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

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

  1. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    You know, I get Thomas. He's despicable but I usually understand his motivations. IMO, much of his malice is rooted in his resentment of his lot in life. It's his fate to live in a time and place where social mobility for the lower classes was limited. His sexual orientation is an added complication for him.
     
  2. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    Exactly.
     
  3. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I did see Colonial House (if that was the one where one of woman temporarily left the show when her fiance was killed in a car wreck elsewhere) and Frontier House (I thought the one of the families was especially whiny in that one--the guy who thought he was dropping too much weight)---but I missed Manor House. I'll look on Netflix: If the working conditions matched what I saw in that documentary I would have snapped too. What is scary is that before the typewriter the feeling I took from the show was that working in a manor house was considered a lucky assignment compared to what work was available outside of the house. Now that is sad.... Thanks for mentioning Manor House--I would have missed it otherwise.
     
  4. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    The only other options for young women without much formal education during that period were factory work (which was more dangerous than domestic work) or lighter types of farm labor like working as a dairy maid. Young women with a flair for fashion might seek an apprenticeship to a dressmaker or milliner (hat maker) but these didn't pay well.
     
  5. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    yes!

    she's not likable and not even in an interesting way
     
  6. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Yes, housework was HARD, but it wasn't especially likely to kill or maim you, and even "lighter" farm work can get you killed or seriously injured. (Even now, agricultural jobs are really not great as far as hours and injury go.) Going into service was considered a step up, and it did guarantee you a roof and food, where factory work meant crap wages, bad hours, questionable conditions (dangerous machinery, painting china with lead, painting watches with RADIUM) and once you're off the clock you're on your own.

    Maybe the writers assume that since no one likes Ethel, they enjoy actively getting to watch her suffer? (Or they want to swipe Sarah's plot device from early Upstairs Downstairs....)
     
  7. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    Well, if that's what they were attempting it's definitely a letdown. Ethel and her officer pales in comparison with Sarah's affair and getting pregnant by Lord Bellamy's son ... and especially returning to Eaton Place to give birth the night the king comes to dinner. Pretty hard to match that storyline. :lol:
     
  8. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    For pure Edwardian soapy goodness it's hard to match Upstairs Downstairs in any respect! Heck, we never even met the Downton Titanic victims, while with U/D, who saw THAT coming?
     
  9. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    My little pony, I think "pointy birds" was from L.A. Story, unless Steve Martin used it twice.
     
  10. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    From what I've read, young women in domestic service also had better marriage prospects than young women who worked in factories. In addition to their male co-workers they could also aspire to marry tradesmen or small business owners; i.e. glaziers, masons, grocers, pub owners, etc. Marriage was how most women obtained financial security back then. A prospective husband's earning potential was even more important then than it is now.

    As for Ethel, her storyline might be more interesting *if* the character were more sympathetic and *if* Downton Abbey didn't already have several engrossing storylines in play.
     
  11. Peaches LaTour

    Peaches LaTour Well-Known Member

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    He was standing near the piano in the concert scene in Sunday night's episode just before Lady Mary began her song.
     
  12. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    Not even. I have no feelings for her character in one way or another. I don't love her like Mary and Matthew, I don't love to hate her like Thomas and O'Brien, I'm not annoyed but sympathetic to her like with Edith, I don't roll my eyes at her like with Branson, I don't hate her. I got nothing. I simply don't care.

    I need to start watching Upstairs/Downstairs. I saw the most recent reboot and it was very good. Extremely similar to DA storylines, though.
     
  13. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    LOL, well, since Upstairs Downstairs literally predates it by thirty years I think it's fairer to say Downton Abbey resembles them...Though I found the two 'political activist chauffeur/younger sister/daughter romance' amusingly similar and a easy to confuse, though of course in the U/D sequel (it's not a reboot, it's set in the Bellamy's old house something like six years after the original series ended, only filmed thirty years later--the whole 'remodel the house' thing at the start was how they dealt with their set budget no longer limiting them to "BBC 1970s cardboard") it's not 'naive but well-meaning rebel' and 'wealthy girl who wants to be useful and not just a social butterfly', but 'British black shirt and self-centered cow who dumps him to have a fling with Joachim von Ribbentrop and move to Berlin in 1936....' The original series is set in the same time frame as Downton, actually starts a little earlier as Titanic's also a plot point there but not for a few series.

