Upstairs, Downstairs Open Thread

April 25, 2011 @ 5:52 am | Filed under:

Well that was quick! I’m glad I saw Laurie’s comment about there being only three episodes before I watched the show. I hadn’t realized.

More surprises last night, and more than a few touching moments. I’m left feeling like there was at least one underdeveloped thread (Lady Percy) and one character who didn’t really have a growth arc (Agnes), and I want to see more, more, more of Rose and Hallam (who turned out to be a really interesting, layered character) and the rest. I absolutely loved the scene with the cook and the photographer. Delightful.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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10 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Gail Gauthier says:

    I just finished watching the last episode about 10 minutes ago while doing weight work.

    I would like to see them do a three-episode Upstairs, Downstairs series for every decade of the twentieth century. Okay, yes, we’d lose Rose, but it would be great to see the Upstairs people trying to maintain their lifestyle post WWWII, to see both groups in the 60s, and how about Upstairs, Downstairs–The Diana Years!!

  2. Elizabeth H. says:

    I watched it a while back and have pregnancy brain, but I do remember being highly amused by the assertion, ‘I was in the army, so I can help deliver your baby.’

  3. Lesley Austin says:

    Quick indeed. I found myself shaking my head halfway in, feeling a bit dizzy with all that was happening-with little depth or flow. Then for me (and my husband) it really started to fall apart when the servants came to the listen to the wireless with Hallam…may I nitpick? Earlier in the series they made the point that the servants’ wireless in the kitchen was better than the upstairs wireless (probably just a plot device to get the upstairs folk around the kitchen table for some reason). So I found myself thinking-why are the servants making the trek to listen to King Edward’s speech upstairs? It soon became clear, tho’, when Lady Agnes went into labor and rang for the servants and there was no one downstairs to hear the summons! Oh dear! But in the nick of time, butler-with-baby-delivering-experience arrives and all is soon well. Lady Agnes suddenly transforms into a compassionate and forbearing lady-of-the-house, all stray family members and servants have reappeared around the Christmas tree, Lotta can talk again, Cook and Rose make up (the Cecil Beaton scene with Cook was wonderful), socialist Sister is kicked out, and ex-brawler and alcoholic footman, fresh from Borstal puts the star upon the Christmas tree whilst everyone else beams. We watched in disbelief as all this was rolled out in a matter of minutes, my husband commenting that “it is just like a Hallmark commercial”. We were actually amazed that Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins (a favorite actress of mine), who created this series, actually supported all these goings-on. We reminisced about the old UD which seemed to unfold slowly over weeks and weeks, yet still had great drama and feeling. I suppose it is the way of the world…everything getting smaller and stingier. Like graham crackers…I still haven’t gotten over (not that I even buy them anymore!) that they aren’t squares any more if you break them in half…they are skinny rectangles. Bah humbug.

    Thank you for giving me a place to vent. : )
    I did like Hallam’s character, and many of the servants…it was just all too rushed and implausible. I don’t know that I want them to continue on with it. And I will be watching the newest version of Sense and Sensibility as an antidote…slow and measured and beautiful and deep.

    You must watch North and South…no complaints there.

  4. Gail Gauthier says:

    Yes, I have to agree that from the point where Edward’s voice comes out of the upstairs radio through to the end was quite a whirlwind, and a whirlwind of cliches. Perhaps they were informed part way through filming that they were only going to get three episodes and they had to wrap things up?

  5. RecollectedStephanie says:

    I am NOT happy about this. I was not aware that this series would only take three episodes, and apparently, neither were the writers. They got us all settled and cozy, ready for real plot lines and character development … it was all set up in the first episode, and it was delicious!

    And then what did they do? Allude to possible futures, assume all manner of plot points not directly addressed, and conclude it all with people on a stair looking at a Christmas tree? One enigmatic question from Rose about whether or not is was as they wished it to be?

    At whom may I aim my overripe fruit?

  6. RecollectedStephanie says:

    (N.B. I did mean to say “… whether or not IT was as they …”)

    And I just found out a wonderful bit of news. They’re NOT DONE!! (happy dance happening here)


  7. Karen@Candid Diversions says:

    My husband and I enjoyed all 3 episodes very much but we did comment on how rushed the last episode felt. Did some scenes (if not entire story lines) get cut for the American version? There were several distinctly “choppy” moments.

  8. Melissa Wiley says:

    “They got us all settled and cozy, ready for real plot lines and character development”

    THAT’S IT EXACTLY. I thought Agnes went nowhere as a character—no development arc in any direction, her beatific smile at the end notwithstanding. Percy’s arc seemed to happen mostly offscreen. Hallam was sort of a nonentity in the first episode, and then about halfway through ep 2 he became really interesting—his sense of duty toward Lotte especially. I’d like to see more of that, more of his maturing over the course of time. Plus—he was in a bit of a sticky situation with his employers at the end, and I’m not convinced it would be quite so easily resolved by watching Percy whisk away to wherever she was going.

    Maude was, I felt, vastly intriguing and layered, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to her! Her finesse during the dinner party hinted at a keen political mind.

    Another thread that seemed underdeveloped, and therefore unconvincing to me, was Rose’s pique over the cook’s portrait. I understood the tensions that were being nodded at—Rose needing to establish her authority as housekeeper—but she came off looking petty and jealous, and that seemed a disservice to both Rose and Jean Marsh. Like Leslie, I was surprised Jean Marsh was ok with it!

    Sigh…I want the events of those three episodes to have occurred over, say, six. Is that too much to ask?

    Gail, I would LOVE to see Upstairs, Downstairs: The Diana Years! Brilliant idea!

  9. maria says:

    Oh yes six episodes at least would have been wonderful and not anywhere near too much to ask at all!

    I too wondered about the wireless then decided that since the one downstairs had better reception that it had been moved upstairs and the downstairs one not replaced yet…..perhaps the wireless was moved upstairs specifically for that speech. That is what I’ve decided, so as to avoid gathering my own overripe fruit. 😉

    I did like this episode better than the last and though it was excessively rushed, I must confess to enjoying the feel-good feelings I was left with at the end, especially after the heart-wrenching turmoil and grief of Episode 2.

    Completely caught off-guard was I over the reality of Pamela. I loved seeing her with them at Christmas.
    Speaking of that seen, does it not make sense that Lotte would have a German accent rather than British? Though a small thing, it bugged me greatly.

    Still, all in all I enjoyed the series, minus the rush of it all.

  10. MelanieB says:

    I have to say it felt like a Cliffs Notes version of a show. So much happened off screen, was hinted at but never shown. Definitely it should have had at least six episodes to even begin to flesh out those story arcs. What happened? Did it all end up on the editing room floor? Please tell me they just hacked it apart for the Masterpiece Theater version and that the original BBC was more fully fleshed out.

    Oh but I did absolutely bawl when Lotte was sent away. Pamela was much too big a surprise to get so little time.

    I wasn’t very fond of Lady Persie so didn’t mind so much when she was whisked away. But how on earth was she going to get to Germany? Is Herr what’s-his-name paying for it? The girl has no money of her own!