Exciting TV-Related Developments

Well, I still haven’t sneezed.

At this point I’ve stopped worrying about the fact that I can’t sneeze and have decided to set my sights on inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2015.

I mean, setting some sort of world record for being sneeze-free has never been an actual goal of mine, but everybody’s gotta be good at something, you know?

Today is our first post-Christmas day back in the real world – with real alarms and real responsibilities and real schedules – and while I was definitely enjoying our more laid-back pace (not to mention all the Parenthood episodes I’ve watched over the last three weeks), I am one of those people who does much, much better with a day that errs on the side of structured. Someone asked me not too long ago how I managed to write my book while working full-time, and my immediate reaction was that it’s the only way I could have done it. There’s nothing like a little pressure to make me more productive. However, if you give me four wide-open weeks with nothing but time, glorious time to work on whatever deadline is at hand, odds are that I’ll find several new Bravo shows to watch while I’m completely overtaken by an urgent need to cook many new varieties of meat.

Seriously. I know my weaknesses. This past weekend I cooked prime rib when my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews were visiting, and I could not quit talking about the whole meat-cooking process. Everyone gather ’round while I sear the meat! Now watch me flip the meat! Wait! I will transfer the meat to a roasting pan! Behold the smell of the meat as it cooks! Look at the glorious color of the roasted meat! Now let us slice the meat! ISN’T THE MEAT TASTY?

It really was delicious. But I probably could have dialed down my enthusiasm a notch or seven in the interest of everyone else’s sanity.

After Brother and his people headed back to Memphis yesterday, I promptly put on my pajamas at 2 in the afternoon and settled in for a day-o-rest. In addition to knowing that it was my last rest hurrah before real life resumed today, I wanted to make sure that I was completely relaxed and stress-free for the season three premiere of Downton Abbey last night. I watched the first two seasons online this past summer, so watching each week on PBS is new for me, but I am up for the challenge. And oh my goodness, last night’s episode did not disappoint.

Here are a few of my favorite moments (SPOILER ALERT for those of you who haven’t watched yet).

(No kidding: SPOILER ALERT.)


1. Shirley MacLaine was everything I hoped she’d be.

2. It dawned on me about halfway through the episode that Edith Crawley is Jan Brady with a British accent.

3. Mary’s wedding gown was absolutely beautiful. And that comb / feather / tiara thing that she wore? Stunning.

4. When Isobel Crawley shouted, “WELL SAID!” at the dinner table, I cackled. She tickles me with all her social crusading.

5. When Daisy kept having trouble with the oven, I was afraid the castle was going to burn down. So I was relieved that the only ill-effect was that the guests at Downton were forced to enjoy a cold-cuts buffet and some awkward song-leading from Martha Levinson.

6. I am worried that things aren’t going to end well for Anna and Mr. Bates. Just a feeling.

7. When Sir Anthony told Edith (aka Jan) that he’d be back the next morning to ask Lord Downton for her hand in marriage, I halfway expected for him to be killed in a car crash on the way home. Isn’t that awful? But it would totally fit in to the way things typically go for Edith, wouldn’t it?

8. I loved all the conspiring between Mary and Dowager Countess.

9. The guy who slipped something into Tom’s drink? I DID NOT CARE FOR HIM. And I was proud of Sir Anthony for standing up to him.

10. Maggie Smith can communicate more by blinking her eyes than most actors can by saying 10,000 words. She is brilliant.

Did y’all watch, too?

(And while I don’t want to encourage cultural whiplash, let us remember that the season premiere of The Bachelor is tonight.)

(Certainly we’ll need to pace ourselves after the two-hour Downton episode, but I have full confidence that we can handle it.)

(Be sure to stretch beforehand and drink plenty of liquids.)

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  1. Last night was fabulous! One of besties lives in London, and for the last while I can tell it has killed her every time we communicate NOT to talk about Downton. See, she watched the whole of Season 3 already.


    But, last night?

    Marvelous. Fabulous.

    Cannot wait for next week.

  2. The husband is completely hooked on the show. I watched a couple of episodes with him over the holidays, and if I can catch up on past shows fast enough, I’ll be up to speed with the rest of the world. I totally agree with you about Maggie Smith. Love her to death.

