Downton Abbey

With the start of Season 3, it would be remiss not to have at least one post dedicated to  one of my favorite TV shows, Downton Abbey.

For those of you who haven’t succumbed to Downton-mania, get with the tea and biscuits already. In upstairs-downstairs style, the show follows the Crawley family, led by Lord and Lady Grantham of England and their three daughters, through the 1910s and 1920s.

The popular show offers several valuable life lessons, the main one being, change is inevitable. There will always be Thomases and O’Briens in the world. Don’t invest all your eggs in one basket. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.  Marry for love, not money. Never underestimate the loyalty of family – blood is thicker than water. And perhaps, most importantly, people are people, and everyone has a story.

As fans of the show know, Downton’s appeal is its ability to keep several plotlines in the air at one time – the scheming servants, the ambitious chauffeur, the lovelorn daughter, the jilted heiress, a wronged valet, the old-fashioned grandmother and the modern mother-in-law.

And if it is sounds cliché, strangely enough, it isn’t.

Watching the machinations of Downton Abbey and its characters remind us that there are details and stories behind the people we meet – every life has its own subplot, even if we tend to be overly obsessed with our own. You never know what’s going on in the lives of the people you meet through work or pleasure – the people who wait on you at Starbucks or those who come over for dinner.

And on a lighter note, humor is the spice of life. Most of the show’s terrific one-liners belong to Maggie Smith (the Dowager Countess), who delivers them with a perfect blend of sincerity and comedic timing.

True to Downton Abbey, no man is an island. Our own stories are shaped by the people we encounter, functioning like gears in a giant freight train. As Shakespeare noted, life is a theater, and we are its players. The decisions we make set off a ripple effect in the lives of others whether we want them to or not.

Which is good.

Because I hate Greek tragedies where all the drama happens off stage.