Monday, January 24, 2011

Live-Blog the Third! "Downton Abbey"

Will Daisy's shirt burst off? Will Lady Mary trip over her train? Will the butler's (real) dark past be revealed? Will Matthew use the wrong fork at tea! Who will the Dowager Lady snark at this time?

Nice to see you all back again and here we go with the regular crew: myself, your dedicated typist (H -- donations of wrist wraps and ice packs are accepted); Minerva, the medically informative (M); and the Feminist Librarian aka Anna, the...not so medically informative as Minerva! (A). :)

And we're off...

We're discussing the house cat -- Geraldine after The Vicar of Dibley. :) Yes, we are nerds, thank you. Discussion of the Witch in Into the Woods: A: 'Fuck this shit; I want to be the bad ass!' M: "For me, it's like the only children were sucked into this crap -- 'you're going to lose all your family; the wicked witch is going to kill you because...' I don't know. But...I always wanted to be...the wicked witch. I want to be her! At least...she's got some kind of control!"

9.00: Previously's always funny to watch these. M and A are discussing the mechanics of Skype.

9.00: [Daisy in preview] A: That poor little maid is going to get... M: Used. A: Yeah.

9.01: Laura Linney lecturing us about dinner ethics in big houses in Edwardian England. H: 1913? Are we at a 'roar' yet?

9.02: M: Okay, she's always foreshadowing. But I'm really intrigued by that one. It's not nearly so obvious... A: It's more general. The whole thing about the typewriter was so specific and we didn't have any context...

9.03: [as servants check out fair] A: Will there be clowns?

9.04: [as Mary and Anna discuss Pamuk] H: Well. There's that then. [Molesley's hands...] A: Ow. M: Oooh.

9.06: [Harriet overwhelming nurse] M: Wooo. [And then untranscribable gestures of disgust and pain at prescription.] A: Do you know what it is that she thinks he has? M: It's a...a bacterial infection.

9.08: [as Maggie Smith and Matthew discuss and MS swivels, "Why does every day involve a fight with an American?"] A: Every line! Pure gold! M: They think so, too...

9.09: ["She needs taking out of herself"] M: Uh...that's quite a line. H: Oh, you bastard! [to Thomas] M: Dude! You don' don't fucking swing that way. A: [tongue-click as William looks disappointed] M: Ooooh! [as Bates tells him off]

9.09: [as youngest sister comments on frocks] M: Yeah...youngest sister. I like her better in this one. A: Mother's starting to sound like she's taking laudanum or something. Her speech is slowing down. Maybe she's struggling with the accent? H: I can look up if she's American... M: She's British. H: Then she's struggling with the accent.

9.10: [Mary at the fair] M: This woman has great coats. H: You're both such terrible, terrible shots...

9.11: [Mary and Matthew] H: And the awkward attempts at pleasant conversation continue...Why does she always look so alarmed whenever anyone talks to her? M: Wow. A: At least she has perspective. M: Exisistential crisis. Now. A: And so matter-of-factly. M: Yeah, she went from clueless to *finger snap* A: Will the anger well up later? Are we just delaying that?

9.12: [Daisy and footmen] M: You are so dumb, little lady... H: *sigh*

9.13: [Mary and Lord] H: Maybe she should just spend more time with her father. He seems to have a clue. A: Yeah... [Maggie Smith and daughters talking] H & M share look and nod as youngest daughter espouses desire for Purpose in Life. General laughter at Maggie Smith proposal that Americans all live in wigwams.

9.14: [as housekeeper and Joe Burns chat] A: Awww...housekeeper having a little romance! M: But what about him? [points to Bates]

9.15: [housekeeper and Joe Burns chat; "my son joined the army"] H&A: Oh....oh. M: Well, there's more than one way to leave service.

9.16: [servants chat] A: It's a good point!

9.17: [Bates reveals Matthew's visit] general laughter at MS entrance.

9.18: [Anna in bed] M: She is getting a visit! I'm in a very romance'y kind of mood; there needs to be kissy! A: Ooohhh.... [expectant waiting all 'round] H/A/M: OH! M: Oh, you win! You win the prize! Fucking flowers! Flowers! Oh, God yes!

9.19: [Maggie Smith bitching as she climbs into the car] H: And we're back here again. A: For a character who's so bound to tradition, she seems so eager to throw it all over to get the daughter to inherit. M: Is it the daughter or is it the option is that man? A: Yes, true. If the person was inheriting was the right class...? M: And with a mother who wasn't a busybody? As she would have put it.

