Fug File: Downton Abbey

Fug the Show: Downton Abbey recap, season 5, episode 3


You know things are bad for you when even Anna — who was raped last season, and who is currently in a huge tizzy over the fact that she thinks her husband is about to get busted for MURDER, and who is also a little bit worried that her boss/friend might be going to hell for sins of the premarital sex variety — is like, “MAN, I feel bad for THAT ONE.” OH EDITH.

Insert usual disclaimer about season five spoilers here, and we’re OFF. Apologies for how RANDOMLY the opening slide appears here — blah blah technical yada whatever.

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Fug the Show: Downton Abbey Recap, Season 5, episode 2


First of all, apologies that this is a wee bit later than usual — the Golden Globes shoved me down the Downton well and only just now fished me out. Point the second: I could not get the PBS app to work for me when I was taking screengrabs, so these are from the UK version of this episode (which is the only thing iTunes offers). I assume the US and UK versions are not WILDLY DIFFERENT — like, I can’t imagine the US version suddenly has a scene wherein Carson passionately kisses Thomas and then steals Isis before running off to America — but just so you know. Third: here’s my traditional NO SPOILERS language. Fourth: This episode boasts maybe my favorite thing Lady Mary has ever worn. Fifth: I promise we won’t be plugging this too incessantly, but I feel Downton viewers are the right demographic to actually care about this, and this week has been very busy, so in case you missed it, we revealed the cover of our new book, The Royal We, and we’re giving away three advanced copies. If you like thinking about making out with hot British people, you might enjoy it! Sixth: I’ve gone back to the slideshow format here because, for some reason, this show is easier to recap in slideshow (mostly because Julian Fellows likes to jump from short scene to shorter scene). But I’m not married to that. So prepare yourself for structural experiments this season!!! Aren’t you so excited? Seventh: I have A LOT OF NOTES about Gillingham v. Blake. Like, A LOT. Eighth: I forget what eight was for. Ninth: OH EDITH.

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Fug the Show: Downton Abbey Recap, Season 5, episode 1


Welcome back, dear friends, to the Downton Abbey recaps! This show brings me great pleasure and many wonderful coats and I delighted that it is BACK. As ever, I sincerely thank everyone who has already seen this season (either by non-televisual means, or because you live in the UK) for not spoiling those of us who prefer to have it unfurl for us on PBS right after The Great British Baking Show, with which I am also obsessed.

AND NOW ONTO DOWNTON. Please say it with me: POOR EDITH.

Seriously, Edith makes the worst, most terrible, choices and now she can’t even burn down the building properly. But we’ll get to that. She DOES at least have great coats. Like this one:

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As ever, what a hideous visage being forced upon us. Such a terrible eyesore. How can anyone bear to shoot and/or live there? (Note: I am endlessly distraught that Heather and I didn’t get to take the Downton tour whilst we were in England this time last year researching our new book, and we also didn’t have time to go to do the Harry Potter tour, all of which means that our next book should probably be a Harry Potter/Downton mash-up, right? Can’t you just see it? Harry and Mary would argue all the time, but Mary and Hermione would be secret besties because they feel [and possibly are] ever so slightly superior to a lot of people, and Edith would obviously fall thrall to You Know Who and have to be rescued before she got eaten by Nagini. Harry and Ron and Hermione would also spend a lot of time asking the Dowager Countess if they know her from somewhere, and she’d be all, “NO I DON’T THINK SO MUST GO CHECK ON MY ORCHIDS GOODBYE TEN POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR.”)

ANYWAY, Our Edith is biking off to see her daughter, Marigold, whom she has retrieved from the nice Swiss family who adopted her and instead farmed out to THE DOWNTON PIG FARMER. And she makes all kinds of horribly sad faces about it, even though her coat is totally freaking great:

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Don’t worry, Marigold is being extremely well cared for, and much loved and cossetted and you can tell that Edith adores her but is also sort of jealous, and of course it turns out that Mrs Pig Farmer doesn’t even know the truth (she thinks Marigold is the child of some rando friend of the Pig Farmer, and it’s clear that Mr and Mrs Pig Farmer do not have the kind of marriage I personally would wish for, in which I would be able to turn to my Pig Farmer Husband and say, “seriously, dude, who gave you this small child for me to raise?!”) and yadda yadda yadda, we don’t even get an entire episode into this season before the Pig Farmer is like, “my wife finds this whole thing suspicious and we need to find another way.” UM NO KIDDING, YOU GUYS. You cannot just leave your baby with the Pig Farmer whilst your Baby Daddy is off doing God knows what in Germany (slowly turning into a Nazi?!!? It’s still only 1924 but you know. This way he’ll be in QUITE deep) and expect that to go off smoothly. POOR EDITH.

