Tag Archives: Downton Abbey

April certainly flew by didn’t it?! Heh heh…oops. You guys, I swear, lately (consider lately the last five months) I have had the attention span of a gnat. Sometimes I catch myself suddenly googling “Teen Mom per episode salary” and I turn around and there are literally three pillows left to put on my bed in order to wrap up the bed making process. I will have eyeliner on one eye and think to myself “the soap dispenser in the kitchen needs a refill” and then I go do that thing. I struggle at least once a week with the temptation to take the trash out while I’m in my robe. Just wait, I tell myself. You are walking out the door in 15 minutes, go pick out an outfit and, you know, take a breath. This afternoon I opened up a “New Post” tab for the blog a little before one, and then distracted myself with a two hour conversation about crossbody bags and Broadway musicals in anticipation of a trip to NYC this Memorial Day weekend. So the fact that that small effort turned into the full post you are currently reading is a blessed miracle. I am a constant work in progress who is, I swear, trying to maintain some semblance of a plan at all times, succeeding minimally to averagely depending on what part of the plan you’re looking at.

Areas of success include not beating myself up/crying into my sleeve every time I think about how I don’t have a job, working with a budget that would make some people inquire into whether or not I am sleeping in a grocery cart in an alley (I am not), and learning how to steam asparagus using tin foil and a pot, rather than just buying asparagus and throwing it away three weeks later, because I don’t own a steamer and forgot about Google. I know it’s not brain surgery, but be patient with me. We’re all learning at our own pace. Sometimes a person comes into your life and they’re like “Just do it like this” and you’re like, “Ok, got it” and then everything after that moment is different. Let’s just stay positive and remember to pat ourselves on the back at each milestone, big or small. The day I learn how to use a curling iron I swear to God I am throwing a parade.

Areas of not so much success include, using 1-2 failed interview opportunities to deem the entire employment-seeking process a racket, combining the freedom of my weekly schedule and the three 80 degree days we had last week as an excuse to drink more on a Wednesday than I normally do on a Saturday (ow my head), and showing frustration when a woman tumbled onto my back as the train we were riding lurched forward and she was not holding onto anything. We’ve all been there and I hate when I get short-tempered with strangers who mean no harm. I mean, I didn’t yell at her, but I did give a curt, “Don’t worry about it. It’s fine. It’s ok.” I’m a monster.

Overall, days are made up of super fun times that keep me motivated to err on the side of productive member of society. I am keeping good company, seeing good theatre, enjoying excellent television programming like New Girl and The Mindy Project and Veep (Tune in, folks. Tune IN.), exercising enough so I don’t feel like an invalid. I even had a conversation at a party over the weekend where I confirmed with a fellow guest that she works somewhere I might want to work and we should stay in touch!  (Sometimes I have to remind myself that networking does not only mean putting on a name tag and going to a job fair hosted in a hotel ballroom at 11 am on a Tuesday and nodding your head at someone’s pyramid scheme.) Maybe right now, while I’m feeling productive, I’ll come up with a more structured writing format for this blog. You know, like how people have themes on their blogs like “Wedding Wednesday” or “Monday Motivations” and they post a picture of a girl in a gym with great shoulders? Maybe I can do something like that. Maybe Mondays could be Maggie Mondays, what do you guys say to that?! Maggie! Maggie! Maggie! Ugh, she’s busy at work. She can’t hear my chants.

Briefly, while we’re on the subject of things I do to sometimes distract myself from my priorities, can I say that Downton Abbey is just not happening for me? I started the first season on April 7th and I’m only on episode three, still struggling to flush out the plot. Like I get it, rich people and the hired help, but also the Titanic? Dowries? Mom is American, kids have British accents? Not following, not intrigued enough for a marathon viewing. I guess I’ll have to keep watching in ten minute increments as I fall asleep at night until something clicks.

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Help me, guys. I have 15 minutes. Teach me how to be good at sex.

I mentioned in my first post that I chose not to make any New Year’s resolutions this year. I’ve been pretty happy about that choice, since I’m not really into the whole “setting myself up for failure” thing, and I also like patting myself on the back for a job well done. But this blog has made me start to rethink that decision. Namely, I think I need to start watching more television. (And isn’t it convenient that that’s a fun, easy resolution as opposed to, like, “Try being vegan for one month, just to see if I can do it.”) I mean, it’s not that I don’t watch a lot of TV, but if I screen captured my DVR for you right now, it would look like this:

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Jersey Shore
Bad Girls Club
Top Chef
Pretty Little Liars
The Lying Game

The last three I don’t even watch, except for when my roommate bribes me by reminding me that David Wallace plays the dad on The Lying Game, and I will watch that CFO hottie in anything:

So there’s a good amount of TV watching going on, but the diet has become a little reality heavy. Which is just because I’ve been feeling lazy. By the time I get home from work, and do all the other things I have to do, I don’t want to exert any extra effort to think about anything (including making dinner, which is why 90% of my evening meals are now microwaved based. Gross.) But two shows that I have managed to keep up with, even though they don’t feature drunk women flashing their vaginas, are Downton Abbey and New Girl. I can’t get enough of these two. Here’s why:

