A Good Addiction

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Addiction has a negative connotation, but I think you can be addicted to good things. To use a politically incorrect analogy, my usual drug of choice is reading, but last weekend I found a television series that rivals that addiction. I “discovered” Downton Abbey. To say I discovered it is a misnomer, because a good friend of mine who knows my tastes was surprised that I had not already become of fan of this PBS program. I am in the midst of Season 2 right now. For Mother’s Day no flowers or chocolates for me—I wanted the second season of Downton Abbey, after devouring the first.

Addiction, according to my handy-dandy Thesaurus located in my Microsoft Word Program on my computer, wears the following synonyms: habit, compulsion, need, obsession, craving and infatuation. I read somewhere that words in a thesaurus never properly define or fill in for the word you are looking up, but in this particular case, I disagree. Downton Abbey has created an obsessive need in me, as I crave compulsively the characters on the program that I have become infatuated with (yeah, yeah, I know – I am not supposed to end a sentence with with—for those of you who are purists, I will rephrase: the characters which with I have become infatuated).

English: Maggie Smith handprints in Leicester ...

English: Maggie Smith handprints in Leicester Square WC2 Dame Margaret Natalie Smith (b.1934) – Actor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love, love, love Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern. Maggie Smith is the consummate actress—you believe (even though this is just a program) that she is the Dowager Countess of Grantham, “matriarch of Downton and irrefutable authority on everything.” This woman just does not take no for an answer; she finds a solution where there is not one –except to the problem which is the cornerstone of the series (but as I have not yet watched it in its entirety, maybe  in the end she does). I will not give away this “problem” as perhaps you have not yet indulged in this television delicacy.

Elizabeth McGovern is an American on British soil, and when one is at first introduced to her, she comes across as a gentle soul—she is, but a gentle soul with a backbone of steel and brilliant mind. She marries the Earl of Grantham, and her money saves his precious Edwardian mansion. But theirs is a love story which unfolds beautifully.

The added dimension to the epic is what happens downstairs in the staff area which both complements and reflects what is happening on the main floor. It seems that there are two different worlds—but those worlds come together to create an amazingly addictive treat.

Addiction can be more gently defined as devotion or “a great interest in a particular thing to which a lot of time is devoted.” Thankfully, only so much time can be devoted to this series, as thus far (or as far as I know) there are only two seasons of this intriguing drama. The first season is pre-World War 1, the second is during the War (or at least that is where I am now).

I think as Canadians we are fascinated with the world of British aristocracy. In many ways, “Downton Abbey” makes the relationship between those downstairs to those upstairs much clearer. The aristocracy, in their own blind way, believe they are providing much-needed employment, but with that comes stigma that is hard for us to understand (i.e.—no maids were allowed to serve dinner or even be seen in the drawing room—something which eventually changes during wartime).

Pomp and circumstance? Certainly. A tale well told? Indubitably. Addictive in the best sense possible? Definitely. (I was told by another fan of the series that her family has Downton Abbey marathons.)

My Other Addiction

Currently I am reading two books that I find answer many of my questions. The first is written by my favourite rabbi, Harold Kushner, and is called “Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World”. The second is Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. Rabbi Kushner is calmly reassuring while being totally honest. Cain uses science, psychology, and real people in making her extensively researched point that introverts are often overlooked. I vary a bit with her opinion as I think we are all introverts, just some of us hide it better than others. But she has scientific research behind her hypothesis, I do not.

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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m with you on the Downton Abbey addiction. Can’t wait for the next series to start. Great post, your ladyship!! :D

  2. thank you my lady

  3. Ok, ok! You have convinced me. I will watch the series soon…sounds like something to watch in the evenings at the cottage.

    • be prepared – you cannot stop at just one – it is like eating potato chips!

  4. My I laws have been raving about Downton Abbey for a while now. I’m going to have to try to find the series on disc somewhere. In the meantime, I’m nursing a lowbrow addiction to Deadwood and Coronation Street. Hardly comparable, but equally addicting to me.

  5. I have a friend who loves Coronation Street- I have watched it on occasion and like it, but have not made it a habit. Must look into Deadwood. The first season is less than $20 and so good.

  6. Great minds ….. I just hit “publish” on a post on my blog addiction ! I have not seen this show yet, am I the only one ?

    • I thought I was until the past few days – I am all caught up now – it is a worthwhile use of time as it is so entertaining–and the Christmas show in the second season ties many things up nicely – but left a few things to be worked out in the third season. I will have to read your blog addiction.

  7. I am always looking for a (healthy) new addiction so I will have to look into Downton Abbey. I used to be a bookworm before having kids and ran out of time and energy to read for pleasure. I do, however keep a list of books I want to get to at some point in my life so I will add your current reads to the list. They sound like something would enjoy.

    • I know – it is hard to settle down with a book when you are constantly on call.

  8. love Downton Abbey, i started watching on pbs last december and got hooked ~ if i had to pick favorites i’d say Anna ~ i could easily hang out with her and have a pint or two, heh heh ~ but i adore all the characters, really brilliant

    i remember Mr. Bates as Robert from “Lark Rise to Candleford” ~ if you don’t want another British television addiction, do not click on the following link {yes i’m addicted & i have the series on dvd} ~ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1077744/

    • I do want another British tv addiction – thanks. I like Anna too–but I love Maggie–love her dry humour–I know it was written for her, but her delivery is brilliant.

      • absolutely ~ even in the harry potter series she delivers perfectly ~ she could deliver the phone book

      • that is funny and so true -

  9. Most workaholics are addicts, and in some cases (doctors) that can be a very good thing!

    • So true – but in my town my doctor works so hard it is difficult to get an appt with him–poor guy

  10. I adore it. Loving the 2nd series too.

  11. Downton Abbey is an addiction here as well among those who speak English. Then last season there was a new addiction… Call The Midwife. It is set in London’s East End post war. As good as it is, the books are even better. Written by Jennifer Worth a midwife in the 1950′s.
    Thanks for following one of my blogs: Found in France I hope you continue to enjoy it.
    Léa

    • Am going to the library website right now and going to order the book-thanks for the suggestion-enjoying your blog.


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