I LOVE Downton Abby.
A fabulous estate known as Downton Abby costs a cartload of pig poop to keep-up.
A younger (1900) Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham (and keeper of the flames), finds he is in need of serious moola to continue the legacy.
He marries a rich American heiress, Cora Levinson, for her ability to fund his trust (she does) and provide heirs (three daughters), which he has recently been told he may not, by British inheritance law, leave Downton Abby.
Only boys are allowed to play ball.
In fact, the property will go to a distant male cousin, Mr. Matthew Crawley, who could care less.
So the hunt for a rich husband for eldest daughter, Mary, begins. If she marries obscenely wealthy- they can buy Matthew out.
But not before she has ‘hardly-worth-it’ sex with an exotic aristocratic who inconveniently dies in her bed.
Oh my! This is inconvenient.
Off to the next.
As happens so often in real life, Lady Mary Crawley and Mr. Matthew Crawly, meet, spat, loathe, fall in love, marry, and between them, hope to save the farm- except Matthew has no money, just the title to the estate. One out of two ain’t bad.
Future funding is still a concern, but not to worry, Papa has made wise investments and will generously continue to pay the bills until such time as Mary and Matthew can figure out a way to afford their new family estate.
The Earl has invested his (and Cora’s) money, all in one lump sum (who does this?) in a poorly executed Canadian railroad development project- which fails (damn Canadians).
Matthew has just been informed that his earlier and unloved dead fiance’s father, has left him a boatload, under the assumption that if his cherished daughter had lived to marry Matthew, it would have been his anyways.
What to do? What to do?
Take the money under false ‘love’ pretenses and save Downton Abby, the family, the servants, the history, the future?
Or don’t, because your lillywhite ass has a silver capped walking stick up it?
I’m with Lady Mary on this one- suck it up.
In the meantime, the only foreseeable way to raise working capital is to ask blunt American Grandmother Martha for the money (why did they have Shirley MacLaine eat with her mouth open?) which would be in addition to the fortune that her daughter Cora came to the marriage with.
The full staff dinners keep coming, even when the ovens stop working (Yankee Ingenuity creates a picnic- of sorts. I guess you have to be rich to have thought this was wicked fun) as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley, attempts to appear simpatico with the more relaxed ways of American wealth (Newport? On a beach? As your primary residence? How common!)
And then there’s the youngest, Lady Sybil, who ran off with a pre-IRA chauffeur, the ever bitchy middle sister Edith, who’s ready to marry anyone who can stomach her, Matthew’s busy-body do-gooder mother, Isobel Crawley, who lights from cause to cause in search of an identity, and the ever present and incompetent Dr. Clarkson.
OK. That’s ‘Upstairs’.
‘Downstairs’ is equally as complex, what with, the immovable Mr. Carson, the patient Mrs. Hughes, the plotting between Mrs. O’Brien and Thomas Barrow, simpleton Daisy Mason, and the mysterious Mr. Bates, who’s been accused of murdering his ex-wife, while being faithfully attended to by the naive Anna Smith.
I need another splash of the grape . Glug-Glug- Glug. Sip- Sip- Sip. Match strike, inhale, hold it- hold it.
I actually identify with both classes.
After all, what’s a pot stirred, a bill paid, a light switch tightened, a litter box sifted, the search for the most affordable miracle night cream, another load of laundry, a cocktail party with two inch roots, if you don’t do it with silk gloves and a cocktail ring on?