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Downton Abbey–Lazy Writingitis

November 5th, 2012 (12:27 pm)

I am becoming more and more disillusioned and bored with Downton Abbey. I’ll probably continue to watch it for the rest of its natural life, but I wonder, quite honestly, how much of a life it has left because the plot element is almost zero.

You may say “Erastes, are you mad? Loads of things happened this series: Bates got into and out of jail, Thomas had a flirtation, Ethel Edith nearly got married, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.” But let’s be honest, nothing actually happened, or at least stayed happened. OK there was the thing with Lady Sybil, that’ll stay happened but the whole run up to that was so bloody woolly it sort of illustrates my gripe about the series. Lady Sybil gives a cryptic telephone call in the middle of the night worthy of the Third Man and then it all collapses into Nothing Very Much and Nothing Happens. It’s the same with The Bandaged Man who may or may not have been The Heir last series – what the hell happened to him? He just wandered off and no one bothered about him every again.

Just about every other thing could be under the label of “mild peril but phew, it all got sorted.”  It’s like there’s a fairy godmother standing around with a magic wand sorting out everyone’s problems, tapping them and going PING!

1. Ethel the maid/cook goes on the game and almost scandalises the entire community, has to give up her son and then PING! she’s micraculously offered a job in a house which is miraculously close to the boy’s grandparents and PING! the grandmother steps out of the shadow of her bullying husband (the last time we saw her she was entirely cowed by him) and says “Leave him to me!”

2. Thomas has some kind of brain transplant and seems to think that someone lurves him when all they’ve done is be careless. This threatens Thomas right up until the Cricket Match when the Rozzers come to give him two years hard labour but the fairy is watching and PING! it’s all sorted out, and he’s rewarded for his idiocy. This piece of pussy footing seems to me to only achieve one aim, to fuel the feud further with O’Brien and Thomas

3. Incomprehensibly, and with the worst shoddy and lazy writing, instead of having one of the gels break out (I was so hoping Ethel Edith would move to London and become a Bright Young Thing) we are presented with Rose. A character that we’ve never heard of before. We couldn’t care LESS when she sneaks out of the house and goes to meet a married man. She’s bundled off again in disgrace at the end of the show and I bet my dollared bottom that we’ll never see or hear from her again. PING! Once more it was a lazy and ham-fisted introduction to “Nice Gels Don’t Date Married Men” as it’s as plain as the nose on my face that Ethel Edith and Married Editor are going to hitch up. And really? Ethel Edith's never read Jane Eyre? Incroyable. Foreshadowing thy name is Julian Fellowes.

I’m betting that they thought Ethel Edith wasn’t pretty enough to become a Bright Young Thing which is pretty disgusting in my book, she’s lovely.

4. Robert. Someone want to explain his volte-face to me?  He’s stomping around being “It’s my estate and I’m shout if I want to” and Matthew and Branson are Taking Over and Not Sharing Their Toys and Robert is all “Well, don’t include me” then (and the plan is never actually EXPLAINED because obviously the viewers either don’t count or they are too STOOPID to understand – or the writer doesn't think we want the details, all we are interested in is the pretty outfits) suddenly with no explanation (unless I missed something) it’s said PING! “I hear Robert is coming round to your point of view” and by the end of it he’s on board with…. whatever on earth it is. BAH.  There are so many loose threads floating around Robert he’d be lucky not to take someone’s eye out with them.

I don’t know what possessed them to run the series like this, the only thing I can put it down to is “We’d better tie up all these loose ends in case we are cancelled” because there’s no other explanation.

DULLSVILLE.

Comments

Posted by: Becky Black (becky_black)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 01:39 pm (UTC)

Some of the writing this season has been really awful. I mean I love to watch the show, because it's so absurd, but to be objective about it, it is dreadfully written.

Last nights feels like it was written really fast and padded for the 90 minute slot (I can see no other explanation for the Rose character, who was completely ludicrous and served no purpose aside from allowing the sainted Matthew to show off.) Everything was all solved too easily by magic wand, as if the writer didn't have time to come up with a proper ending.

