Why I Don’t Like Downton Abbey
I work at the library and much ado has been made of the phenomenon that is Downton Abbey. At one point, there were 200 people (including me) waiting to discover why Downton Abbey was great. Well, I can tell you for all of the great raves about it, I was heartily disappointed. Why, oh why? (WARNING: Spoilers ahead.)
1. Mary, one of the main characters, isn’t very likeable. Mary is a central character, someone the viewer is supposed to feel sympathy for since she is the eldest and must marry her next of kin (a cousin) to inherit her estate and fortune. It’s a shame then that Mary comes off as dour and bitter, which makes me feel even less sorry for her state of affairs.
2. Edith, Mary’s sister, isn’t very likeable either. Edith is a very secondary character but she doesn’t invoke sympathy either. In fact, she is the scheming sister willing to take her sister’s leftover suitors if they’ll have her.
3. Cora, Mary’s mother, is like a white wall—there but uninteresting. Cora should be a character who is more interesting, especially since she ends up getting pregnant later on in the season, but it seems as if she’s more there to help events plod along rather than being a central party to them.
4. Thomas and O’Brien are pure evil. I know, I know. Not everyone can be as great as Bates, Anna, and Gwen and there MUST be some antagonists but I couldn’t even sympathize with their villainous behavior. Is Thomas mean because he’s gay and can’t come out publicly? Is O’Brien a bitch because she smokes? I’m making stuff up; I don’t have any idea. There’s nothing to help me figure out why these two act the way they do.
5. I could care less about the entail. To be honest, I didn’t even know what it was when I started watching the show and by part three, it had been mentioned so many times that I thought I ought to look it up in the dictionary. After I discovered what it was, I suddenly realized the show’s premise revolved around Mary (a character I didn’t like) and the entail. Considering that I didn’t care about the entail from the get-go and still didn’t as the show went on, I realized that the main premise of the show hadn’t sucked me in. That’s a fail for me being interested in a show.
6. I discovered I don’t care for period drama. This is probably one of my main issues. When Sybil (the youngest sister) buys a pair of bloomers and everyone looks at her in shock, I rolled my eyes. I had a hard time accepting the show for the time period that it was in, which isn’t the show’s fault. It just isn’t my cup of tea.
7. It’s a soap opera. One of Mary’s suitors dies after orgasm (it’s not explicit but implied) and Mary, Cora, and Mary’s maid Anna haul him back to his bedroom to be discovered in the morning. All I could think after seeing that was, “Really?” This happens in episode two or three of the season and I kept watching to see if it was a one-off episode or if the show would build off the events of “poor Mr. Pamuk.” (I especially feel even less sorry for Mary during the whole ordeal.) It turns out the show appeared to be heading in the direction of building off of the event, and I immediately realized I’d have to keep watching a show that was bound to get more and more far fetched as it went along. I gave up midway through season one.
Granted, the acting isn’t bad, the script isn’t terrible, there are some characters who are likeable. (Maggie Smith, of course, is excellent.) But with the combination of everything I outlined above, the show was bound to be a disaster for me. If you like Downton Abbey, congratulations. If you don’t, I’d love to hear from you and your reasons in the comments below.
P.S. I really, really wanted to like the show just because it’s been so hyped up. Le sigh. Thank God for BBC’s Sherlock.