James Parker Compares 'Downton Abbey' to a Steve Martin Movie

More

This Sunday evening, American TV viewers will happily settle into a new season of Masterpiece Theater's most popular drama, Downton Abbey. James Parker celebrates the occasion with a January/February Atlantic column gently mocking the show and its characters — those with blue blood as well as those scheming in the servants' quarters below.

The show's first two seasons, writes Parker, have involved "births, deaths, Marxist chauffeurs, lubricious Turkish diplomats stalking the midnight chambers, every form of narrative contrivance whizzing and gurgling around the chandeliers of Downton—it’s like the ballroom scene in Ghostbusters." In this video, he shares a melodramatic scene between Lady Mary and her wheelchair-bound lover Matthew, followed by an outrageous episode from the comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.


Jump to comments

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is The Atlantic's digital features editor. More

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, an Atlantic senior editor, began her association with the magazine in 2002, shortly after graduating from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She joined the staff full time in January 2006. Before coming to The Atlantic, Jennie was senior editor at Moment, a national magazine founded by Elie Wiesel.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In