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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Downton Abbey

You may have guessed that, eventually, I would get sucked into the vortex that is Downton Abbey.  Come on, it is freezing outside.  There is, like, a foot of snow.  The dog won't go out there and the kids could get frostbite.

So, I have some free time on my hands.

Besides, I can't take all of the lies, betrayals, scandals and drama that currently exist in this country.

Of course, that makes me want to traipse across the pond for some lies, betrayals, scandals and drama in jolly old England!  What better way to dish up dirt than to serve it with tea, crumpets and clotted cream?

Why are Americans so in love with this show?

Why?  In a world where anything goes - why would anyone be interested in a world where nothing goes.

In a society where manners are seen as bourgeoisie, why would anyone watch a show where impeccable manners are the foundation for the world?

Downton Abbey is the tale of Robert, the Earl of Grantham, his American heiress wife and their 3 daughters.  The story begins with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.  Having no sons, the earl's considerable estate, including the mansion (Downton Abbey) are all entailed away to a cousin, Patrick.  The home and all of its inhabitants, both upstairs and down are thrown into complete turmoil  because Patrick perished on that fateful ship.

Downton has survived the war, scandal, several marriages and near marriages, a few deaths and I am currently somewhere in 1921.

When we currently have everything, can get anything, have been sexually liberated and live in freedom, what would draw people to a place that is just the opposite?  Ruin and destitute poverty lurk at every door, for everyone.

Of course, it is fascinating to see that some of the nobility are just that, noble.  Meanwhile, their most faithful and loyal servants seem, well, just as noble.  They literally give up their entire lives for service to the noble family.  In fact, England's aristocracy couldn't have existed without this invisible servant class.  It is very interesting to study that time in history.

But, why does it strike such a chord with American audiences at this time in OUR history?

Could it be that living without the parameters of a moral code isn't exactly as liberating as our hippie friends thought it would be?

Is "anything goes" really the recipe for freedom and happiness or just the opposite?  Since we have thrown aside morals, values and religion are we better off?  Or, do we really wish that we could transport back to a time when virtue meant something, when honesty meant everything, when the world, well, made sense because there was a clear meaning of right and wrong?

I don't know.  Do you?