Downtown Abbey
If you read, like, two sentences of our Golden Globes recap, you are probably familiar with how much I love this magical show. Downton Abbey, for the unfamiliar, is a British miniseries about an aristocratic family residing in a sprawling manor, and the servants who work in said manor (in this regard it bears more than a passing resemblance to the ‘70s British series Upstairs, Downstairs). People were blowing up about this show when it premiered in the US last year. I have a pretty good internal compass when it comes to knowing what I will like in spite of the hype. A man who has 24 hours to save the world, and somehow all 24 of those hours are spent in dark, poorly lit rooms? No thank you, Jack Bauer. Likewise, I know I dislike magic, fantasy and books targeted at people I can babysit, and therefore Harry Potter was never going to be my jam. But when I heard there was  a show set in England (+1), during a time period that would qualify it as a “costume drama” (+5), featuring romances that result in engagement before the couple has even kissed (+10), I knew I was going to be a very happy camper. Season 2 premiered on January 8th, and it was as good as ever. Matthew is engaged! To an outsider! Mary, who had her prospects for marriage severely hampered by sleeping with a Turkish prince, is romancing a new money millionaire. Even homely Edith, the middle daughter, is stirring up trouble by slumming it with a local farmer. I have very high expectations for this season, and so far I have not been disappointed.

Wouldn't you risk your marriage prospects for this?

But while the plot and dialogue and scenery are all deserving of high praise, the most important thing about Downton Abbey is the clothes. The only reason I did not start dressing exclusively in floor length skirts, long sleeved blouses and pearls this season is because I do understand that that would be really weird. But still, how beautiful are their outfits!?

Also, the show serves as an important reminder that I need to start wearing nightgowns:

I may not be able to wear riding habits or opera gloves, but it’s something.

Favorite Line:
Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith): You don’t mind my taking over the flowers, do you? Cora’s flowers always look more suited to a first communion…in Southern Italy.

I don’t even know what that means, but I know it’s a burn.

New Girl
Two weeks ago New Girl returned from winter hiatus. Perhaps surprisingly, this sweet, odd little show was the one I was most excited to start watching again. (I know it’s not “little;” it’s the breakout hit of the season. But something about it feels small and unwatched. I frequently wonder how so many people have such a strange sense of humor.)

I loved the pilot episode of New Girl. Zooey Deschanel was hilarious in her weirdness, and even if the “fish out of water” roommate plot wasn’t particularly original, the show itself still felt fresh. But in the second episode the charm started to wear off, and things continued to go downhill from there. The setting felt generic; they allegedly lived in LA, but there was no supporting evidence of that. (Although, as discussed, I do watch too much reality TV, and maybe just don’t know I’m in LA unless there’s a night shot of the Hollywood sign and Hillary Duff is singing in the background.) The male roommates felt like stereotypes, particularly brotastic Schmidt, and didn’t have the chemistry to make you believe they even liked each other, let alone had all been friends since college. And, most disappointingly, the scene from the pilot when all the boys rushed into a restaurant where Jess had been stood up and started singing a wacky rendition of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” to show their support, went from being a charming finale to being the show’s go-to plot device. Jess goes to her ex-boyfriend’s house to get her stuff, and when she starts falling for him again, all the guys get out of the car and put on her wacky hats to show their support. Jess goes to a wedding and starts doing a wacky chicken dance, and all the guys start doing the dance too, to show their support.

But things started turning around just before the winter break. The first episode that pulled me back in was “Bad in Bed.” Jess has a new beau (Justin Long as Paul), and wants to impress him in the sack. But because she’s only been with one guy for the past six years she’s worried her moves won’t be exciting enough. So she takes Schmidt’s computer and invades his porn folder to get ideas. When he finds her she’s tells him she’s been watching for five hours. He then calmly takes the computer away and brings her to the fellow roommates to get advice from real live human men. In many sitcoms, the whole episode would have centered around this event. Jess accidentally stumbling onto Schmidt’s “red folder,” then trying to lie about what she’s been doing. Schmidt blowing up at her, but then making her promise not to tell anyone what she saw. (Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if this has already been a storyline on Whitney this year.) Instead no one is embarrassed, and the guys genuinely want to help Jess. It felt like a very adult moment for a show that is actually aimed at 20 and 30 somethings, instead of talking down to any children who might be watching. I mean, it’s not something I’ve conducted a survey on, but if I had to guess, I wouldn’t think most guys would be embarrassed if their roommates knew they had porn on their computer. I feel like that’s a pretty normal dude thing to do, and I love that the show acknowledges it as such.

Jess's seduction outfit

But anyways, armed with whatever ideas she picked up, Jess attempts to seduce Paul by talking dirty to him. However, she pulls out an old timey newscaster voice to do so. Paul comes back at her with a Jimmy Stewart impression. And it was like watching a hilarious car wreck (you know those kinds?). I was on the edge of my couch, watching the scene unfold, totally dumfounded. It was so weird, but somehow so hilarious. “Who comes up with this stuff?” is something I often wonder while watching New Girl. It feels like no other show on television. It mixes smart, adult humor with the utterly bizarre, and then adds a dash of whimsy (sorry, had to get one adorable word in there). And the result is one of the comedies I most look forward to watching every week.

Favorite Line:

Best line from the last episode, when Schmidt’s birthday was nearly cancelled because the party bus company gave his reservation (amazingly) to Frankie Muniz:

Jess: You should torch them on Yelp. Actually, I can do it for you. I have an account under the name Fantastique Jacques. He’s a French diplomat with very little patience.

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