    I was poking around on Amazon a while ago and saw your book!!! I. Can’t. Wait!

  3. Confession… I have no clue what Downton Abbey is. And I’m assuming because everyone on twitter knows and I don’t… I obviously live under a rock! I’m trying to sweet talk the Mr into watching the Bachelor tonight, but he has his eyes on the football game. I have nothing for either team, so I might get my pjs on and enjoy some quiet time in the bedroom with the new bachelor. But don’t forget there is also the RHOBH and Vanderpump Rules… (thank the good Lord for DVR). What would we do without reality tv?

  4. While working full time? I honestly did not realize you did that – you Never talk about it. What do you do?

  5. Downton Abbey~~~This season is going to be GOOOOOD!!! While Maggie Smith still has the best lines (and yes the best facial expresions!!) Shirley MacLaine is a good match for her! Love this show!!! Think I’ll do something “Jolly” with my hair before I watch the next episode on Sunday!!

  6. Oh, my I was watching last night and was on edge about the wedding. I told my hubby that if they didn’t marry last night then the show was dead to me-he didn’t believe me and I reminded him of my utter shock, horror, dismay over the LOST ending, that will not happen to me again. Fortunately the wedding happened and I could enjoy the rest of the show. I totally felt the same way about Sir Anthony and wondered what would happen to him on his way home.
    I did not know you worked full time. Another blogger mentioned once that you are a teacher but have never found evidence of that on your blog;-) I am a former teacher and admire those that teach so much.
    Okay, I have exceeded my annual commenting limit.

  7. My husband and I already watched all of season 3 online. Hee hee hee!! I love reading your observations from the “other side” already knowing what is going to happen! Hang on to your hat!! It’s going to be quite a season!

    • Me too! Will watch it weekly (and DVR also!) I’m glad to be prepared for what’s to come…..Sniff, sniff.

  8. Oh yes, I watched! And I wrote about it!

    All I have to say is, “What wedding?” They showed exactly ten seconds of a wedding, and I, for one, was pretty disappointed in that. I really wanted to see an all-out wedding for Matthew and Mary. They deserved that at the least for all they’ve been through.

    Oh well. I’m excited for the new season.

    • Krysten T says:

      I was disapointed in the wedding too. I would have at least liked time to get a good look at the dress.

  9. For once I actually had watched what you had watched! How fun! I’m always so out of the loop but propped my eyelids open with toothpicks and watched the whole shebang. It was truly delightful! I loved Mary’s dress and I too wanted more wedding stuff but it was jam-packed so I can see how it happened. Shirley MacClaine was a delight and such a wonderful counterpoint to Maggie Smith. She made Granny seem nearly mild! LOL

  10. I am certain that the wedding of Edith and sir Anthony will not take place as they led us to believe last night! I have the opposite feeling about bates and Anna! Totally think he will be back by half way through the session!!

  11. I just finished watching, and YES to the fear that Downton would burn down and that something would, of course, happend to Sir Anthony. So glad it’s back, it’s the only time I’ve doubted our decision to not have regular TV (Netflix only has season 1 of DA)…but thankfully it is online, so we don’t suffer unbearably.

  12. I nominate Maggie Smith for any and every award they give to actresses…she is a delight to watch. Everything about Downton Abbey makes me swoon :)

  13. I loved last nights episode! I especially loved the part when the Dowager Countess turned to Lord Grantham and asked him for a drink because she thought he was a butler. The scene where one grandmother sings to the other made me happy. So so happy. I have the same thoughts you have about Anna and Mr. Bates. Something is going to happen!!

  14. Okay…

    I totally, TOTALLY agree with 1, 2 and 3. Especially 1. And 2. And 3.

    I don’t know why, but I do not like Isobel Crawley. My daughter disagrees and likes her very much. I may be wrong.

    I thought the same thing when Daisy kept having trouble with the oven. I kept waiting for the house to burn to the ground.

    I’m in agreement with you regarding 6 and 7, too.

    Mary IS her grandmother’s granddaughter!

    You are right on with 9 and 10, too. I believe they let us see some evil in Mr. Bates last night… and it scared me for Anna.

    I cannot wait until the next show!

