Posts Tagged ‘Downton Abbey’

Downton Abyss

Posted in General on October 31st, 2013 by Eugene Finerman – 5 Comments



Carson entered the drawing room with the embarrassing news, “My Lord and Ladies, I am afraid that Enrico Caruso is dead in Lady Mary’s bed.”

“Not another!” complained the Earl.

“Really, Robert,  it is just a hobby and only once a month” consoled Lady Cora.

“And Mr. Caruso would make quite a trophy” added the Dowager Countess.

“Oh, it is quite a collection now.  Theodore Roosevelt, two years ago.  Last year, Amedeo Modigliani.  The Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, seven years ago.  I have to wonder if blaming Serbia was really such a clever idea.”

Lady Cora nodded, “It was extra work for the chauffeur.”

But the Dowager dismissed the doubts.  “I imagine that Mr. Caruso and the others all died much happier than the thousands of grouse you’ve killed.”

The Earl was not yet placated.  “But all these macabre deaths might distress the servants.”

“Not at all, your lordship” assured Carson, “An extra orange at Christmas should suffice.”

“Thank you, Carson” smiled the Earl, “but still this behavior of our daughter…”

“Daughter?” wondered Lady Cora.  “Why would you think that?”

“A young woman here, unbearably arrogant.  Of course, she is our daughter.”

“Family, yes” corrected his mother.  She knew this conversation was long overdue.  “But when do you recall meeting Mary?”

“Well, I was never one to pry in other people’s lives.  Perhaps it was at her debut, ten years ago?”

“No, it was closer to 45 years ago, at my grandmother’s funeral.  I introduced you to a lady who I said was my grandmother’s great-aunt.  Of course, I was lying.”

“Obviously” laughed the Earl.  “The woman would have been 150 years old.”

His mother agreed. “Yes, Lady Mary hasn’t been 150 years old since the 13th century.  When Downton Abbey was an abbey.  Don’t you recall the legend of a demonic abbess?”

“Is Lady Mary a vampyre?” wondered the Earl.

“A vampyre?  Somebody went to Cambridge.    Carson, tell us: did any of the corpses have bites on their neck?”

“Not on the neck, your ladyship.”

“Quite right.  Lady Mary is a succubus, which is as sordid as it sounds.”

“Cora, you knew a medieval monster was living under our roof?”

“Mary has always been gracious to me.  She even offered me the corpses to make matzoh.”

“Shouldn’t someone warn Mary’s husband?  Isn’t Matthew in danger?”

“Really, Robert.  Matthew is an Englishman.  Whether Mary is a patriot or a gourmet, she is not interested.”

“So, we will do nothing, mother?”

‘It has been our tradition for 800 years.”

 Lady Mary

Next week, Mary hires a new lady’s maid:  Wallis Simpson.

Downton Autopsy

Posted in General on February 18th, 2013 by Eugene Finerman – 5 Comments

Buckingham Palace announced today that Matthew Crawley will receive a state funeral and his body interred in Westminster Abbey.  The awkward fact that the late Mr. Crawley is a fictitious character on the soap opera “Downton Abbey” did not alter the Queen’s declaration of public mourning.  A Palace Spokesman (actually Prince Philip) explained, “Princess Di wasn’t all that real, either.”

In Parliament, there was debate regarding  Crawley’s death in a traffic accident.  The government promised to put a memorial stoplight at the site of the accident.  That failed to placate the public outrage.  Noting that worse things have occurred at the BBC, such as a staff comprised of KGB moles, Prime Minister Cameron did concede that the plot twist was outrageously stupid.  If anyone could come up with a better ending, the Prime Minster asked for suggestions.

Here is what members of Parliament, passing tourists and the cafeteria staff recommended…

The death most in keeping with Lady Mary’s character: After a successful mating with her husband, she beheads him.

The death most enjoyable to Labour voters:  A servant insurrection, of course.  Matthew holds off the scythe-wielding footmen while the rest of the aristocracy escapes.

The death most enjoyable to Tory voters:  Matthew is assassinated by Mohandas Gandhi.

The death most comprehensible to an American audience: While playing cricket, Matthew is bored to death.

The death most convenient for other British series:  The time machine of Doctor Who lands on Matthew.

The death with the best marketing possibilities:  Downtown Abbey merges with Boardwalk Empire.  It turns out that Lady Cora’s brother is Meyer Lansky.  Matthew apparently has a hunting accident with a Tommy Gun, although the quick marriage of Lady Mary with Al Capone raises some questions.  (HBO insists that Maggie Smith do nude scenes–but she still will look better than Lena Dunham.)



Remembrances of Series Past

Posted in General on February 9th, 2012 by Eugene Finerman – 3 Comments

I don’t watch “Downton Abbey.”  Yes, I suppose that I am betraying my stereotype:  the history-infatuated, vicariously-social climbing Anglophile.  But bear in mind that I am also monogamous.  Nearly forty years ago, the young Eugene gave his heart and some 50 hours of his Sunday nights to “Upstairs, Downstairs” which basically is the same story of “Downton Abbey”:  a rich portrait of the classes and characters of a household that was a microcosm of early 20th century Britain.  The servants were often worse snobs than the aristocrats.  In the first season, the housemaid Rose bossed around some old gentleman who got in her way.  Fortunately, Edward VII was very good-natured.  This is not suggest that the “Upstairs” class was consistently warm and lovable.  When Lady Majorie died on the Titanic, I was surprised; encountering her, the iceberg should have succumbed to frostbite.  Her son James was a fatuous, callous rake.  One of the tragedies of the Great War was his surviving it.  (Corporal Hitler missed his chance at a good deed.)  Alastair Cooke, the host of Masterpiece Theatre, opined that Captain James might have justified a Bolshevik coup.  Alas, the closest thing to social justice was a blackmailing chauffeur, a charming rogue named Thomas.  Yes, four decades later, I have yet to forgive or forget.

So, what can “Downton Abbey” offer me?  First love only happens once.

p.s.  Let’s not forget the historic significance of this day: