Dogbum Abbey (Afternoon Open Thread)

Yeah, I know it’s Tuesday, but I was watching the Patriots get clobbered Sunday night and only just got around to watching the latest “Downton Abbey” episode. I’m not sure why I like this show so much, but I think part of the appeal is the furry bum of Sir Robert’s yellow lab in the opening sequence:

dogbum_abbey

Thanks to some jackass in one of John’s earlier “Downton Abbey” threads, I know way more about the fate of some of the main characters than I would like (kindly feast on a bag of kipper-flavored dicks, spoilers!). But the program is still compelling, even if it is merely a soap opera with better production values, above-average acting and interesting period costumes.

I doubt writer / executive producer Julian Fellowes reads Balloon Juice, but just in case, here are some ideas: Lady Edith should run off with the tall ginger footman and found a publishing empire. Mrs. Hughes needs to sneak into Carson’s quarters and make him a Cheerful Charlie. Anna should send Bates a cake with a goddamned file in it already. O’Brien and Thomas the Valet should grapple on the tallest Downton spire and fling one another off simultaneously.

Lady Mary and Matthew should hiss recriminations at one another until both are transformed into gooey puddles of self-righteousness and self-regard. Tom and Lady Sybil should return to Dublin, open a pub and become patrons to James Joyce.

Sir Robert and Lady Cora should accidentally get locked in the wine cellar, consume massive amounts of port and hurl drunken, scathing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”-style verbal abuse at each other. The Dowager Countess should not change a bit.

Please consider this an open thread.

143 replies
  1. 1
    JGabriel says:

    Betty Cracker @ Top:

    I doubt writer / executive producer Julian Fellowes reads Balloon Juice …

    Particularly given that Fellowes is a Tory (Conservative) Life Peer.

    .

  2. 2
    Butch says:

    Until just last week I thought the name of the show was “Downtown” Abbey. I never have seen it….

  3. 3
    scav says:

    ahhh, silliness unrelated to abbeys, although could be served for tea on a silver tray I would imagine for sticklers? Whey too hot: cheese fire closes Norwegian road tunnel.

  4. 4
    mai naem says:

    Another day in America. Another educational setting shooting. Where’s Rick Perry? Also too, I hate Clint Van Zant. What the hell is Lone Star College? Never heard of it. Is it one of those ripoff private schools where you become a Studio Engineer for $35K?

  5. 5
    bemused says:

    Love your ideas Betty…Cheerful Charlie.

  6. 6
    JGabriel says:

    Butch:

    Until just last week I thought the name of the show was “Downtown” Abbey…

    The thrilling adventures of punk monks and sisters in downtown London, granting communion by day, chasing demons and criminals by night!

    .

  7. 7
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    kindly feast on a bag of kipper-flavored dicks, spoilers!

    Yeah, this site is not a good place to avoid spoilage, even in threads that have nothing to do with whatever it is you’re trying to avoid spoilage of.

    zOMG GOLD MEDAL BY GABBY DOUGLAS!!!!1!111

    was my favorite so far.

  8. 8
    Emma says:

    Shootout at a college library in Texas.

  9. 9
    The Dangerman says:

    It’s not Downtown? Never noticed it previously. Never watched it, either.

    My present British episodic is “Midsomer Murders”. I don’t know if Midsomer is an actual area, but, if it is, I’m never vacationing there. People die there at an astonishing rate (I thought hanging near the Murder She Wrote gal would get you killed, but it’s kinda nothing compared to Midsomer).

  10. 10
    John O says:

    Looks like the NRA’s dream came true today. Settling those disputes with firearms!

    However, it is too soon to talk about gun safety.

  11. 11

    If you want to see something funny, check out this (fake) RTE news report.

  12. 12
    raven says:

    We just watched the Forsyte Saga and it was quite good. The dude from Homeland is one of the leads.

  13. 13
    Calouste says:

    @JGabriel:

    There’s no such thing as downtown London. It’s called central London.

  14. 14
    scav says:

    @The Dangerman: Cozy villages in England. If it’s not death by a brass letter opener from Benares hidden in a tea cosy, it’s an alien invasion.

  15. 15
    SatanicPanic says:

    @John O: That’s the way the founders intended.

  16. 16
    rdldot says:

    @mai naem: Lone Star College is a community college. I went there years ago. This is a couple of miles from where I volunteer at a county park. The local news is reporting that 2 people argued, both shot each other, and another person had a heart attack (collateral damage on the heart attack, I guess). Probably more guns would have solved this, somehow.

  17. 17
    Emma says:

    @The Dangerman: It’s an actual area but not called Midsomer Visit Midsomer.

    I’m addicted to it.

  18. 18
    Nicole says:

    Between Shawn of the Dead, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and now The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Penelope Wilton has become one of my favorite British actors. I just saw “Marigold.” I effing HATE feel good movies, so imagine my surprise when, while watching it, I found myself feeling good.

  19. 19
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    At one point, I believe alienemoji Martin mentioned how to get the emoji symbol in his nym to show up on a Mac. Does anyone know how to do that? Martin, if you’re reading, a font I could install?

    kthkbai

  20. 20
    Brachiator says:

    @Butch:

    Until just last week I thought the name of the show was “Downtown” Abbey.

