Downton Abbey - Season 4 on PBS

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    437
    Random favorite things from this week:

    Isobel's bouquet from the gentleman being bigger than Violet's. Wonderful!

    Isobel now has a second gentleman romantically interested in her. If one of Mary's trio drops out of the race, Isobel will move into a tie with Mary for the number of suitors.

    I had thought that all of Edith's earth tone dresses of coral, peach, green, etc. couldn't be beaten, but the blue dress and hat she wore to lunch at Violet's were stunning.

    Two really beautiful scenes: The simplicity of the scene of Edith and Violet in their lovely dresses sitting among all the flowers in Violet's garden was a wonderful contrast to the grand beauty of the setting of Mary's lunch with Tony.

    Okay, I'm a sap: During the bazaar, my eyes filled up when I thought about the similar scenes from season one's garden party in which Sybil, William, and Matthew were all in attendance.

    I love any scene with Mr. Mason and Daisy.

    Likewise, the scenes with Mr. Molesley and Miss Baxter were very charming.
     
  2. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2001
    Messages:
    17,512
    Further to our discussion about sewing and servant duties, I was inspired (and Olympicked out) to rewatch Gosford Park for the eleventy billionth time last night. I started with the BTS interviews etc and director Robert Altman explained something interesting.

    He said that the actors in the downstairs parts knew their roles far better than he did. They had all done their research, and were working closely with the on-set consultants (a group of 80somethings who had all been in service in the 30s). All he was concerned with were making sure the key plot points were captured, but otherwise they did their thing. He said he never wanted them to just "look busy" as we are so often seeing on Downton. Instead, the effect is rich with detail - while the dialogue and action are going on, we also see the multitude of tasks performed by each servant, as well as the details of their personal lives in the house.

    Interestingly too, as fans know it's essentially from the servants point of view - the upstairs characters are rarely seen without a servant present and watching everything, and the servants are constantly gossiping with one another. There's not a lot of that on Downton - the servants get all wrapped up in their own dramas, but aside from Barrow and a few other odd examples, they don't spend much time talking about what's going on upstairs (and really, would Carson and Mrs Hughes allow it? :lol:). At any rate, it's like we have two separate stories running most of the time, and it would be nice to see more integration of plot lines beyond the upstairs men dallying with the downstairs women.
     
  3. Impromptu

    Impromptu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2001
    Messages:
    1,475
    I'm more surprised that they didn't have a sewing machine around prior to 1922 (that's when this season is taking place, right?). Howe patented the machine in the mid 1800s, and home sewing machines had been available since 1889, and was in wide use by the turn of the century.
     
  4. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,092
    Well, Downton has always been rather slow to embrace technology and progress. :D And after all, they'd only just had electricity installed in 1912 when the series began.

    But more importantly, while the machine would be an asset in a middle class home where they might make a lot of their own clothes, or in lower class homes where it would be a source of income ... how much use would it really have in a house like Downton? I could see it being used by the servants for their own clothing, but there's no way that any of the upstairs clothes are made by Baxter or any other maids or valets. Nor is it the suitable tool for most of the maintenance/repairs the maids and valets are needing to do -- that kind of work can only be done by hand.
     
  5. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,733
    She had her moments, though. I remember her being all happy and chipper when she showed up in the harem pants.

    (I know I'm the only one in the world who thinks this, but the harem pants were silly-looking to me. :scream: )
     
  6. jadingirl

    jadingirl Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2003
    Messages:
    118
    I was wondering where they filmed that lunch scene with Mary and Tony. I was thinking it might by the Orangery in Kensington Gardens since they were suppose to be in London.

    DOes anyone know?
     
  7. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Messages:
    3,268
    Twitter:

    :D

    EDIT:

     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  8. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2001
    Messages:
    17,512
    That was my thought too - I haven't been there, but with the garden outside I thought it might be. Check out these Google images.
     
  9. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,092
    It's certainly similar in proportions and the implied garden setting, but I don't think it has that dome / glass ceiling or the pillars like the restaurant used in the episode.

    I was thinking maybe one of those restaurants in Covent Garden but I'm not sure that's right either.
     
  10. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,092
    Just called up the episode on my computer, and they don't match. The restaurant used has round white pillars interspersed throughout the room, and a glass ceiling.
     
  11. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,092
    Found it! I freakin' love image search: it's the Great Conservatory at Syon Park.

    I'm not surprised it's not a regular restaurant. Much easier for filming that way, and stately homes are more eager for the location fee than restaurants would be.

    They need to update their website though: no mention of Downton Abbey in their "filming locations" link, you'd think they'd want to get right on that for the tourism boost.
     
