Down with Downton: Part I

It has recently come to my attention that, despite the immense popularity of Downton Abbey, a certain segment of the population has NOT been keeping up with the Crawleys. For shame! In order to remedy that, I am willing to recap seasons 1 and 2 (you’re welcome), so that late-comers can jump on the season 3 bandwagon without fear.

Yes, I realize Downton Abbey isn’t a pulpy romance novel, but according to that most reputable news service, The Onion, “watching a single episode of the British TV series Downton Abbey is the cultural and educational equivalent of reading an entire book.” So it totally counts.

As a primer to the recaps to come, please take a few moments to get acquainted with the Crawleys:

The Earl of Grantham aka Lord Grantham aka Robert Crawley: This man of many names is the latest in a long line of Earls of Grantham. He inherited property, a title, and his father’s financial trouble. To bail out his beloved Downton, he married Cora for her money, but later fell in love with her.  He is generally fair-minded and good to the “help,” and has the decency to sometimes feel guilty about how his marriage to Cora started out.


*Alas, not an actual Downton quote. See the full sketch here.

Lady Cora Crawley: The American-born heiress with the higgledy-piggledy accent , dedicated her fortune to saving Downton Abbey upon marrying Robert. She really doesn’t have much to do except look demure and not give birth to sons.


The Dowager Countess aka Lady Violet Crawley aka Granny: Robert’s mother and the indomitable former mistress of Downton Abbey. She has resigned to let Robert run the house, and mostly just exists to put her delightfully crotchety nose into every situation, and talk about how things used to be done in her day.


Lady Mary Crawley: This oldest daughter of Robert and Cora can’t inherit the title or property because of British law that states it has to go to someone with a penis, called an “entail” (the law, not the penis). Often regarded as cold and heartless, she might prove she does have feelings deep down in there somewhere.


Lady Edith Crawley: The middle, often ignored daughter of Robert and Cora, destined to be a spinster. She is sort of loveable as an underdog, but has a secret bitchy streak, specifically when it comes to Mary.


Lady Sybil Crawley: The youngest, prettiest daughter of Robert and Cora, she is also the most progressive. She knows there is more to life than inheritances (which is good, since she gets nothing) and marrying rich.


Matthew Crawley: A distant cousin of Robert, and the long-lost heir to the family fortune, Matthew is a “solicitor” (ie lawyer) from Manchester. He sometimes has trouble reconciling the tradition of Downton Abbey with the upper-middle class life he’s used to.

MatthewIsobel Crawley: Matthew’s mother, full of upper-middle class guilt. She thinks that because she was married to a doctor, she basically IS a doctor, and insists on meddling in the local hospital’s business. She regularly butts heads with the Dowager and Cora because she is too pushy for their tastes, and always looks like she’s one loosened blood clot away from a stroke.


Lady Rosamund Painswick: Daughter of the Dowager Countess and sister to Robert, Aunt Rosamund to the girls. She turns up every now and then to cause trouble, You’ll know it’s her when you find yourself asking “who is this again?”


 Phew, it’s a lot to remember! And we’re only halfway there. Tune in tomorrow for the who’s who on the Downton staff!
2 Responses to “Down with Downton: Part I”
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  1. […] we’re  back! Now that we’re all acquainted with the Crawley family, let’s meet the people who actually do the work around […]

  2. […] you’ve done the homework and memorized the org chart, now it’s time to reap the rewards! Sit back in your swivel […]

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