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Here's my UO.  While according to our 21st century sensibilities Mary was appallingly cold to tell Matthew that she's only married him if he was the heir, I give her credit for telling him the truth v. lie and either get out of it if he wasn't the heir or make him miserable in a middle class life. At that point she was marrying him in order to save the family (from not being rich).  I don't think she fell in love with Matthew until he was lost to her.  The flirtation with Pamuk was her passive aggressive way of not going the way her parents wanted.  

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I'm never clear on exactly when Mary fell in love with Matthew, but I totally agree with your general point---Mary has a lot of flaws, but I never minded how  pragmatic, ruthlessly unsentimental and even borderline mercenary she could seem when it came to protecting the family's estate. Based on what I've read, that's realistic for many of her class and era...plus, IMO Mary/Downton was the show's real One True Pairing. ;) Seriously, she cares deeply about her home, her family's traditions, financial security, honor and legacy, etc., and it can seem like those are fairly snobby, materialistic values by today's standards and maybe at some points even by HER day's standards, but Downton and her family legacy was all she knew and loved. Loyalty to Downton and the importance of making life choices that would protect the family's estate seemed to have been instilled in her whole life. Downton was her whole world, and she saw it as her ultimate purpose and duty to protect it.

And while I am in no way excusing much of Mary's treatment of Edith throughout the series, part of me wonders if that's where some of her resentment of Edith comes from---Edith just doesn't love Downton like Mary does, and isn't really expected to protect it and sacrifice for it like Mary sometimes is.  Edith is free to seek fulfillment through a different type of career, to carve out a life for herself in London etc, while it's always just seemed understood that Mary's life revolves around Downton. And as much as she genuinely loves Downton, being so tied to it and expected to base all her choices on Downton's welfare could probably feel like a burden...especially with a father who nearly loses the family fortune almost every single season ;)   

Edited by amensisterfriend
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7 hours ago, oceanblue said:

Here's my UO.  While according to our 21st century sensibilities Mary was appallingly cold to tell Matthew that she's only married him if he was the heir, I give her credit for telling him the truth v. lie and either get out of it if he wasn't the heir or make him miserable in a middle class life. At that point she was marrying him in order to save the family (from not being rich).  I don't think she fell in love with Matthew until he was lost to her.  The flirtation with Pamuk was her passive aggressive way of not going the way her parents wanted.  

Actually, Mary *didn't* tell Matthew she's only married him if he was the heir - she only didn't accept his proposal, waiting for Cora's baby to be born, and Matthew interpreted that in the way you wrote. Instead, Mary said that she didn't even herself know what she would have done. As you said, she was honest, although Violet had warned her against it.   

Edited by Roseanna

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7 hours ago, amensisterfriend said:

...plus, IMO Mary/Downton was the show's real One True Pairing. ;) Seriously, she cares deeply about her home, her family's traditions, financial security, honor and legacy, etc., and it can seem like those are fairly snobby, materialistic values by today's standards and maybe at some points even by HER day's standards, but Downton and her family legacy was all she knew and loved. Loyalty to Downton and the importance of making life choices that would protect the family's estate seemed to have been instilled in her whole life. Downton was her whole world, and she saw it as her ultimate purpose and duty to protect it.

That may be true in later seasons, but not in the beginning. She clearly said that she would have married Patrich if "nothing better" came - i.e. she wanted the highest status possible for herself via marriage (which was natural for a woman of her class), she didn't care for Downton at that time. Also, after Matthew became the heir, she didn't want to marry him (which she would have wanted if she had loved Downton) until she fell in love with him. 

To me, Mary in the beginning of series is a woman who has two minds. She knows that her only possible way to succeed in life is to marry well and she also wealth and status and couldn't image to live without them but at the same time but she doesn't like that her fate is sealed and she has to marry the heir, be it Patrick or Matthew. 

The result is that she doesn't *do* anything to get her aim (save the duke), and even throws her chances to the wind by lying with Pamuk. 

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So are there any formerly held opinions about the show that have changed for you guys???

I'm finding that I'm loving the much derided later seasons more than most seem to and loving the very popular earlier seasons a little less. And in case y'all didn't already know that I have the weirdest taste ever, I actually kind of love S6---as long as I fast forward through some of the endless, repetitive blathering about the hospital, that is :)

Another is that even as someone who was always on board with Isobel ending the series contentedly single, I seem to have fallen in love with Lord Merton and really like the idea of he and Isobel together now. She makes him care, encourages him to stand up for what he believes in etc. while he kind of mellows her out a little without trying to change her in any way. I never liked Dr. Clarkson much. There's no rational reason why. He just didn't do it for me, for lack of a better way of putting it!

I absolutely love exuberant, energetic Rose and actually wish she'd been there from the beginning as the 'Sybil' of the group---as I've confessed here before, the real Sybil didn't quite work for me as the passionate character we were supposed to see her as. She just came across as flat and dull to me. 