  15. 2 hours of pure delight! I did something Jolly today with my hair to celebrate the return of Downton! Can’t wait til next week!

  16. BamaCarol says:

    My favorite part (other than the Dowager thinking Lord Grantham was a waiter) was when Mary came downstairs in her wedding gown and her father and Mr. Carson were looking at her with such love. Made my heart swell!

  17. I love your blog. I think I found you on blog hop. I am now a frequent visitor. I find your extensive discussion of meat funny. That sounds like something I would do. LOL! I don’t watch Dowton Abbey but I do love Scandal. I think it one of the Best Shows out. Also with Nashville. My son will have few background parts coming up. So, I am kinda partial.

  18. I thought it was *interesting* when Bates had the final tiff with his cell mate that he did NOT correct the man when he called him a murderer. Hmm….

  19. Yes, yes, yes to all of the above about Downton. Cybil’s (Sybil’s?) husband made me nervous with all of this political talk but I LOVED when the Dowager Countess put him in his place, which evidently was a morning coat : )

  20. Love, love, love! I agree with all of your observations! It was dee-licious! I was literally cackling with delight and clapping my hands on more than one occasion! Have you taken the “which Downton role” fits you (or something like that) on the PBS site? I was totally the crusading Isobel Crawley! Funny!

  21. Pam Means says:

    I thought Edith’s beau was going to tell her he’s gay. I guess he still has time to do that. Poor Edith. Something bad for Anna and Mr. Bates? NOOOOOOOOO!

  22. I have seen Season 3 already. It’s a doozy!

  23. I thought the same thing about the oven and was so nervous that the house was going to burn down. I think it was because I watched the special on Highclere Castle right before the premiere and the image of that beautiful old country house being imploded is forever seared in my memory. THE HORROR!

  24. “Forgive…perhaps. Forget? Never!”

  25. Merri Jo says:

    Oh, wow–your writing never fails to tickle me until I succumb to fits of laughter!!
    …”I’m completely overtaken by an urgent need to cook many new varieties of meat.” ~~you crack me up! I also watched seasons 1 & 2 of D.A. online, & it was kind of nervewracking to watch an episode, knowing that I have to wait a week for the next one. Maggie Smith gives me almost as many good laughs as you do ;-)
    I’m sad to say, I agree with your feeling about Anna & Mr. Bates. And, I hope someone finally gives Thomas his comeuppance!

  26. This may win the award for Random Blog Reader Questions, but don’t you attend Church at Brook Hills? My son and his new fiancee go there. Just wondering! Small world and all, you know!

  27. I agree with every one of your observations! It was delicious. I thought there would be a fire too. But a car crash for Sir Anthony? You’re good. Really good. Thank you for the laugh this morning.

  28. I totally loved it. I am worried for Anna and I too wanted more of the wedding or at least the wedding feast.

  29. My favorite lines:
    Mrs. Levinson: “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
    Dowager Countess: ” I must have said it wrong.”

    Maggie Smith is absolutely the best…should be in every scene!

  30. My favorite line? When poor Branson was being bullied about his wedding attire, they let him rant and then Maggie said, “Are you finished? Good. Now take off your jacket.” We howled!

    I agree: I hear ominous music for Bates and Anna and for poor Edith/Jan (you totally nailed it! I heard her saying, “Mary! Mary! Mary! That’s all I ever hear!”).

  31. I love Maggie Smith! Her character reminds me of the phrase “someone who does not suffer fools gladly.” What a great start to the season — I will be making an EFFORT to be home every Sunday night to see the rest of it.

    I know they smashed two episodes together Sunday night, but I had my own whiplash moment when they went right from the *beginning* of the wedding to the drive back from the honeymoon a month later. Whew! Wish we’d seen more of the wedding, and gotten to see Mary’s ensemble for a little bit longer!

  32. I have never laughed more at your observation that Edith is the equivalent of Jan Brady. HA HA HA!!!

    Though, my favorite was when the Dowager Countess asked Lord Grantham for a drink and said, “I’m sorry, I thought you were the butler!”

