Is it wrong my nine year-old is addicted to Downton Abbey? Don’t answer that. I can already feel the judgment, but hear me out.
First off, Downtown (as devotees call it), is an English series set on the fictional Yorkshire estate of Downton Abbey, and delves into the lives of an aristocratic family and their servants in the post Edwardian era. It’s about social hierarchy for sure, but how it reenacts great events in history has enthralled my daughter. From the sinking of the Titanic to the First World War to the Spanish influenza outbreak, each episode produces more and more questions from my inquisitive gal.
One scene had the ladies walking through St. James Park – our favourite park when we lived in London, when Eve was a toddler. She was thrilled to see it on screen and is super excited to go back and retrace her steps. (Despite having a travel writer for a mother, my girl loathes travel, so this was a major victory.)
I mean, what’s the worst thing she’s going to hear or see? Let me answer that one for you. The second to last episode in Season One Edith calls her sister Mary a slut. I know it’s there and I can skip over that scene if I choose. (Eve gets that I have parental controls.) Then there’s one scene when Thomas, the nasty butler, necks down some Duke. I’m good with that, too. She’s seen adults kissing on Disney movies, and we have several friends who are gay. She understands our male neighbours are married to each other, so what’s the big deal in seeing them kiss?
Personally, I think parents know their kids best and if they seriously think about the consequences before offering up such programming, it’s alright. It’s when parents are lazy and can’t be bothered to change the channel (or god forbid, turn it off), you run into trouble. I would never have the News playing in the background, nor would I allow her to watch shows where kids talk with intonation, diss their parents, or serve up major attitude. That’s why we cancelled our cable. But we do have Netflix, which is how we discovered Downton.
And I’m OK with her watching it with me. Would you be?