    That’s the American remake.

    @The Dangerman:

    My present British episodic is “Midsomer Murders”. I don’t know if Midsomer is an actual area, but, if it is, I’m never vacationing there.

    Fictional(and apparently racially pure) county, with a murder rate higher than that of London.

    One of the producers of the show got into a spot of trouble for bragging that “racial diversity in the programme was non-existent because the series was a ‘bastion of Englishness’.”

  21. 21
    Emma says:

    @Brachiator: I think he meant to say “a bastion of perversity.” The FIRST episode covers all the major sins in one swoop.

  22. 22

    Okay I can’t read this thread because we have only seen the first ep of this season so far. Mr. Beale and I finally capitulated and caught up on the past two seasons over the past few weeks. So we’re still behind.

    That said, I think Downton Abbey is the WORST trash. Awful trash. Guilty pleasure, delightful trash, but it is trash. Alistaire Cook must be tossing in his grave. Am I the only one who remembers Upstairs Downstairs from back in the ’70s? Downton Abbey is like Upstairs Downstairs for the trailer park set. It’s every tabloid headline of the past 15 years set in Edwardian England. It’s like Days of Our Lives with English accents.

    Honestly, I’m shocked it’s winning awards and everything. I keep waiting for the story line where aliens from outer space arrive. Or, wait — do we have a drug addiction storyline yet? Maybe that one is next.

    Anyway, it’s trash but it appears we are hooked. Sigh.

  23. 23
    Amir Khalid says:

    I don’t know a thing about this Downto(w)n Abbey. My pressing concern is that for some reason, I have gone to see the Les Miz movie six times already in less than a month. I’m reading the book. I listen constantly to the soundtrack album. I’m afraid I might be getting addicted.

  24. 24
    trollhattan says:

    @rdldot:

    “An armed society is a polite society.”

    Bookmark it, libs!

    HOUSTON — A shooting on a Texas community college campus wounded three people Tuesday and sent students fleeing for safety as officials placed the campus on lockdown, officials said.
    Harris County Sheriff’s Maj. Armando Tello said authorities had detained a person of interest. He did not provide any details about the people who were wounded, such as whether they were students or included the person who was arrested.
    Authorities thought there could be a second shooter, according to a law enforcement official in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the ongoing case.
    The school’s official Twitter feed said the shooting was between two people and that the situation was under control. It had issued an alert on its website earlier, telling students and faculty to take immediate shelter or avoid the campus.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/.....rylink=cpy

  25. 25
    trollhattan says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Alistaire Cook must be tossing in his grave.

    Since we’re talking Brits here, might could you perhaps reword that a wee bit, lest I have bad dreams about what Zombie mister Cook might be up to? thx!

  26. 26
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Amir Khalid: Haven’t seen it yet, but yeah, if you’ve seen it six times in less than a month, you might be a bit addicted. :-)

  27. 27
    SatanicPanic says:

    @trollhattan: Guns will bring peace to our society right around the time the Free Market will bring affordable healthcare to everyone.

  28. 28
    Mandalay says:

    This should be really good. The fainting couches are being wheeled into the House, and the Villagers are already clutching their pearls….

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is giving Republican colleagues 36 hours to agree to a deal on filibuster reform or he will move forward with the nuclear option.

    “I hope in the next 24, 36 hours we can get something we agree on. If not, we’re going to move forward on what I think needs to be done,” Reid told reporters.

    Reid’s trump card in negotiations with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is the threat he will change Senate rules with a simple majority vote, a tactic known as the nuclear option. This maneuver would allow Reid to change the Senate rules with a simple majority vote, something that has never been done, according to parliamentary experts.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/se.....ear-option

    Let the poutrage begin.

  29. 29
    👽 Martin says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    At one point, I believe alienemoji Martin mentioned how to get the emoji symbol in his nym to show up on a Mac. Does anyone know how to do that? Martin, if you’re reading, a font I could install?

    If you’re using Safari, it should Just Work™. Chrome and Firefox don’t appear to use the built-in fonts, so they usually require a plug-in or some such.

    Here’s some more info and fun with emoji.

  30. 30
    gogol's wife says:

    @bemused:

    That’s a subtle reference to Carson’s vaudeville career.

    Great post!

  31. 31
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @trollhattan: That saying, “an armed society is a polite society,” is it supposed to mean that no one dares to be rude if they risk getting shot? Or is it “polite” in the throwback sense of “sophisticated,” like “Downton Abbey’s parlor is a place for polite conversation”?

  32. 32
    gogol's wife says:

    @Nicole:

    I love her! My husband can’t stand her as Isobel, but I think he’s just confusing the actress with the character. She’s very subtle and interesting.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    @scav:

    My favorite “cozy village with a secret” movie is Hot Fuzz, followed by Village of the Damned.

    Hot Fuzz is on the gruesome side when it comes to showing the results of the “cozy” murders, so be warned.

  34. 34
    elmo says:

    Lady Mary and Matthew should hiss recriminations at one another until both are transformed into gooey puddles of self-righteousness and self-regard.

    So, a repeat of Season One?

  35. 35
    tamied says:

    @Mandalay: Yeah Harry Reid!! Does it seems like some balls were grown since the last election?

