10 Things “Downton Abbey” Taught Us

Downton Abbey: Series 3 has just wrapped up! So to let our Downton freak flag fly, we’ve come up with ten precious life lessons we can take away from the BBC series. 

1. Do not let strange men into your bedroom if you live with your parents
Ugh, Mr. Pamuk. In addition to basically assaulting Mary in her own room, he suffered the ultimate fate by dying within it, thus officially disgracing Mary “ as far as her mother was concerned “ in the process.  You may have a new show, actor who played him, but we’ll never forget.

2. Fire everyone named O’Brien or Thomas
Well, if they’re servants and it’s 1912 “ 1920-something. The equivalent of Downtown’s Mean Girls/Guys, they put Regina George to shame with their plotting, scheming, and horrible dispositions. And on Tuesdays, they wear bangs.

3. Assume anybody named Bates is a perfect, beautiful unicorn
Well, this is just a fact. Because the Edwardian version of Bates is, thanks to everything he has ever said or done, minus being sent to jail (after being wrongfully accused). #FreeBates indeed.

4. Just marry the guy you like already
Can you believe it took Matthew and Mary EIGHT YEARS to finally get together after a war, another engagement, and a lot of Dowager Countess quips? Eight. Almost longer than When Harry Met Sally, but without the haircuts. The longest eight years of our lives. 

5. Middle child syndrome existed even back then
Poor, poor Edith. True, she tried to sabotage her older sister, and seems genuinely unhappy 99% of the time, but can you blame her? Stuck between political Sybil and look at me, look at me! Mary, she’s been cemented as the one to overlook by everyone who knows her. But her time will come. It has to “ it always does.

6. The Earl of Grantham was in Notting Hill
Just so everybody knows, he (Hugh Bonneville) played the guy who didn’t recognize Julia Roberts as a movie star. This is important information, and it means a lot to me, personally.

7. Maggie Smith knows all
And if this wasn’t evident from her awards and years as a thespian, it becomes even more so thanks to her Dowager one-liners. Suddenly, What is a week-end? is an excellent question.

8. We have not given Edwardian fashion nearly enough credit
Remember when we first watched Titanic and thought, I would really like all of Rose’s dresses? THE TIME HAS RETURNED. Suddenly, lace, satin, and pastels aren’t being overlooked anymore “ they further attest to Downtown‘s delicate aesthetic. (Not to say any of the characters are delicate, however.)

9. But aside from the fashion, the Edwardian era was also the worst
Case in point: a serious lack of antibiotics, medicine, women’s rights, political equality, money, and anything at all if you aren’t a rich person. Yes, we may gush over the clothes and whatever Mrs. Padmore is baking, but the 1910s were not for us middle-class folk (who would be living as servants, most likely).

10. British TV trumps a lot of other TV
THERE I SAID IT. The BBC knows what’s up. Thanks to them we’ve got Downtown, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Luther, The Hour, and more springing up out of nowhere. How do you do it, tiny British island? And more importantly, can you teach us to do the same?

Tags: BBC, Downton, Downton Abbey, Emmys, Golden Globes, Maggie Smith, Mary Crawley, Michelle Dockery, PBS Masterpiece, series, TV

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  1. Avatar
    This is the second great reeivw I’ve read about the show in two days. Looks like going to have to buy last season’s DVD and see if I can catch up.

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