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7 Times Downton Abbey Has Jumped the Shark

Bankrupt?! We are to believe this aristocrat had never heard of diversification.

J. Christian Adams


February 23, 2014 - 7:00 am
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Editor’s Note: This article was first published in January of 2013. It is being republished as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists of 2013. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months. Click here to vote for your favorites in the comments.

Downton Abbey has jumped the shark, over and over and over again. Either writer Julian Fellowes is toying with viewers by presenting an undercover farce, or “Julian Fellowes” is really a 15-year-old girl using devices common to her age, such as sudden plot lurches, melodrama, tortured simplicity, and outlandish improbability. What started in Season One as a measured, engrossing, and beautiful series has become a weekly, preposterous chore.

Is Laura Linney in on the gag? Has she seen the episodes she is introducing?

Fonzie only jumped the shark once. Here are seven times Downtown Abbey has jumped the shark.

1. Downton Becomes a Hospital

Downtown’s grandest shark jump took place when the estate was turned into a hospital for World War I wounded in Season Two, Episode 3. The subtleties and grandeur of the drama were replaced by noise, racket, bandages, beds, and scores of visitors. To believe this disruption, one must believe that the village is an efficient destination for the war wounded. One must also assume there aren’t other barns, churches, banquet halls, or any other building closer to a railhead capable of handling the casualties. The Downton-becomes-a-hospital frolic and detour sucked the life out of the series and led to even more absurd, improbable plot twists such as the return of Thomas to Downton, the liaison of the maid Ethel and Major Bryant under Lord Grantham’s roof, and the patently impossible return of the terminal William to both die and marry Daisy.  Downton as hospital also produced a plot twist so ridiculous it deserves its own shark-jumping moment.

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All Comments   (3)
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By 1925, there was an Irish Republic. Surely Tom could have slipped back into Dublin, and the Irish government would not have cared what happened to some nasty English earl years before.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Max1903 - Quite true. In fact Highclere Castle (which is the real place used as "Downton Abbey") was actually used as a hospital in World War I.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I sugget a little research before printing ignorant snark next time. Many English manors were used as Auxiliary Hospitals during WWI, just like it is portrayed in the series.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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