  36. 36
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    I think what’s habit-forming for me is the sound of other people crying in the audience. (So I know it’s not just me.) I never saw it on stage; that would have meant a trip to Singapore when it was playing there, at a time when I was heartily sick of flying down there almost every week.

    You don’t want to know how many times I saw the Disney Beauty and The Beast at the movies. I couldn’t tell you myself, because I lost count.

  37. 37
    The Dangerman says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    …the time the Free Market will bring affordable healthcare to everyone.

    Well, to be “fair”, the Free Market would bring affordable health insurance to everyone; it wouldn’t be QUALITY health insurance, of course.

    Did anyone else notice that Mickelson decided not to go Galt over taxes, disappointing the Tea Party, no doubt?

  38. 38
    Maude says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    I used to do that with some music. Enjoy the phase. One day you’ll be tired of it.

    @trollhattan:
    Thanks for the article. How awful.
    The students must be scared out of their minds.

  39. 39

    @trollhattan:

    If only Texas allowed conceal carry….

  40. 40
    elmo says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    My pressing concern is that for some reason, I have gone to see the Les Miz movie six times already in less than a month.

    Oh dear. You are in trouble.
    Actually I might have done the same thing myself – it was that good – but the timing is rotten. My Dad died unexpectedly on December 14 (my birthday, natch), so the final scene left me literally sobbing quietly in the theater. I had to sit through the credits, which I never do, to regain my composure.

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    All together now: “GOOD dog!”

    A dog alerted his owner last night that his canine buddy was trapped in a North Highlands drainage canal.
    The escapade began shortly before midnight at a home on Shell Street in North Highlands. The resident was startled by the sounds of barking in the backyard. There, the resident noticed a hole in the fence and one of his dogs barking and frantically going in and out of the hole.
    “He was kind of like Lassie,” said Sac Metro firefighter Rashawn Fulcher.
    On the other side of the fence, the dog owner discovered his other dog, an older Akita named RJ, in a predicament.
    RJ had gone through the hole and down a steep-walled drainage canal. He could not get back up. The owner called on Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District for a helping hand. Once at the dry canal, the firefighters went to ditch drainage exit and walk to the dog.
    The dog was then led out to safety by the crew of Engine 42 led by Capt. Jason Wenner. Firefighters then further assisted the homeowner by repairing the fence.

    http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/.....rylink=cpy

  42. 42
    shortstop says:

    Lautenberg deserves to lose reelection just for this. WTF is with all these old white men comparing younger black male politicians to unruly or disrespectful children? Is this 2013 in Jersey or 1955 in Mississippi? And all because Booker might dare to run against him?

  43. 43
    bemused says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Ah, didn’t know his background. Well done.

  44. 44
    👽 Martin says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Did anyone else notice that Mickelson decided not to go Galt over taxes

    I suspect someone at the PGA rang him up on that. Golf is already the elitist asshole sport without the players running an elitist asshole ad campaign.

  45. 45
    Andrew Pulrang says:

    I love Downton Abbey, but it is about as transparent a love letter to conservative ideas as could be imagined on prime time TV. Not Tea Party-style conservatism, but the real, deep foundational mindset of conservatism. The fear of change. The innate, almost unconscious worship of aristocracy. And especially, the disdain held for anyone who tries to change things or help people. On Downton, the liberals and revolutionaries aren’t so much depicted as being wrong, they’re annoying, naive, and laughable. For example: Mrs. Crawley the ham-fisted do-gooder, Sybil the privileged girl slumming with the proles, and of course, the prole himself, Branson, who’s on the right side, but is a bore and an idiot. It might qualify as the most conservative fictional show on TV.

  46. 46
    SatanicPanic says:

    @The Dangerman: I did notice. And he also said that’s why he won’t be part of my Padres’ ownership. GOOD.

  47. 47
    trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    “The Wicker Man” (original version with Christopher Lee).

    The stuff of nightmares, that.

  48. 48
    danielx says:

    it is 18 degrees outside and the cats don’t want to get within three feet of any door for fear the cold monster will get them. I share their sentiments.

  49. 49
    👽 Martin says:

    @mai naem:

    What the hell is Lone Star College? Never heard of it.

    Community college. The gun nuts are already blaming it on the blahs.

    Remember kids: white people with guns are patriots, black people with guns are gang members.

  50. 50
    shortstop says:

    @danielx: 18?! Here in Chicago, we’re DREAMING of the day we’ll see 18 again!

  51. 51
    Mandalay says:

    @tamied:

    Does it seems like some balls were grown since the last election?

    I think it’s more the case that some assholes are now going to get their balls shrunk. McConnell is on the top of that list.

  52. 52
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Thanks to some jackass in one of John’s earlier “Downton Abbey” threads, I know way more about the fate of some of the main characters than I would like (kindly feast on a bag of kipper-flavored dicks, spoilers!).

    The butler did it.

  53. 53
    bemused says:

    @Andrew Pulrang:

    Stuart Varney of Fox said Downton Abbey is a threat to liberals because the rich Crowley’s are nice and create jobs!

  54. 54
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Andrew Pulrang:

    Branson, who’s on the right side, but is a bore and an idiot.

