Geek Speak – I Think the Second Season of Downton Abbey is Actually a Satire of the First
(this is a humor piece, so relax members of the DA Fan Club)
I finished watching the second season of Downton Abbey recently. I enjoyed it, as I did the first, but for a different reason.
I think the second season is really a straight-faced satire of the first season. I’m going to get spoilery here, so come back later after viewing the season if you don’t want to know what happens.
To be clear, I still love the show. I loved the second season. It built upon the first season like someone who builds things upon other things (sure, let’s go with that). I also plan on watching the third season as soon as I can here in the States.
There is plenty of drama in the first season, but the second season seems to use a fire hose, while the first used a ladle or really big spoon (the kind you get as a wedding gift, but don’t really know what it is for).
It felt as every episode tried to out-do the drama of the previous. Which was HILARIOUS. Part of me wonders if this is caused by, or is a response to, ‘Reality TV Creep.’ Audiences (especially in the States) are so used to over-the-top, contrived, absurd ‘reality’ TV drama, it has wormed its way into other programming. I expect to hear bleeped out swear words in the third season and see more scenes taking place in London pawn shops or urchin-filled dance schools.
One of my favorite moments was the ‘long lost cousin believed to have gone down with the Titanic but returns with a melted face’ storyline. Or maybe it was when the, allegedly, paralyzed Matthew begins to walk again and Dr. Clarkson says he ignored another doctor’s theory such a thing could happen.
Then there is the entire Bates murder trial storyline, Mary and her wicked newspaper fiancé, Matthew’s own fiancé dying by illness so he can get back together with Mary, and so on.
I think Maggie Smith’s scene-stealing role is around to make us think the show is not really a satire, by open-hand slapping us with a few great one-liners. Hide a tree in a forest, as the saying goes.
At times, especially when Cousin Melty Face was around, I felt the show should be re-named, “Who’s the Heir?” (season three guest star: Tony Danza)
I wonder if, after the first season, Julian Fellowes, over-stressed from success, decided to just make the show as crazy as possible. Kind of like bands who hate a certain song, but record or release it anyway, and it becomes their biggest hit.
I cannot wait to see what is in store for the third season of Downton Abbey. Maybe there will be raptors or zombies, or raptor-zombies.
And Maggie Smith fights this with razor-sharp-passive-aggressive-comments.