Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 3, Episode 6 of "Downton Abbey."
Once upon a time, women argued over which "Sex And The City" character they were. Most fancied (or wanted to fancy) themselves a Carrie, the free-spirited sex columnist clad in tulle skirts and Manolo Blahniks.
Carrie's cynical best friend Miranda had a great job, a sunlit apartment with a doorman and a sizable set of friends, but no one wanted to "be" her. Her haircut raised eyebrows, her wardrobe was kind of blah, and she just didn't have that Bradshaw pizazz.
A real decade later and a TV century earlier, the Crawley sisters have replaced the "SATC" ladies via Masterpiece's "Downton Abbey." There's the beautiful and sweet Sybil (RIP!) who couldn't care less about the British class system and marrying below her, Mary, the object of every man's affections ... and Edith.
"I'm afraid Edith will be the one to care for us in our old age," Lady Cora told Mary in Season 1 of "Downton." Whiny, jealous and plain, being told one "is an Edith" isn't exactly a compliment. Fred Armisen even dresses in drag to portray Edith in Jimmy Fallon's "Downton Sixbey" sketch just to remind us all that Edith is the ugly one.
After spending an entire season wearing him down, the much older Sir Anthony agreed to marry Edith at the beginning of Season 3. Finally, her wildest dreams were coming true: Edith was getting married!
The only problem? Sir Anthony wasn't crazy about the idea. Not only had Lord Grantham asked him to stay away from his daughter, but he's an old guy with a bad arm. Eventually the cons outweighed the pros, and Sir Anthony had the audacity to abandon Edith at the altar.
Edith immediately took to her bed where she refused to eat and spent all day thinking about how much she hates her pretty, desirable sisters. Luckily, the Dowager Countess was around to save the day.
"Edith, dear, you're a woman with a brain and reasonable ability; stop whining and find something to do!" she says.
Edith suffered the ultimate embarrassment, but the Dowager's words made her step back and look at the bigger picture. Yes, she's plain. And yes, her family is stuck in the Jane Austen era where marriage is a young woman's ultimate goal. But outside the walls of Downton, things were happening.
After careful consideration, Edith took a stab at involving herself in the women's rights movement. She wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, voicing her concern about the voting rights of women in England, and soon, she's given her own weekly column.
Now that she's put marriage and torturing her sisters on the back burner, Edith's down-to-earth attitude and passion has made her into a viewer favorite. A runaway groom is hardly an experience any of us would wish upon even our least favorite TV characters, but in Edith's case, it was exactly what she needed.
In case you haven't hopped on the bandwagon yet, let me assure you: It's all about Edith. And perhaps it's time we all get to work on constructing arguments as to why we're "an Edith."
"Downton Abbey" airs at 9 p.m. EST on PBS.
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