The definitive gathering of Dowager Countess brilliance
Downton Abbey officially finished its fifth season state-side this past weekend. It was the super-sized Christmas special, too, which conveniently always airs on Christmas in the UK, while the U S of A gets it on March 1st. That’s fine, it’s OK, because this season’s major story lines were all wrapped up, and it seems like for the first time in a REALLY long time, everyone at Downton is doing amazingly well — seriously, everyone is super happy in the house right now, even Lady Edith! But that happiness can’t last forever, as the Crawley’s know far too well. Turns out, the other shoe has already dropped: Maggie Smith announced that she plans to leave the show after season six.
Dowager Countess, SAY IT ISN’T SO. If there’s one sassy British socialite we can all get behind, it’s Violet Crawley. If someone needs to put Lady Mary in her place, it’s Violet Crawley. If someone needs a quick zinger to ease the tension of a stressful dinner, it’s Violet Crawley. And now, this?? Even Maggie’s comment to The Sunday Times was dripping with Violet Crawley sass, when she stated that, “I mean, I certainly can’t keep going. To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now.”
Downton hasn’t been officially renewed for a sixth season yet, but come on, we all know it will be. You know what this means? We’re going to have to start preparing ourselves for a world without Dowager Countess zingers. So let’s raise a glass to some of her best one-liners.
On TGIF: What is a weekend?
On taking phone calls every day of the week: Is this an instrument of communication or torture?
On not giving someone too much praise: I will applaud your discretion when you leave.
On not being a spring chicken anymore: Mary won’t take Matthew Crawley, so we better get her settled before the bloom is quite gone off the rose.
On BUUURRNS: Why do you always have to pretend to be nicer than the rest of us?
The best quote including a reference to a future Walt Disney animated movie: Edith, you are a Lady, not Toad of Toad Hall.
On friends and enemies: I don’t dislike him, I just don’t like him. Which is quite different.
On being bold, romance edition: No doubt you will regard this as rather unorthodox, my pushing into a man’s bedroom uninvited.
On girl power: I’m a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.
On being too kind: I wonder your halo doesn’t grow heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara around the clock.
On being too kind, part two: Can’t you even offer help without sounding like a trumpet on the peak of the moral high ground?
On traveling through Europe: Switzerland has everything to offer, except perhaps conversation. And one can learn to live without that.
On friendship: There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. Avoiding one’s friends, that’s the real test.
On making good jokes and being civil: Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.
On getting stuff DONE: You are a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do
On proper party etiquette: Principles are like prayers. Noble of course. But awkward at a party.
On growing old: At my age one must ration one’s excitement.
On being a Lady Boss: I’m never wrong.
On the universal truth of all grandmothers: It’s the job of grandmothers to interfere.