Downton Abbey: NEW MAID LYINGEden Kennedy
This week the cast of Twilight discusses Downton Abbey season two, episode five, with returning guest Robert Downey, Jr. on Skype from Los Angeles, and special guest the Incredible Hulk!
Warning: spoilers abound.
Robert Downey, Jr.: Hi, Bella, I know! Thanks, we couldn’t be happier.
Bella: You could have cancelled, you know. We’d have totally understood.
RDJ: I appreciate that, but I committed to this. They won’t miss me, they’re all napping and learning how to latch on and whatever.
Bella: Ouch. Well, we appreciate your opinions.
HULK: HULK HAVE OPINIONS, TOO.
Bella: . . . and I also want to welcome our other special guest, the Incredible Hulk! Hulk, you have a literary background, if I’m not mistaken?
HULK: HULK HAVE DEGREE IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICAN LIT WITH CONCENTRATION IN SLAVE NARRATIVE.
Bella: Where did you get your degree from?
HULK: HOWARD UNIVERSITY. HULK MOM WANT HIM TO GO INTO PHARMACY BUT HULK GET SIDETRACKED.
RDJ: That’s hilarious because I’ve been sidetracked by dozens of pharmacies.
Edward: If I may begin? Let’s jump right in. How did everyone feel about Episode 5?
RDJ: They’re just piling the schmaltz higher and higher every week, and I love it.
Edward: Sir Richard, the newspaperman, is getting ready to buy property near Downton Abbey in an effort to raise his status and become neighbors — and perhaps equals — with Lord Grantham.
HULK: HIM NEVER BE EQUAL.
Edward: Why is that, do you think?
Alice: Oh! He’s so mean and conniving. And a blackmailer, and severely snobbish and unethical and social-climbing.
Edward: Just your type, then.
Alice: I hate you.
Edward: So, Alice, you think Sir Richard is conniving and unethical but the aristocracy would never lie or manipulate to get ahead.
Alice: Why do they have to get ahead? There’s nowhere to get ahead to, they’re already on top.
HULK: TOP HAVE MANY LAYERS. PEOPLE ALWAYS JOCKEYING FOR BETTER POSITION.
RDJ: Yes! And the irony of being on top is that you’re so deeply dependent on those below you, as Jacob has mentioned, wherever he is. Did he just drop out of this? Was it something I said?
Bella: It wasn’t you, Jacob’s just really busy, uh . . . not being human . . . at the moment.
RDJ: Oh my God, it’s a full moon! Wait, is he a werewolf? No, don’t tell me, I want to wait for the next movie.
I, for one, think Lord Grantham is acutely aware of the upper class’s dependence on the lower and I think he has a sense that it’s his responsibility to serve and care for them, in a way, which is why we see him being so respectful with Beeyates, and with Carson, who’s probably known him for decades. But I do think he’s being a little too casually intimate with the new maid.
HULK: NEW MAID LYING.
Edward: What? Why?
HULK: NEW MAID SMARTER VERSION OF ETHEL, MAID WHO GOT SEDUCED AND ABANDONED. NEW MAID KNOW SHE GET RESPECT IF SHE SAY HUSBAND DEAD. OLD MAID LEFT TO STARVE WITH BASTARD CHILD. SOCIETY PUNISH WOMAN WHOSE SEXUALITY NOT CONTAINED WITHIN MARRIAGE.
Alice: Wow, you are so right.
Bella: Edward, I am so glad we didn’t have sex before we were married!
Edward: Uh, yeah. Me, too.
Bella: Imagine if I would have had to go through that weird, exhausting vampire pregnancy and have to play in the state volleyball finals! And how would I have fit into my prom dress?
HULK: NEW MAID LYING.
RDJ: Yeah, we heard you the first time, big guy.
HULK: SHE TRYING TO SEDUCE LORD GRANTHAM.
HULK: HA HA. JUST WAIT. NEW LITTLE LORD GRANTHAM COMING SOON TO MANGER NEAR YOU.
RDJ: No, but new maid might find a way to sucker Lord Grantham into paying her kid’s school tuition. When you’re rich there are no end of desperate people looking at you like you’re an ATM.
HULK: HULK FEEL YOU. KILL WHOLE ENTOURAGE. NO TIME FOR THAT BULLSHIT.
Edward: Which brings us to the mysterious burn victim, Patrick Gordon.
RDJ: Seriously, there’s never been one case of amnesia where the victim hit his head so hard he forgot his own name. Ask the man who mistook his wife for a hat, it just doesn’t happen. I mean, there are disorders where you can lose your sense of identity — you can degrade your brain with alcohol or drugs or you can get Alzheimer’s — but nobody gets hit on the head and forgets their name. That’s the one piece of information you never lose.
Edward: So if that’s the case, then everybody saw through Patrick Gordon’s fake cousin story but Edith, who believed him because . . . ?
Alice: She’s lonely.
Bella: And she loves psychos. And she’s ancient. She’s practically 25!
Alice: I don’t know if you could hear how hard I rolled my eyes just now. Hold on, I’ll do it again.
HULK: EDITH ON VERGE OF SPINSTERHOOD. MAYBE SHE END UP LIKE LADY MARY AND SETTLE FOR CONNIVER.
Alice: That is so depressing.
HULK: JUST SAYIN’.
Alice: Ugh! I hate it when people say that.
Edward: MY point is that Patrick Gordon was such a terrible liar that the rest of the family didn’t even have to meet him to know he’d been coached. So what was the point in creating his character, was it merely to show that desperate people used the war to try to con rich families? I feel like the writers could have let the family struggle with it a little more, or else explain why they didn’t. Like, “Oh, the Helmsleydales had someone pretending to be their long-lost uncle with amnesia last week!”
RDJ: I know, right? Instead the writers were all, Fuck it, let’s set up Edith to look like a fool again, let’s humble her unmercifully until we can justify giving her a new personality.
Alice: It’s called personal growth, Mr. Downey, I’m sure you’ve heard of it.
RDJ: Oh, touché, darling.
Edward: Any last thoughts on something we haven’t covered yet? The Dowager Countess forming an alliance with Cora to get cousin Isobel and her hospital out of the house? Matthew’s tingly sensations?
Edward: Okay, then! We’ll leave it there. Join us next week, probably, unless we’re bored, in which case our guests will be Nicolas Cage and a spatula!
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