Downton Abbey--Upstairs/Downstairs, Stiff Upper Lips, and Tea!

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Matryeshka, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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  2. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    I don't actually dislike Lady Mary. She is a fundamentally decent person; her kindness to Lavinia and her decision to take the high road show this. At the same time, I do find her insufferable at times. First off, she IS very spoiled. Second, she doesn't know what she wants.

    She was very snobbish to Matthew when he and his mother first arrived at Downton Abbey. I understand that she felt pressured and none to happy about the position her family was putting her in. However, someone with her supposed "good breeding" should know better than to be rude to a guest in her home. As she got to know Matthew better she began to appreciate his good qualities but then her snobbishness kicked in again and she decided that a mere lawyer wasn't good enough for her being that she's an earl's daughter.:rolleyes:

    As I wrote above, Mary doesn't know what she wants. So she flits from Matthew, to that Duke who was more interested in her inheritance than her, to that Viscount, then to Sir Richard Carlisle. She even flirted with Strallan, though more to make her sister jealous than out of any genuine interest. If she isn't careful she'll let her chances to make a good marriage slip by because she can't make up her mind.
  3. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Well, by the standards of the day, if Matthew doesn't inherit it really is a horrific mismatch. Though at this point Sir Richard's really worse--marrying the middle class is one thing, marrying the crass nouveau-riche scandal-monger? At this point, inheritance aside, Matthew could at least claim honorable officer with combat experience for status.

    At this point, the one who really needs to get over herself is Cora where Matthew's mother is concerned. Is she threatened by her being medically trained and more assertive? Not to mention she's approaching too dumb to live status where O'Brien is concerned...
  4. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Assertiveness is one thing, and Matthew's mother means well, but she just steamrolls over everyone/thing in her path. :scream:
  5. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    A very good friend of mine got me Season 1 as a Christmas present because he loved it so much....I have yet to watch it - maybe I will start this weekend.
  6. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

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    That's my opinion as well. Even if I invited them into my home, if someone came into my house, took over a number of my rooms, commandeered my family AND staff and I had no say in absolutely anything that was going on, I'd be all up in arms, too.
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  7. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    It's a WAR. They were free to say no to the Major (who had final say), and look like unpatrioic, unsupportive jerk aristocrats in the process. Cora's in no way qualified to run a county-fair chicken-cleaning contest, never mind a convalesent home for severely wounded and shell-shocked soldiers, so why SHOULD she be in charge? Plus, as a part of why she said yes appeared to be purely to spite the Dowager and remind her who was running the show now, she asked for it.
  8. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Nobody said anything about Cora running everything. Matthew's mother sould at least give the family a head's up on certain things before just plowing ahead with them. :rolleyes:
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  9. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    Yeah, I get the mismatch part. However, Mary needs to decide if she wants to do what social mores dictate or if she wants to be happy. Both may not come in the same package. As for Sir Richard, yep he's a piece of work. Mary needs to be careful with him because, unlike her other suitors, he's not going to dance to her tune.
  10. AshleyN

    AshleyN Well-Known Member

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    This is from a couple of days ago, but I think the biggest reason she didn't accept him right away was because she wanted to tell him about him about the Pamuk thing first (which, if you remember, her mother and grandmother both thought was a terrible idea). I always assumed the reason she stayed behind in London after her family went back to Downton was because she was trying to put off telling him the truth. It was after that that they found out about the pregnancy, which of course added another complication to the matter.

    Also, just to add to the conversation from the last few days, I'll just say that Mary is my favourite character, but I seem to have a thing for polarizing female characters - Mary here, Rachel from Glee, Deb from Dexter. I just think, particularly in the first season, she's the most complex, fascinating character on the show. I don't mind that she's not always likeable - actually, that's part of the reason I like her so much. For example, someone like Sybil is great and all, but a little too perfect to really grab me as a character.

    Also, as had been said before, Michelle Dockery is so, so great in the role. Along with Maggie Smith (of course) she's the highlight of a really terrific cast for me.


