I’ve never been one to become absorbed in any type of television programing. Now that’s not to say that as a kid I didn’t stay glued to Saturday morning cartoons or cheesy primetime sitcoms. It’s just that for me, television lost its luster when reality shows took to the air with their ridiculously unrealistic premises. And as popularity of cable dramas grew, I actually prided myself on not being able to add to the morning discussions in the office about the prior night’s episode of biker fights or unexpected mob hits.
But then one day I overheard a co-worker gushing about a series she was watching that she was completely addicted too. Now this was a person whose taste and opinion I held in high regard, so I was intrigued by her enthusiasm. And one by one I listened as men and women alike begin to chime in with thoughts about “Lady So and So” or the upstairs maid.
I nonchalantly stepped out of my office to get a better read on what all of the hype was about. Apparently the series of interest followed the daily lives of a fictional aristocratic family in the post-Edwardian British countryside. Seriously? It seemed that the whole office had become obsessed with, of all things, Masterpiece Theatre. Were these the same people who, just weeks ago, were droning on about zombies and dragons? Odd.
I didn’t think much more about it until I was scanning the television guide for something to occupy my attention on a miserable, rainy Sunday evening and the show’s title popped up on my screen. There was nothing else on so I thought that it couldn’t hurt to see what all of the fuss was about.
Two hours later and two episodes in my system, I was online looking to catch up on past episodes. It was riveting. In a sense, it was reality TV, but it was a reality laden with historic relevance that I could not get enough of. It was a reality where entitlement was born of bloodline and not generational indifference. It was an account of the past that was at the same time, very current and refreshing.
I was immediately hooked and now must admit that I have joined the masses in my Monday morning recounts of the “upstairs/downstairs” families. It’s funny how it took a series of fictional families from the early 1900’s to pull me back into the modern conversation. Who knew?