Gumdrop Lane

5 Things I Learned From Downton Abbey – Now With Bonus 6th Thing!

Downton Abbey brings so much joy to the world. From teaching us history, to the well-tailored clothes, to entertaining us with unexpected twists and turns of plot, it’s the show that has it all. They even have a beloved character get convicted of murder at Christmas – what’s not to love about a show that does that?  Downton is a place where dogs get kidnapped and the women don’t serve luncheon outdoors.

Indeed, Downton isn’t afraid to take chances. But there are certain things that happen that are more important than others. Things that should be paid great attention, things of which we should take note.

These are the things we can all learn from Downton Abbey:

1) If you’re going to get corrective eye surgery, make sure to get it in turn of the century England.

Ms. Patmore was totally blind and she was sent away for magic eye surgery and came back all healed up and ready to crack on as cook of Downton.

No more dropping chickens on the floor for her. Sorry, cat!

When I went to get my LASIK surgery, the whole machine pooped out on the first try and I had to come back for another go. Meanwhile, a hundred years ago Ms. P pops into town for surgery and comes back lickety split, good as new. Clearly I should’ve employed more time machines and less lasers in my quest for perfect vision.

2) If you think you’re going to get fired even though you only misheard the conversation on which you were eavesdropping, it’s completely reasonable to make your boss miscarry her baby.

You’re O’Brien: the maid. Not Conan: the late night maiden. You’ve been a loyal servant for years. Her Ladyship tells you everything; you know all her secrets. You help her dress and do her hair. You’re basically best friends. Other than the fact that you literally air out her dirty laundry. So when you suspect your job is in danger, the natural thing to do is to want her to miscarry. Duh. What else could you possibly do? When my best friend who pays me slights me, I just run to the corner store and get myself a bar of soap.

The rest of the plan will fall naturally into place.

3) If you’re going to make a political statement, do it with poop soup – not guns.

Guns never solve anything. Want to make a statement? Throw a big silver tureen of poop soup sludge on your enemies! That’d show’em! It’d take them, like, minutes to remove those stains. Minutes, I say! That’ll teach’em to declare wars! Messin’em with poop soup! Yeah, that’ll learn’em…that’ll learn’em all…

4) If you’re going to reclaim your identity, make sure you do it before your face gets melted off.

Everyone knows families can be the worst. Even the best families want to protect their own, making them act on their worst behavior if they think they’re being threatened. So don’t be a dope if you’re ever declared legally dead and get amnesia. Be smart and get a collar or a bracelet that gets you mailed home posthaste! If you don’t, you risk going to war and getting your face melted off and transformed into irrecognizability.

Don’t count on your family to embrace you or your new face. Just because you survived something like oh, I don’t know – say  the sinking of the Titanic and also getting your face blown off – doesn’t mean you deserve their love! You could  just be some dude posing as their actual deceased relative. Even if you are a posing stranger, getting your face burned off during the war doesn’t mean you’ve earned any affection, comfort or any slice of the Grantham family pie.

So get those fingerprints done! Make up those secret handshakes that only you and your family would know! Make sure everyone sees that weird birthmark located on your bathing suit area! Because people will not take you at your word. Not without a proper face, they won’t.

5) If you’re going to decide to sacrifice your life to take care of your disabled husband even though it’s pretty clear he’s in love with someone else, make sure if you croak early you make him feel really bad about being happy ever. Especially if he thought he would never walk again and his pee pee gun was busted and then it turned out the doctor just made a big oops about that whole thing. Make sure when you kick the bucket he feels like it’s his fault you died.

Look. You’re Lavinia. You fell in love with this dude who’s in love with his cousin but it’s cool because it’s the olden days. But he claims he’s in love with you and then goes to war and gets all paralyzed from the waist down – like he’s never walking/having kids/using his peepee gun paralyzed. And you’re all, “Hey, baby, I want to give my life to you and take care of you. Because I love you pantloads.” And he’s all, “No way, sister. Beat it.” So you do.

But then eventually you come back and presto change-o, abracadabra, hocus pocus, your honey bear can walk again! He can shoot children into your womb! Hoo-ray! Marriage back on! Praise the day! But then you get a wicked bad cold but before you can properly die you have to see your fiancé kiss that dumb old cousin with whom he’s just so in love and tell her he’s got to marry you even though he loves her because you were totally gonna give up your life to give him sponge baths and air him out on a daily walk or two.

He tells Mary he can’t just come to you and be all like, “Lavinia, look. Now that I can do my manly duties again, I really wanna duty it all up in Cousin Mary. So you can take your all-consuming love and devotion to me and stick it up your ziggy with a wa-wa brush.”  Even though he was still going to marry you because you were so awesome, that’s still totally insulting that he’d only  be doing it out of a sense of duty.

So, with your last breaths, what can you be expected to do other than tell your fiancee you saw and heard everything he did and it’s basically his fault you’re giving up and dying because then you’ll be out of the way and he can be truly happy. You’re doing him a favor, for crying out loud! Then – poof! You’re gone.

6) If you regret making your fiancé think your death is all his fault – no problem! Just communicate your new feelings via Oujia board. He’ll get the message.

All you have to do is jerkily whiz around the Oujia board doohickey spelling out that your fiancé and his cousin should be happy as clams together and you bless their joyous union. But don’t tell it to them. Tell it to two servants. Fiancé and cousin will get the message. Engagement will ensue. Your takesy-backsy will be successful. Rest in peace.

You can work on that whole Bates being imprisoned for life business later. That’s not even really your thing, anyway.

Or  maybe also people shouldn’t communicate through Oujia boards on TV shows when it’s not clear who the ghost is and who they want to talk to. I’m going to go with Lavinia talking to Matthew and Mary though, because why not? Happy Christmas, everyone!

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