DOWNTON ABBEY, YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND: Oh, no! The posh, well-coifed, impeccably-dressed soap opera that is Downton Abbey is coming to an end this Sunday night at 9:00 on PBS. What to do?
The series has brought its viewers to the end-times of the post-Victorian landed upper class in England, the conclusion of a huge portion of people being "in service" to great houses, and the love lives of a variety of slim women and men who can't seem to keep a secret, no matter how little affect they show.
It is unlikely that people in Piscataway, or anywhere else in New Jersey, watch this program because they relate to it. The people are too languid, the air too fresh, and that whole "dressing for dinner" thing would be lost on us. We are far more concerned with the possible social movement implied by shopping in Short Hills, rather than at the Menlo Park Mall.
But there is that Mary thing. Jersey Girls don't relate to her - she doesn't even gesture when she speaks! - but she holds our fascination as she moves through relationships and seems happiest when making others miserable. She is the oxymoronic sex-crazed ice princess who commands both the Abbey and our attention at the conclusion of the series. Well, she's married now and her son George is the heir of Downton. Will she be able to hold on to the dream of aristocracy that she shares with Mr. Carson, her fellow newlywed?
Before Sunday night television was populated by New Jersey gangsters, wobbly zombies, and slick advertising executives, PBS brought us the British at their snootiest and most compelling. Henry VIII and his gaggle of wives. Sherlock Holmes as originally drawn, no explosions or active gunplay. All those mysteries. They are not like us here in the Garden State. That's why we watch them. Fascination.
Rutgers University is glad to help out with your Downton withdrawal by offering a collection of books, documents, and images about "Downton Abbey Style" and the history of the era portrayed in the televsion show. Check it out here.
Want to throw a bit of a tea party while watching the program? Here's a menu and party planner.
Need a hit of your favorite quotes from the Dowager? Click here.