    I hadn’t noticed that about him, but I will say this: He ain’t hard to look at. Which explains why I hadn’t noticed that about him…

  55. 55
    👽 Martin says:

    @shortstop: Thankfully in SoCal our long regional sub-80 degree nightmare is over. There was a very lovely young lady in a bikini riding a skateboard in front of me at lunch. That never gets old.

  56. 56
    hitchhiker says:

    I don’t post spoilers, ever, but I love them — kind of depend on them.

    I read the last few pages of novels as soon as I realize I care enough to finish. I look up the plot synopses of movies before I go, and yeah, I looked online and read all of what happens in season 3 of DA.

    My kids & spouse find this crazy and I know most people agree with ’em, but for me the thing is just way more enjoyable if I’m tracking its path toward a known ending than if I’m trying to guess where it’s going.

    I think DA is addicting because for every single character, the dilemma is the same — the world you’ve prepared for all your life is being taken away and replaced by one that you might or might not know what to do with. Also, the whole idea of a family being coddled in that ridiculous way (these people literally did not dress themselves?!) and everybody (except the Irish!) acting like it’s perfectly cool is just mind-boggling. And interesting, politically . . . it wasn’t that long ago.

    And I think you ought to get in touch with Mr. Fellowes, Betty. He’s got nothin’ on you for plotlines.

  57. 57
    Comrade Mary says:

    O’Brien and Thomas the Valet should grapple on the tallest Downton spire and fling one another off simultaneously.

    Betty, that has to be the single filthiest thing you have ever — oh. You said “fling”, not “toss”. (Still, the grappling? The tallest spire? God knows it’s not my filthy mind reading in things that were not written.)

  58. 58
    dms says:

    @The Dangerman: My thoughts exactly regarding that lovely hamlet Midsomer. More murders per capita than any place I’ve ever seen.

  59. 59
    Calouste says:

    @Brachiator:

    It’s not that fictional that the county is almost exclusively white. Minorities are mostly living in the cities (as that is where recent immigrants tend to end up) in the UK and rural countries like for example Somerset are 98-99% white.

    That of course doesn’t excuse the producer’s comment.

  60. 60
    Amir Khalid says:

    @elmo:
    Sorry about your dad. My mother was watching an old movie on TV one night in 1983, about a month after my dad passed away. There’s a song in that movie about bereavement, sung by the main character who’d just lost his wife. My mother had a reaction much like yours.

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Andrew Pulrang: IMO the most insufferable people on the show are Matthew and Mary. He is a self- righteous prig and she, while less of a prig, is just as self- righteous.

  62. 62
    trollhattan says:

    @shortstop:

    If ever a thread was made for The Four Yorkshiremen, this one is it.

    “Eighteen degrees? Sheer luxury!! Why, in my day….”

  63. 63
    👽 Martin says:

    More good news from SoCal!

    Brain scans performed on five former NFL players revealed images of the protein that causes football-related brain damage — the first time researchers have identified signs of the crippling disease in living players.

    Researchers who conducted the pilot study at UCLA described the findings as a significant step toward being able to diagnose the disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, in living patients.

    If this works as hoped, it’ll be a watershed moment for the NFL – one way or another.

  64. 64
    rdldot says:

    @Maude: It’s all over now. They got both shooters.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Andrew Pulrang: Is it a love letter to conservative ideas, or does it put conservative ideas into conflict with a changing world so that we can enjoy watching them squirm? Because I’m a latecomer to the show, but it seems to me that any time anyone starts saying effusive things about How Important Is Downton, we the audience are supposed to be rolling our eyes at them. There’s something significant to the point of obvious about the family losing its fortune in a railway investment gone sour. They tried to own a piece of the future and got squashed.

  67. 67
    elmo says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Thanks. It was just the line, “Forbid me now to die,” and I absolutely lost it.

  68. 68
    Butch says:

    @danielx: It was minus 14 this morning and has crept up to minus 3 here in the Upper Peninsula. I brought in three cords of wood over the weekend, and the wood stove is keeping us and the four dogs and seven kitties warm and cozy. Chickens wisely are refusing to come out of their coop.

  69. 69
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Dogbum Abbey, I thought it was Meowton Tabby.

  70. 70
    rdldot says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Thank you thank you thank you. I feel the same way. Those two drive me nuts. My favorite characters are Matthew’s mother and, oddly enough, Edith.

  71. 71
    hitchhiker says:

    @Butch:

    Spent my young years in Gladstone, Duluth, Marquette, Traverse City, and Houghton, in that order. Once left our wood-heated house empty in Houghton for a week and came back to find the water in the toilets had frozen solid. Oh, my.

    Now I live in Seattle, where if it’s under 40 (like today), you think you’re cold.

  72. 72
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I have only seen the British version of the first season. What is O Brien’s problem, why is she such a sour puss?

  73. 73
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Sir Robert’s yellow lab

    Lord Grantham, if you please. Dude’s an Earl, not a knight or baronet.

    And yes, that lab is gorgeous.

    Hugh Bonneville was on “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me” several weeks ago and laughed about his name being displayed above a dog’s ass.

