Holy Dowager Countess 'Downton Abbey': I Was Blind But Now I See!

Holy Dowager Countess 'Downton Abbey': I Was Blind But Now I See!

So far, my best decision of 2013 was cramming to be ready for the Downton Abbey season three U.S. premiere last night. I succeeded, have been officially swept up in the cultural phenom, and suddenly, my life has new found purpose. Oh, those crazy Crawleys.

Downton Abbey Season 3
Image courtesy PBS

The thing is, catching up on Downton in the off-season (I know, I know, it's only the off-season if you're the kind of sucker waiting for it to air on American TV), you only get to enjoy, let's say, 50% of the awesome. Julian Fellowes' costume drama is compelling and addictive, no doubt, but if you've been watching on your own time frame, I'm here to urge you to spend a sleepless night catching up with the Dowager Countess and Co. if that's what it takes -- because half the fun of the Downton phenom is the damn-near-universal love for it.

All year long, I've been swearing I was getting on board the Downton train, while memes went over my head. I watched the comment count climb on all DA-related posts...never able to participate, always short on time. WELL, NO MORE. I HATE THOMAS NOW, TOO. (I sort of forgive O'Brien. I'd be cross if my bangs looked like that, too.)

Thomas

This Prince of Darkness has feelings too, you know #sensitive #DowntonAbbey twitpic.com/bt4oee

— Thomas Barrow (@DowntonThomas) January 7, 2013

Obviously, as a lifelong Dame Maggie Smith devotee, I'll pick as my absolute favorite the Dowager Countess, in all her persnickety, technology-hating glory -- but I'll concede that Miz Shirley Maclaine made me just a teensy bit proud to be an American, with her fancy head feather and drippy swagger.

(Uh, also Sybil is my new fashion icon. Oh, that hair.)

So, what did you think of the season three opener? Did you wait like a good TV-watcher? Or did you find a way to watch season three in the off-season? And also, what's your favorite Downton meme? Because I'm ready to drink them all in, now that I'm finally in on the joke.

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