I am OBSESSED with Downton Abbey.  And not just because I love the name of the show (insert winky face ;)).  I started watching it on the plane to Israel (I think they had the first three episodes) and then came home desperate to see what was going to happen next.

I couldn't find it on Netflix, even though I know that it was streaming there at one point.  I know this because Ted and I had watched the first episode months before and hadn't been able to get into it (something that sounds completely ludicrous to me now).  I figured out that I could watch really fuzzy episodes on youtube - the pirated kind where I think someone records their tv screen with their phone and then posts it.  Those episodes were impossible to find and almost more impossible to watch.

I was about to give up streaming them until I figured out that I could watch them with my Amazon Prime account!  Praise the lord!  I watched the first three seasons back to back during any free moment I could find, only to get to Season Four and find out that Amazon wasn't streaming that one.  And if you know what happens at the end of Season three - you KNOW why I needed to get my hands on Season four immediately!

So I finally sat down at the computer and reorganized our Netflix DVD queue and threw all of the upcoming episodes, in order, up to the top (something Ted is extremely pleased about, I am sure).

I know you might be wondering why I am telling you all this because why the heck do I think you care about my latest television obsession? (Although, not that having no reason at all to tell you about my tv addiction has ever stopped me before).  But, here is the thing: a lot of people die on Downton Abbey.  In fact, the most important, loved and pivotal characters die - young and tragically.  Two of the main characters on the show are, by Season Four, bereaved mothers (and I think there are enough characters that I am not being a "spoiler" by telling you this).  And, while I think there are imperfections with their depiction of the grieving process - I'd say that it gets much closer than most anything else I've seen.  And the writing!  They way these characters express my thoughts!  It's (dare I say) Magical.  I recognize and relate to the anger, the jealousy, the complete paralysis, and the inability to look past one's own grief.  I am more consumed with those stories than I am with the love stories (and those are pretty good too).  I think about them all of the time - wondering how the writers are going to write the next stage of grief - praying that they won't let any of the grievers move on too quickly - hoping that they will recognize all of the right triggers that would set off someone who was really in grief.  It will never be perfect, because it is still fiction, but they do a pretty good job.

It seems that still, after almost three years without Max, I am searching for connections with the ways other people deal with death and grief - it's even good enough for me when the most authenticity I can find is in fictional characters.  The "problems" of non aggrieved characters fall flat for me.  In fact, it's hard to believe, but I haven't chosen a romantic comedy in ages.  It's not that I won't watch anything else, you know I will....but I definitely prefer content that includes deep grief, post traumatic stress and complete upheaval.

A few brilliant Downton Abbey quotes that really sum it up for me and have left me in puddles of my own tears:

"You see, when your only child dies, then you're not a mother anymore. You're not anything really. And that's what I'm trying to get used to."

"“…but you see I have this feeling that when I laugh or read a book or hum a tune, that it means that I’ve forgotten him, just for a moment and it’s that, that I cannot bear.”

"When one loses a child, is it really ever over?"

"I’m not unhappy. I’m just not quite ready to be happy."

"You are being tested. And you know what they say, my darling -- being tested only makes you stronger."

"This tragedy will either make or break your marriage. Hold each other tight and never take one another for granted."


Em said...

Hmmm...I'm I to parenthood right now but downtown abbey may have to be my next show. I can so relate to you wanting to find someone, even fictional, to relate to. I am like that with books...if there are dead kids in it and bereaved parents then I'll pick it up...everybody else's problems just fall flat and I have pretty much zero compassion.

Stephanie said...

Another thing we share. I began watching it when I going through chemo, finishing the first season in one day. I'm obsessed, as well.

Susan said...

Hi Abby - love the revamp - the yellow colour in the text is really hard to read though :(

I turned Downton off for the opposite reason - poor old Sybil... I don't watch hardly any telly, and I don't want real. I get enough of dead kids in real life :(

After you've finished with Dowton , you should look up Cranford (BBC drama) - OMG was that full on... I watched it BEFORE C died, and it was on the edge of my coping ability then xx