9.20: [servants at fair] M: Oh....oh, fuck off! [as Thomas is prat] M: No! You're stupid! [as housekeeper gets proposal] M: This is really sudden... A: Yes, it is...if she goes, O'Brien's the housekeeper? Or Anna? H: Anna. She's the housemaid not the lady's maid. M: And what about the other guy? A: Yeah...

9.22: [Matthew and Mary] H: Oh, don't. You're forcing the deal. ["Then that will be my comfort."] M: "'Cause I'm spiteful!'" I'm just not liking that pair... A: It wouldn't be the end of the world; it wouldn't be the most imaginative thing they could do? I imagine the youngest daughter might end up going off to school? More independently? H: At least he's learning to be nice to servants? A&M: Yeah... M: That helps.

9.24: [servants chat; O'Brien is nasty] M: Actually...

9.25: [Bates knocks at door] M: Oooooh! Shit! [Thomas boasts] H: You asshole... Go, Bates! It isn't frightening 'cause he gets off on being a bottom! M: Yeah...but it seems like they're putting those two characters [O'Brien and Thomas] in the position of just being sheer malice... A: They seem to have no motivation. M: Or for each other? What's the connection?

9.27: [servants chat; William's waistcoat] M: What the fuck... A: And the housekeeper's seeing it...

9.27: [Mary and Lord] H: Okay, that's a dreadful speech, Mr. Bonneville, sir. How English of you. And I say that with all affection, but still.

9.28: [chauffeur chatting with daughter] H: Oh, fuck me... M: *groan* H: Is the chauffeur getting in line with the daughter? And why is the only Irish character the revolutionary? ["I'm a socialist..."] Oh, great, you and James fuckin' Connolly! A: He's the second socialist! The second socialist in Ireland! You [H] always said there was only one! There's the other one!

9.29: [Molesley at doctor's office] A: Probably because you're putting poison on his hands! [Maggie Smith hands the smackdown] M: Oh! A: She's not professional either! M: Oh! Oh! Maggie Smith does bitchy so well!

9.31: [Matthew and Lord] M: What's he wearing? H: He's wearing a shooting jacket, God bless him. M: He's not wearing that at the right time... H: No, he is not.

9.32: [Daisy complimenting Thomas] A: He's also a sadistic gay bastard! M: No, honey, he's going to tie you up. And leave you alone. H: Oh, you have no idea... [Daisy complimenting Thomas "he's seen and done so much"] A: The cook's like, can I put this any plainer? M: He bones the guests!

9.33: [daughters talking about dress] M: There it goes. A: What's she going to get? Trousers? M: A dress without a corset. H: You're right; she's slurring. A: The mother. H: Yes. M: And there's the butler standing right next to her with a drink.

9.35: [Mary's breakdown] A: I didn't think of this -- of course she's feeling sidelined. She was her father's confidante and now he's got an heir... M: God! Cynical pragmatic! H: You could at least check your boyfriends a little more carefully... M: Yeah, ask for heart rates -- a little physical exercise -- H: Pushups. Check heart rate after pushups.

9.37: [housekeeper and William] H: That's never helped anyone yet. A: Yeah...but still. H: At least she's trying to be nice. A: She is. She's been written as a very sweet character. Stern but fair and understands her staff. She sees what's going on and is having none of it.

9.38: [Gwen in kitchen] H: Lots of shots of characters 'abandoned.'

9.39: [housekeeper and Carson] A: He won't know what to do if she leaves... H: No. M: Oh... [as Carson urges her on] H: Oohhh...poor Carson. Not in a graveyard, she didn't! M: *sigh* [as Carson is undoubtedly sweet] Is that the moral of this particular episode? A: I think so. "This season of change." M: Just....oh. My life is complete if they all pair up!

9.42: [youngest daughter's new dress] M: Yeah, that ain't no corset. H: That's lovely. M: And I bet it's shorter, too. A: They haven't shown us the full thing, yet. M: Oh, hohohohohoho. Oh! *falls over* [applause for daughter's new outfit] A: Oh, the little Irishman! Maybe they'll have a thing! M: Everyone needs a thing! Well, preferably not one that ends in death.