    Also, I couldn't resist and went ahead and watched Season 2 online and
    I might have squealed a little at the end of the Christmas Special. God, I just want those two crazy kids to work it out.
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  11. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Social mores, and substantially different financial circumstances. Movies like to make it seem like happiness trumps radical differences in upbringing, but it really, really doesn't as a rule (look at the sheer amount of training Kate Middleton got.) If Matthew really were just a lawyer, it's not likely Mary is going to really be capable of dealing with being a middle-class wife. (Is it likely Sibyl is the only daughter who has no idea how to fill a tea kettle or bake a cake? Edith had likely never done five minutes of manual labor before the farm.) Though of course at this point, there's no question he's not going to be Lord Grantham some day now Cora's really past childbearing, assuming he lives through the war, of course.

    Not saying anything re Sir Richard, I read the spoilers....
  12. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Hear, hear! :cheer2: I hate her intros. I've hated them since her absolutely wretched intro to Little Dorrit.
  13. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Yeah. I watched it about 4 hours after it aired. I don't have much patience for delayed airing. And YAY for the Christmas special. I didn't have much hope for them until now.
  14. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    What the hell is Thomas's PROBLEM.

    I guess I'm glad he's around. Everyone else is being a bit too saintly.
  15. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Apparently O'Brien thinks he's not evil enough...what is that woman's PROBLEM?

    Though apparently there's a Comic Relief (UK) skit where the actors poke fun at how their characters are basically evil for no real discernible reason--like he's introduced as "Thomas, the evil footman" and she says of course she's evil, her hair looks like knitting.

    Side note: Anyone else find it mildly amusing that the first shot you see every episode at the start of the credits sequence is...Isis the Labrador Retriever's butt? I mean, nothing says "costume drama" to me like a yellow lab's backside... (Yes, it's cute, all lab butts are cute, but...)
  16. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    Mary's a bit of a Scarlett O'Hara. She knows who she is (she likes her creature comforts and status) and she can see that the world around her is changing and will likely do so even more when the war is over. In that sense Sir Richard is a soulmate - he's not about to let sentiment stand in the way of his survival.

    I think her big reservation with Matthew is that she senses he would sacrifice money and status for sentiment faster than she would.
  17. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    IMO calling Sir Richard Mary's "soulmate" is really a stretch -- even given the qualification. If Mary really had any feelings for him, she would have accepted his proposal by now.
    It's clear that Matthew is who she loves (and I think that Matthew still deeply cares for Mary), but Lavinia is preventing the possibility of that relationship being renewed. (My thought is that Lavinia is the most likely character to succumb to the influenza pandemic that is looming in the near future. That would be a "convenient" albeit obvious plot device to give Matthew and honorable way out of his engagement.)
  18. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I thought Mary did accept his proposal in the last episode. Sir Richard wrote to her father asking his consent, and she told her father she wanted to accept his proposal.

    I don't see her marrying Matthew, 1st for plot reasons (the story would be over) and 2nd although they are attracted to each other, they don't have that much in common. I don't see Matthew hanging around the manor fussing with his valet and worrying about what to wear for dinner. She's too high maintenance for him.
  19. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    Plus, I don't see Matthew being OK with his spouse using blackmail to forward their career the way Mary is OK with Sir Richard blackmailing Lavinia.
  20. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    No, Mary hasn't accepted Sir Richard's proposal yet -- she told her father that she had made a decision that she would and that was when her father asked her if she was sure about this and if she was, that she should write to Matthew to tell him so. So, Mary has not actually accepted Sir Richard's proposal yet -- he doesn't even know as much about her intentions as Matthew does at this point.
    First, I don't agree that the "story would be over" if Mary and Matthew were to marry. The fact that they might have serious differences of opinion about all manner of things would/could be a continuation of their storyline, despite their marrying. And theirs is not the only storyline in Downton Abbey.
    I think that many things will change after the war (after all, there will be the financial crash of 1929 looming), so that the potential for "Matthew hanging around the manor fussing with his valet and worrying what to wear for dinner" would be remote. Society as a whole is not at all the same post-war -- lots and lots of changes all around, both for the gentry and those they employed.
  21. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    Well, I hope Mary doesn't marry Matthew. He's pretty and nice, but not very interesting.
  22. Peaches LaTour

