Most people I know are ardent supporters and followers of “Downton Abbey,” The hiatus that exists between film seasons leaves many in a state of melancholy and dejection as they wonder what to watch on a Sunday night. The standards the show sets are so high that run of the mill offerings are dull in comparison.
So I was surprised to read a recent column by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times. She spoke of her immigrant Irish family suffering from discrimination in this country, and being forced to work as house maids and in other low status, low earning jobs. She equates the characters of Downton Abbey with the caste system, elitism, and class snobbery.
All those terrible things to say about my lovely little fantasy show? The one with the pretty costumes of the early 1900s and stylishly finger waved hair styles? The one with good manners at dinner tables and at parties?
After reading daily newspaper stories I need all the escape I can get. One page has a story of war, the next of famine, the following of political scandal, greed, avarice, bull and mendacity (a favorite expression Big Daddy’s in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”).
What is so great about despicable reality? Why is ugly reality a better choice than the intriguing, romanticized world of past British life? Am I doing anyone any harm by indulging in glimpsing gossipy, scandalous intriguing lives of the pre-computerized world.
I know the difference between pretense and reality, but at least the show is honest in its presenting fictional characters. They’re not all heros, and they’re not all honorable. Reality too often means presenting real people committing secret acts of deception and dishonesty.
Too much reality can addle the brain! I don’t want to live my entire life bombarded by horror stories any more than I have to do so now.
Once in a while it‘s a treat to watch a show or movie, or read a book, and park your brain at the door.