The characters of Downton Abbey Simpsonized by Belgian artist Adrien Noterdaem.
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Spotting linguistic anachronisms in Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey is as easy as shooting grouse in a barrel. “I couldn’t care less,” Lord Grantham says. Thomas complains that “our lot always gets shafted.” Cousin Matthew announces he’s been on a steep learning curve, a phrase that would have been gotten a blank reception even in the Sterling Cooper boardroom.
Disclaimer: the above are not direct Downton Abbey quotes.
Image via Telegrams from Downton
No, Mrs. Patmore probably wouldn’t have said “when push comes to shove,” and Lord Grantham should have waited a couple of decades before telling his chauffer to step on it. But that isn’t the problem with Downton's vision of the past. Even when the characters are speaking authentic period words, they aren't using them to express authentic period thoughts. The Earl who frets over his duties as a job creator, the servants grappling with their own homophobia — those are comfortable modern reveries. Drop any of them into a drawing-room comedy by Shaw or Pinero and they'd be as out-of-place as a flat-screen TV.
Downton Abbey Anachronism Watch via @Slate
I remember one time when I was quite young … I was staying in a house and I got lost and I went through the wrong door and I was standing at the top of the staircase that led down into the kitchens and everything. And there was a tremendous row going on between what sounded like four or five, six people shouting … And I suddenly had such a powerful sense of the lives being lived by the people who worked there. Not, you know, only the family who lived there, but the people who worked there were also, you know, enjoying life or hating each other or loving each other or whatever.
Image courtesy of PBS
Out of desperation, Cora, his American wife, sends for her wealthy mother to visit, in hopes that the Crawley women can persuade her to finance their lavish lifestyle. The mother, Martha, is played by new cast member Shirley MacLaine, who’s excellent. She doesn’t steal the show — she can’t, not with Maggie Smith already dominating every scene she’s in as Cora’s mother-in-law, the acerbic, sarcastic Dowager Countess — but MacLaine fits in perfectly.
Downton Abbey: Now available in gingerbread!
New season starts in January, so it’s time to get ready for more delightful Maggie Smith moments.