Because I've never been a big fan of rules, waiting in line (queue)...that kind of thing, I have a method of watching Downton on my prefered, British, schedule as opposed to sitting it out until the American round. (Because Americans can't have nice things, right McC?) And so, tonight, Series 3 of Downton kicked off and I think it's going to be the best season ever.
Are there still limp turkey lines courtesy of Julian Fellowes? You bet. ("My dear, I am so happy, I am so happy, that I fear my chest might explode.")
Are there still terribly inconvenient tragedies and far-too-convenient work arounds to those problems? You bet. Is Fellowes still using obstinance from ALL characters as a primary source of dramatic drive? Oh, you know it. What would Downton even BE without people making their lives harder unnecessarily? But that's what makes it so wonderful!
I don't want to give too many spoilers in here, but I think the MVPs of the premiere were Matthew (duh) specifically for the solidarity he showed in making Branson his Best Man, Branson for getting accidentally drugged and for talking Matthew out of yet another idiotic snafu in his relationship with Mary. Sleeper MVP: Sir Anthony Strallen. Way to come to Branson's aid.
Before I roll out on Downton until next week, let's address the big ticket draw of this season: the Maclaine. I was looking forward to Miss Shirley's arrival as much as the next gal/gay/etc. I loved her lines, but her delivery left something to be desired por moi. LOVED her costumes though and her high maintenance, modern needs-- goat cheese! nothing in the marrow family! Brills!
Here's my question. While the real Maclaine is of Scottish (well, Nova Scotian!) extraction on her mother's side and her father was Jewish, her character is Martha Levinson...I've sort of avoided bringing it up until now, but apparently I'm not the only one to raise an eyebrow. While I can believe an Earl at the time might marry one of my American brethren (Esp. the beauteous Elizabeth McGovern-- forever seared on my impressionable child psyche as Snow White from the Shelley Duvall Fairy Tale Theatre of my youth. Vanessa Redgrave was the evil queen. Vincent Price is the narrator/mirror! I am still deeply scarred in a fabulous way from this. [PS- Iona, you look like a young Shelley Duvall. Finally figured that out. Amazing.]) I have a much (read: impossible) time believing he would (or Violet would LET HIM) marry a Jewish American.
But apparently, the whole shpiel is based on the real life wife of Lord Curzon, so there's a precedent, and you'll hear no complaints from me about having a few more of my fave New York Jews around the Downters. There's a reason why when people do their impersonation of me, it pretty much always includes a "Mazel Tov" (and also, L'shanah tovah, people!) in there.
And in a way, it's nice. It feels like it's bringing my two worlds together: the New Yorkers and poshy Brits. It makes the missing of these last two years of my life a little easier. And a little harder too. Welcome Back, Downters. Keep the hits on comin'.