Downton Abbey, Season 2
Are you a Matthary or a LaMatthinia?
Catnip to Mattharys everywhere.
Photograph courtesy 2011 Carnival Film and Television Limited for MASTERPIECE.
Dan, I too am a fan of the Most Hated Crawleys list and look forward to watching the leader board evolve over the course of the season. But are you trying to get my goat by putting Lady Sybil on there? She doesn't deserve it! She is blameless! And her lips are so full!
June, with your sweetness of manner and generosity of spirit you are possibly the least like Thomas, personality-wise, of anyone I know. But that doesn't mean you can't identify with his formative background. I do think the show has done an excellent job of showing us Thomas's thwarted ambitions (from becoming Lord Crawley's valet to getting it on with the Turkish gentleman) and how they feed into his resentful reactions. And he seems to have found new depth in his dealings with wounded and shell-shocked soldiers.
I could do without any more of the turf war between Isobel and Cora. It's bringing out the worst in both of them. Though it's also serving as an excuse for Matthew and Mary to bond. By the way, we have not declared our 'shipper allegiances yet. Are you guys Mattharys or LaMatthinias? And Dan, when will you be sharing the Carson/Mrs. Hughes slash-fic that I know you've been putting a lot of time into?
Writing in Newsweek, Simon Schama complains that Downton isn't realistic enough. It seems a few traumatic experiences with toffs in his youth have set him against the entire country-house lifestyle. He also asserts that history is meant to be "a bummer, not a stroll down memory lane." Acknowledging that the show needs its characters to find romance and achieve small triumphs in order to hold viewers' interest, do we really feel that Downton needs more tragedy? We've already lost two heirs on the Titanic, watched military veterans suffer in myriad ways, and seen the servants bump painfully against the class constraints of the time. Maybe Schama—surely a toff now if he wasn't way back when—should lighten up and enjoy the ride?
Wishing I could join in one of those hospital ping-pong games,
Note: Out of consideration for viewers in the U.S., please do not post Season 2 spoilers in the comments.
Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.