The Stay At Home Dad’s Guide To Downton Abbey

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Miscellaneous Waste of Time

We started watching Downton Abbey last Christmas, and I never expected to like it. I mean, a period drama about the life of British aristocrats? No thanks. That kind of stuff is reserved for crazy cat ladies and men with much greater hygiene than I. At first, I sat there and watched with my family wondering how anyone could get into watching the posturing elite and the servants who grovel over them. Then I realized that this is precisely what reality TV, entertainment news, and Congress is. (No wonder it’s so popular!) Slowly but surely, my appetite was whet. I would ask, “Why is that white guy so mean to that other white guy?” Then I would ask, “Why is that old white lady so mad at that other old white lady?” By the time we learned why Mr. Bates walks funny, I was hooked.

I wish I was the kind of person who could unabashedly stand up and tell the world that I watch the show. Sadly I cannot. I don’t tell people I like Jewel, McDonald’s french fries and I definitely don’t tell people I like to get drunk and cry at movies when I travel by airplane. (I drank five White Russians and cried during a movie starring Andre the Giant on our honeymoon. Andre the Fucking Giant.) I guess I want people to think I am a badass, even though I am more of a [insert the opposite of badass here. Good face?]

There is no doubt that “Downton Abbey fan” does not fit the archetype for whatever I am trying to sell myself as. It has nuance. It has costume design. It has stuffy accents and while there are a lot of scenes involving food, it’s British food! (British food is the cinematic equivalent of a movie starring Andre the Giant.)

Instead of embracing the show, I hide from it. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I have compiled a how-to guide for appearing to not like the show very much. Here it is:

Rule #1 – Do not, under any circumstances refer to the show by its proper name. Instead, call it Downtown Abbey. When people correct you, they will unknowingly assume that you have been dragged, kicking and screaming, along this journey. After all, you can’t really be into the show if you think there is anything urban about it, can you?

Rule #2 – Don’t use social media. The start of Season 3 has brought with it a torrent of social media coverage. Everyone is all up in the Grantham’s business, and the chatter is everywhere. It will be all to easy for you to “like” when someone’s facebook status is “Give me an old, one arm Lord any time!” and you will definitely be tempted to retweet comparisons of O’Brien to the real housewives of Atlanta. Stay off the social media, or you’ll be exposed.

Rule #3 – Never take sides in a DA argument. Your friends will invariably engage in debates over who is the spicier spinster Martha Levinson or the Dowager Countess or the effectiveness of the “sex talk” between Cora and Mary before the big Season 3 wedding. Stay far away from all of that shit, even if someone insinuates that Carson is not a complete Dbag. Instead, whenever someone brings up a character from the show, just ask, “which one is that?” It’ll be tempting. (There are people out there who think that Mathew DOESN’T have the bluest, dreamiest eyes in the world, can you believe it.)

Rule #4 – Never use their real names. The show has approximately 147 characters (more if you include dogs, horses and 2nd footmen.) If you can wade through that morass of character memorization, you have to have put a decent amount of work in. Avoid doing this. Instead use the following names:

Robert Crawley – The dad. (He appears to be the first stay at home dad. Sure he appears to play army dress up every now and again and tries to look good for his wife at dinner, but when it comes down to it, he is a fuckup. How many times has he lost his family’s fortune? Yep. Welcome to the land of the stay-at-home dads. Play dates are Mondays.)

Cora Crawley – That girl from “She’s Having A Baby.”

Violet Crawley– The Old Funny Woman

The Sisters: The Old One, the Hot One, and The Other One

Mathew – Uh, He’s OK Looking (I guess)

Mathew’s Mom – Tootsie

Mr. Carson – The Butler with the Giant Melon

Mrs. Hughes – The Librarian

Mr. Bates and Anna – The Unluckiest Dude In The World and The Blonde Who’s Probably Really Hot In Real Life

O’Brien and Thomas – The Meanies That Used To Hate Everyone Together But Now They’ve Turned Their Bitch Rays On One Another (They are the modern day equivalent of House Republicans and Senate Republicans.)

Honestly, there are a few dozen more characters, but I have a hard time telling them apart and they all have much nicer teeth than I expected. Hope you enjoy the show this season. I won’t. I don’t even really follow it that much.


4 responses to “The Stay At Home Dad’s Guide To Downton Abbey”

  1. Bob says:

    Awesome review Paul. Meg and I just got into the show a few weeks ago and are almost caught up to season 3. BTW – it took me almost all of season 1 to realize it was not Downtown Abby 🙂

  2. Regina says:

    How hard did you cry when Sybil gave birth?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *