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