Maybe it's the little girl in me who imagined she lived on a manor on an English countryside in another life. It could be that I've entertained the idea of wearing long silk gloves to dinner.
Or maybe I just like a British accent.
Whatever's behind it, the fuss over the PBS smash Masterpiece Theatre hit "Downton Abbey" has found its way to me. I have been bitten by the "Downton Abbey" bug, and I can't stop itching.
The same thing happened with me and the "Dukes of Hazzard" when I was a kid.
I'm somewhat of a newcomer to the Downton craze. Before watching my first episode back in November, I had heard many great things about the show. There's an old Hollywood mystique about it. I had no idea it would suck me in as if I were a penny on the floor as a Dyson rolled over me.
Man, the British really are one-upping us lately.
Downton's beautiful costumes and dress wear of course had me intrigued. I'm a sucker for velvet and lace. And the writing was my biggest hook. There's drama, romance, history, and my favorite part, that smart British wit that makes some American hit TV shows look like cartoons. Actually many of America's hit TV shows are cartoons.
I'm not sure what that says about our culture.
The first rule of Downton fanaticism is to pronounce the name of the abbey right. It is not "Downtown Abbey." Although that might give former MTV DJ Downtown Julie Brown another chance at stardom. The name is pronounced how it appears, Downton, and best enunciated with the proper British accent I've come to love since watching my first episode of "Benny Hill."
Now that's some kooky British wit.
Secondly, I recommend getting to know the characters, which have been superbly developed. From the regal Crawley family that lives upstairs to the dedicated help that takes care of their every need from downstairs, the Downton characters all have a story of their own. I particularly enjoy the many love stories because I'm all about the romance.
I really should get into that novel business.
As history has proven, not all of the stories behind the marriages and engagements in the show are based on romance. Many are arranged, as in the marriage of lead characters Robert Crawley, the Sixth Earl of Grantham, and his wife Cora, Countess of Grantham. Now that's a title.
April, Countess of Grantham, has a nice ring to it.
Elizabeth McGovern plays Cora, an American heiress who married into the British aristocracy at 20 per her father's wishes. She and Robert have three daughters who all have love stories of their own. Add in all the rest of the family and wait staff, and their relationships, and I do believe we have a winner.
The UK has already seen Season 3, which premiered here Sunday. The Crawleys and Downton Abbey have already welcomed an exciting year, 1920, and a new way a life now that World War I is over and done. Shirley MacLaine has made her much-anticipated appearance as Cora's wealthy mother visiting from America. In short, things are about to get hot.
In a British kind of way.
My mind is pretty much consumed by all that is "Downton Abbey." This show is like crack for people who do crack. But since I don't do crack, I will stick with my "Downton Abbey" obsession. The costumes alone should keep me hooked. Not to mention Matthew Crawley, the McDreamy of "Downton Abbey."
Maybe I'll even work on my accent.
- "April in Glenwood" appears every Wednesday. April E. Clark recommends Stephen Colbert's "Breaking Abbey" spoof for a good laugh. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.