Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: Downton Abbey Trumps Presidential Politics

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The beguiling thing about Downton Abbey was, in between episodes, I was sort of relieved it was ending.

That is, when I wasn't actually in front of the television, watching the saga unfold in all its tweed and tailcoats splendor, I was convincing myself I'd had enough of Mary's bitching, Edith's whining, Thomas' moping, Carson's grumping, Daisy's shrieking, Molesley's fumbling, Robert's autocrating, Cora's cloying, Anna's cringing, Bates' hulking, Violet's scathing, Isobel's preaching, Mrs. Patmore's fidgeting, Mrs. Hudson's aghasting, Tom's appeasing, Matthew's dying, world wars looming, reticent lovers courting, lavish sets astounding, class manners annoying and plot convoluting.

Then I'd tune in the next Sunday and tumble upstairs over downstairs into period rapture all over again.

Since the series' beginnings, there've come many a theory as to why so many Americans have taken so doggedly to Downton Abbey. Was it a nostalgic yearning for an aristocratic hierarchy we never had? Was it our natural faux affinity to the soap opera dramatics of people we are absolutely nothing whatsoever like? Was it Angophiliosis taken to epidemic levels? Was it gentry envy?

I can neither say nor care why Downton Abbey attracted an audience 12 million-plus. I can only speak for myself. I loved it... yes, loved it, in spite of the occasional moments of over-saturation... simply because it wasn't the other 98 percent of the dreck on television. I loved it because, no matter how irritating, unpleasant or temporary a character was, I could see the role was being filled by an artist who had been chosen for his or her consummate professionalism. I loved it because I could count on hearing dialogue I hadn't heard a billion times beforeā€”e.g., "I'm too old for this shit"; "We need to think outside the box"; "Lock and load!" And I loved it because I knew the story wouldn't degenerate into...

Hey, Mr. Cope. Were you surprised Trump didn't win the primary in Idaho?

Damn, Junior. I was doing something here.

Oh. Gee, I'm sorry. But... were you?

No, I wasn't surprised Trump didn't win in Idaho. Nor would I have been surprised had he won in Idaho. It's part of my new strategy to get through this year until November without turning into an obsessive lunatic. I call it my "Who Gives a Shit What Happens In Idaho?" strategy.

Is that like saying that you don't think anything important ever happens in Idaho?

Not when it comes to presidential elections, no.

But the Republicans said that moving their primary back to March would give Idaho some real significance in the nomination.

Well, like everything else Republicans think, they are wrong. It wouldn't matter if they moved their primary back to New Year's Day or sometime the year before, for that matter. Idaho would still only have 32 delegates out of the 2,472 that these jokers are scrambling after. Do you know what that comes out to, percentage-wise?

Uh, no. But I imagine you're about to tell me.

That comes out to a 1.29449 percentage of the total, Squiggy. That's not even 1 1/3 percentage points. Does that sound significant to you?

How's about we just forget I brought it up, Mr. Cope. I just thought you might have an opinion on Trump not winning in Idaho. Like, I even thought you might be happy.

Happy that Trump lost, or happy that Cruz won?

So, what were you working on when I came in?

I was saying my goodbyes to Downton Abbey.

Eeew, my mom watches that. She says she can't stand the idea it's all over.

She liked it?

She loved it, Mr. Cope. Loved it. She said she's never watched a show that made her feel so classy.

Tell me, did it make her feel classy because she identified with the characters in the show? Or did she feel classy simply because she watched it instead of other stuff?

Hmmm. I don't know. I didn't think to ask. Why do you ask, anyway? 

Just curious. It's sort of a mystery to me why so many people were addicted to a show where hardly anything ever happened.

So you didn't like it?

Loved it, Laverne. Loved it.