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Best Downton Abbey Mashups and Parodies

by Caryn James
February 11, 2012 9:01 AM
1 Comment
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Downton Abbey season 2

One of the surest signs that Downton Abbey has become a full-blown hit and pop-cult phenomenon is the mini- and strained flap that has erupted about whether it is snobbish or middle-brow or an old-fashioned soap opera. I don’t see why it can’t be all three. The series satisfies our indulgent fantasies of an old-fashioned life of leisure. Of course we know it’s pure illusion; even Michelle Dockery, who  plays Lady Mary, told David Letterman about her working-class roots, and the fact that her ancestors would surely have worked downstairs.  But what a satisfying fantasy!

Middle-brow? Fine; let’s admit it isn’t breaking fresh artistic ground. And soapy? But of course! That’s one of its delicious, cliff-hanging joys.

Another sign that it has seeped into the culture as thoroughly as any network hit: all the mashups, parodies and on-line references. The big wide world of people who have not seen Downton gets the allusions to it more than a reference to 2 Broke Girls.

Here’s a selection of the best Downton humor.


You might credit writer Julian Fellowes with the creation of Downton’s world, but its smartest, sharpest wit comes from Maggie Smith’s delivery as the Dowager Countess. Nothing is likely to surpass her enduring line, “What is a weekend?” And you do realize she is always right?


For conflicted households everywhere; thank goodness for DVR’s.


This spoof of Downton and its inspiration, Upstairs, Downstairs, goes back to last season, but if you missed the all-star BBC parody, it is truly spectacular. And Matthew hadn’t even marched off to war yet.


Patton Oswalt continues to Tweet his love for the show, more delirious and much sharper than any fan boy’s affection for laser swords.  

Among the latest from @pattonoswalt:

“Really hope Bates and Anna get a chance to open that motel. Wait, no...Bates Motel?”

“Oh FUCK YOU, Sir Richard. You do NOT poach Carson."


All that’s missing is SNL’s parody from last week, which gave us Spike TV’s promo for Downton. In Spike’s not-inaccurate description of it as "Fancy Entourage" it’s a show about  people who all wear tuxedos and “live in a church, or maybe it’s a museum, but either way – they don’t got WiFi,” and crazily receive their news by mail.  For their own unspecified reasons, NBC has not posted a clip on-line, and has taken down some that have made their way to YouTube. If you search, say, here, I am not legally responsible.  

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1 Comment

  • mrs Shrimpy | February 11, 2012 5:32 PMReply

    if you're a Downtonaho­lic please check out our website that has Downton inspired mugs, t-shirts, Captain Crawley Pajamams, and Lady Mary pjs, an amazing collection of goodie all with Downton Abbey and the Dowager Countess in mind. : www.downto­nabbeygift­ we've come up with a few designs featuring lines and sayings inspired by Downton Abbey. We even have Grantham/C­rawley 2012 bumper stickers. What would Lady Mary do? I AM the Dowager Countess, Team Grantham, I'hve plenty of friends I don't like, etc

    For every purchase you make, I'm donating 10% back into the Book Booth: America's Littlest Library. HuffPost did an article on us, back in Sept. We need to raise some monies as our budget is teeny tiny.

    My designs are all over cafepress, but if you purchase through our site, our prices are cheaper. Everybody wins then. Please share with your friends: www.downto­nabbeygift­ thanks Claudia for the BookBooth & Downton Gifts.

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