    Peaches LaTour New Member

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    We were rather disappointed in last nights episode because it seemed rather boring and more soap-opera(ish) than any other episode. The scene where Matthew shows up at the concert and starts singing as he walks down the aisle toward Mary made me think too much of "Sound of Music". Seemed really silly. :rolleyes:

    I think Matthew will have a nervous breakdown. :shuffle:

    Yes, it is time for Lady Cora to wake up and smell the coffee in alot of respects, at times she is way to docile; that said, I loved her directness with Cousin Isobel last night. Isobel is right out of a drill sergeant's poster-child dream. :kickass:

    I'm surprised they brought back the character of Ethel. How can her return and "problem" add flavor to the series?

    The previews for next week looked good - any guesses on what has gone so terribly wrong that everybody has been pulled out of bed in the middle of the night and is parading through the hallways?? :confused:
  23. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Peaches ita about Matthew's appearance and the singing and yet I was touched. But you are right and sometimes the way the music swells rather loudly and touches like Matthew last night make me think pure soap. The hour before the show was dedicated to an hour long doc. about life in a manor house in the Edwardian age. The houses were beautiful but the life of housemaids and scullery maids were so hard. It sounds like the sixteen hour work day was not unusual and the staircases they were forced to use (so as not to be seen by the family) were steep and dangerous (especially when they had to lug buckets of water up for bath time.) Now I understand why the typewriter was such an important invention. I'm glad Cora is in the Masterpiece story. The doc explained that in the twenty years before WWI there was an influx of sixty million (not sure if pounds or dollars) due to American heiresses marrying for a title. I want to know when (is it called entail?) ended.
  24. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Entail was mentioned in a 1942 Lord Peter Wimsey story, so apparently it was still going in the 1940s. When it actually ended, I'm not sure.
  25. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    I think the law re: entails in England changed in 1925, at least according to Wikipedia (which mentions a Dorothy Sayres novel in which the motive for murder was the new law taking effect on January 1, 1926).
  26. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    The law in that story dealt with something different -- it had to do with whether a great-niece could inherit.

    In the 1942 story, Harriet tells someone that Peter's property is entailed, so their oldest son will inherit.
  27. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Yes. The Peter Wimsey books are set in a kind of vague inter-war period, definitely NOT the 1940s. (He's a WWI vet, which is how he met Bunter, and while it's never specified in most of the books they have a very twenties feel.)

    Cachoo--if you want to see more about Edwardian manor life, try and find "Manor House." It's like 1900 House, Frontier House, etc. where a bunch of modern people are taken to a property and placed in the roles of the family and in this case servants of the given period and they have to live STRICTLY by the rules of the time and with the technology and amenities of the day. (Within reason--obviously in a true medical emergency people could leave, for example.) IIRC, at least one, possibly two, scullery maids snapped and took off, and I think they lost a footman as well. Of course on a lot of these shows people crack--Colonial House (a Puritan Village) was full of whiners, and on Frontier House the experts at the end of the series figured only one of the three households had adequate stores and housing to have lived through the winter.
  28. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    I thought bringing back Ethel was pointless too. Why should they care if she's pregnant?
  29. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    Because they're not completely heartless people? She was turned off without any references and likely doesn't have any place else to go for help. Not sure if the officer who was "convalescing" is still around, but I would think that he could/would be made to provide some sort of $$ assistance (of course, he's likely to claim that the father of the child could be anyone but him).
  30. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    And more importantly, the viewers don't care! :lol: In other forums I've read (while the series was airing in Britain), no one cared about Ethel, so her storyline was just a big time-suck.