Downton Abbey, According to Suze

Hello, darlings. Suze here. Can you hear my snooty, upper crust British accent as I write? Because today I’m talking about Downton Abbey.

Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.
Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.

Unless you’ve been living in an unelectrified, non-cell-phone-signal-accessible shepherd’s cottage in the Outer Hebrides somewhere (and if you are, please contact me–I’d love to hear all about your life!), you must have seen, or at least heard of, Downton Abbey. It’s a costume drama set in the early twentieth century, and follows the aristocratic Crawley family and their household staff as they all try to find their places in a rapidly modernizing world. It’s beautiful, and it’s brilliant.

It’s also gotten a little … boring.

So far Season III, which started a couple of weeks ago, is underwhelming to say the least. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still love it, and I will continue to watch it. But if I were writing the story, here’s what it would look like:

Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley. Does anybody else feel like these two, instead of being destined for each other and deeply in love as the writers would have us believe, actually have about as much chemistry as, say, Bill and Hillary? Like the former president and secretary of state, something else–a potential earldom in this case–is keeping those two together. I’d break them up in the final episode of the season. Maybe kill one of them. But then again, I write murder mysteries.

Carson and Mrs. Hughes. These two need to go off on a seniors’ cruise together, stat. Can’t you just picture Carson in a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, and black knee socks held up by garters? And Mrs. Hughes sunbathing on deck, the keys of her chatelaine glinting in the sun? Shuffleboard at 2:00!

Lady Edith. She is clearly suffering from middle child syndrome. Not as beautiful as her sisters and creepily attracted to burn victims and older men, she really needs something to occupy herself. I suggest that she either embark on a torrid affair with one of the footmen (not Thomas!), or beg Matthew to buy her a plane so she can become an aviatrix. I can also envision her writing smutty novels from a secret room somewhere in the castle.

Bates and Anna. I don’t doubt that their love is true, but will it survive Bates’s incarceration? Perhaps she should get Mrs. Patmore to bake a nice cake with a file in it, get past the warden by flashing some leg, then she and Bates can go off on a Bonnie-and-Clyde-like crime spree. To heck with being a valet and a housekeeper/ladies’ maid–crime probably pays better.

Lady Sybil and Whats-his-name, the chauffeur turned Irish revolutionary. Boring. Send them off to Canada.

O’Brien and Thomas. I really need to see these two scheming and sabotaging each other, but O’Brien seems to be embracing The Force these days. Oh, she’s making some threats, but I don’t know what kind of teeth are behind them. Here’s how I would handle: Thomas finds out about the above-mentioned smut novels being penned by Lady Edith and embarks on a blackmailing scheme. O’Brien snoops into Edith’s things and finds the novels, which she greatly enjoys. O’Brien must choose between joining in with blackmailing Edith, or destroying Thomas. Perhaps she can find a way to do both!

Lady Cora and Lord Robert. What do these people do all day? They dress nicely, I’ll say that. Okay, readers, who wants to take a shot at making up a storyline for these two. I got nothin’!

The Dowager Countess. I adore her. I would write her into every possible scene. Yeah, yeah, I know. She wouldn’t be nearly as much of a treat if we saw her more often. But I don’t care. I want her zinging everyone, all the time.

How about you? Are you a Downton Abbey fan? Have you ever wanted to rewrite someone else’s story your way?

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13 thoughts on “Downton Abbey, According to Suze”

  1. As you know, I’m a fan of Downton Abbey and I love your re-writes!! You had me snorting my tea!! My personal favorite is Lady Edith tied with Ana flashing leg. Edith has the most potential to be the family hellraiser and I expect she’ll be marching for women’s rights soon – the role of reformer – that Sybill seemed to be playing before she became irrelevant. And I agree on Matthew and Mary (they are about as exciting as unbuttered toast). I do love Lady Violet too. Although my oldest son always comes into the room and proclaims, “she’ll always be Professor Mcgonagall.”

    1. First season was definitely the best! Loved it when the daughters of the house were fighting amongst themselves. Well, we can only hope for more drama the rest of this season and beyond.

  2. THAT was the funniest thing I have read in a long time, Suze. I’m laughing hysterically enough to warrant the folks in the white coats carrying the straight jackets to pay me a visit. I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly. I’ve actually missed a couple of episodes because I forgot to watch it. I do love the show and the casting is perfect, but they need to infuse some action into their plotting. Like Jess Andersen says, “It’s time to get them kissing or blow something up.”

    As for Lady Cora and Lord John, I think Lord John should have an affair with another man and just get it over with, and Cora should slink off to her secret life at a local speak-easy where she smokes those really long cigarettes and sings jazz. Maybe she gets hooked up with the mob while trying to save Downton Abbey and the show could go all gangsta.

    I don’t know, But if they don’t figure out who killed Bates’s wife and get that poor man out of prison and back into the arms of his true love, this season will be my last to watch. Those two are the only ones I really care about at this point. Any idea who dunnit? I have my suspicions.

    And YES! Maggie Smith is brilliant!

    1. Ha! Yes, I have just the footman in mind for the Earl, LOL! I can definitely see Cora in flapper clothes singing in a speakeasy somewhere. As for whodunnit, I’m thinking Thomas–he sure wants to be a valet, and with Bates out of the way he might get the job permanently. Still though, that’s a little obvious, but the way this season is going I wouldn’t be surprised.

      1. Well, I used to be crazy about Grey’s Anatomy and American Idol, but I haven’t watched either in a few seasons. Right now I love Project Runway. I never miss the Graham Norton show. And I love Double Divas. Of course Honey Boo Boo is my guilty pleasure. Oh and Catfish! I love that show!!!

  3. Oh my… I am such a fan. I finally got my husband to start watching this year and am a bit embarrassed, because I agree with you. It has gotten boring. Lady Mary and Matthew especially! For newlyweds they have absolutely no passion (maybe that’s why they decided to skip the honeymoon scenes!) I liked Lady Mary more when she was causing trouble. I am, however, glad to see that Edith is taking up the torch for women’s lib. As for O’Brien and Thomas – love your plot idea.

    1. Really! I couldn’t believe they glossed over the whole wedding and honeymoon! That’s gotta mean something. Perhaps Bates will be freed from prison, and in a parallel story Edith will be arrested for violent demonstrations for women’s suffrage! Still, like you I prefer to have the sisters stabbing each other in the back. I like drama!

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