I'm so conflicted about Edith. In many ways, I get her and relate to her more than almost any other character, and I did root for her ultimate happiness. I actually respect the writers for showing us how someone's deep insecurity can manifest in really unpleasant ways---it's not just 'adorable' social awkwardness and sweet shyness like many romantic comedies would lead one to believe, but can lead to jealousy, pettiness, self-pity and really poor, impulsive choices. So I don't mind that Edith was flawed in those ways. The issue with Edith is how much of a victim she makes herself out to be through pretty much the entire series. Don't get me wrong---she did have some legitimate complaints and some bad luck, but something about the acting and writing just combined to make her so simpering and whiny, even over situations that she did/could have total control over.  

Edited by amensisterfriend
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My new favorite thread! 

I'm still obsessed with this show. The writers made many mistakes, but they couldn't kill off my love for Downton. 

I'm not sure this is unpopular, but the first season is still my favorite. I also liked the last season a lo more than most did. 

My five favorite characters are Cora, Robert, Bates, Molesley, Sybil. Other than Sybil, I'm thinking most of those choices are unpopular. Cora in particular means a lot to me, and I feel like I see her differently than most do.

My favorite of Mary's men was Evelyn Napier. Then Charles Blake, THEN Matthew, then the rest. 

Edith may have had the worst luck, some of which she helped create through poor choices, but she also had the most appealing suitors to me. In real life I would rather be with Sir Anthony Strallan and Bertie Pelham than almost any other characters.

I loved Tom in S1, but his characterization suffered as early as S2, and part of me wishes he had left the series when Sybil died. And obviously I wish that Sybil DIDN’T die, but that’s not a particularly unpopular opinion! 

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So many unlikable, snotty people in this series.  I can't stand Mary.  She's conceited, self-absorbed and nasty.  She's not even the prettiest daughter; that honor falls to Sybil.  Cora, more often than not, is an idiot.  And O'Brien and Thomas are despicable, hateful people. I've only started watching DT, but I just had to vent about my most hated.  I'm sure I'll have more to say as I get deeper into it. 

Edited by taurusrose
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8 hours ago, taurusrose said:

So many unlikable, snotty people in this series.  I can't stand Mary.  She's conceited, self-absorbed and nasty.  She's not even the prettiest daughter; that honor falls to Sybil.  Cora, more often than not, is an idiot.  And O'Brien and Thomas are despicable, hateful people. I've only started watching DT, but I just had to vent about my most hated.  I'm sure I'll have more to say as I get deeper into it. 

Well, so far you're right on track!  LOL.  I've been a fan for many years.  Last year, I started re-watching from Episode 1, and was determined to step back and look at each character more objectively.  But I came to the conclusion that Mary, Cora, O'Brien, and Thomas are exactly as you have described them.

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Season 3 UOs:  The Matthew/Mary coupling leaves much to be desired.  I don't see what either of them sees in the other.  Mary is bossy, entitled and shrewish just off the top of my head.  He is weak and stupid.  Seriously, who turns down an inheritance?  Especially over the lame-ass excuse he kept offering?  I wanted to smack him every time he started carrying on about driving Lavinia into her grave.  I hardly think that's possible, but say--for the sake of argument--that she did die so he could be with Mary, I'd have to put her down as an even bigger moron, and wonder how any of the so called aristocracy survived in the face of such idiocy.  Oh, wait.  They survived because they married people made of sturdier stuff (Sybil and Branson). That whole episode with Matthew agonizing over his inheritance had some of the worst acting from the actor that I've seen so far. His expressions were awful grimaces that reminded me of someone who's constipated.  On to Edith.  I think she caused a lot of her own heartbreak/unhappiness/bad luck because she's too trusting (gullible?) in some instances and too desperate in others.  Still, I have to give the girl props for getting up and going downstairs for breakfast the day after being left at the altar. I'd be hiding under the covers with a gallon of ice cream for probably a week.  I still can't stand Thomas the malignant weasel and O'Brien the sour-faced harpy. I hope both of them get what they deserve before the series ends.  Cora.  I think she is the single most abused person at Downton Abbey.  She lets Mary, Richard and Violet walk all over her; she is not a good poster child for American swagger or pride. Did she renounce her citizenship or something when she married Richard Crawley?  I wish he'd said "don't go American on me" (as if to do so was the equivalent to a social disease) to me.  He'd still be picking his teeth up off the floor.  I'm amazed that these aristocratic beggars continue to badger Cora about her nationality at every opportunity when the only reason they still have Downton Abbey is because of her American money.  I'm even more amazed that she just cowers and lets them.  Her mother's appearance was a breath of fresh air.  She may have been the ugly nouveau riche American to the arrogant Crawleys, but she was expert at throwing truth bombs and getting Violet's goat at every turn.  The only time I could give Cora a thumbs up was when she told Mary it wasn't her family's fault that his lordship and company were broke and she didn't think they should sink any more of their cash into Downton Abbey.  I also liked Cora's conversation with Mrs. Hughes.  Two scenes out of 13 episodes does not speak well for Cora.     

