Dear “Downton Abbey” (January 28)

Dear Downton Abbey,

Hey.  Sorry I didn’t get in touch with you sooner.  Yesterday was kind of crazy.  I was going to write to you when I got home from work, but life had other plans.  You know the song by The Rolling Stones called “You Got the Silver”?  It’s a great song.  It’s a really, really great song.  Keith sings it.  And he’s incredible.  And every time I hear the song, it’s like I’m hearing it for the first time.  I hear it over and over again and, somehow, I discover it over and over again.  I notice things that I didn’t previously notice.  There’s a lot going on in the song, and yet, it’s so very, very simple.  It’s simple rock and roll.  And it’s perfect.  So perfect and so comforting and so exciting that it’ll make ya tune out the world and drive right into a concrete curb.  Was it even a curb?  It didn’t really look like it was serving much of a purpose — it was a very, very short wall in the middle of a parking lot.  I didn’t see it.  And I drove right into it.  And for a moment I didn’t realize why my car was suddenly no longer moving because the whole thing happened while I was busy losing myself to “You Got the Silver.”  That’s why I didn’t contact you last night.  Sorry.

The point I’m slowly getting to, Downton, is this: I would rather listen to “You Got the Silver” on a loop for an hour than watch Sunday’s episode ever again.  It wasn’t The Worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it was among the most unremarkable things I’ve ever seen…which, when ya think about it, is worse than being The Worst.

Downton, why were you in such a hurry to get rid of Edna, the evil maid?  By the second episode of the season, you already had her do the exact thing we were afraid she’d do — screw Branson’s brains out.  Oh, Downton, we really didn’t want that to happen.  Why?  Because we, unlike you, still care about Sybil.  We care about Sybil so much that we didn’t want her lovely widowed husband to screw anyone who isn’t absolutely amazing.  He did, though.  He did screw someone who isn’t absolutely amazing.  He screwed Edna.  And almost immediately after we realized that our nightmare had come true, Edna was out of the picture.   Gone.  She’s gone.  The villain of the season — or the character we were made to believe would be the villain of the season — is a non-motherfuckin’ factor.  Yes.  Mrs. Hughes had her taken care of faster than you can say, “Take the cannoli.”

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source: pbs.org

So, now that Edna is gone, what does that leave us with?  What did Sunday’s episode feature?  Let’s see what I can remember.

Thomas is walking around smirking at people and making vague little threats that never go anywhere.  Weren’t he and Edna kind of becoming friends?  Remember when they ruined Lady Grantham’s scarf (or something) and blamed it on Anna?  See, that storyline is over now, because you got rid of Edna, and Thomas isn’t really following up on it.   You can do better than that, can’t you?  Thomas used to kidnap dogs, for heaven’s sake.

The tall, freckled kid wants to be a chef but didn’t pass his test.  Big whoop.  (By the way, that scene was completely bizarre.  All of a sudden I was watching a boring episode of Top Chef.  Don’t do that again.)

There’s a new Lady’s Maid (“Baxter”) who knows how to use an electric sewing machine.  We don’t care.

Branson doesn’t feel at home at Downton (still) and is talking about moving to New York.  If this actually happens, then the series is actually over.  You know that, right?

The two boring young people who flirt in the kitchen still occasionally flirt in the kitchen.  Either have them screw or kill them off.

Speaking of screwing, Edith is pregnant, right?  And there’ll be scandal?  And she’ll move to Germany?  And become a Nazi?  And then the show will get interesting again?  Really, for whatever reason — maybe because it’s such a hackneyed, predictable, boring device — I don’t care if Edith is pregnant.  Chances are, you don’t either.  You’ll find a way to minimize the impact of an unwanted pregnancy and a few episodes from now it will be as if none of this ever happened.

Really, Downton, I feel like you’ve forgotten everything that’s happened in previous seasons.  Remember how you spent two years telling us over and over again that Mr. Bates isn’t a murderer?  Remember how Anna kept telling us over and over that Mr. Bates isn’t a murderer?  Why, then, is Anna convinced that Mr. Bates — the “innocent” victim who definitely did not kill his ex-wife — will definitely find and kill the scumbag who violated her?

Just please don’t put Mr. Bates in jail again.  Please please please please please.  Or, if you have to, please don’t have Anna work tirelessly every single day to bust him out.  Please please please please please.

Finally, and least excitingly, there’s all the stuff about The Farm.  Nobody cares, Downton.  Really.  Nobody cares.  Well, ok, Lady Mary cares sometimes, so sometimes she says things like, “The Fahhhm. We cahhn’t affohd it.  Pa’paaaah is soo old fashioned.”

Seriously Downton, when I wasn’t rolling my eyes at Anna and Bates or yawning about Edith’s ominous uterus or falling asleep during Top Chef, I felt like I was watching The Godfather Part II.  And not the good stuff.

 

To be specific, I felt like I was watching all the exposition scenes in Cuba.  Not the good stuff that happens in Cuba…

…I’m talkin’ more along the lines of all the business stuff that doesn’t end up really mattering because what really matters is the stuff going on between Michael and Fredo…

Ya know.  That stuff.  The stuff that makes ya go, “Wait, what’s the suitcase full a money?  Who’s running for President?  Hold on, why are they in Cuba?”  Ya know why those scenes in The Godfather Part II are still more amusing than the sheep farm scenes in Sunday’s episode?  It’s because I care enough about what’s happening in Michael Corleone’s life to find out what else is gonna happen while he’s in Cuba.  I can’t really say the same for Lord and Lady Grantham and Lady Mary and Lady Edith.  What are they doing?  Do I care about their farm?  Are they good people?  Are they interesting people?  I can’t tell anymore.

The point I’m slowly getting to, Downton, is this: I would rather watch The Godfather Part Two on a loop for an entire day than watch Sunday’s episode ever again.  It wasn’t The Worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it was among the most unremarkable things I’ve ever seen…which, when ya think about it, is worse than being The Worst.

Hey.  When something works, it just works.  “You Got the Silver” works.  The Godfather Part II works.  When I saw you on Sunday night, nothin’ really worked for me.  Sorry.

I’ll still see you next week.  Same time, same place.  Do me one favor, though?  Would you please let Maggie Smith talk this time?  I’m really starting to miss her.

See ya.

Steff

P.S.

Take a lesson from The Stones.  Keep It Simple.

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