I'll be honest. I just haven't been able to get into Downton Abbey. Every time I paused in front of the screen to catch a little bit of the show, all I saw was stiffly dressed British people mumbling over their dinners.
This makes me an insensitive lout, of course. By all accounts I should love Downton Abbey, as I fit most of the show's demographic: middle-aged, liberal, public television viewer, westsider. It would help if I were a woman, but guys I eat steak with watch the show, so that doesn't let me off the hook. I have friends -- male friends and Packer fans -- who love Downton Abbey. They're just more refined than me, more genteel gentlemen, real Renaissance guys, I guess.
So, on Sunday night with the premiere of season twenty (alright, it just feels that long to me), I sat down with Dianne to see if I could get through an entire episode and to try to understand what all the fuss was about. And... (spoilers ahead)...
Well, my main observation is that the woman whose husband was killed in a car crash at the end of last season looks just like Elizabeth McGovern, who is another character in the show. This makes things very confusing. Also, the last time I saw Elizabeth McGovern, she was playing the girlfriend of Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People, which was a movie about accidental death and failed suicide, and was slightly more uplifting than an episode of Downton Abbey.
I also observed that part of the plot last night had to do with who got eggs with their tea. I am not making this up.
In fairness, I watched the show right after the Packers game. With my adrenaline pumped after the team's narrow defeat, the show's tension over who was joining who for lunch on Friday at the Abbey just didn't stack up. Nanny West did get sacked, but that had nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers getting hit behind the line.
Anyway, after I got through an hour of this and was feeling pretty good about myself, it turned out that this was a two-hour show. It was like climbing Mount Everest only to learn that there was another mountain above the clouds.
I couldn't take it any more. With everyone at dinner at the Abbey mumbling to one another in eveningwear, I took the dog for a walk in the cold. I felt better.