P.S.  I forgot to mention Daisy.  Gawd!  I hate her. She's as dumb as a box of rocks.

Edited by taurusrose
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 But I came to the conclusion that Mary, Cora, O'Brien, and Thomas are exactly as you have described them.

Mary sorta comes and goes for me - she was a woman trapped by her position so I get some of her bitchy behavior but she also seemed to revel in her position . And I have a similar love/hate for Cora - as often as I wondered why she was even in scenes at times - were there ever any plots that really needed Cora? - at the same time I really liked how she clearly loved her daughters who all at times clearly drove her up a wall. She had that line, paraphrasing "You think having daughters will be like Little Women, instead they're at each others throats morning till night".

I never liked O'Brien. Never saw how she or Thomas kept their jobs for so long when they were clearly bitter, unhappy, and prone to malicious acts. I don't care how high handed Cora is, or if she's getting ready to fire you - the soap at the tub bit is assault. Thomas likewise was genuinely *stealing*.

But you know who I couldn't stand? Carson. A prick and a snob from day one, with no damn reason to be - Carson was always a petty prick, the kind of asshole who delights in grinding his bootheels into you and telling you what a priveledge you were getting. As much as Thomas was no prize - Carson's utter goddamn glee and enjoyment in needling him over how his job was being eliminated. And worse, his utter fucking joy in grinding poor Mosely into the dirt - and what did Mosely do wrong other than wanting something better and having his boss die? My potentially unpopular opinion? Mary would have been a much nicer person if Carson hadn't raised her.

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On ‎24‎/‎02‎/‎2017 at 11:59 PM, taurusrose said:

Cora.  I think she is the single most abused person at Downton Abbey.  She lets Mary, Richard and Violet walk all over her; she is not a good poster child for American swagger or pride. Did she renounce her citizenship or something when she married Richard Crawley?  I wish he'd said "don't go American on me" (as if to do so was the equivalent to a social disease) to me.  He'd still be picking his teeth up off the floor.  I'm amazed that these aristocratic beggars continue to badger Cora about her nationality at every opportunity when the only reason they still have Downton Abbey is because of her American money.  I'm even more amazed that she just cowers and lets them.  Her mother's appearance was a breath of fresh air.  She may have been the ugly nouveau riche American to the arrogant Crawleys, but she was expert at throwing truth bombs and getting Violet's goat at every turn.  The only time I could give Cora a thumbs up was when she told Mary it wasn't her family's fault that his lordship and company were broke and she didn't think they should sink any more of their cash into Downton Abbey.  I also liked Cora's conversation with Mrs. Hughes.  Two scenes out of 13 episodes does not speak well for Cora.     

You see I really don't mind this at all. The "brash American" sterotype does maybe have a basis in truth but she's been in the UK since she was 18 and is now 40s. People change. Her father (like many of his generation/background) were desperate to marry their daughters to Aristocrats so they could say their grandson was going to be an Earl. If Cora has always been brought up like this it make sense that she isn't doing the also very stereotypical "blowing their socks off with her modernisation and pluck". Because for one thing, she would have also had servants to do many things for her in Chicago and whilst society might have different incomprehensible rules on either side of the Atlantic, she probably would have felt more at home there than with the "middle west cowboy" Robert dared Mary into bringing home. And she did get upset about "her money" as well she should, but even her American self made Father transferred it as a dowry specifically for her husband's (estates) use and didn't get any guarantee that it (or at least a bigger part than her own dowry) could go to an eldest daughter if they failed to have a son.

I don't hate Robert, I think he's an arse a lot of the time and increasingly unlisted to by his family but he's a born as a Victorian Tory landowner aristocrat, it's usually more notable if they *are* more politically/socially liberal (although that doesn't apply to mistresses for themselves a lot of the time). And Violet as the grandmother who's seen it all is generally fine with going from "shock horror" to practical "lets just deal with what's happened" to "well everyone knows but no one says anything.

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19 hours ago, Featherhat said:

And she did get upset about "her money" as well she should, but even her American self made Father transferred it as a dowry specifically for her husband's (estates) use and didn't get any guarantee that it (or at least a bigger part than her own dowry) could go to an eldest daughter if they failed to have a son.

It's a little hard to believe that the same man made sure that his widow woudn't waste her heritage but didn't make any allowance for Cora and her possible daughters. 

I think that the only explanation is that otherwise there would be no show.    

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So many unpopular opinins about this show, including that I still love it regardless of its problems. 

I love season 4 and 5, probably even more than the other seasons.  

Matthew was a very boring character, and I didn't miss him much once he was gone. 