  74. 74
    tavella says:

    I thought season 1 had occasional moments, but not enough to make up for the soap opera level plotting (she slips on a conveniently placed bar of soap and has a miscarriage? reaaaally?), stereotypes (of course the one signficant gay character is a scheming evil footman, shesh), and predictability (of course WWI is announced by telegram at a sunny garden party.) Also, I simply didn’t care one whit whether a bunch of overprivileged meatheads got to keep their big shiny house, and the show wasn’t particularly interested in the things I *did* care about (ie, I’d much rather read the adventures of the young redheaded maid in her new job in London than anyone left at Downton.)

    Once I read some more about Fellowes, I was extremely glad I had bailed on it when I did.

  75. 75
    Linnaeus says:

    Julian Fellowes is the writer/producer? Ah, no wonder Downton Abbey sounds so much like Gosford Park.

  76. 76
    NotMax says:

    Haven’t watched any of D.A.

    Gave up on Upstairs, Downstairs way back when when concluded it took more energy to try to care about anyone in the series than it was worth.

    However, really liked The Manor House (originally The Edwardian Country House), which dropped modern-day folk (not professional actors) into a variety of roles in a recreated 1905 veddy, veddy British household.

  77. 77
    rdldot says:

    @tavella: We really just watch it for the clothes, I think.

  78. 78
    Andrew Pulrang says:

    @Betty Cracker: I may have been stretching things a little with Branson, but yes, it seems to me we are meant to think he is a “good guy” in terms of history, but way too earnest, humorless, judgmental, and, recently, possibly a coward. Likewise, Mrs. Crawley has the right ideas, but is awfully superior about it and kind of a “lady bountiful”, which is a venerable old dis that conservatives have always had about “do gooders”.

  79. 79
    Gindy51 says:

    @raven: I have not seen the 2002 version, just the ancient original version. It was the first time on TV a rape scene was filmed, let alone hinted at. Amazing stuff for back then.
    http://www.ceejbot.com/EricPorter/Forsyte/
    Here’s a link to the 2002 version:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0260615/

  80. 80
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @Mnemosyne: I like Hot Fuzz, but on that theme (small British Isles town with a secret) but much less gory Waking Ned Divine is pretty hilarious.

  81. 81
    lojasmo says:

    @hitchhiker:

    I grew up in Duluth. Lived in a wood heated log home WITHOUT running water from 1970-1980.

    Outhouses suck in Duluth winters.

  82. 82
    Andrew Pulrang says:

    @FlipYrWhig: You can read it that way, and it works if you do. That’s part of what makes J. Fellows something a bit more sophisticated than just a propagandist or a hack. All of his characters have layers, and in that sense he is modern. I think Fellows is saying something like, “Of course, they’re right … progress is right, and Lord Grantham is wrong. But it’s just a damned shame because Lord Grantham’s aristocracy, while wrong, is more fun, more dignified, and more compassionate.” Notice that the liberals on the show aren’t very forgiving or considerate of other peoples’ feelings. A nice subtle swipe at liberalism in general. He doesn’t disparage liberalism’s concrete changes, and he notes conservatism’s fatal flaws, but he still prefers old fashioned ways in the end. Reminds me of David Brooks.

  83. 83
    Raven says:

    @Gindy51: Ah, I’ve seen it on netflix. Maybe after we watch the original Little Dorrit. We also started “The Story of Film“:An Odyssey

  84. 84
    srv says:

    The Netflix/David Freaking Fincher re-imagining of the BBC House of Cards with KEVIN FREAKING SPACEY premiers on February 1st.

    What you need to do it put your Downton Abbey port wine down and go watch the original politco-pyscho-thriller House of Cards on Netflix.

    Otherwise, you will look like silly n00bs in two weeks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULwUzF1q5w4

  85. 85
    Andrew Pulrang says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Hard to say. Class resentment? Early on O’Brien was kind of one-dimentional, and to Julian Fellowes’ credit, she gets a little more complex and a little less mean … though devious seems to be her default setting.

  86. 86
    Betty Cracker says:

    @What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ): I love Waking Ned Devine. The scene with that naked old coot on the motorbike is screamingly funny.

  87. 87
    PurpleGirl says:

    @mai naem: No, it’s a publicly-funded community college system serving the greater Houston area.

  88. 88
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Andrew Pulrang: I like when Daisy says, “I wouldn’t be in her bad books for a gold clock!”

  89. 89
    elmo says:

    @hitchhiker:

    I lived at 8000 feet in the Eastern Sierra for eight years. Two of those years were spent in an old two-story ski chalet with ground-to-roof windows on two sides, taking in the incredible view of the ski area.

    Only one problem: the windows were single-pane, and there was no central heat in the house. Just the woodstove.

    Most of the winter, we had to put fragile produce like tomatoes and bananas in the refrigerator overnight to keep it from freezing on the kitchen counter. Every morning we’d check the dogs’ water dish in the kitchen, and knock the ice out.

    Still, I loved that house.

  90. 90
    Brachiator says:

    @raven:

    RE: We just watched the Forsyte Saga and it was quite good. The dude from Homeland is one of the leads.

    I had a little trouble accepting Damian Lewis in Homeland and the NBC show Life because his Soames Forsyte was so despicable.

    @Calouste:

    It’s not that fictional that the county is almost exclusively white. Minorities are mostly living in the cities (as that is where recent immigrants tend to end up) in the UK and rural countries like for example Somerset are 98-99% white.

