Masses are livid over the rape scene in last Sunday’s “Downton Abbey.”
That’s what UK newspapers and a few bloggers will lead one to believe.
ITVI reports they did receive complaints. Currently, that totals 200. That’s out of the 9.2 million in the UK who watched the broadcast live. There are so many .0’s in the percent calculators refuse to figure the numerical amount.
Most of the tweeters are retweeting statements “defending” the depicted violence.
But blaring “sensationalism” and “gratuitous” in their headlines, those bloggers and critics claim that the show’s magic has been ruined.
However one of the virtues of the show is that it lulls you into a false sense of security. Pretty, rich people eloquently comment on their seemingly frothy existences. While it’s refreshing to see connivances and angst endured in a “civilized” manner, the reality is that nothing insures protection from pain and suffering.
Creator Julian Fellowes deftly lured viewers with a sprightly moving episode 3. Sixteen guests along with a famed opera singer were hosted at the estate. Upstairs and downstairs, there were games, dancing, and singing. They were all means to camouflage the dark feelings of characters: Isobel’s resistance to feeling a sliver of happiness; Tom’s undying low self-worth; Robert’s grappling with his role being usurped.
The crescendo of the episode came at guest star Kiri Te Kanawa’s aria. It muted the screams of Anna being attacked.
And a few have attacked the show for not having its characters prance around in expensive clothes for an hour each week.
That, despite the disclaimer displayed at the beginning of the episode about the violent scenes to follow.
By US standards, the scenes were tame. But us Americans are uncouth. Anything to separate upstanding Brits from the crude and ill-mannered.
The few attempting to fan the flames quote unnamed domestic violence advocates to evidence that all avenues are outraged. And granted, they have a right to their sentiments.
But Downton Abbey shows us that there is darkness underneath the façade. Isobel and Tom are in a sense viewing the goings-on from American eyes. Cora lost her baby. Sybil died during childbirth. Matthew died in a car crash. And all Robert cares about is protecting his manhood? Brits shouldn’t buy into fanciful notions of life, despite their refined elocution.
If anything, Fellowes should be criticized for not giving Maggie Smith a significant storyline.