You keep saying Ethel when you mean Edith (I totally do the same) which makes me LOL. :D Actually there's a point, the names Edith and Ethel are too similar. Let's not even talk about having both a Thomas and a Tom.

Posted by: Erastes (erastes)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)

I hadn't even noticed a Tom - shows how much attention it's getting from me! LOL.

Posted by: JL Merrow (jl_merrow)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 01:45 pm (UTC)

*nods* Even my 12-year-old daughter was disappointed, having got all excited about the Season Finale.
Edith is gorgeous, particularly when she dolls herself up for London.

Posted by: Erastes (erastes)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 01:52 pm (UTC)

and the announcer pumped it up to being REALLY EXCITING - which was ... rather not the case!

Posted by: Karen (cerisaye)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
Borgias_Rodrigo

I can't even watch Downton because I find Julian Fellowes insufferable. My daughter who is a Big Fan laughs at me. :D

Posted by: Erastes (erastes)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)

I think he shot his bolt with Gosford Park - he tried to do much of the same, but he clearly can't do the soap opera thread plotting, and it really weakens the whole shebang.

Posted by: Becky Black (becky_black)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)

The only really good storyline - because of the continuous ramifications it could have down the years was the whole Mary/Pamuk and shifting the dead body thing. And JF didn't even make that up - he said he based it on something he was told about it as something that actually happened in a Downton-like house back in Edwardian times.

And I still don't know why Thomas didn't use his knowledge of Pamuk having been in Mary's room to save himself. Couldn't he have blackmailed Carson and said he'd go spread it around London. I know Edith already did some meddling there and Mrs Bates went to not!Murdoch to tell him, and got Mary to agree to marry him to keep it quiet. But the story is definitely not out there much yet, so it was still valuable knowledge Thomas could have used. You can't give a character like that a secret like that and not have him use it when it's needed. That's an obligatory scene! :D

Anyway, rant over. And as a Thomas fan that was the part of the finale I did like, Thomas being at rock bottom, totally defeated, but ending up not only back in top, but with a promotion! LOL! No doubt he will learn nothing from it. And it make me chuckle at the irony that it was Bates who at least put it in motion. Bates! Whose first instinct must have been to grind the defeated Thomas's bones into dust! :D That's the last time he'll do what the missus wants. The moment he realised that rather than leaving Thomas was in fact going to end up higher up the ladder than him was classic!

Oh and yes, one other great moment was Robert's line about if he'd screamed blue murder every time someone tried to kiss him at Eton he'd have been hoarse in a month just slayed me. He's been such a git the last few episodes that I was very tired of him. But that was the funniest line in the series. I LOLled. :D

Posted by: Erastes (erastes)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)

I agree entirely about Thomas and with Robert - that line was brilliant!

Posted by: Elin Gregory (elin_gregory)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 05:48 pm (UTC)
dragons

I haven't watched it at all *hangs head in shame* I was scarred for life by things like the Forsyte Saga back in the 60s where EVERY WEEK one had to sit in utter silence and not even turn the page of a book in case ones mother missed a word of it. And I know that while I might find Maggie Smith a hoot I'd be yawning over the preoccupations of all the other young ladies. I'd sooner watch a DVD - something mindless ad entertaining like Iron Man.

Posted by: Marion (aunty_marion)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)

I'm with you there (though never watched Forsyte either), on both the 'not having watched' and the 'gimme Iron Man' fronts.

Posted by: grace_roberts (jessie_lansdel)
Posted at: November 5th, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)

I still have last weeks and last nights to watch but I still read this. Can't wait to watch them now. Yes, we were wondering about the 'bandaged man' from the hospital. It does seem absurd that no one has mentioned him ever again. I mean, how likely is that?

And yes, I too think that Edith is the more attractive sister.

So, no romance for Thomas yet, then. Shame. He's my favourite.

Posted by: ejab62 (ejab62)
Posted at: November 6th, 2012 10:56 am (UTC)
Ejab

Why don't you send this to te BBC as well? If only out of pure entertainment so see what they'd answer?

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