By Robyn Quinn
One day recently, the staff of the Morristown & Township Library was enjoying a lively discussion about Downton Abbey, a very popular British TV show. The historical drama will begin its third season on PBS on January 6, an event that has the show’s many fans counting down the days.
All the chatter around this period series had Chad Leinaweaver, the Library’s assistant director, curious about the show. If the staff of the library was that excited about the series, perhaps others would enjoy discussing the trials and tribulations that unfold with each episode. With that in mind, Chad and staff members James Collins and Mary Lynn Becza set up Tempest in a Teapot: An Introduction to the Buzz of Downton Abbey last week.
The evening consisted of tea and scones, a trivia game with prizes, and screening of an episode from Season Two followed by a discussion. Several fans came dressed in period clothes. Lorraine Rosenberg of Rockaway came as Lady Edith, one of the characters from the show.
Lorraine is a very devoted fan. Proof of that was evident when she answered every trivia question correctly, winning The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era, a new book about the series.
The show has received 16 Emmy nominations, a record for a British TV series. The series is set in a country estate in England, beginning in 1912. It focuses on the lives of the Crawley family and its servants.
Many series will take one event and drag it out over several episodes, so a discussion group could be quite tedious.
If you’ve seen Downton Abbey you know this would not be the case. In the episode presented at the library we saw a fiancé confess his love to another woman, the bride-to-be die of the Spanish flu, a maid and valet get married, the valet get arrested for his first wife’s death, and the Lord’s daughter go away with the chauffeur.
It’s worth the watch, just to hear the quips bantered about by the lively characters of the show.
“Don’t be defeatist, dear. It’s very middle class,” says Maggie Smith, who portrays Lady Violet, matriarch of the family.
Hugh Bonneville, who portrays Robert Crawley, tells his American wife: “If you’re turning American on me, I’m going downstairs.”
Discussing a drunken butler, the head of the maids, Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan), declares: “Neither my patience, nor his liver can stand it.”
Chad and the library staff are considering hosting a Downton Abbey discussion group several times in 2013. If you would be interested in this, contact Chad at the library.