In the most recent episode of “Downton Abbey” to air in America, the lady’s maid Anna Bates — whose story through four seasons has almost exclusively focused on her romance with her husband — is raped by a visiting valet. It is not the first example of sexual misconduct on the show. But it is the most sexually violent act to occur to any character. Not surprisingly, the incident has been hugely controversial.
When it first aired in the UK, viewers complained about sexual violence on an otherwise fairly frothy PBS program. (I say “fairly frothy” in a nod to the deaths of Sybil and Matthew.) The UK’s media regulatory agency declined to investigate the over 400 complaints made to both the agency and ITV, the channel on which “Downton” airs, saying that it provided a proper warning before the show about the content. But now that it has aired on PBS here in America, a large share of the criticism is coming from feminist bloggers who take issue with how the rape was handled on the show. Keep reading »
Stuck in a senioritis rut? Would a class on “Downton Abbey” make you stop texting during a lecture? Camden County College in New Jersey is now offering a course called “Downton Abbey: Life In A Country House.” At first I wanted to laugh, but it actually sounds really interesting. The course covers things like “The Inheritance Problem: Marriage, Women And Property” and “Technology Intrudes: Lights, Phones And Cars.” Surprisingly, this isn’t the only “Downton”-focused college class available: Oakland University in Michigan also offers a course which meets at Meadow Brook Hall, a country-style house built in 1928. Students taking “The World of Downton Abbey: Revolution, Rebellion And Re-Creation” get to snack on scones and tea during class. But one important question: will they learn how to give a well-timed withering insult a la the Dowager Countess? [Vanity Fair; Detroit Free Press]
While I was crying into my pillow that I didn’t get invited to the Coolest Dinner Party In History, Reader CrystalJoy was busy lusting after the fierce outfit Michelle Dockery wore to said dinner party (that lucky, lucky bitch). I tracked down all the pieces Crystal will need to recreate Michelle’s thoroughly modern look, from the cropped moto jacket and striped pencil skirt to the statement-making poppy red lipstick. Get all the shopping details after the jump! Keep reading »
And why shouldn’t she be? Girlfriend has a lot to be glum about. Cousin Matthew and her finally got hitched after all that … and he promptly died in a car accident while driving home from visiting Lady Mary and newborn George at the hospital. Now she’s a lonely widower and single mom shacked up with her parents in that big depressing house and the Internet still hasn’t been invented yet. I’m crossing my fingers that when “Downton Abbey” season four comes back on PBS on January 5, Mary will have a love affair with late sister Sybil’s husband Branson, who is also a lonely widower and single parent. But we know how Mary feels about the help. [IndieWire]