9.44: [Aunt Rosamund] H: This is like the Charlotte Barlett conversations in Room with a View! [youngest daughter and Gwen] H: You could kiss. That would be okay. M: Thank you for saying that. I didn't want to seem like I was trying to pair up everyone!

9.45: [Thomas hides bottle] H/A/M: Ooooooohhhhh...

9.46: [Lord and Lady] H: You could take her to London and wave her around like that Diana Manners woman. A: She could have hairbrushing parties! Or get photographed naked by her brother...

9.47: [servants chat] M: It's haunted by you, you prick.

9.48: [Maggie Smith and Harriet] M: I want them to come to blows. H: Maggie does have a stick... M: Oh, Maggie Smith...

9.49: [Thomas and O'Brien talking] M: Why? A: If they're just spiteful... [O'Brien nags at Daisy] M: [hides in blanket] The road to hell is paved with stupid people. A: [laughter]

9.51: [Mary and Matthew; "I'm about to send a telegram"] H: Uh -- okay? [H/A/M laughter] H: She keeps swinging back and forth between "I don't care" and "Oh my god my stuff." M: She seems to be having a dissociative fugue...

9.52: [Daisy lies about biscuits] H: That was pretty clever for her.

9.54: [Mrs Patmore and Daisy] M: That cook seems to have quite a bit of authority. A: Yeah... H: Good cooks were rare; for a house this big. After the war, they'll be completely scarce. Her ladyship probably knows that and doesn't want to risk pissing off a good cook for the whole family to please one guest.

9.55 [Anna and Bates] H: Oh! M: What was that? [wordless demonstrations of all kinds as Anna and Bates try to talk in code] A: And let there be much flailing! M: Angst!

9.57: [Gwen waiting] M: Dude, staring at it will not make it go faster. A: Ohhh.... [as Gwen runs out]

9.59: [Gwen and Sybil in field] H/A/M: Ohhh! Dear!

10.00: [Ladyship and O'Brien: "You think it's going to be like Little Women..."] H: So, exactly like Little Women, then. A: Yeah!

10.01: [O'Brien and Edith] A: Why speak to her? Is she vulnerable? M: Ohhh...

10.03: [O'Brien, Daisy, and Edith] A: And not listen at the door. Which I'm sure you're going to do! M: God...she is just getting used by everyone. A: She needs her little piano-playing man. M: She needs someone to like... I don't often say this but she needs to be saved from herself.

10.04: [Ladyship at flower show] M: What the fuck are you wearing? Is white required? H: Go, Harriet! ["You are quite wonderful.... I must have said it wrong!"] M: Shit! H: Oh hohoho! A: Those two women must have had the most wonderful time filming this! M: Bet you anything they were laughing their asses off and having a great time.

10.06: [Mary and Matthew] M: This is the flirtatious personality. A: We're wearing all beige? M: She's trying to ...blend in as much as possible! A: Could we shove any harder? H: Yes. Yes, we could!

10.09: [cat drags chicken; H/A/M: laughter.] A: The cat trying to steal the whole turkey!

10.10: [dinner] M: She's trying to prove her worth by being amenable in a way her sister cannot. And taking one of her last options. A: Yeah. H: We're back in Middlemarch. Bloody cottages.

10.12: [servants in kitchen] A: She can't read. H: She can only do what she can do. M: Oh...oh. [as Carson talks to cook] M: Oh, he's being so sweet.

10.13: [drawing room] H: On the other hand, don't play with someone with sharper knives than you. M: Those two. Good God. A: They've been played off each other all their lives.

10.14: [cook and Carson] H: Oh. She can't see. A: She's got cataracts or something. I thought it was she couldn't read. M: You've got a lame valet! C'mon!

10.14: [Lord and Matthew] A: That was nicely noncommittal. M: These two [Edith and Mary] are now going to kick it up a notch in a way that's going to go into badness... A: And poor Matthew is going to be like "What's going on!" M: There's nothing more shameful to watch...than women throwing themselves. *sigh* H: [as Matthew leaves] Well, at least you have that confirmed.

10.16: [Lord and Lady] M: Nicely seen. A: To be fair to her, she hasn't been taught anything else. M: I don't think any of the women in this have...

10.17: [flower show] H: Suck on that lemon harder, Maggie. M: Oh ho! [as Lordship delivers smackdown] H: Yes! [applause] M: Someone got the last word with Grandma!