    The thing is, that this is still a crock of crap. The “English” are more mixed than they often admit. There probably is no such thing as a 98-99% white Englishman (and this is even more true of Englishwomen).

  91. 91
    Andrew Pulrang says:

    The one true, unequivocal villain so far is Thomas, the GAY footman. Not that even he is without his reasons, but he’s got the fewest excuses of any of them for his behavior and general nastiness. Lots of the others do more damage than Thomas, but with them it’s almost always thoughtless damage … Thomas means it.

  92. 92
    gogol's wife says:

    @Andrew Pulrang:

    That sounds right to me. But they’re being a little hard on Lord Grantham lately. In the first season he could do no wrong, but now he’s making bad investments and mismanaging the estate, etc., not to mention his ridiculous near-fling with a housemaid last season. I don’t think he’s coming off so much better than Branson.

  93. 93
    Raven says:

    @Brachiator: I hear ya. Homeland is too$$ but we bought Life and are enjoying it.

    Meanwhile Fooking Shameless is amazing!

  94. 94
    Andrew Pulrang says:

    @Betty Cracker: Daisy may be the best person overall on the entire estate. I’m anxious to see if she goes ahead and takes little steps towards some kind of liberation, or will she remember her place in the and crawl back chastened.

  95. 95
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Andrew Pulrang: Also we must remember that the aristocracy and its riches were dependent on sucking places like India, that were a part of the Empire, dry. Also famines and droughts where millions died is also a part of the legacy of the Raj. It is pretty telling that the parts of the Indian subcontinent where the British ruled the longest are its poorest parts. Case in point, Bangladesh.

  96. 96
    gogol's wife says:

    And thanks to Betty for featuring Isis’ butt. Every week we cheer, “Isis’ butt!”

  97. 97
    rdldot says:

    @gogol’s wife: He strikes me as just clueless as to what is going on around him, but basically good-hearted. But isn’t he kind of in a constant state of WTF?

  98. 98
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Brachiator: Wasn’t he in the Band of Brothers too, I think his character was called Dick Winters or something similar.

  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Andrew Pulrang: I’ll watch for compassion and its absence going forward. But I hadn’t (yet?) gotten a Gone With the Wind feeling about the lamentable passing of The Old Ways. To the contrary, it was more of a head-shaking, raised-eyebrow feeling that the dinosaurs probably didn’t know they were going extinct until it was too late either.

  100. 100
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @rdldot: He is Bertie Wooster all growed up!

  101. 101
    Raven says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yep, he was excellent.

  102. 102
    Butch says:

    @hitchhiker: Traverse City would be the farthest; we’re about 30 miles west of Escanaba. It’s really the first cold weather we’ve had this winter.

  103. 103
    gogol's wife says:

    @rdldot:

    Yes, but somehow he seemed wiser and more with-it in Season 1. I guess that’s supposed to be because he can’t deal with his world changing, but it seems unbelievable to me. The first clue was when he was so offended that he wasn’t going to be sent to the front in WWI. That seemed a little foolish for someone who’d already served in the Boer War.

  104. 104
    Brent says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Is it a love letter to conservative ideas, or does it put conservative ideas into conflict with a changing world so that we can enjoy watching them squirm?

    The latter would be my assessment for sure. It is even made quite explicit at one point that in the context of their time, the only use for Downton is as a job creator. But that that time is quickly passing and really for the better. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I would argue that is very much an underlying theme throughout the series.

  105. 105
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    All I heard was “blah blah Ginger blah blah blah.

  106. 106
    gelfling545 says:

    @JGabriel: Hmm. Sounds like it could be an interesting concept. Sort of a Buffy in clerical garb.

  107. 107
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Andrew Pulrang: Yes, I’m curious about that arc too.

  108. 108
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brent:

    It is even made quite explicit at one point that in the context of their time, the only use for Downton is as a job creator.

    Yes, I caught that, at many points actually, and my reaction was, “Wow, what bullshit!” Which tends to lead me to believe that that’s the way the show’s creators want you to react: maintaining a house full of servants, even cheeky and spunky ones, is a dopey and outmoded economic model bound for total failure.

  109. 109
    Andrew Pulrang says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Re: “that Gone With The Wind feeling”, you may be right! Also, it’s possible Fellows isn’t fully cognizant of his own biases as he writes the show. He may think if himself as much more progressive and modern than he really is, and unaware of how his underlying conservatism seeps into every corner and crevice of his story and characters.

  110. 110
    shortstop says:

    @rdldot: Don’t make us sound so shallow! We also love the sets.

    Haven’t yet seen any of season three (tonight, though) because have been in a land of no TV for several weeks. They best have pumped out some better scripts than they did in season two. The writing was so bad it kept distracting me from my avid examination of war crinolines and swallowtails.

  111. 111
    Andrew Pulrang says:

    I’ve heard several commentators saying that Lord Grantham is writer Julian Fellowes’ “Mary Sue”, which I just recently learned is a character that embodies the writer, often unconsciously.

  112. 112
    Steeplejack says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    “Might be” getting addicted? That ship has sailed.

  113. 113
    shortstop says:

    @gogol’s wife: It’s such a friendly butt, gently wagging in a way that’s dear to every dog lover’s heart.

