One of the best shows on broadcast TV out there is the British Import, Downton Abby.
(PBS Sunday nights). It takes place as a period piece in a British Castle in the early 1920's. Downton Abby is centered in an old traditional world changing rapidly after World War One. The old British traditions and aristocracy are being challenged at every turn. It this time the old aristocracy itself is in a deep period of fade.
I came across the show by accident, and after 4 episodes, I am hooked. I have to admit that Sunday nights have become a date night with my wife watching Downton Abby. The show is edited with rapid fire transitions from one story line to another.
It is similar in its editing to the show E.R.
Downton Abby is a soap opera pure and simply, with weddings, deaths, deceipt, love, murder, and a subplot of a fading culture. Last night was the Season 3 premier.
Recent episodes are available for free here at
Additional episodes are available at Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Itunes.
Each episode is two hours with no commercial breaks.
I remember when this Mitt Romney fellow wanted to get rid of PBS.
Below the fold I have a brief discussion about an ongoing theme within the show.
Warning major spoiler for Season 3 Episode 1.
In the Season 3 premier, we find out that the Lord Grantham- Robert Crawley, the patriarch of the family, has lost most of his and his Lady's inherited fortune due to a single bad investment. The plot line is that the family is in danger of losing the castle and having to live a "simpler life" in a simple cottage, with no servants. This would cause Lord Grantham to live out the rest of his life in humiliation. (boo hoo)
The desire to maintain the lifestyle with servants and for every need, and opulent parties, causes some members of the family to literally beg Lady Grantham's American born
mother (played by Shirley McClain) for money to maintain the castle.
Among the arguments floated to justify begging for money, is that they are obliged to keep the castle for historical reasons. Also and most importantly, Downton Abby is one of the largest employers in the village. What would happen if they let go of all the employees? Now keep in mind, all servants work at Downton Abby through their free will and their work pays them a living. In other words, there is an obligation to others to keep Downton Abby available for the family's pleasure- Noblesse Oblige
However, one must note the social gap between the aristocrats and the servants is very large. About the only way to penetrate the aristocracy in the show is to seduce and marry a daughter. Even then, you are treated as second class.
Today, as economic inequality increases, another aristocracy has emerged. Within this new world (one inhabitant is Mitt Romney), allows the super rich to make their own rules, to referee their own financial dealings. When a member of the aristocracy makes a mistake and looses money, others are there to loot the US treasuries to bailout that loser.
We have to always keep in mind the rising inequality over the last 30 years since Reagan. Although the American dream is still very possible for many people. Chances to rise to the top have faded with the gutting of the middle class. Policies favored by Republicans and corporate billionaires such as the Koch Brothers are gutting the middle class, through the use of corporate media and the gutting of unions.
This is producing a huge gap between the the Haves and Have Not.
Sadly, The ideal world for Republicans lies somewhere close to the early 1920's and is symbolized by the popular show Downton Abby. You have the Walton brothers and their hundreds of thousands of employees getting close to minimum wage and having the government pay health coverage as an example.
In the end we all know how the roaring 1920's turned out...... (hint Great Depression).
Think about the world of Downton Abby next time we work on crafting legislation on Wall Street, corporate welfare, tax breaks for the wealthy, or Citizens United.