I love Rose! I thought she was a lot more lively and interetsing than Sybil, who was supposed to be some sort of passionate, spirited, warmhearted rebel but mostly seemed very flat and distant. The actress who played her seemed to sleepwalk through her scenes. I  also don't feel like she and Tom had some grand epic romance. Did they ever even connect about anything other than politics? Mostly Tom just seemed bitter in general and impatient with Sybil while Sybil came off only moderately interested in Tom. (This again could be attributed to the lifeless actress.) I always laugh at the "you're my ticket" scene. It's supposed to be this sweet romantic moment but comes off like Sybil basically announcing that she's using him to rebel and try out a more adventurous type of life  rather than actually having some deep love for him. I get that we're supposed to think they're in love, but it didn't come across that way. 

Related to the above: I think Tom became more likable after Sybil's death. I hate that he gave up his political passions and ended up working to maintain the way of life he claimed to loathe and then as some sort of car salesman, but he also lost a lot of that generalized bitter anger that made him tiresome duirng the Sybil years. 

I love Cora and her marriage with Robert, which obviously was not ideal, especially by today's standards, but felt real to me all the same, and I do think they sincerely loved each other.

I wish Mary had ended the series single and quite happy about it.

If I read descriptions of each of these characters, I would have expected to relate most to Edith, but she is always very hard for me to root for. She just seems so whiny and self-pitying. 

Carson is sometimes entertaining, but he's awful. So much worse than Robert in many ways, which I know is an unpopular opinion. And Carson seemed to get progressively worse with every season. I love Elsie Hughes and think she deserved a far batter fate! 

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I really love the character of Mary Crawley. That's not to say I'd love her in real life, but as a character, she's a favorite of mine. (I do agree that she was a lot easier to like while Matthew was alive, but that doesn't seem very unpopular). 

I probably have a few more, but that's my most unpopular opinion by far :-)

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On 8/28/2017 at 8:30 AM, AsYouWish said:

I really love the character of Mary Crawley. That's not to say I'd love her in real life, but as a character, she's a favorite of mine.

I hated Mary at first, but she grew on me as we got to know other aspects of her character such as her generosity with Anna. I would be slightly terrified of her in real life, and would NOT want to be her sister.

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On 2/27/2015 at 1:58 PM, Andorra said:

Haha, Oh dear amensisterfriend, how very, very much I pity you for your bad, bad taste! That is unpopular with me indeed. Liking Mr. Carson, but finding Tom just "meh"? Tz tz tz....

Well it's like the dress that some see in white golden and others in black blue.

I fell in love with Tom the minute he walked into that library. He's the most interesting and the most heartbreaking character on the show and my whole Downton world moves around him and no one else.

And Allen Leech, btw is sex on legs.

tumblr_inline_nkbmjuzIWP1r174yw.gif

Late to the forum, but I couldn't agree more...and am loving the coincidence that you gifted us with a GIF on February 27 - Happy Birthday To Me!!! 

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Unpopular opinion: for a show that was pretty much all about romance (with a side helping of mystery and historical drama), Downton Abbey had the worst relationships. Fellowes just did not seem to know how to put together two people who would be good for one another in an entertaining way. He either paired people who were too nice for this world (Anna, Matthew, Mrs. Hughes) with people who varied from the merely awful to utter wastes of oxygen (Bates, Mary, Carson), OR he turned the love of two likable souls into complete snoozefests (Sybil &Tom, Mosley & Baxter, Atticus & Rose). The only couples to escape both curses (an opinion based purely on  the fact that I didn't hate one of the parties involved and  can remember most of what happened to them) were Isobel & Lord Merton and Edith & Gregson, and I'm not 100% on the latter - he was certainly good for her, but I'm not sure she was good for him, other than not being Not Crazy. 

Aside from those two, the only other ship on this show that I really enjoyed was Mary & Carlisle. Fellowes really excels at writing assholes, and when he put two of them together it made, in my opinion, for the most exciting season of the show. I was sorely, sorely disappointed that we didn't get a season 3 pitting the Carlisles against the Crawleys; I would have loved seeing the sparks fly between them when Mary eventually decided to ditch him for her family, and the intrigue when Bates was eventually accused of his murder, only to be cleared through the investigative talents of Tom, Barrow and Violet. Sadly, we got the miraculous healing of Matthew, the death of Lavina, and the stupid inheritance dilemma instead.

Edited by Flyingwoman
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Is it an unpopular opinion to dislike Bates? I never understood what Anna saw on him and for the most part I thought he was annoying. Before Anna's assault and she was enjoying herself with that card game the staff were playing he gets irrationally upset and yells at her among other things. He just was overbearing. 

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On 6/11/2018 at 4:00 AM, TotalHellion said:

Is it an unpopular opinion to dislike Bates? I never understood what Anna saw on him and for the most part I thought he was annoying. 

To me he's worse than annoying - I find him creepy and slimy.  He makes my skin crawl.

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I'm going to guess this is an unpopular opinion because of the hype surrounding the series....but I just binge watched it and found myself not really not loving it. It was okay, decently entertaining, but nothing more.