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @rdldot: There is a certain Lord Emsworth quality about him.

  115. 115
    schrodinger's cat says:

    This Downton Abbey UK thread on TWOP makes interesting reading, the UK viewers, don’t seem to watch DA with the rose-tinted glasses, their cousins across the pond do.

  116. 116
    Calouste says:

    @Brachiator:

    The English are white, just not “single origin” so to speak. It’s a mixture of Picts, Celts, Angles, Saxons, Romans, Normans, Vikings, French, Flemish and probably a few other bits here and there from Europe. (Recent genetic research suggests that most Welsh people aren’t actually Celts, but from a people that lived in Britain before the Celts invaded, and adapted Celtish language and culture.)

    Non-white, non-European immigration into the UK only started in significant numbers in the 1950’s and hasn’t had that much time yet (2-3 generations) to mingle their genes with the population that was already there.

  117. 117
    shortstop says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: No one’s more thoughtlessly deferential to British aristocracy than a certain kind of Yank.

  118. 118
    Brachiator says:

    @Andrew Pulrang:

    Daisy may be the best person overall on the entire estate. I’m anxious to see if she goes ahead and takes little steps towards some kind of liberation, or will she remember her place in the and crawl back chastened

    There was also the maid who wanted to be a secretary, a modern woman for the time.

    I agree that Daisy’s growth, and the relationship with her dead husband’s father, is nicely depicted on the show.

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Wasn’t he in the Band of Brothers too, I think his character was called Dick Winters or something similar.

    Another show to put on my “must watch” list. And I think you are right that he was on the show.

    It is pretty telling that the parts of the Indian subcontinent where the British ruled the longest are its poorest parts. Case in point, Bangladesh.

    More complicated than that. And modern Bangladesh broke away from the old West Pakistan because they were being squeezed and exploited by that government.

  119. 119
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Brachiator: I am aware of how Bangladesh came into being. West Bengal and Bihar are among the poorest regions in India. British first gained a foot hold in India when they won the battle of Plassey in 1757. I could have just as easily used West Bengal which is a part of India to make my point.

  120. 120
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @gogol’s wife: The world of 1912ish was his world. The world in the subsequent seasons is less and less so. Also service in Boer War would not have really informed him of the horrors of WWI.

  121. 121
    shortstop says:

    @gogol’s wife: It might have been unrealistic; it wasn’t at all atypical for men of his age to be offended at not being called up for active service, though. The same thing was true in the Britain of 1939-40: WWI vets expecting to go again and bristling at being given desk jobs or being put in the Home Guard. It was a different phenomenon than we saw in the U.S.

  122. 122
    shortstop says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: I am so proud that I didn’t have to click the link to get that reference.

  123. 123
    Brachiator says:

    @Calouste:

    The English are white, just not “single origin” so to speak. It’s a mixture of Picts, Celts, Angles, Saxons, Romans, Normans, Vikings, French, Flemish and probably a few other bits here and there from Europe. (Recent genetic research suggests that most Welsh people aren’t actually Celts, but from a people that lived in Britain before the Celts invaded, and adapted Celtish language and culture.)

    The original Britons and other prehistoric people that inhabited Britain may not be “white” in the sense that most people think. And the British have been mixed with African and Spanish peoples (among others) from the time of the Romans. The Scandavian parts of Britain is more genetically diverse (usually through the matrilineal line) than most people assume.

    There have been African and other admixtures as well, even a little Native American, from the 1500s and 1600s, along with some Spanish and Portuguese, at least, among others.

    Non-white, non-European immigration into the UK only started in significant numbers in the 1950′s and hasn’t had that much time yet (2-3 generations) to mingle their genes with the population that was already there.

    Just not true.

    There is more Asian admixture, from the 19th century onwards, maybe earlier, than people would like to admit.

    BTW, Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon has a character who is is a mulatto heiress from the West Indies. I wonder if this was inspired by an actual person.

    There is some speculation that Queen Charlotte, wife of the English King George III (1738-1820), was directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. Other royals have black ancestry through their Russian connection (the Alexander Pushkin thing).

    Similarly, there is an interesting African, and African American connection to France. Quite a few Lousiana whites of French ancestry sent the children they had with their black mistresses to live in France in the 19th century, to get a better future than they would have had in America. A number of these people’s descendants became “white.”

    There was an issue of BBC History Magazine and the related podcast that touched on these issues not too long ago.

  124. 124
    Jon says:

    Kipper flavored dicks are my favorite. I suppose I would only get shit flavored ones if I told you who shot J.R. too? What happened to at least one of the main characters made the front page in all of the American entertainment news. You knew that already.

    What I’m telling you is that you’re going to be sorry you watched that far in. The show is trolling its viewers. You just think the Anna/Bates storyline is a waste of time. Wait till you realize which one is the real trolling. Sigh.

  125. 125
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I am aware of how Bangladesh came into being. West Bengal and Bihar are among the poorest regions in India. British first gained a foot hold in India when they won the battle of Plassey in 1757.

    Yeah, and the Marathas ravished Bangladesh as well.

