February 18, 2013
Okay, here’s the thing.
I find the writing and the acting on Downton Abbey to be exceedingly poor. (There are two, and only two exceptions: The Dowager Countess, who gets all the best lines and has pitch-perfect delivery, and Mrs. Hughes, who is an island of quiet sensibility in an ocean of telenovela.)
The best writing choices they make are the ones where crucial plot points and conversations happen off-screen, because they couldn’t possibly write them as well as crucial plot points and conversations need to be written.
Still, I am forced to admit: if I were an actor starring in the TV equivalent of the Harry Potter, I would not, I repeat, not ask them to write my character off. For any reason.*
I mean, yes, okay, Mark Hamill and poor, poor Bob Denver. But, still, even if it were my fate to become unemployable after being “that girl that was in Downton” for the rest of my life, I’d take it. (Specifically, I would take the paycheck and become a real estate tycoon who dabbled in just enough philanthropy to pretend that I wasn’t a poor use of oxygen.)
I’m not surprised that sometimes people die in the Downtonverse. (Is that a spoiler?) I’m kind of glad of it, actually. But I can’t fathom asking to be killed off.
“Can’t you send us off to check out Lord Grantham’s holdings in India or something? Just, you know–give me a year or two off. And then you can bring me back in with a nice diversity-enhancing new valet or a new lady’s maid for the wife or something.”
* In case my friend Biped is reading: equivalent societal phenomenon, not equivalent literary and cinematic achievement. Fair enough?