  33. Oh, I’m late to the party.
    Sophie, please keep us posted on your sneezelessness. I woke up this morning with that awful “here it comes” feeling, but blew my nose and then couldn’t STOP sneezing for a good 15 minutes! Have to laugh because only in the era of the internet could we have to sneeze and then start worrying about how someone we don’t even know is feeling!
    I’m with the rest of you on the Jan Brady observation. Woke my husband out of a dead sleep because the whole bed was shaking with my laughter when I read that.
    Must confess that I also thought either Sir Anthony would meet with an untimely death or run away before morning – we’ll see!
    I’m pretty sure that the UK version is far more uncut than our PBS version. When I ordered seasons 1 and 2 from Amazon, there was a huge discussion in the comments about the editing processes. I ordered the UK versions, but don’t know the difference between those and what you saw here (we were in Germany for the first 2 seasons; ) but it might explain why the wedding/post wedding scenes were so choppily done.

  34. Krysten T says:

    I love Maggie Smith! The show would not be the same without her.

  35. Elizabeth says:

    Ditto, Ditto, Ditto on blog post and comments!!!!!! Isn’t it funny we all thought Edith’s fate was in the balance when Sir Anthony left? My hubby even watches and loves it. When I said Sir Anthony would have a wreck, he said, he might die of heart attack or something, but the cars don’t go that fast :)

    And Wendy, thanks for the info regarding the UK versions. MIght have to order UK version for season 3. Already have 1 and 2!!!

  36. On the wedding dress…yes, it was beautiful. And the veil! Loved it. All I could think was, if I could beg the girls of the world to stop wearing sleeveless wedding dresses, I would. They don’t have to be as prim as Mary but enough with the sleeveless.

    Thank you for the opportunity to vent!

  37. YES YES and YES! to 1-10, except I hope to goodness #6 isn’t true.

  38. BC in NC says:

    I thought the wedding was a disappointment. According to the Internet, the source for everything true, “Costume designer, Caroline McCall, created a lacy long-sleeved gown festooned with dainty Swarovski crystals for Lady Mary’s big day. She crowned the bride with a vintage veil and diamond tiara from U.K. jeweler Bentley & Skinner, which rang-in at a whopping $200,000. ”
    Don’t you think $200,000 was a bit much for the tiara–it looked like it came from a cheap costume shop. And the dress…I realize that it was supposed to be a 1920’s gown, but it looked like a long pillow case. The wedding and honeymoon were over so fast, if you went out to the kitchen to get a snack, you would have missed it.

    • That’s the worst part for me – no breaks! I don’t need a snack, but sometimes I need to pee! And I can’t possibly miss a moment!! Surely they could put a break in somewhere. :)

  39. Donna Dear says:

    I just watch the premier tonight with other moms who love DA. We loved it. I think Shirley M. and Maggie Smith were just fabulous!! There were so many great lines.

  40. #2 and #6 – yes and yes.

  41. Not enough wedding. The wedding reception antics alone could have made a 2 hour episode. And shouldn’t Sybil have been more pregnant? Maybe I’m confused. But I suppose. It was just so good to have the Crawleys back. It’s the only show I watch that I have to see while it’s on – not just watch on the DVR later. I can’t wait for that. Which prompted questioning from my husband when he realized I was watching it, and recording it. Whatever for? Because sometimes you have to watch Downton more than once. “You’re sick.” Maybe. So what?

    And now I’m off to do something jolly with my hair.

  42. I’m a first time reader here. I have a very hard time watching episodic television when you can watch it all at once…thus sites like videobull were created just for people like me. You can watch all the current season’s Downton Abbey episodes. I watched them back in the fall when they aired in Great Britain (someone would always post it online right after it ended across the pond and we would watch it later Sunday night as a family). But, if you like a good marathon of shows, you can use videobull to catch them for free.
    PS Love the Miss Kentucky video. I had a childhood friend who did a modern dance on pointe in the Miss America pagent. Sandy Frick Miss Florida 1989. Check it out -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INlar61sYws

  43. Lorinda Morey says:

    HELP! How did you all find Season One and Two online? I have watched all the episodes but my darling daughter has not – she originally thought it would be boring! Please anyone who has found the episodes online – let me know how! Thanks!

    Plus, Boo Mama – you do all you do AND work outside the home? Heavens, I did not know!