Does “Downton Abbey” perpetuate gay stereotypes?
IT WAS A SEASON OF SADNESS, a season of tsuris; the anti-Passover, I guess, as at the last minute the Angel of Death, that occasional writing partner of Julian Fellowes, stopped at Downton Abbey after all. Yes, Season Three of the most successful drama in PBS history ended with both a death and a birth, as Fellowes is a generous host. If you didn’t watch, you can read on without fear; here be no spoilers. I’ll just say that we were left with a Major Character dead on a country road, blood leaking from (gender unspecified’s) mouth. Season Four, which we won’t get for a year, will pick up six months after the Sadness. Maggie Smith, in the role of Maggie Smith, will once more in her Don-Rickles-with-a-title mode trot out the zingers, his Lordship will disapprove of something or other, and Lady Edith will defy the example set by her late sister Sybil that Girls With Ideas come to early ends. Shit may, as they say, happen at Downton, but Fellowes believes that just getting on with it is the best revenge, a worldview that helps him infallibly locate and dramatize the perfect balance between what needs to change, and what must never change, with the latter given the weight.