It's a soap opera - a fancy period one, yes, but still a soap. People coming back from the dead with facial scars, covering up murders, scorned ex-lovers, a wealthy family on the brink of ruin, working class people scheming against each other and grand parties. I have seen it all before and I definitely heard better dialogue on some of the old soaps from the 80s and 90s. Just because you're speaking in a British accent and occasionally using period lingo doesn't mean you're saying anything especially profound or clever.

I found myself regularly comparing it to Mad Men and finding it coming up short (not that I'm wild about that show either, just that I think it was more ambitious). It doesn't really give us too much insight into the human experience. It moves from plot to plot usually without taking the time to really get into anything juicy. Some of the interesting stuff it set up it didn't really delve into much, for example Mr Barrow and Mary. Both are really interesting characters when you first meet them, but the show doesn't do too much to develop them over the course of the series. Barrow always schemes and manages to keep his job, and occasionally they touch on the gay thing and it's there that we start to get something interesting going... but it seemed like they had no specific plan about what to do with him. Mary's kind of the same situation. She's a bit of a b**** on wheels, especially towards Edith, but we never get to see her grapple with that beyond occasionally admitting that her personality sucks. She is exactly who she is the whole series through. Some days she's angry, some days she's happy, some days she's flirty, some days she's numb...but she doesn't really change. Maybe if she'd stayed married to Matthew for the whole run of the series, the course of their marriage would have changed her a little bit. I think I dislike the way the show insisted on maintaining the status quo when it would have been much more interesting to shift things.

Branson was probably one of my favorite characters because he has such a big arc throughout the series compared to the others. Admittedly, near the end it also felt like they weren't too sure what to do with him besides have him waffle between his old life and his new one. I kind of think Mary's second marriage benefited him more than anyone else because he finally had a brother of sorts and someone to share in a business related to cars.

This is probably also an unpopular opinion but I really really disliked Mary's second husband. He had a swagger and a look in his eyes that really turned me off, and I just couldn't wrap my head around how he was gainfully employed as a race car driver back in the day. Did I miss some quick line of dialogue about how he has family money too?

The pacing was all over the place over the course of the six seasons. Some plot points were established, developed and wrapped up within the span of one episode (Cora's unexpected pregnancy) and others dragged and dragged simply to fill time.

I really enjoyed the locations and the costumes and most of the cast, but this wasn't some profound series like I was expecting, given people's fondness for it.

I'll watch the movie in the fall but I don't think I'll rewatch the series.

Edited by DisneyBoy
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Bertie, Marquess of Hexham makes up for the dull cast added in the later seasons.....

 Edith was finally able to give Mary the double fisted middle fingers.....

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Oh yes!  Even Lord Grantham, who had thought they would be stuck with Edith as an old maid, was impressed and delighted to have a real copper-bottom Marquess in the family.

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56 minutes ago, JudyObscure said:

Oh yes!  Even Lord Grantham, who had thought they would be stuck with Edith as an old maid, was impressed and delighted to have a real copper-bottom Marquess in the family.

"She who laughs last . . . "

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12 hours ago, TheView said:

Fellowes should not have written the entire show by himself. 

Pretty sure this is not an unpopular opinion!

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On 6/10/2019 at 4:43 AM, Llywela said:

Pretty sure this is not an unpopular opinion!

I think the show and its quirks would be hilarious on stage. 

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On 3/11/2019 at 12:02 PM, DisneyBoy said:

It's a soap opera - a fancy period one, yes, but still a soap.

 A damn good soap opera!  What were you expecting?

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Reading comments about Mr Pamuk has brought to mind the one scene which really irritates me.  How long did it take Thomas to help Pamuk tie his little thin string tie. They made such a meal of it and it irritates me every time I watch it.  Has anyone else noticed this?

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8 hours ago, Ardnas43 said:

Reading comments about Mr Pamuk has brought to mind the one scene which really irritates me.  How long did it take Thomas to help Pamuk tie his little thin string tie. They made such a meal of it and it irritates me every time I watch it.  Has anyone else noticed this?

I think Thomas was trying to feel him out as a potential partner for himself.

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I think this show would've been great as a stage musical. A really over-the-top extravaganza with wild dance numbers. 

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On 12/28/2015 at 6:55 PM, ZoloftBlob said:

I really pray *someone* writes a tell all book 😄

I'd buy it in a heartbeat 

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On 8/18/2019 at 2:36 PM, Fireball said:

My Unpopular Opinion is I don't see the need for a movie.... I especially don't see the need after watching the trailer for the movie.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu3mP0c51hE 

For someone like myself that is a costume and set junkie, the movie will be sheer heaven even if the plot sucks.

So, on my current rewatch, I've decided Anna gets on my last nerve.  She's just Debbie Downer moping around, addicted to her drama and being the center of attention. 

