Tag Archives: entertainment

“What is a week-end?” – About Downton Abbey

D2_Ep3_LadyVioletI finally finished watching the third season of Downton Abbey last Sunday. The first thing I have to say is that I read a spoiler about the last episode accidentally, and I absolutely hatted it. One might say that it was a good thing so that I was prepared for such happenings, but I’d rather have been surprised. That said I must follow by saying that I actually liked this show.

What got me to watch Downton Abbey at first was purely a historical interest. I am fascinated by the English society of the 19th century. I love the culture, the literature, the lesser amount of meaningless work and, if we could fix women’s situation at the time, I think I would have liked many things to be like they were back then (yep, like having more time to read or walk among nature and less time wasted in traffic). Yes, I know the story is not happening in the 19th century, but it represents the transition from the way the English society was organized to a completely new form and it is wonderful to watch this.

It’s very interesting to see the older and more traditional characters struggling to keep the beliefs they were brought up with alive and still survive in a world that is changing too fast for them to follow. Don’t ask me why these things fascinate me so much, I cannot explain, but I really enjoy watching the conflicting ideas of the landed gentlemen of the time in trying to keep their states and not knowing how to do it without accepting the new ways of the economic and social organization of England.

Historical aspects aside, I also enjoyed all the drama in the show. I’m not going to talk specifically about anything here because I do not want to give spoilers to anyone who might want to watch Downton Abbey. There are many compelling characters, there is no doubt about that, although I think not all of them are explored as much as they could.


One of the highlights of the show for me is Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. Could she be any more perfect? Smith is astounding in her role. Her character, Violet, is one of the most interesting too. She believes in the old social conventions and traditions, and she will do all she can to keep them alive. But she also seems aware that things will change, and there’s not much she can do. In my opinion, Violet is more open to new ideas than her son, Robert. The title of this post “What is a Week-end?” is one of my favourite lines from the show. This is from the first season and the Dowager Countess of Grantham asked this question at the dinner table after Matthew says that he has got a job, but will have time to learn about the estate on the weekends. The scene is just hilarious and delightfully well done!

Another aspect that I want to bring attention to is that, in my opinion, the show seems a bit too much sometimes. That is probably because everything, and I mean everything, that could possibly happen to a landed family that is part of the English aristocracy at this time of change, happens to the Crawley family. There are just too many coincidences sometimes. Once again, I won’t mention any specific events, but if you have watched all the three seasons, you know what I’m talking about.

All in all, Downton Abbey is a show worth watching, especially if you are interested in historical aspects of the beginning of the 20th century! And if you are not interested in history or in the dramas of the English aristocracy, then you should still watch it because of Maggie Smith (I’m serious, she is great!).


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The Lizzie Bennet Diaries kickstarter success

LBD kickstarter 1

How can you explain 4.620 people giving $320.637 in only 5 days to fund the release of a DVD and the future productions from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries creators? Maybe I should start trying to answer that question by explain why I gave a lot of my money to this Kickstarter project (especially considering that each dollar I gave is worth 2 reais, the currency in Brazil where I live).

For me it much more than getting the DVD, button packs, journal signed by Hank Green and Bernie Su, LBD edition of Pride and Prejudice and a copy of the script of the first 8 episodes of LBD signed by cast members. For me this is about saying: “You people did a great work and you deserve all the praise for this and this money is just a small way to say thank you and, at the same time, help you make more wonderful things for us.” For me, being a backer of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries DVD… and More! is all about believing in the power of art.

LBD kickstarterThe Lizzie Bennet Diaries is an absolute phenomenon of the internet (check it on YouTube now if you haven’t yet), and this is because, using the contemporary William Darcy’s words, the story “resonates with people”. Frank McConnel wrote in Storytelling and Mythmaking: Images from Film and Literature, that “stories matter, and matter deeply, because they are the best way to save our lives.” (3) There is no questioning the value of Jane Austen’s most beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice. This story is not alive after 200 years of being first published by chance. Pride and Prejudice has reached a new height in popularity after so many years because people feel connected to it. It is not just the story of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet falling in love, this is about the human nature, how we are inclined to judge and to be misled in our opinions when we feel offended or that we are better than other people.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries brought it all up to our days, to the crazy life of technology and fast communication and lack of privacy. No wonder it has been such a huge success. How could we not feel empathy for these characters? It is impossible because they have so much of who we are, just like they had in Austen’s books, but now they have been updated to fit into our world.

I think this explains why so many people are willingly giving their money to guarantee that the DVD will be released and that new productions will be made. Storytelling is an art that has been present in human lives for a very long time and its power only increases. For that reason, when such a great story as Pride and Prejudice is told in such a brilliant way as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, people will give their money to see it happen, because art is so much more than money will ever be.

Oh, by the way, if you are not a The Lizzie Bennet Diaries DVD… and More! backer yet, there is still time to become one here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pemberleydigital/the-lizzie-bennet-diaries-dvdand-more

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Filed under Art, Inspired by, Literature, Web Series