  12. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2001
    Messages:
    17,512
    Well done Artemis :)
     
  13. jadingirl

    jadingirl Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2003
    Messages:
    118
    Thanks Artemis!
     
  14. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,092
    You're welcome. It was a fun little bit of internet detective work, involving doing a screencap from the video, uploading that to Google image search, spelunking through a few comments threads til I found one that named the location, then searching that location to verify it. :cool:
     
  15. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,733
    I jumped a little when I read that. Somehow (I can be extremely slow on the uptake) it never hit me till now. Mary and Tony were my grandparents' names.

    Now I guess I know which couple I have to root for. :lol:
     
  16. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    437
    One thing I found quite ridiculous in this episode is Tom referring to Cora as another "beast of burden." It would have been one thing if he said she was a nice person/mother-in-law/grandmother, but a beast of burden? This is a woman who doesn't comb her hair, or, evidently, even wrap her own towel around her upon getting out of the bath. The Crawleys are the complete opposites of beasts of burden.
     
  17. znachki

    znachki Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    774
    He was trying to make a point to Socialist Sarah, given her comments regarding the gentry.
     
  18. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,092
    ^ Yes, that's how I interpreted it too.

    Sort of like "no one gets to beat up my brother but me."
     
  19. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,405
    Sarah made the suggestion that the family was using Tom as a beast of burden. When Cora came along carrying things, he astutely pointed out (in a joking way) that Cora was a beast of burden through her hard work organizing the bazaar. It was definitely not a diss towards Cora, but a way to show Sarah that her view of the wealthy Granthams was not completely fair.
     
  20. Latte

    Latte Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,163
    Oh, too bad. I was wanting to pair him with Daisy.
     
  21. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Messages:
    3,268
    When I see the interaction between Tom and Sarah I get a very Pride and Prejudice vibe. Does anyone else feel this?
     
  22. JasperBoy

    JasperBoy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Messages:
    3,068
    Exactly right
     
  23. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    437
    See, I don't think he was joking. And I agree with you that he was trying to point out to Sarah that her view was unfair. I just happen to disagree with Tom's opinion on this. Cora is not, even under the wildest stretch of the imagination, a beast of burden. Tom might be growing closer to the Crawley family, and might think that they have a lot of good points, but largely they do not "do" anything, particularly Cora.

    I think his reply to Sarah calling him a beast of burden would have been more effective if he had simply said "Oh, I don't mind carrying these chairs," or "I offered to help." In other words, his better argument would have been to say that he was not a beast of burden, rather than to argue that Cora was one. I find the former quite reasonable, and the latter quite unreasonable.

    (This exchange was one of those times that I feel as though Downton Abbey is trying to push the idea on us that the aristocracy didn't have it so easy. And I wholeheartedly disagree. They weren't called the "leisure class" for nothing, and having Cora carry one tray of flowers does nothing to change the fact that her life was one of incredible leisure.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  24. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    30,876
    i get no vibe from her or them as a couple. she's super plain and not at all interesting to me. cast prettier people and stop repeating names so i can find their wikis!
     
  25. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    437
    Can you explain a little more, because I don't see what you mean. Mr. Darcy was very haughty, where Tom is not. And I find Sarah more outspoken than Elizabeth. But I may be missing something.
     
  26. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,092
    ^ There's a teeny tiny connection in that Sarah has made judgments about Tom (and about the whole Crawley family) based on her personal prejudices ...
     
  27. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    437
    Ah, now I see what you mean. So Sarah is Darcy. Gotcha!

    By the way, I find Sarah's views to be extemely close to what Tom's views were in season one. I like Tom, but if he is finding her to be too judgmental, he needs to look a bit in the mirror. (And it was only 2 years ago that he was present at both the planning and the execution of an act of arson on the aristocracy in Ireland.)
     
  28. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,476
    Or Lizzie--they both make judgments based on their prejudices (Lizzie finds Darcy proud, she's prejudiced against him, which predisposes her to favor outright cad Wickham.) In any case I'm with MLP, boring, judgmental (but somehow able to afford a car that for the era should probably be out of her budget) not especially pretty or interesting.
     
  29. JasperBoy

    JasperBoy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Messages:
    3,068
     
  30. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,405
    But he is looking in the mirror. The whole theme for Tom this season is that he's a man without a country (metaphorically speaking). When he looks in the mirror, he's not sure what he sees anymore. His roots are socialism, but his marriage into the Grantham family has changed him to some degree, and he's no longer the unapologetic anarchist he was in Season 1.