Sunday, February 5, 2012

Giants vs. Pats vs. Crawleys

Super Bowl XLVI is today!  The biggest sporting event in the world!  Millions and millions and millions will be watching.  Want to get into a restaurant that's normally overrun?  Go!  Super Bowl empties it out!  Like going to a quiet, uncrowded movie theatre?  Go!  Super Bowl keeps it clear!

Here is who watches the Super Bowl:  fans of American professional football, fans of the Patriots or fans of the Giants, fans of sporting events, fans of events, fans of celebrities that perform pre-game and halftime shows (ancienne extraordinaire Madonna will be leaving the nursing home to show her muscle-chart body and shake something that could just snap off; will Kelly Clarkson remember the words to our national anthem or eff it up like Christina Aguilera did last year?), fans of television advertisements, fans of Tom Brady getting crushed like a bug, fans of Peyton Manning (whose brother is QB for the Giants so they are, therefore, fans of the Giants since the Colts aren't in it), fans of guys who just can't stop talking, fans of spectacle, and people who just can't help themselves.  I am a fan of American professional football, television advertisements, and Tom Brady getting his comeuppance.  I am also a fan of "Downton Abbey."

"Downton Abbey" is a period mini-series based in England, beginning with the sinking of the Titanic through, so far, World War I.  It tells the story of Robert and Cora Crawley, Earl and Countess of Grantham and their three daughters, trying to find a suitable match for the eldest daughter, Mary, and getting the heir, a third cousin lawyer named Matthew Crawley, settled into his future as the future Earl of Grantham.  Cora Crawley is an American heiress, one of the American daughters of obscene wealth who turned over their inherited fortunes to marry into British aristocracy.  In the case of Cora and Robert, great love and passion was the result and they have remained into love.  Robert has tended to Downton and Cora's fortune, and their estate and family have continued to thrive.  Since they have three daughters, English laws at the time mean the title, the lands, the house, everything including Cora's family cash, will fall to the next male in line, in this case the son of Robert's first cousin.

When the series opens, the first cousin and his son, whom Robert loved as his own, have both been lost in the sinking of the Titanic.  Mary had quietly promised to marry him, a marriage that would allow her to always stay in Downton Abbey.  Imagine the turmoil.  Not nutjobs-at-my-workplace turmoil but turmoil nevertheless.  The new heir, Matthew Crawley, is found and he is smart, handsome, charming, and kind.  Is there love for Mary and Matthew?

There are personable servants and the usual conniving and sweetness.  Will Mr. Bates and Anna ever find happiness?  What is up with the constant back-stabbing by lady's maid O'Brien?  She says she is not like that but then, oh she is.

Part two is now in the middle of WWI.  Footman William has died (trying to save Matthew who may never walk again), insisting Daisy marry him before he dies so she can have William's widow's benefits.  Matthew has sent away his fiancee, Lavinia, because he doesn't want her to waste her life on a cripple who can't have children.   Mary is engaged to Sir Richard, a newspaper mogul who is quite the determined and shifty SOB.  (Mary's downfall:  she loves men who are well connected with lots of cash, like herself.)  Of course the war is still on (15 million dead and 20 million injured at the end) and what came after still looms -- the Spanish Flu (between 50 to 100 million dead worldwide within 18 months, with 500 million infected).

SNL did their best to make us love it even more:

(Above courtesy of NBC and You Tube.)

So yes, I will watch all the pre-game stuff and I will watch the game -- go Giants!! GIANTS! -- but when it's 8pm, I'll switch to PBS and root for myself because football is nice and all, but love, social interaction, intrigue, impossibly cool period costumes, and ancenstral mansions make me very happy indeed. When the show is over, I will turn it back to the game.  If the game's still going on, good enough.  If the new season of "The Voice" has started, even better.  That Adam Levine is smart, talented, and fine.  There is nothing wrong with fine.

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