It was all of about 10 minutes after she and Bates were cleared of killing the rapist dude and off she goes whining about not being pregnant yet.  Gurl can take that Eeyore BS right on outta my castle.

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On 3/11/2019 at 11:02 AM, DisneyBoy said:

I'm going to guess this is an unpopular opinion because of the hype surrounding the series....but I just binge watched it and found myself not really not loving it. It was okay, decently entertaining, but nothing more.

It's a soap opera - a fancy period one, yes, but still a soap. People coming back from the dead with facial scars, covering up murders, scorned ex-lovers, a wealthy family on the brink of ruin, working class people scheming against each other and grand parties. I have seen it all before and I definitely heard better dialogue on some of the old soaps from the 80s and 90s. Just because you're speaking in a British accent and occasionally using period lingo doesn't mean you're saying anything especially profound or clever.

I found myself regularly comparing it to Mad Men and finding it coming up short (not that I'm wild about that show either, just that I think it was more ambitious). It doesn't really give us too much insight into the human experience. It moves from plot to plot usually without taking the time to really get into anything juicy. Some of the interesting stuff it set up it didn't really delve into much, for example Mr Barrow and Mary. Both are really interesting characters when you first meet them, but the show doesn't do too much to develop them over the course of the series. Barrow always schemes and manages to keep his job, and occasionally they touch on the gay thing and it's there that we start to get something interesting going... but it seemed like they had no specific plan about what to do with him. Mary's kind of the same situation. She's a bit of a b**** on wheels, especially towards Edith, but we never get to see her grapple with that beyond occasionally admitting that her personality sucks. She is exactly who she is the whole series through. Some days she's angry, some days she's happy, some days she's flirty, some days she's numb...but she doesn't really change. Maybe if she'd stayed married to Matthew for the whole run of the series, the course of their marriage would have changed her a little bit. I think I dislike the way the show insisted on maintaining the status quo when it would have been much more interesting to shift things.

Branson was probably one of my favorite characters because he has such a big arc throughout the series compared to the others. Admittedly, near the end it also felt like they weren't too sure what to do with him besides have him waffle between his old life and his new one. I kind of think Mary's second marriage benefited him more than anyone else because he finally had a brother of sorts and someone to share in a business related to cars.

This is probably also an unpopular opinion but I really really disliked Mary's second husband. He had a swagger and a look in his eyes that really turned me off, and I just couldn't wrap my head around how he was gainfully employed as a race car driver back in the day. Did I miss some quick line of dialogue about how he has family money too?

The pacing was all over the place over the course of the six seasons. Some plot points were established, developed and wrapped up within the span of one episode (Cora's unexpected pregnancy) and others dragged and dragged simply to fill time.

I really enjoyed the locations and the costumes and most of the cast, but this wasn't some profound series like I was expecting, given people's fondness for it.

I'll watch the movie in the fall but I don't think I'll rewatch the series.

I think nothing ever changes at Downton because it is escapist fantasy for Fellowes as much as as for the audience. I think a lot of the syrupy social anachronisms of the later seasons can be blamed on this - having Robert, or anyone, be truly upset that Edith is a single mother or that the second butler is gay would perhaps be more realistic, but it would destroy the fairy-tale. Ditto Mary's character development - she doesn't need to grow because she epitomizes Downton, and Downton is already perfect. And of course the schoolteacher Branson flirted with had to be the plainest, most unpleasant person possible, because anyone suggesting the system on which Downton was built needed to change is by definition a kill-joy and is possibly lacking a soul. Of course, that the system has indeed changed is the reality from which I believe Fellowes is trying so hard to flee.

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Among British fans more than American fans, there is criticism of the show whitewashing the whole peerage/aristocratic system in the UK. Fellowes' own Gosford Park is probably a much more realistic depiction of the upstairs/downstairs dynamic, and how the downstairs people are looked upon and treated by the upstairs crowd. But you probably can't maintain a series where the main family are a bunch of completely unrepentant assholes, whereas for one movie, it can work.

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That's something that's always frustrated me about the show and made me feel that it was underestimating the intelligence of its audience. There is a way to write characters as true to a time period while also likable, or at least interesting/engaging. Most people understand that things were different back in the olden days and can adjust their moral relativism accordingly.

Mad Men is an example of a period drama that consistently walked this line very well. It is possible to do.

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On 9/28/2019 at 6:44 AM, Hiyo said:

Among British fans more than American fans, there is criticism of the show whitewashing the whole peerage/aristocratic system in the UK. Fellowes' own Gosford Park is probably a much more realistic depiction of the upstairs/downstairs dynamic, and how the downstairs people are looked upon and treated by the upstairs crowd. But you probably can't maintain a series where the main family are a bunch of completely unrepentant assholes, whereas for one movie, it can work.