    And I enjoy schadenfreude as much as the next person (like seeing the look on O'Brien's face when she realizes that Cora is NOT about to fire everyone for theft and in fact's going to start giving them Downton's food) but yeah, I just really don't care what happens to Ethel. She's like the anti-Gwen--Gwen decided she wanted something more than being a maid, she worked for it, and yeah, had a lucky break via Sibyl, but only because she'd put in the effort. Ethel just thinks she's too good for this but someone should just...make her a star 'cause.
     
  14. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    Speaking of Gwen...am I the only one who wanted to see she and Branson get together? I think she would be a far better match for him than Lady Sybil. I like Sybil but the girl has never so much as made her own bed or boiled an egg. Branson is deluding himself if he thinks she would be happy being a working man's wife. He is a man so he probably doesn't realize how much drudgery was involved in housework before labor saving devices like vacuum cleaners and washing machines became common.
     
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  15. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Yes that is what is a little odd about all of this----Upstairs/Downstairs was on last year with the return of Rose (Jean Marsh.) But it didn't catch fire the way D.A. did: I do think there is a lot more mystery on D.A. with three daughters who are not "settled" yet, the lack of a male heir, the discovery of Matthew, love stories and scores to settle etc...
     
  16. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    I think it was too much baggage, too long a gap, and too many new characters (some of whom were just...no. In that chauffer/young lady romance, he's a jerk and she's SO hideous I was thinking "Good, hope you STAY in Berlin all the way to 1945. Enjoy starvation, carpet-bombing, and getting raped by the Red Army." She was THAT awful. If that's what they were aiming for, job well done, but....I mean, Branson sympathizes with the Bolshies but they haven't started the death squads, mass starvation programs, and the gulags yet, and Sibyl is interested in things like "Votes for women", not "Isn't he hot in his black shirt and why SHOULD we help some Jews anyway?") I mean, they had to START the show by basically making the set look absolutely nothing like the old one, and except for Rose and the exterior shot of the house there's not much to connect it to the old one. Fair enough, most of the old cast is long gone, but it begs the question of "Why are we calling it 'Upstairs Downstairs' at this point?"

    Downton, otoh, starts off fresh.
     
  17. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    They might have had better "prospects," but logistically it was far more difficult. People in service, especially maids, were frequently not allowed to marry -- or if they did mary, they would lose their jobs. Even if they kept their jobs, they likely would not have been allowed to share a room/home. And they almost certainly wouldn't have been allowed to have children. The Anna & Bates situation (as promised by the Earl) is definitely the exception to the rule.

    Yes, that was my thought too. I think there's very little chance that Mary & Matthew won't end up together in some way, it's just the when & how. I'm also fairly certain that someone significant will die from the 'flu, the numbers just require it.

    Of course the scandal-that-wasn't-really-a-scandal could also evolve in some way to take Lavinia out.

    Speaking of inheritance laws ... I wonder how it would work if any of the girls had sons before the Earl died. Would they be in line to inherit, even with Matthew still in the picture?
     
  18. cygnus

    cygnus Liberal Furry

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    No. If a title is entailed to the "heirs male of the body", as most of them are then it has to go strictly in the male line.
     
  19. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Ita! I have a book on the Mitford sisters that I have not read yet but there seems to be a number of young ladies (including one Mitford) who were taken with Hitler and his minions. Whenever I see pictures stateside of American Nazi's in uniform back then (or any time) I shiver. What were they thinking? You are right about DA being fresh and U/D being unrecognizable from the original.
     
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  20. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    At least with girls like the Mitford sister (I can't remember which one it was), it was really...well...they were seriously hot for Hitler. No, I don't get it either. Rather like Persie and her thing for von Ribbentrop (whom I cannot help but picture as Graham Chapman's 'Ron Vibbentrop' from Python's "Hilter in the Minehead by-elections" skit. No, "Hilter" is not a typo. There was also Mr. Bimmler and a phone call from Mr. McGoering.)

