16 July 2013
Downton Abbey, you blew it.
Or someone behind the scenes of that monstrous estate blew it.
Downton Abbey had joined the ranks of many audio visual programmes that had my heart. Some others that had previously attained such status are:
Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice
Anne of Green Gables
While You Were Sleeping
Dan in Real Life
Singing in the Rain
The Sound of Music
Anyway, these shows have all winkled their way into VIP status, dripping with good memories (surely enhanced by the people I love who joined in watching these movies/shows with me). As I've said before, I watched Downton Abbey during chronic Jude nursing times, watched them with my mom, watched them with Jeff, watched them alllll the time. I loved it. I loved the chemistry betwixt Matthew and Mary, Mary reminds me of my cousin Erin, kindnesses shown by and to Mr. Bates gave me warm fuzzies, Robert's squeamishness was funny and his close relationship with Cora was sweet. I loved the 3 sisters thing, as I obviously also come from a family with 3 girls (now 4 with our amazing SIL Kacie). And duh, it's a period piece series, and I'm a girl, so I was destined to love it.
Season 2 -- also good. I didn't like the Branson/Sybil thing; he diminished her work as a nurse as "handing hot drinks to a bunch of randy officers" when she brought it up as a road block to them being together (RUDE). I didn't like Robert's almost-affair with Jane. I didn't like a few other things, but hey, nothing's perfect.
Then Season 3 crashed and burned, and someone poured horseradish and cubed bites of Spam all over it. And then left it out in the Vegas summer sunshine for 3 days. And now (sigh) I don't see how I can go on.
Ways that it ruined itself:
- The biggest reason, is the 2, possibly 3 major character deaths. I read that Maggie Smith, the backbone of Downton humor, would not be returning for a 4th season. That would be a pity but it would be easy to pull off -- she's no spring chicken and life expectancy was not incredibly long back in them days. I could've let that loss go with an understanding heart. But when Sybil, AND Matthew both want out of the series to pursue other roles, you don't kill them off and carry on with a crap show. You END THE SERIES. Downton Abbey, like the show LOST, was only expected to go a season or 2. Then it became a smash hit, and so they kept going because, hey, aren't we all here to make money? But without Matthew, Sybil, OR Lady Violet, the show just CAN NOT be any good. You can't have them all move to America, you can't kill them, you just look at the glorious 3 seasons of critical acclaim and cash that came in hand over fist, and you say, "Hey, it's been a good run. Let's call it a day." END SERIES. But I'm assuming the powers that be wanted to squeeze some more money out of Downton fans, and thus kept going. Understandable in a way, but the minute Sybil died, a huge part of the show's lovability died too. I sat with my jaw dropped all the way down to the floor when blood trickled from Matthew's non-functioning ear. Horrible, horrible, horrible. The show just could not recover from that.
Just to be a little more specific, as if Sybil desperately passing away as her loving family watched helplessly was not heart wrenching enough, hearing her newborn daughter cry from down the hall, that was "just beyond" (as a drunk Reese Witherspoon is known to say). No more trio of sisters, a big hole was left.
And they decided killing new parents is awesome, because watching Matthew hold his new precious baby and then in his excited state drive recklessly to meet his doom -- i just can't even handle it.
"They" must have sensed the uproar this would cause, but decided the uproar and compromised path of the show was the better choice. Why, I will never know.
I did read an article that talked about how Mary was getting boring as a happy housewife, which could be true, but it would be impossible to watch her as the widowed mother trying to find love again. Nope, there will never be another besides Matthew. They were MFEO. If Mary was getting boring, again, END THE SERIES WHILE IT'S STILL GOOD.
- The new characters are obnoxious. Especially the niece that is a bit of a trouble maker.
- Bates and Anna as a married couple were totally impossible to wrap my mind around and made me dry heave.
- Lady Edith -- come on, guys. You were EXCESSIVELY cruel to her. Being left at the altar?!?!?! Then being loved by a MARRIED MAN???? You gave her not one muscle for her to hold her head up. And I didn't even like her very much, but still felt that it was over-the-top-unkind.
- There were some responses to different issues that were in no way culturally accurate of the time.
- The general classiness of the show just started to deteriorate. I felt like it was getting a little too close to Grey's Anatomy, even before all the death.
In sum, you lost me, Julian Fellows. I'm sorry, but it's true. And since Jeff would have only watched it at my urging, you lost him too. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it. The Police and Jerry Seinfeld had it right -- stop while you're at the top of your game.