10.17: [Anna and Bates] M: Nicely done! H: The quivering rabbit look... A: Is he already married somewhere? ["I do too much of that already."] M: Is that why he's "not free"? What the fuck did that mean? If they get married did they have to leave service? H: Not necessarily. But the lord might give them some money -- enough to set up on? "You've done a good job; here you go."

10.20: [Mary and Matthew] H: Oh, stripes. Oh, stripes! M: Horizontal stripes. On the breast.

10.20: [as Edith plots revenge] M: Whoaaaa.... A: The level of hatred there is rising.

10.21: [Maggie Smith and awards] M: She's gonna do it. H: She won't! Good for you! A: That was very well-played, Maggie. Very well done. M: It just plays into her ego anyway... H: But it's still a nice thing to do.

10.22: [Edith's letter] H: Oh! The fucking Turkish ambassador! M: The middle one's always really fucking smart. And really fucking devious.

Okay, one guess each for the last episode! Drum roll, please....

A: So, they're calling this Series 1, right? So they're not going to feel compelled to wrap this up. [H inserts comment about popularity in England unpredicted.] Oh, okay. Um.

M: I"m not sure they're going to wrap anything up. I hesitate to say whether Lady Mary and Mr Crawley will...get anything together? because I feel like they could leave that hanging and then he goes off to war. because, dude, we're already in August of 1913.

A: So, if we get it up to the war, that can be closure of a sort.

H: Wait, they can't book all the way through to August of 1914 in the next 1 1/2 hour!

M: Maybe they'll get married and he goes off to war? That's all kinds of crap!

A: But then Series 2...he'd have to go off to war. Because he would. But. Actually, that would give her a lot of potential to step it up and be the lady she wanted to be, right? She wanted a job, she wanted a vocation, she loved being her father's eldest. So...if he was out of the way, I could see her stepping up to the plate and becoming the character that she's been not doing this entire time. She hasn't quite emerged this series. As a purposeful character because she's so ambivalent about the role she's been put into. Part of me really doesn't want them to get together because it seems like the obvious solution they've been gunning for since minute 1. But I can kind of see the handwriting on the wall.


Elleoneiram said...

"H: I can look up if she's American... M: She's British. H: Then she's struggling with the accent."

Actually, she's American. Her accent bothered me so much, I had to look it up. It was still funny, but her voice was much easier on the ears after discovering that.

I too loved the scene with the pantalons.

"We're back in Middlemarch. Bloody cottages." Bahah! Gotta love Middlemarch.

I thought that Thomas and O'Brien were just paranoid, miserable, sadistic people who wanted attention. While they were very obvious, I found them unfortunately a bit... believable. Poor William!

Hilarious commentary, as usual.

Elleoneiram said...

This is strange... I thought that I already posted on here, so forgive me if I double post.

The American's accent bothered me so much, I had to look it up. To my surprise, the actress is actually American. Somehow this knowledge made her voice less grating.

Though the miserable, socipathic, sadistic, and paranoid Thomas and O'Brien are obvious, they unfortunately strike me as somewhat... believable. I initially thought they had issues, but as the story progresses they apparently have serious problems.

I too loved the scene with the pants. The reactions were priceless.

Once again, this commentary is hilarious.

KarraCrow said...

@Elle: Sorry; your comments didn't show up immediately because, when I first started this blogging thing, I was getting so much spam I have all comments sent to me to moderate! It saves a lot of deleting time at the other end.

I think we just noticed the accent this Sunday because the mother was talking again; she didn't seem to have a lot to say in the second episode!

I'm not sure what I think about the Thomas/O'Brien team. They do seem believable as bullies who just want to make other people miserable because it makes them feel better in some fracked-up way. I think I, at least, just wish there was a little more fleshing-out going on with that? Like, was Thomas bullied by the butler when he first joined? Was there another footman who was cruel to him? Did O'Brien have another mistress who was awful to her? I want some backstory, darn it!

Glad you're enjoying what we do! I hope the next thing up on Masterpiece is something we can keep this up with; it's a blast to do.

annajcook said...


Anna here (the feminist librarian). I'm really surprised she's American -- the drawl sounds so forced! The sort of flat American accent quality I associate with non-Americans trying to sound "American."

Also, I think I need to own a pair of pantalons. Especially in torqouise!

Glad to know we're amusing someone other than ourselves :) ... looking forward to episode four!