The Super Bowl is so two days ago. (Madonna, the 80’s called and they want their music back). Madge pulled it off, but honestly–you’d rather watch the etrade baby. But now that the Super Bowl is over, what are ya gonna watch? Downton Abbey may not have enormous appeal for wing-eatin’, Bud-Lite guzzlin’ folk, but give it twenty minutes, and you may just get sucked in. The show has garnered many emmys, as well as landed a huge young American following. The brilliant writer, Sir Julian Fellowes, claims to have based the series on NYPD Blue. At any rate, you haven’t been so hooked on a series since DALLAS.
You lived in London when DALLAS first debuted.
“Don’t ya love Dallas then?” Marcella–the middle-aged next sec over– whispered around the plastic partition.
“What?” you replied, Americanishly.
“DALLAS!” she hissed. “It’s all the rage here. Don’t ya watch J.R. and all that lot then?
“J.R. who?” you asked, typing a letter using old carbon paper, while attempting to photocopy using a Thermofax machine, before your architect boss reappeared. “We don’t have a telly in our flat, Marcella,” you replied flatly. Nor an iron, which she pointed out every day when you entered the office–in a sweet maternal way.
“You are missing out,” she singsonged, then sighed. Once you moved back to the States, you got all entrenched in the Friday night soap.
One rainy day last summer, you hunkered down to watch the first season of DOWNTON with your husband and daughter. While you all stared non-blinkingly at the screen forgetting to breathe, much less eat–your son headed to the gym, ate barbecue, re-watched Bourne on his laptop and led a normal existence. (Earlier, all you of had watched a Bourne marathon).
Last Christmas, after you presented them with the second season imported from the UK, you all grabbed your seats again for another mini-marathon. Meanwhile, your son headed to Best Buy, Sports Authority, brought us Five Guys take-out and led some semblance of a normal life. (Earlier, you had all watched The Office for seventeen hours straight).
Instead of sharky J.R. propping his boots up on brother Bobby’s desk and swilling bourbon and branch, you have the courageous Lord Grantham, who, dressed in finery, stands in various rooms of the 72 billion square foot manse, waiting for the next staff member to arrive breathlessly with yet another piece of unfortunate news. Does the man possess any character flaw? His lovely American wife, Cora, sits in various rooms worrying about their three spirited daughters.
Instead of dear Miss Ellie, you have the upper-crusty Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith. Instead of 80’s-cute Bobby, you have dashing Matthew. Instead of sly, swillin’ Swellen, you have gorgeous, headstrong Lady Mary, who conducts the exact opposite of speed dating. Instead of voluptuous Pam, you have sneaky Edith, who busts out of her homeliness. Instead of Lucy, you have Sybil–a beautiful nurse with a rebellious streak.
Then below deck, there’s the staff of the manse: the avuncular Carson gently thundering orders, star-crossed lovers Anna and Mr. Bates trying to steal moments alone, and sweet dotty Daisy. Then there’s the evil Thomas and O’Brien cooking up schemes as they smirk, sulk and smoke (somehow managing to do all three at once) at the back door.
Yes, there are a couple of syrupy moments, but nothing that compares to Bobby waking up and declaring the entire Dallas series had been a bad dream. Aside from suspenseful writing and immense popularity, there any similarities end, you suppose. You would like to see the Dallas cast when they reunite this summer–what. a. hoot.
You hear tell that Shirley McLean has been asked to join the cast as Cora’s American mum. Think Steel Magnolias’ Weezer, pitted against Professor McGonagall’s evil twin–on steroids. You can’t wait for Sir Julian Fellowes to finish penning Season three. How many plotlines can he balance on the tip of his pen? Five of which you haven’t cared for, but that still leaves about sixty others. When it finally ends, you can always go back and rent Gosford Park …