FORBES has a nice essay on why the left is swiping their claws at Downton Abbey. They get close to it. The rich do get more of a fair shake on the show, which does infuriate the latest trend of demonizing the current 1%. Forbes is so close, but maybe they can't go there because it is a financial magazine. The left hates Downton Abbey because it glorifies the prior ruling elite that was replaced by our current world order. Downton spotlights the inequities of yesterday in all regards with a somewhat critical eye on the modernization we slog through daily. Downton has characters repeating steady messages and customs of the old days as if they should happen because they have always happened. The left despises this because people watch it and adore it.
My wife watches Downton Abbey, and through marital diffusion, I understand bits about setting, characters and plot points. Downton Abbey does push many of the same messages on television today, but they slip in plenty subversive elements. How does Downton flip the script on so many things that modern Hollywood pushes as righteous?
1. There are consequences for bad behavior that can smear others by association.
2. A gay guy is a BAD guy and a wife sets her husband up to take the fall for her suicide.
3. Women are constantly told they need to hurry up and marry.
4. A woman rejects the offer of a life together full of love to remain at the Abbey as a servant.
5. Rich, older men can make good decisions.
6. They rarely discuss politics in their lives. Never in front of ladies.
7. The women make fun of the sister who is a "women's libber".
8. They need a male heir to keep the Abbey.
9. No one claims to be a victim for status. They seek to be rich and awesome for status.
10. Wealthy people (including the rich patriarch) volunteer for the army to fight trench warfare for King and country. While there, the young man thinks of returning to his Downton.
Women, including SWPL women, love it. They get sucked in by the accents, wonderful setting and period piece costuming, but once an episode, something reactionary slips. Uh oh, the exposure to non-progressive ideas might influence the minds of viewers. Highly susceptible female viewers. Women will lament the absence of men like these classy, rich gentlemen, but really their disappearance is those women's doing in both Hollywood and in real life. The show gives plenty of moments to think "We're better", but there are plenty of moments that make you realize that Downton Abbey is the British version of Mad Men. It is the window onto the peak and early decline of a global hegemon. Hollywood might actively suppress the idea of a new Archie Bunker or Alex P. Keaton, but British television found a way around the left coast blockade. Downton's success might just well spawn historically accurate imitations on American television. Hollywood just might have to crank out a show on Gilded Age Chicago or post-Civil War San Francisco. I would cheer it. A toast to God, King and Downton!