Downton Abbey Gets Gay: Warning, Only For Downton Abbey Fans

12 Feb

Listen, Slate, very few of us are mistaking Downton Abbey for some Ken Burns documentary about how things were really like in post-war England. Edith all but Googled her new boss’ history over the phone, and I’m sure someone can find a list of anachronisms in the show before this sentence is–oops here we are.

But I’m having a few issues with the Thomas gay storyline that I want to hash out here in case anyone can explain it to me in simpler terms

1) Character: Carson. Head muckity-muck of the downstairs crew. Sort of like that racist uncle you love, he’s got a distaste for Thomas because he skulks in the dark smoking cigarettes and meddling in everything. He’s disciplined him before and doesn’t seem to blink twice when it comes time to firing Thomas.

2) Character: Bates. He looks like Droopy the dog. He’s a servant that hates Thomas because he was given the job Thomas wanted. Thomas got him into all sorts of problems. He hates Thomas.

3) Character: Earl of Grantham. He’s like the father that you hate because he doesn’t let you go out at night and he says he knows what is good for you, but years later you leave and you realize he was head of a cult and you are like ‘wtf he DIDN’T know what was good for me.’  At any rate, guess what? He also hates Thomas. Thomas has stolen from him and been involved in thievery. He begrudgingly re-employs Thomas because of pos-war nobleman reasons. I’m fine with that.

We’ve established all of these characters hate Thomas, and here is my question, why did all of these characters then decide to help Thomas at the same time?

Bates, out of all of them, gives a bizarrely strained reason, something I couldn’t hear past the rolling sound of my eyes (I think it was “I like the downtrodden” thanks, Victor Hugo).

Oh, what was Thomas’ crime, you ask? Well he went into a fellow servant’s room and smooched him on the lips while the hunky dude was asleep. This comes off as rapey to our modern “ask for permission” sensibilities, but I’m assured by Slate that this is simply how men MIGHT have gotten it on back in the day. I wouldn’t know, as they have not set an Assassins Creed game in Post-War England with a main character who fondles other men…yet.

At any rate, Downton Abbey is a big soapy fun show, but even big soapy fun shows have to have some sort of character consistency less they devolve into Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic. I’m all for a good anachronistic gay rapey adventure, but if your characters all just decide to help someone they hate then I might as well be watching improv.  I critique, as always, because I love.


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