Monday, January 4, 2016

Real Housewives VS Downton Abbey Part 2- Money STILL Can't Buy You Class


Sometimes I write a blog and think about it on an obsessive level...keeping notes in an iPhone app and revisiting it regularly thinking of my ways I could have made my point even more airtight [Tangent: Translation- leaving well enough alone was never my strong suit and I'm a hellacious nerd.]. Nearly three years ago, I wrote this post finding the strong similarities between two of my favorite series: Downton Abbey and the various incarnations of the Real Housewives. Besides boasting #RichPeopleProblems in droves, there are many specific parallels that I just cannot shake. True, Lady Edith has never dabbled in producing a club banger (despite having little experience in the area) or launched a line of pinot grigio...but there are lots of other examples that prove that the whole "Mo Money, Mo Problems" adage transcends time and space. [Tangent: It also leads me to believe Julian Fellowes and Andy Cohen are secretly having meetings.] Since Downton is back for it's final season [Tangent: Oddly enough airing in the same time slot at Real Housewives of ATL. Coincidence?] , I thought there was no time like the present to revisit this discussion...so here goes.

10 Commonalities Between Real Housewives 
and Downton Abbey (Revisited) 

1. Disapproving Mamas

The Dowager countess is the harshest critic around the Abbey and no one ever seems to call her out on her flagrant shade throwing because well that whole "respect your elders" thing can be a bitch (and because it's highly entertaining). Such is the case with Kandi's mom Miss Joyce from Atlanta. She spent an entire season being none-too-subtle with her words against Kandi's fiancee, Todd. There were accusations about gold digging and infidelity...some even coming to a head in bridal shops! EEK! I guess no matter what the decade, when Mama is unhappy- nobody is happy.

2. Jail Time

 Jail time, whether warranted or not, is something the "real" families are very well acquainted with. Aside from the New Jersey prison power couple, Theresa and Joe Giudice [Tangent: The last name that there is no consensus on how to pronounce...even from the couple themselves. Is it Jew-Di-Che or Jew-Dice? Do they even know?] , there's one househusband from Hotlanta,  Apollo . There are some blaring differences between these folks and our sweet Mr. Bates. The major distinctions are Bates was convicted of murder...and not whatever fraud or money laundering BS I don't really fully understand. Plus Mr. Bates was innocent...and likeable. 

3. Bum Legs

 While we are on Mr. Bates, let's talk about his bum leg. Thankfully, his disability is rarely addressed (anymore!) and it's just kind of part of him. [Tangent: Talk about a progressive early 20th century attitude!] Perhaps Aviva from New York City could take a page from his book instead of throwing her leg troubles in people's faces ...quite literally.

4. Parties with Mandatory Hats

Not unlike the Housewives, Downton has a lot of needless parties. Carnivals, polo matches...you know the usual things one would throw on their property. Well, it must be inherently British to throw oppulent backyard get togethers and foist weird hats upon your gusts, because Lisa Vanderpump is no stranger to that behavior. For her husband's 70th birthday, madame VDP threw a dinner at her own Abbey, Villa Rosa, where guests were given the most ridiculous of hats as they crossed the threshhold. After watching that party, I couldn't help but wonder how it would have played out if Cora gave Lord Grantham an awkwardly sexual toast and a set of mini horses as a birthday gift.

5. Beloved Pooches

 While we are on Mrs. Vanderpump, we can't ignore her animal obsession. [Tangent: Even her tagline so eloquently reinforces this: "I'm passionate about dogs, just not crazy about bitches."] Even though her managerie is not just just canine specific (lest we those pampered swans and aforementioned mini horses.), when you think Lisa, you immediately think of her little molting accessory of a dog, Giggy. Without Giggy, Lisa may come off heartless and at times, but that little thing makes her feel more human. The same can be said of Lord Grantham and Isis [Tangent: No...not THAT Isis.] who was thrown off his normally stoic perch when his lab was taken ill in season five. 

6. Polarizing Ensembles
 
From Phaedra and Porshe's shredded beachwear to basically anything Gretchen wore during her tenure in the OC, Housewives are fearless when making a bold statement with their clothes..and definitely lead to as much negative as positive attention. Although gorgeous and likely expensive as hell, the ladies of Downton usually skew more conservative with their dress...except when Lady Cybil made all of the estate spit in their tea when she wore... (insert gasp and pearl clutch!) a PANTSUIT! [Tangent: I know Cybil's look alongside an ass-out beach coverup seems pretty milquetoast, but people found it way more shocking. Maybe if she had been on vacay in Miami, it would have been a different story.]

7. Sage Gingers

I pay be partial, because I dating one, but gingers are pretty damned wise; and of course there is proof in places far and wide as the English countryside and New Jersey. Domestic goddesseses and general badasses Caroline Manzo and Mrs. Pattemore both kinda have that tough love thing nailed. Who knows? If technology had been in her favor, maybe the dame of downstairs Downton may have had her own sirius radio show, too.

8. Fighting an Illness Glamourously

We all remember when Cora came down with the sickness and dramatically made scarlett fever her servant several seasons back. Sure- she looked rough at times (I mean no makeup...no updo!) but she weathered the storm and returned to corsetted life as normal in no time at all. We can only hope that a similar fate befalls Yolanda Foster from Beverly Hills. Her battle with Lyme disease has been front and center this season, and even though everyone gets all up in arms when she appears bare-faced and sans multiple layers of contouring...I think she looks amazing.

9. Dinner Parties where Special Guests Clash
 
When you bring a random to a party, it is safe to say their attendance could be a potential liability. This was never more front and center than when Branson invited his lady friend the teacher, Sarah Bunting, to eat with his adopted family at Downton. She broke the cardinal rule of cordial discourse and talked politics with his super conservative in-laws. Oopsie Poopsie! You made Lord Grantham raise his voice! Unfortunately, this faux pas pales in comparison to the shit show of all shit shows that took Beverly Hills when Camille Grammar invited the martini-swigging medium, Allison Dubois,  to her dinner party. The attendance of this plus one resulted in Kyle being told that she was going to be in an unhappy marriage and die alone. Fun party, Camille. [Tangent: Second place would have to go to the weird name change party Heather Dubrow threw in the OC where the random uninvited guest, also named Sarah, ate a piece of the bow off the cake before it was served and the party was rocked by the scanal.] 

10. And of course...the HEAVIEST NECKLACES AROUND! 
I know I touched on the statement necklace in volume one and its rampant use in Downton as well as all the Housewives Franchises, but It cannot be addressed enough. HOW HEAVY ARE THOSE THINGS!??! 

SO what did I leave off? 
Are ya'll happy/sad Downton is back for the final season? 
Which Housewife would be most at home in Downton (I vote Heather Dubrow!)

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