Bates, who is the best person ever. I get that Thomas was irritated that he was overlooked to be Lord Crawley’s valet, but come on, dude, let it go. Also, ease up on the blood of virgins and get some sun. Also, that hairdo isn’t doing O’Brien any favors – she looks like a poodle. Anyway, they get a little better in season two (though only a little) and then in season three are each other’s enemies, which is fun to watch.
Anna Smith. Image via PBS.
Anna Smith – Anna is the head maid at Downtown. She is tiny and blonde and very, very sweet but also really smart and doesn’t take any bullshit from O’Brien and Thomas. She is often the confidante of Mary, and is in love with Mr. Bates (who loves her, too, by the way, but is all shy and adorable about it). I recently took a fun little quiz to see which Downtown character I was most like, and apparently I’m most like Anna. I’ll take it. She really is the best employee ever.
Daisy and William. Image via PBS.
William and Daisy – William was the second footman at Downtown (Stupid Thomas is the first) and Daisy is the kitchen maid. William is clearly in love with Daisy from the start, but Daisy only has eyes for Stupid Thomas (despite her so not being his type). Daisy is kind of a ditz and provides some comic relief, but her character definitely starts to deepen in season two. She’s super timid and naive and certain nasty people take advantage of that, but she is also sure of her conscious and morals and will in the end do what’s right. I like her. William was a nice enough guy, but he kind of had zero personality other than being in love with Daisy. He probably just seemed really amazing when being compared to Stupid Thomas, who is the worst ever. Stuff happens between them and shit gets tragic.
Mrs. Patmore. Image via PBS.
Mrs. Patmore – Mrs. Patmore is the cook. She’s old and blind(ish). She blames Daisy for her the mistakes she makes due to her inability to see much, but she gets that all sorted and is a pretty nice lady. She’s also fat and wise and besties with Mrs. Hughes.
So yeah, I like the show. And now I totally understand why once, while on the phone with my mom, she blurted out mid-sentence, “GOTTA GO DOWNTOWN ABBEY IS ON TALK TO YOU LATER LOVE YOU BYE” and hung up.