    The political parties were a little different. At least pre-war, a lot of the American fascist movement were like the American pro-Soviets, they got the political philosophy but missed the genocide. If anything they knew even less, as at that point the Nazis were keeping things like the death squads on the downlow, while there were American writers who went to the Soviet Union and SAW the victims of orchestrated famines and deportations and wrote it off as 'Sure, it LOOKS bad but Comrade Stalin must know what he is doing and if he says they had to die, well...' (Stalin had groupies, too. Maybe it's a moustache thing.) There's a reason the American Fascist movement faded rather fast at the end of the war when the scale of what the Nazis were doing and things like the film of Dachau's liberation became public. Flags, flashy rallies and spiffy uniforms and nationalist racial rhetoric (however illogical that is in a country with a population that's entirely immigrant if you go back far enough) are all fun and games, finding out the guy you're modeling it on was also a-okay with gassing small children is another matter.
     
  21. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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  22. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the heads up--I didn't realize two of them liked him. And dancer I think the 30's were a particularly interesting time politically in the US. Your points are salient and my fear is if I lived in that period and did not travel to see Stalin's carnage for myself I would have been something of a sympathizer when it came to issues like the Spanish Civil War, the plight of 1/3 or more of Americans suffering with the onset of the Great Depression and fear of the Nazis and of the Facists. That said I now understand how naive I would have been regarding Communism actually working as an economic system. FDR is my favorite president but had I lived then he may have been too conservative for me. I just hate to admit that.

    Sorry for this indulgence--I guess issues in DA coupled with our current situation of the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer has me thinking about history beyond WWI. It certainly was an interesting century.
     
  23. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    They brought Ethel back because this is one huge conservative wet dream morality play - and this liberal is totally hooked, lol!

    Let's see:

    have sex before marriage? your lover will die, no decent man will want you or you'll get pregnant

    Also, homosexuals = evil deviants.

    Yet I truly enjoy the show, even though some moments are ridiculously over the top. Such as miscarrying because you slipped on a 1/2 bar of soap that your evil maid told you wasn't there because she thought you were going to sack her.

    Can't wait for episode 4 on Sunday!
     
  24. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Well, this was a half-a-box of kleenex episode.
     
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  25. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    that was the most compelling thing i saw this wk!

    cant wait for next wk

    my pbs station is hosting a live finale in their studio

    did they what william's injury was?
     
  26. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    I never saw the old U/D, but the new one was too cartoonish, especially the awful Persie. (Ironically, the main reason I watched it was because I liked the actress so much in Little Dorrit! :lol: )
     
  27. Carmen Ovsiannikov

    Carmen Ovsiannikov Well-Known Member

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    Ugh, why is Daisy being such a witch? Poor William is dying :fragile: and :wuzrobbed and she won't agree to marry him on his deathbed? It's not as if she would have to be wed to him for the rest of her life. Maybe she will change her mind.

    eta:
    Thank goodness, she did go through with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  28. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    that is the only time a wedding ever made me cry

    it was also sad when molesley thought he was going to be the new bates and then bates came back

    thomas and obrien are almost cartoonish in their eville ways, there's no rhyme or reason
     
  29. Michalle

    Michalle New Member

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    I was really angry about Daisy being pressured to marry William - I don't like seeing someone coerced to go against their conscience, even if I understand the logic those individuals were following. I think my irritation was influenced heavily by the fact that the reason the entire situation existed in the FIRST place was Daisy being pressured earlier to let William think she liked him more than she did and that she was his "sweetheart" on the now obviously faulty logic that "what harm could it do?" Well, this is the harm. That little white lie spiraled into a very unfair situation.
     
  30. Amy L

    Amy L Well-Known Member

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    There was a mention of lung damage, and to me the doctor also hinted at massive internal bleeding.

    And Mrs. Bates. :blah: She even has an eville cackle!