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