As for the rest of the kids, they’re fine and quite adorable:

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And speaking of the rest of the Downtonites, Lord and Lady G are celebrating their wedding anniversary (with very little canoodling indeed); Lord G has got his knickers in a twist because the new Prime Minister is Labour (cue loads of grumbling about their endangered way of life, he’s so misunderstood, etc etc, you know the drill, and PS, your way of life would be saved IF YOU FOUND THAT GUTENBERG BIBLE I KEEP REMINDING YOU ABOUT); Lord G has ALSO got his knickers in a twist because the village is putting up a war memorial and only wants a piece of his land but NOT any of his advice, opting instead to ask Carson to lead their committee (don’t worry, Carson refuses to do it unless they make Lord G patron, which they do; Carson’s knickers are likewise twisted about Their Changing World, which is why he and Lord G are basically soulmates); and, finally, Lord G has his knickers in a twist because he’s still all worked up about thinking that Branson was banging the local schoolteacher whilst everyone was in London for Rose’s presentation at court. (Branson wasn’t, but EvilButler.com said that he was because Thomas holds onto a grudge like nobody’s business, I guess. That said, FINALLY, Thomas had a lot to do this week, which we’ll get to, and which was primarily tying people to train tracks and twirling his mustache.)

In short: Lord G’s knickers are very twisty indeed at the moment. Look on the bright side, man: You haven’t yet run the estate into the ground. AGAIN.

I just chose this shot because Lady Mary’s dress is a gorgeous color on her and also you never see her smile that widely:

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Fug the Show: Downton Abbey Season Five Approacheth!


The fifth season of Downton Abbey premieres for those of us in the United States on this Sunday, January 4th, and I AM EXCITED. Let’s prepare by looking back at some of the notable ensembles of season four. As ever, I am UNSPOILED — despite occasionally seeing tweets from our British friends, which were generally along the lines of, “Oh, Edith,” and bemoaning Edith can hardly be a spoiler; it’s like saying the sun did in fact rise this morning — and I trust that those of you who HAVE seen it will be as lovely and considerate as you were last season, and not spoil those of us here in the US as to what we have in front of us. I know we all really appreciated that everyone was so cool about that last season — and, when I was re-reading those recaps to write this post, I realized how much it must have been killing some of you to hold your tongue about various plot developments (read: the pig farmer). So, as ever, thank you for being awesome.

That said, let’s strap on our boots and go push some people down the well. If you feel that you need a FULL refresher on what happened last season, all of our Season Four recaps await you here!

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Well Played Covers: Downton Abbey on the Cover of Harper’s Bazaar UK


Real talk: I am very excited about the return of Downton Abbey, when it finally comes, and even though I know it ushers in a long period of those of us in the United States logging onto Twitter on Sunday morning and then screaming when we realize that our friends in the UK are about to tweet something like, “I can’t believe Lady Edith just shoved Thomas down that well!!!” or some such. I think EVERYONE is always looking forward to the return, however, hence these covers of UK Harper’s Bazaar. This is the subscriber cover:

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The delightful Fug National who brought these covers to my attention wished that everyone’s bosom was more amply supported, but for some reason, that doesn’t really bother me personally — it feels kind of period appropriate? Despite the fact that Rose’s sheer is not period appropriate and that Downton itself is no longer in the period that these frocks are kind of referencing. Most of all, I guess I just love how SAUCY Edith looks.

The newsstand cover gave Lady Mary all the real estate:

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Fug the Show: Downton Abbey Recap, Season 4 Christmas Special


I have a LOT of comments about this episode, and they include: Why am I hanging out with Paul Giamatti so much all of a sudden? Since when is this thing a caper? Why can’t Julian Fellowes hire a British actor with a decent American accent? Is it really a Christmas Special if no one makes out? And, finally, why is it that the more I type “Christmas special,” the more I become sure that that’s what Julian Fellowes has named his handgun? That being said, Mary has a tremendous moment in this episode where I actually clapped with glee, and MY GOD, the clothes are FANTASTIC and the entire thing was beautifully shot and who doesn’t love a court presentation and tiaras and balls?!

FINALLY, thanks to you readers for being such an awesome and fun community of Downton fans this year. I am going to try to recap earlier episodes of the series over the summer, when we have fewer celeb events to tackle, if people would be interested, to MURDER time until we get to see the new season, but until then: cheers, and try not to push anyone down the well.

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