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Farewell, Crawleys

The Downton Abbey finale airs tonight.

You watch, right?  Don't tell me if you don't.

It has only been the most popular PBS drama of all time. When the finale aired across the pond at Christmas, it broke all records there too. It also has more Emmy nominations than any other international TV series ever. Show merchandise has made more than a quarter BILLION dollars.  They even sell Downton Abbey tea in the grocery store in my building.


Eventually, we'll find another show to obsess over. After all, I'm totally over MadMen. But I'm certain there will never again be anything like a sisterly smackdown from Lady Mary Crawley.

It was fun to be fancy on Sunday nights! I was on the edge of my seat for the dangerous liasons of poor, dead Mr. Pamuk, and I swooned over Cousin Matthew's snowy proposal to Lady Mary, and I cried when Lady Edith (the original Jan Brady) was left at the altar and was psyched to see her become an accidental feminist, and I stood in solidarity with the downstairs staff to #FreeJohnBates.

But there's nothing I've enjoyed more than a zinger from the Dowager Countess.

So, for the finale, I'd like to pay tribute to Dame Maggie Smith (and Julian Fellowes who wrote EVERY SINGLE EPISODE) and thank them for a witty and wonderful 6 seasons:

Violet Crawley on the invention of electricity:
“I couldn’t have electricity in the house. I couldn’t sleep a wink. All those vapors seeping about.” (Season 1)

On the telephone:
“Is this an instrument of communication or torture?” (Season 1)

On the Industrial Revolution:
"First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an H.G. Wells novel." (Season 1)

On the joys of being a mother:
"One forgets about parenthood. The on-and-on-ness of it." (Season 3)

On love:
"I'm not a romantic, but even I concede that the heart does not exist solely for the purpose to pump blood." (Season 2)

On friendships:
"There's nothing simpler than avoiding people you don't like. Avoiding one's friends, that's the real test." (Season 5)

On houseguests:
”No guest should be admitted without the date of their departure settled.” (Season 3)

On the general public:
"The presence of strangers is the only guarantee of good behavior." (Season 5)

On deep thoughts:
"All this endless thinking. It's very overrated... I blame the war. Before 1914 nobody thought about anything at all." (Season 5)

On the great outdoors:
"That is the thing about nature, there's so *much* of it." (Season 3)

On hearing jazz for the first time:
"Do you think that any of them know what the others are playing?" (Season 4)

On her granddaughter Lady Mary's new haircut:
"Oh, it is you! I thought it was a man in your clothes." (Season 5)

On her granddaughter Lady Edith's engagement to Sir Anthony Strallan:
”At my age, one must ration one’s excitement.” (Season 3)

On her granddaughter Lady Sybil's rebellious nature:
"Vulgarity is no substitute for wit." (Season 3)

On her son Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, wearing a tuxedo to dinner:
“Do you think I might have a drink? Oh, I’m so sorry – I thought you were a waiter.” (Season 3)

On her daughter-in-law Cora's American mother, Martha Levinson:
“I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I’m with her, I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.”  (Season 3)

On her grandson-in-law Matthew Crawley looking for a break from his job:
"What is a weekend?" (Season 1)

On her grandson-in-law Tom Branson's transition to the upstairs world:
"I'm afraid Tom's small talk is very small indeed!" (Season 4)

On her cousin Isobel Crawley's moral highground:
“I wonder your halo doesn’t grow heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara around the clock.” (Season 4)

On discussing financing a hospital with Cousin Isobel:
"Oh good, let's talk about money." (Season 1)

On servants being human beings too:
"Preferably only on their days off." (Season 5)

On her fellow countrymen:
"What makes the English the way we are? Some say our history, but I blame the weather." (Season 6)

On Sir Anthony Strallan's look at the altar before jilting Lady Edith:
"He looks as though he's waiting for a beating from the headmaster." (Season 3)

On whether a fire in a neighboring castle was a tragedy:
"Well, rather yes and no, that house *was* hideous... of course that is no excuse." (Season 3)

On a heated exchange between Robert and rabble-rouser/dinner guest, Miss Sarah Bunting:
"Principles are like prayers; noble, of course, but awkward at a party." (Season 5)

On the untimely death of Turkish diplomat Kemal Pamuk in a bedroom of Downton Abbey:
“Last night, he looked so well. Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.” (Season 1)

How fitting for the British to quit while they're ahead.  No growing long in the tooth for the upstairs and downstairs of Downton.  It would be bad form.

Farewell, my stuffy old friends!

PS: If you've very sad when the show ends, check this out.  It will cheer you up. Here's a peek:

tags: entertainment, pop culture


Anonymous said...


Jessica said...

I'm pretending it's not really over, but it was beautiful. Edith finally came out on top!