Gosford Park was also directed by Robert Altman, who was blessedly not in love with the time period and was therefore willing to have some subtle fun with it. If I did not know Fellowes was involved in both productions I would have pegged Downton as an expensive Gosford fan film, in which the fave characters got Mary Sue'd and everything turns out alright in the end. And that's fine. Goodness knows I enjoy me some happily-ever-after fan fic, but then my bar for stuff I read for free on the internet is lower than what I think a film production company's would be for a prestige product like this.

On 9/28/2019 at 11:10 AM, helenamonster said:

That's something that's always frustrated me about the show and made me feel that it was underestimating the intelligence of its audience. There is a way to write characters as true to a time period while also likable, or at least interesting/engaging. Most people understand that things were different back in the olden days and can adjust their moral relativism accordingly.

Mad Men is an example of a period drama that consistently walked this line very well. It is possible to do.

Re Mad Men: There are still alot of people around who remember the 60s and know it wasn't all peace, love and  understanding. If they had tried to sugar-coat the times there would have been push-back from people who could claim the authority of experience. Waaaaaaay back in the day, The Jewel in the Crown had 14 hours of period drama packed full of one mind-blowingly problematic character after another and it was riveting. However, like Mad Men, it was made within the lifetimes of people who had experienced those events. With Downton there are probably very few people left at this point with solid memories of the era, so there are probably very few people left to say "That's bunk and I would know."

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If I did not know Fellowes was involved in both productions

Funny enough, DT was apparently planned as a spin-off of Gosford Park.

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in which the fave characters got Mary Sue'd and everything turns out alright in the end

Yeah, a whole series in the style of Gosford Park, with no Upstairs people to root for would have become a chore to watch eventually.

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With Downton there are probably very few people left at this point with solid memories of the era, so there are probably very few people left to say "That's bunk and I would know."

Well, with any show of this type, people are going to be fact-checking it and distributing that information. Even when movies like Gladiator and Elizabeth came out, there were tons of articles pointing out all the historical inaccuracies of those movies as well, and nobody is still alive from those eras...

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On 8/1/2018 at 5:50 PM, Brookside said:

To me he's worse than annoying - I find him creepy and slimy.  He makes my skin crawl.

I rewatched season one on Friday, and when he first showed up they used the "something not quite right/vaguely sinister" music!

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13 hours ago, TheView said:

I think Courteney Cox would've been a much better Cora. 

I think anybody would have been a much better Cora.  Her constant "simper face" annoyed the living daylight out of me.

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my biggest unpopular opinion is that i just really hate Bates. I find him so annoying and irrelevant. He's unnecessarily rude and mysterious and i don't see any reason to like him 

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I broke my own rules to never do Amazon anything and signed up for a free trial of Prime to watch hit show, after watching Call the Midwife and needing some more British flavor.

I am in the US, and I have a question for the Brits:

When you watch period shows like this one, about aristocracy and titles, and hunting dogs, and - imo - empty values, do you watch with a "at least we got better", or "I wish it was still a little like this", or you are completely dispassionate about it?

I ask because while I find it interesting from a "learning some 'history' via TV", I completely reject anything Monarchy, anything aristocracy, and I can't understand how it was even a thing that adults needed someone to help them get to bed. It is straight from feudalism, when you are born in a lower "cast" you better learn skills that keep you there. Butlers proud of being servants is completely foreign to me and even though there are similar situations everywhere, the pride on being servant, as far as I know, seems to be (or was) part of the British culture.

I don't mean to start a discussion and I realize that some might have a very different opinion. I am honestly curious. I believe the show brings some "modernisms" in the script, maybe things that would not be so acceptable back then but that they write into the show anyway. But my impression is that the writers, willingly or not, seem to lean towards "aristocrats are not so bad" (I would never write Tom caving into living with the family and basically forgetting about his socialist passion)

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I honestly feel that the whole Anglophile trend in the US began to wane after Downton ended. 

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On 6/6/2020 at 1:22 PM, alexvillage said:

I broke my own rules to never do Amazon anything and signed up for a free trial of Prime to watch hit show, after watching Call the Midwife and needing some more British flavor.

I am in the US, and I have a question for the Brits:

When you watch period shows like this one, about aristocracy and titles, and hunting dogs, and - imo - empty values, do you watch with a "at least we got better", or "I wish it was still a little like this", or you are completely dispassionate about it?

I ask because while I find it interesting from a "learning some 'history' via TV", I completely reject anything Monarchy, anything aristocracy, and I can't understand how it was even a thing that adults needed someone to help them get to bed. It is straight from feudalism, when you are born in a lower "cast" you better learn skills that keep you there. Butlers proud of being servants is completely foreign to me and even though there are similar situations everywhere, the pride on being servant, as far as I know, seems to be (or was) part of the British culture.

