Now is as a good time as ever to confess my hopeless addiction to Downton Abbey. I began my love affair with the show last year when curiosity led me to watch an episode from season three. Obviously I was late in the game to get started. Peter watched with me the following week. We were both hooked. Here and there we would watch reruns of older episodes and started craving more. We recently ordered season one and two and have torn through an enticing catch-up on all the characters and their intertwined stories. At this point, I’m so addicted that I can hardly wait for season four in January.
Why do I love this show so much? It’s everything – the lavish surroundings, the costuming, the period of time in history and all of its challenges. Not to mention the heartbreak, excitement, secrecy, and frustration you can’t help but feel with the injustice of a rigid class system. One scene after the next, I am tossed into a wave of emotion ranging from bliss to despair…I love it and hate it all at once. Mostly I think most it is relatable on a human level – the bittersweet happenings we all experience in the journey of life. And how we choose to cope with the good and the bad.
I loved the monochromatic wardrobing on season three’s finale.
I am crazy for the detail interior and exterior shots…right down to the beginning of brass service bells ringing against the chalky black backdrop. I’m particularly obsessed with all the library shots and Lord Grantham’s dark and cozy English dressing room. I’m always distracted with Lord Grantham’s room during those dreary scenes of him blubbering about with his valet.
Everything on the set is designed to reflect the styles in that period of history, right down to the shades of paint. I read this article which discussed and revealed Downton’s interior paint colors. They can be found here. The kitchen is a murky green/grey, which was a popular shade during that time.
I think the shade Equestrian Grey by Benjamin Moore would be a lovely modern day kitchen color – quite an appropriate name. It’s right in line with the tones in the Downton kitchen.
Sometimes all of the beauty from the sets and costumes makes my head nearly burst. Such as this glorious pheasant hunting scene when Lady Mary could barely manage the presence of her then fiance, Sir Richard Carlisle. Meanwhile, Matthew was looking more dapper than ever.
English countryside scenes with equines and fields of green? Total PERFECTION.
After I went back and watched the first two seasons, my feelings about Lady Mary changed. My heart broke for Matthew, and my disdain for O’Brien and Thomas intensified to a blood-boiling level. Countess Violet continued to amuse me, Lady Sybil’s stand impressed me, and Carson proved he is a man of propriety and virtue. Lord Grantham shocked me, Lady Grantham irritated me, and Lady Edith horrified me with her behavior spawned from viscous sibling rivalry. So far I can’t seem to get into the romance of Anna and Bates – adore her to pieces but not him so much. They seem so mismatched. Note: I am furious with the ending of season three, cannot even discuss! Oh Matthew…
A different world…
Although the storyline is fiction, it is all the more fascinating to watch knowing it takes place in a real period of history. At that time there was such an intense awareness of one’s mortality – almost a vulnerability faced day to day. The first World War and its aftermath followed by the Spanish flu taking the lives of many, to name only a few. While there were certainly scandals (as in any human dealings), the overall culture had a tone of responsibility and honor that was tied to one’s identity. Your word was your honor. And you had to be patient on so many levels; from writing and awaiting letters as a means of communication (versus texting) to reading books or playing an instrument by the fireside for entertainment (instead of cracking out on electronics). Manners and decorum were of upmost importance…something I’m afraid we don’t see much of today.
I’ve enjoyed using the imaginary world of Downton as a luxurious reprieve from my daily obligations and demands. It’s fun plopping on the sofa with husband after the kids are down – we usually enjoy it with a tray of tea and biscuits. My somewhat primitive attempt at proper English style ; )
Apparently Downton has become such a hit that they are now launching a whole beauty line this month for a U.K. company called Mark & Spencer. Who knew? One of their products, a lipgloss set.
For those of you who know Downton inside and out who also happen to enjoy spoofs, I found this hilarious video and nearly lost bladder control from laughing so hard. Sorry in advance – there’s a 15 second commercial in the beginning, just click on the image below then click on the video when you are redirected – it does not disappoint!
Any thoughts you’d like to share about Downton Abbey? Do you have a favorite character?