Monday, March 7, 2016

Wordy Old Men on Downton Abbey: Season Six, Christmas Special, Series Finale

We're finally here. The last singles standing are wedded. Thomas is granted a reprieve.

Old Man Duggan: We are mercifully let off the hook and no longer need to write about a show that's seen better days. Praise be to Allah.

Wordy Ginters: Forever and ever Amen.

OMD: Good ol' Septimus's sincere concern for being seated in the same room as Lady Edith in the Dower House was almost as hilarious as the shocked eyebrow raise after being told how his tips on how to please your husband were going to garner him a full page a month in The Sketch. Spratt's transformation into women's advice columnist du jour has probably been the best and weirdest development in Downton Abbey's history.

WG: I'd watch a Spratt/Dowager/Denker spin-off, provided it's written by Tim and Eric.

OMD: Molesley's moving on up to the teachers' cottages. One couldn't help but think that a Molesley spin-off a la The Jeffersons is in order. I'd rather watch that than a Robert and Cora prequel that may or may not still happen. Give us more Molesley, Mr. Fellowes.

WG: What is the scoop? I've seen Fellowes talk about a Downton movie, I didn't know a prequel idea has been floated. Take some liberties Fellowes, screw the prequel, flash that mofo forward to the 1990s. I could see Daisy's great-grand-daughter being a roadie for Bratmobile.

OMD: Is the scarf slit in Edith's yellowish dress not the most distracting wardrobe feature in the last three years of Downton? The only other thing that comes to mind is when Tony Gillingham walked around with his dick hanging out and clanging betwixt his thighs for three episodes, but that was probably a choice, not a wardrobe feature.

WG: Hilarious. That jumped off the screen. The wardrobe game on Downton is plus-plus, but viewing that weird scarf-hole was distracting me from thinking about how Edith almost blew her second chance with Bertie by being shitty, instead of grateful, at the big reconciliation dinner.

OMD: With each tremor shooting through Carson's arms, Barrow's future at Downton became more and more certain. "The palsy." If Carson knew this was coming, then what the fuck was he doing seeing Barrow off while Molesley was gearing up to become Mr. Chips?

WG: Obviously, Carson was afraid The Palsy would reflect poorly on the house.

OMD: When Bertie Pelham and Edith are sitting down to dinner for the first time since Mary dropped the Marigold bombshell, Bertie says, "I've done a very bad job" of living without her. Then the waiter drops the champagne and menus at the most inopportune of times, as it seems like the dam is about to burst and Bertie's going to unfurl every last detail of pulchritudinous--yes, dear reader, I'm using this in the spirit of the word by definition--debauchery that would make dear Lady Edith simultaneously irate and randy. The true villain of this show is now this jack-off waiter who ruined what would surely have been the lewdest act committed upon a table at the Ritz in its history--a proper animalistic fuckanalia of a transgressive sort that would make Pier Paolo Pasolini blush, shit himself, and die from shock well before he could ever have been murdered for being a communist and/or a shocking pervert. To think a simple waiter deprived us of such an epic and shocking fuckfest.

WG: Carnal beauty.

OMD: Patmore's dressing down of the dumbfuck Daisy complete with you-don't-like-guys-who-like-you mic drop was great. Patmore's secondary "Well, you were never much of a judge in that department" slam when Daisy wistfully thinks back upon the time when she was hard for Thomas was even better. Daisy doesn't deserve such brutal honesty. She should be left to wander the desert with a bottomless canteen of water hung label-less 'round her stupid neck from which she's too dumb to suss out that salvation is mere inches from her whinging, parched maw.

WG: Fellowes should have stuck with Daisy as full-on heel. Cold. Aloof. Irritating. Daft. That she apparently began to warm to Patmore's and Mason's pleading was just another example of the rainbows and unicorns finale.

Everything came up aces.

OMD: So Jack and I jokingly shoot "been there" back and forth while watching things, typically when it is a breathtaking place that neither of us has ever been to. In the case of Brancaster Castle, we actually have been there. It's Alnwick Castle (pronounced AN-ik) in the town of the same name in Northumberland, just south of Scotland and just north of Newcastle a few miles inland from the northwest coast of England. Its previous claim to fame was that much of the exterior shots of Hogwarts were filmed there.

WG: I admire your globetrotting. Sadly, my travels are hilariously banal by comparison. I went to Council Bluffs in Iowa one time. A hair-metal bar called The Joker. The band I saw was On the Fritz. The Joker couldn't hold a candle to the beautiful Brancaster Castle. Which made Downton look like a hostel. The quality of the story-telling careened downhill over the course of six seasons, but the visuals were always stunning.

OMD: Bertie's mom seems like she could double for Ted Cruz's campaign spokesperson. Peter was an amoral hedonist with a thirst for Tangerian prostitutes after whom the position of the Marquess needs a complete moral rebranding. Can I add a spin-off based on Peter, the Tangerian Whorehound, as another show that I'd rather see than The Courtship of Cora Levinson?

WG: Bertie's Mom gives the humorless scolds of the world a bad name. I'm in with that spin-off, provided it's written by Tim and Eric.

OMD: Co-sign.

