Why Downton Abbey doesn’t make any sense – but we still love it

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Is the series just a picture of how we’d secretly want our life to be? Or does it shout out our despise for the so-called “idle rich” with mild, vaguely sentimental tones?

Downton Abbey is an ode to the last survivals of the Ancient Regime in the early 20th century, and this is exactly what its characters do: they merely survive. They do not engage in any particular activity and, if they do, the thing is regarded as something exceptional. Nor does the show have a proper plot: things happen, problems emerge, someone dies, yet its time flows by somewhat crystallised. Events do not convey any particularly edifying message, and the characters’ psychology does not pretend to be even remotely portrayed.

Things being to, how do we give reasons for the show’s astonishing success? Personally, I always find myself at loss for an answer when I’m asked this sort of question, either by my inner, more reasonable self, or by any slightly intellectual acquaintance.
I, therefore, justify my conscious choice of being a Downton Abbey fan by thorough analysis of its merits:

  • Aesthetics: I am talking about detailed, ostentatious interiors and captivating shootings, not to mention my favourite thing: ball gowns.
  • Signature tune: yes, you are humming it now. No, this is not going to stop: you are going to hum it for a couple of days at least.
  • Romance: meaningless, pointless, maybe not even that romantic. Nonetheless, some drama is always welcome to cheer up our lonesome evenings (yes, your cat does not count as sufficient companionship).
  • Accent: Downton Abbey has been rated the best English teacher ever by accredited sources.
  • Making me feel a better person: despite my low self-esteem, Downton Abbey’s main posh characters possess the incredible ability of making me feel a somewhat virtuous person. Or, at least, a useful one.

by Greta Baessato

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