    The Maratha Empire, a Hindu empire which overran the Mughals in the 18th century, also devastated the territories controlled by the Nawab of Bengal between 1742 and 1751. In a series of raids on Bengal and Bihar, then ruled by the Nawab, Maratha demolished much of the Bengali economy, which was unable to withstand the continuous onslaught of Maratha for long. Nawab Ali Vardi Khan made peace with Maratha by ceding the whole of Orissa and parts of Western Bengal to the empire. In addition, this a tax – the Chauth, amounting to a quarter of total revenue – was imposed on other parts of Bengal and Bihar. This tax amounted to twenty lakhs (of rupees?) for Bengal and 12 lakhs for Bihar per year.

    This does not excuse British imperialism, but exploitation of the region did not begin with them.

  126. 126
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Calouste:

    Non-white, non-European immigration into the UK only started in significant numbers in the 1950′s and hasn’t had that much time yet (2-3 generations) to mingle their genes with the population that was already there.

    I think you’re vastly underestimating how much mixing there was during the empire years in India. I can think of at least two classic Hollywood Brits who were part Indian: Merle Oberon and Boris Karloff.

  127. 127
    hitchhiker says:

    @Butch:

    Are we cousins? Everybody up there named Gafner is related to me. :) SO COLD, but there’s still nothing anywhere as lovely as a long summer day at Lake Michigan.

  128. 128
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t know what your point is. This is a pretty strange tangent to go off on.
    Besides according to your block quote the Marathas held Bengal and Bihar for 9 years compared to almost two hundred years of British rule. There simply is no comparison.

  129. 129
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Nicole: THANK you! I knew I had seen her, and knew I knew her name, but hadn’t made the “Marigold Hotel” connection. She is a wonderful actor.

  130. 130
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I think Downton Abbey is the WORST trash. Awful trash.

    I know, right? It’s great!

  131. 131
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @tamied:

    some balls were grown

    Read that as “some balls were gown” and wondered why we hadn’t discussed this to death in the FLOTUS fashion thread.

  132. 132
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I am going to write to Sir Julian Fellowes and suggest that he write cameos for Betty Cracker, Sarah P&T, and ABL for Season Four. Foils for the Dowager Countess if Shirley MacLaine is otherwise engaged.

  133. 133
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I don’t know what your point is.

    It’s pretty simple. Your assertion that “the parts of the Indian subcontinent where the British ruled the longest are its poorest parts” is provocative, but I don’t think it is entirely supported by the facts, and ignores the impact of other conquerors, including the Mughals and the Marathas, not to mention the modern history of Bangladesh.

    Speaking of tangents, did you see and have any opinion on the mini-series The Jewel in the Crown?

    Also, are there significant differences between the US and UK versions of Downton Abbey?

  134. 134
    Tehanu says:

    I couldn’t watch the 2002 Forsyte Saga — memories of the original were too strong (Eric Porter!!!!! Margaret Tyzack! Susan Hampshire!) On the other hand, I loathed Upstairs Downstairs because I couldn’t (and still can’t) stand Jean Marsh, although I worship her co-creator Eileen Atkins like a goddess. As for Downton, I love it passionately but I’m beginning to actually hope that Bates did it, and although Dan Stevens is handsome, his character is such a simp that I’m really glad he’s leaving at the end of this season. Thank God the other simp, Sir Anthony Whatshisface, dumped Edith. She deserves better!

  135. 135
    rikyrah says:

    LMBAO at the suggestions..

    I SO want CARSON/MRS. HUGHES.

    oh yeah….

    FREE BATES

  136. 136
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    I think part of the appeal is the furry bum of Sir Robert’s yellow lab

    Dan Stevens, aka Matthew: (won’t link, as spoilers)

    Stevens’s affection for Downton is unmistakable – he generally tweets “Hound’s bum abbey time” as each episode starts, a reference to the dog’s bottom that opens the credits.

  137. 137
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Calouste:

    Minorities are mostly living in the cities (as that is where recent immigrants tend to end up) in the UK and rural countries like for example Somerset are 98-99% white.

    Friends of mine lived in the most villagey village slap on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. One street, two churches, three pubs. It had (and still has) a Chinese takeaway.

  138. 138
    snarkyspice says:

    @Nicole:

    Search ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’ on Youtube and watch Penelope Wilton as a young woman. She’s great!

  139. 139
    Ellyn says:

    My daughter is always telling me I should watch Dogbum Abbey because she knows I’ll like it. I haven’t gotten around to it yet but I’m still laughing at your post. You are so funny. If it’s half as amusing as you maybe I will watch it.

  140. 140
    Red from Texas says:

    @JGabriel:
    What about poor Daisy? She stuffs Mrs. Patmore in a Yorkshire pudding and takes over as Head Cook. And pitiful Lady Edith must be shat upon again somehow.

  141. 141
    Red from Texas says:

    @JGabriel:
    What about poor Daisy? She stuffs Mrs. Patmore in a Yorkshire pudding and takes over as Head Cook. And pitiful Lady Edith must be shat upon again somehow.

  142. 142
    Ecks says:

    The Downton were weird to read here in the UK, where we’ve already seen the full season. So many of those plot suggestions are no longer possible for so many reasons (it’s not a spoiler to say that sh*t changes a lot on that show over a season).

  143. 143

    I agree completely w/ the advice given i the original blog comment! AND we should see more of the dog!

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