Like so many millions of others, I was enthralled by the first two seasons of Downton Abbey, and cheered when Lady Mary and Matthew finally wed, rejoiced when Anna and Mr. Bates connected, and reveled in the beautiful clothes, the depictions of the English countryside, and above all, the biting wit of Maggie Smith's Lady Grantham. But now I am done. I find myself alternately bored and irritated while watching the show, and here are my reasons I no longer care. Please don't read any further if you aren't up to date, and you still actually do care:
1) It is really all about the money, isn't it? Lady Mary got her man, and instead of being a happy bride, she spends her time moping and demanding he turn over his entire fortune to her fiscally irresponsible father. Maybe if she wasn't so sulky, he would have been more willing to give it up.
2) Even Lady Sybil, the only likeable sister, came running home to luxury after roughing it in Ireland. Sure. she says it was to avoid the police but she showed her true colors when she shuddered at the thought of being married to a tradesman in Liverpool.
3) And of course she had to die, as not only was she likeable, which apparently is not the Downton way, but she had to be punished for marrying below her. And then she dies in a not very subtle class clash instigated by her pathetic screw-up of a father.
4) And even poor Lady Edith, willing to sell her soul just to be married, only got excited when talking about decorating her decrepit fiancé's estate. Of course he jilted her at the altar. Why would he marry a pathetic martyr who wanted to redo the ancestral drapes?
5) Unlikeable seems to be the word. Even Little Daisy has become a snappish shrew. And at Sybil's deathbed, when Edith came to her only surviving sister for comfort, she was given a begrudging hug, and then basically told to piss off. What is it with these sisters? Even on the tackiest of American soap operas, the family can usually pull it together for at least a few seconds of civility before the body turns cold.
6) And the going nowhere story arc of Mrs. Hughes' cancer scare? I may be overly cynical, but wasn't the point of it just to show that the upper crust really, really cares about the well being of the staff? In realty she would have been tossed on the heap if she couldn't do her work. Maybe poor Ethel, our down in her luck prostitute would have been called in to help.
7) And speaking of Ethel, while it was peachy of Mrs. Crawley to offer her a job and stand by her, couldn't it possibly have occurred to her to help out before she had to give up custody of her child? Really, she couldn't have employed the single mother but had to wait until she had no reason to live before she allowed her to serve the coffee?
8) And it can't be just me who is finding the ever suffering Mr. Bates insufferable. He is in prison, facing the death penalty, and all he cares about is the birth of his former employer's grandchild? Really? That was what he wanted to talk about? I say let him hang, just for that. (Although I feel sorry for his wife, who seems a nice enough woman, I do find it highly implausible, that her employers, the day before a grand wedding would have oh so solicitously given her time off to investigate her husband's crime. I'm just saying...)
9) And okay we get it, Mrs. O'Brien meddles. But can anyone tell whose side she is actually on at this point?
10) And while casting the wonderfully talented Shirley MacLaine must have been a coup, her part was overwritten, her face was overly botoxed, and honestly, did the pushy, overbearing, money hungry American just have to be Jewish? Mrs. Levinson? Why not Mrs. Smith?
The reason that I am still watching? Because of the wonderful, incomparable Maggie Smith. Two minutes of her makes up for an hour of predictable drivel.