It's kind of great that Bertie basically told his mom to fuck right off and that Marigolds Two, Three, and Four were going to be springing forth from Edith's loins before the dour Mirada Pelham could count one-two-three.

WG: Bertie was one guy on the show who could be "in-charge" without coming across like a dick. Being decisive without being a prick is a great skill to have. Bertie would destroy employment tests like Molesley destroys cricket balls.

OMD: Larry and Amelia Gray, heinous fuckoes of the highest order. Sidenote: you know you might have run afoul of the virtuous path when you need to consult Google as to which is the proper way to spell the plural form of 'fucko.' Amelia's true colors shone through like sick, greenish shit through disintegrating, years-old whitey-tighties. Moreover, Larry's sunken eyes and pallid complexion makes me think that AIDS was spontaneously borne within his shitheel heart and festered in silence for a handful of decades before being loosed upon every last bloody toilet seat of the world.

WG: I'm just going to sit here and admire that salvo like watching fireworks explode across the sky.

OMD: Can I just say thank fucking Christ that Edith gets the happy ending that she so rightfully deserves?

WG: Hell yes. Preach it. It feels good. Warms the thighs.

OMD: To an alarming level. I'm calling my physician forthwith.

Barrow toiling away for three months in the service desert of tending to Sir Mark Stiles should surely make him glad to return to save the day and hoist Georgie back upon his back.

WG: The new gig was a tad stuffy.

OMD: Talbot & Branson Motors more or less sets them up for some Six Pack action, right? Just looking for the right, rag-tag band of orphans.

WG: I think that episode put them at a four pack.

OMD: Does Lady Rose proffering American aphorisms that ultimately show a more worldly and knowing view than Robert somehow imply that Julian Fellowes wishes he were American?

WG: Possibly. He's not a straight-up right-wing goon like David Mamet, but he's got some elitist tendencies. On the same hand, he appears damn near enlightened at times. Portraying the glacial movement of women's rights, class consciousness, and even dabbling in race relations is a delicate business, it could have been handled a lot worse.

OMD: Especially given how far afoul some of the characters' storylines went and how sadistically he treated the Bateses.

Daisy futzing with scissors and Lady Mary's hairdryer to win Andy's heart should surely have ended in another fire from which Thomas should have saved people, right? That she made a mistake that anyone past the age of eight wouldn't make is a testament to just how fucking dumb and beyond redemption this character is.

WG: When she absconded with the 50-lb. hair dryer, I was hoping that she'd get busted with it and summarily dismissed on the spot. What was more startling though, was her Clar Bow hair-do, which my loving wife Eileen dubbed "the chemo wig".

OMD: That's spot on, Lady Ginters.

Denker's outing of Spratt backfired as per usual. I hope Spratt's column just turns into savage takedowns of old, foolish ladies' maids. Can we get this as an eBook henceforth, Fellowes? When Spratt gave his triumphal, retributive slap-down, it wasn't hard to imagine a world in which Septimus and the Dowager Countess enjoyed a torrid affair while Denker wept at her deserved misfortune.

WG: So many merch opportunities by the wayside. You've got to have somebody, maybe Tim and Eric, crank out a few volumes highlighting a "best of" from Spratt's advice columns. I'd buy it.

OMD: Carson's indignation at the prospect of Anna popping out a kid in Lady Mary's bed was a nice final moment of wrongheaded shock borne from a sense of decorum well past withered. Even after he's handed the reins over to Barrow, he must be the agitated old crank cursing the new world that has impinged upon his sense of what is right in the world. Mary's automatic, emotion-free response to Anna's water breaking upon her carpet nearly made me think that we'd suddenly found ourselves watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers and that Mary was a pod person devoid of emotion.

WG: An oddly stilted reaction. She was too busy quick-calculating the thunder stealing equation to react like a real human lady. Lots of body fluids this season on Downton. It fairly oozed.

OMD: Mr. Mason and Mrs. Patmore are gonna get D-O-W-N.

WG: Patmore, without question, will be a sensuous and knowing lover. She's like a volcano just waiting to tilt. Mason, a guy who wears a three-piece suit to slop the hogs, has no idea what he's about to bite-off.

OMD: With Laura Edmunds catching the bouquet, it seems all but certain that Tom Branson's future is sealed and that said future sees him being balls deep in the editor of The Sketch. Fellowes seems to be leaving no single uncoupled in the finale, and this is the most overt of the sexual synchronicity.

WG: Of course they'll hook up. Treacle.

OMD: Despite its saccharine aftertaste, I will say that the closing scenes, particularly the staff joining in "Auld Lang Syne" downstairs, got me a bit teary-eyed. That the show's last words were exchanged between the begrudging septuagenarian best friends upon whom the show's bridged goodwill was built was touching. A lesser show would probably have last hovered upon younger romantic leads, but Fellowes sent Downton Abbey off with a tasteful bang. There may not have been bloodshed or righteous comeuppance for those not deserving a happy ending, but at least there was closure.

WG: Cheers to tasteful bangs. Amen.

OMD: As-salamu alaykum. The last song to send the series off with is a dedication from Patmore to Mr. Mason with the lyrics representing what she wants to hear from him.

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