I don't mean to start a discussion and I realize that some might have a very different opinion. I am honestly curious. I believe the show brings some "modernisms" in the script, maybe things that would not be so acceptable back then but that they write into the show anyway. But my impression is that the writers, willingly or not, seem to lean towards "aristocrats are not so bad" (I would never write Tom caving into living with the family and basically forgetting about his socialist passion)

Well, i also come from a country who gain independence and became inmediatily a republic; it is not my intention to start a fight, but i think that every country builds myth about its past, also the fact that in america there is no a monarchy it doesnt mean that there is no a aristocracy, even that i am not american there is people in the US who felt proud that their family is old money, they go to harvard, they are billionaires, they have servants, they also mix with the smart set, they do only fashionable charities and so on; perhaps the brits are more honest about and they do it up front. My country is small, but there is also some sort of aristocracy, they are businessmen who their ancestors worked in the upper echelons of the spanish rule where, and they go only to certain unviersities, they even keep their old estates only for the prestige rather than the money, they have certain names, and they dont mix with the rest. 

In the particular case of Downton, the writter Fellowes is unashamely conservative, he can only see the aristocracy in rose tintes glases. The truth in those times is that the aristocracy in britain was in the margins, they no longer had economic, policial or social power; young working class people no longer wanted to be servant, they wanted normal jobs with free time and improve themselves, women no longer looked up women of the aristocracy for fashion, they looked actresses and so on because they were icons of meritocracy, industrialists or other new money no longer yearned to be aristocrats, if they wanted a castle they simply bought one from a broke aristocrat, policitians, even conservatives ones no longer mixed with the aristocrats. For Carson, the butler, it is very important to be the butler because he is old, in his days be a servant in a big house was the top job for a working class person because he could have clothes, a bed, a roof, 3 square meals; but working conditions for working class people were better in the 1920s so being a servant was no longer the top job that somebody from poor origins would dream. 

Certain attitudes of the Crawley family was totally innacurate, for example accepting a gay footman, or being too friendly with the servants, or living in luxury (the aristocrats were downsizing everything), selling their art works, jewels and so on; also accepting that one of their daughters had a child out of wedlock. But still the show is interesting about how people behave themselves about 100 years ago. 

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5 hours ago, sark1624 said:

Well, i also come from a country who gain independence and became inmediatily a republic; it is not my intention to start a fight, but i think that every country builds myth about its past, also the fact that in america there is no a monarchy it doesnt mean that there is no a aristocracy, even that i am not american there is people in the US who felt proud that their family is old money, they go to harvard, they are billionaires, they have servants, they also mix with the smart set, they do only fashionable charities and so on; perhaps the brits are more honest about and they do it up front. My country is small, but there is also some sort of aristocracy, they are businessmen who their ancestors worked in the upper echelons of the spanish rule where, and they go only to certain unviersities, they even keep their old estates only for the prestige rather than the money, they have certain names, and they dont mix with the rest. 

In the particular case of Downton, the writter Fellowes is unashamely conservative, he can only see the aristocracy in rose tintes glases. The truth in those times is that the aristocracy in britain was in the margins, they no longer had economic, policial or social power; young working class people no longer wanted to be servant, they wanted normal jobs with free time and improve themselves, women no longer looked up women of the aristocracy for fashion, they looked actresses and so on because they were icons of meritocracy, industrialists or other new money no longer yearned to be aristocrats, if they wanted a castle they simply bought one from a broke aristocrat, policitians, even conservatives ones no longer mixed with the aristocrats. For Carson, the butler, it is very important to be the butler because he is old, in his days be a servant in a big house was the top job for a working class person because he could have clothes, a bed, a roof, 3 square meals; but working conditions for working class people were better in the 1920s so being a servant was no longer the top job that somebody from poor origins would dream. 

Certain attitudes of the Crawley family was totally innacurate, for example accepting a gay footman, or being too friendly with the servants, or living in luxury (the aristocrats were downsizing everything), selling their art works, jewels and so on; also accepting that one of their daughters had a child out of wedlock. But still the show is interesting about how people behave themselves about 100 years ago. 

Thanks for the detailed response. I should have been more specific, I 100% see the "new aristocracy" around the world, in the form of billionaires ( and the newly minted trillionaire, Bezos) and even in smaller scales as in white people employing and exploiting mostly black people as "maids". I am firmly in the "eat the rich" group. I am still curious about how the British see that in relation to their support (or lack of support) for the queen. Do they compartmentalize the current monarchy and their perks, while the rest of the current aristocracy (even if in title only, I really have no idea of how they live their lives) deserves to just cease to be a thing?

Interesting perspective on the writer. I didn't know but it makes sense now why he whitewashed Tom's socialism. I had noticed some of the extrapolations in the show, like children out of wedlock being largely accepted into their circles, and a gay servant since homosexuality was outlawed in Britain until relatively recent, I believe. The way the "upstairs" and "downstairs" were so friendly also raised my eyebrows - the analogy in the US reviewed history is how many slaves were happy to be slaves and how so many white slaveowners were compassionate and gentle. Bah!

But thanks for the information. I knew a little about the downsizing happening at that period, the new middle class emerging. I am still curious though, about the population's current feelings about the monarchic ways.

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