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Friday, January 6, 2012

Hey, You: Watch Downton Abbey with Us!

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 12:30 PM


Amazing news, everyone! Downton Abbey, the only watchable best show on public television is back for its second season starting Sunday on PBS. The show follows the trials and tribulations of the lords, ladies, and servants of a fictional English estate at the end of the Edwardian era. Its creator, Gosford Park's Julian Fellowes, really struck gold, assembling the perfect cast of eccentrics, sluts, and straight-up sociopaths.

We're really obsessed.

If you didn't watch Season One, download rent it now. If you're too lazy, never fear. We've assembled a breakdown of what you missed and what you can look forward to. Watch with us, we promise* you won't regret it.

Season One began with the news of the sinking of the Titanic. Unfortunately, that news hit the Grantham Estate rather hard because the heir to their fortune and his son were on the boat. Of all the luck!

What happened that was important, by characters:


​• Lord Grantham, MASTER OF ALL HE SURVEYS: was kind; fair; missing a personality.

​• Lady Grantham, lady of the manor: was American; didn't discipline her daughters; miscarried (was the worst at acting on the show, according to Laura).

​• Lady Mary, eldest daughter: was beautiful but haughty but also misunderstood; slept with a fly Turkish dude WHO DIED IN HER BED (oops!); dithered over accepting the marriage proposal of her father's new heir, Matthew Crawley, who she at first hated but now loves, as is the way of television/movies/every medium that isn't real life.

​• Lady Edith, middle daughter: was drab; ignored and pitied by her family; seethed with jealousy of Lady Mary; exposed her sister's scandalous doings; crushed on Sir Anthony Strallan, an old old old (old!) widower.

​• Lady Sybil, youngest daughter: got a maid a job as a secretary; wore pantaloons; was political.

​• The Dowager Countess, the Dowager Countess: was amazing/awesome/perfect in every way; said things like, "quite right" and "indubitably, my good sir!" (actually not sure she says that but she absolutely should); used her biting wit to deliver many end-of-scene zingers, you do NOT want to be on her bad side.

​• Matthew "I'm just a lawyer from Manchester, which means I'm a dick to servants" Crawley, somehow a cousin to everyone on the show/Earth (we think we might be related to him): set to inherit everything from Downton, the title and estate and every penny of the Countess' American fortune. One of the ladies Crawley better marry that man!

​• Isobel Crawley, Matthew's mom and the The Dowager Countess' chief frenemy: worked as a nurse at local hospital; was self-righteous; smiled at inappropriate times/all times.

The Dowager Countess is all, "Hold my gloves, dear. I'm about to hulk out."
  • The Dowager Countess is all, "Hold my gloves, dear. I'm about to hulk out."

​• Mr. Bates, Lord Grantham's Valet: had a TERRIBLE SECRET; fell on his face; fell in love with maid Anna; was The Most Noble; was human Eeyore; had scabby legs.

​• O'Brien, Lady Grantham's Lady Maid (a real job): conspired with Thomas to get Bates fired; thought she was being replaced so accidentally on purpose caused Lady Grantham's miscarriage, and felt really guilty about it, especially when -- TWIST -- she discovered she wasn't being replaced, and that her act of vengeance was for naught; had inexplicably ugly hairstyle. (Thomas failed her!)

​• Thomas, a footman: was a conniving dick and not-very-secret homosexual; before he could be punished by Carson and Lord Grantham for stealing, he finagled his way into the Medical Corp.

Carson, HBiC.
  • Carson, HBiC.

​• Carson, Butler: loved buttling, and Lady Mary -- not like, sexually but as a daddy. Ugh, never mind.

​• Mrs. Patmore, Head Cook: was going blind until Lord Grantham paid for her surgery; now she can see!

​• Anna, maid to the girls and the person who does pretty much everything for everyone: was kind, selfless, adorable; fell in love with the human Eeyore.

​• Daisy, kitchen maid: good-hearted pubescent dummy; hayseed; Mrs. Patmore's punching bag.

​• Branson, chauffeur: hated chauffeuring rich assholes around; was Che Guevara in a jaunty cap; totally fell in love with Lady Sybil.

​• William, another footman: was dopey; ugly; sweet; in love with Daisy.

Season One ended with announcement of the start of World War I.

Things we're curious about in Season Two:


​• What will happen between Lady Mary and cousin Matthew? Will they ever find love, or has her inexcusable dithering/boinking the Turk ruined things between them?

​• Will Lady Sybil continue her "bettering the servants" project? Will she join the Lady Cyclists' Association and become a dangerous velocipedestrienne?

​• Will Lady Edith continue to take out her middle child's grudge against Lady Mary as bitchily as possible? Will she find love in the withered arms (so old!) of Sir Anthony Strallan (SO OLD!), or has Lady Mary fucked that up for good? Will she get a nose job? ​Were those even around then? We mean, not in a back-alley and with a hangar, although, anything is worth a shot. JK, her nose is total character.

​• Will Cousin Isobel and the Dowager Countess come to blows, or whatever the wealthy older English lady equivalent of "blows" is?


​• Will William successfully woo Daisy, who is 12 and clearly not ready for love beyond harboring a ridiculous crush on an obviously gay asshole?

​• Will said asshole (Thomas) wait out the war in the safety of the Medical Corp, or have to face Big Bertha on the front?

​• Will Branson get to forbidden love/hit that ("that" = Lady Sybil)?

​• Will Mr. Bates and Anna find happiness in each other's arms?

​• Will the servants continue being snobbier than their employers, HO HO WHAT IRONY. Class war at its finest!

Bates smiles. This will be the only time you will see this man smile in eight episodes.
  • Bates smiles. This will be the only time you will see this man smile in eight episodes.
Tune in Sunday at 9 p.m. on KQED-TV for Downton Abbey, and then return here on Monday so that we can bookclub the S outta this B. Let us, Laura and Meave, a duo of obsessive, depressive spinsters with a penchant for period soaps and eating, be your personal valets on this journey through time. If you care to embrace the full viewing pleasure along with us, we suggest you stock up on enough snacks to feed an infantry so that we may all become two-bus-seats fat in the process. Until then, feel free to leave any questions, comments, or scathing criticism à la the DC -- we'll just be here eating and eating and clutching our matching Lady Mary knotted pearl necklace and earring sets and eating. Cheerio!

The Dowager Countess reads up on "socially correct insults for distant relations."
  • The Dowager Countess reads up on "socially correct insults for distant relations."

*We take our promises very lightly.

Laura Beck and Meave Gallagher are ladies and writers living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow Laura on Twitter at mrpenguino, follow @ExhibitionistSF on Twitter and like The Exhibitionist on Facebook.

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