This past September, the Crawley family made the transition from the small screen to the big screen in Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture. The film was relatively well-received though not the smash that the original series was on Masterpiece on PBS. The film was much more of a love letter to the show than an examination of one of the more dramatic or trying moments in the Crawley family history.
It certainly made fans pine for the show they’d lost and appreciate the family that had been at the center of it all. But, for fans who really watched the show, they know better than to think being a member of the Crawley family was always a bed of roses.
10Wish – The House
Downton was never the name of the family, but the name of the house in which the Crawley family lived. There was a reason the house got the title because it was important, ever-present, and beautiful. If there was one reason every viewer would want to be a member of the Crawley family it would certainly be so they could live at Downton Abbey itself. With 200 rooms on over 1,000 acres, all beautifully groomed and taken care of, what’s not to love about the show setting and family home?
9Not – Personal Space
Downton Abbey may be enormous, with 200 rooms it might be possible to stay out of each other’s way, but maybe not so much. Living in the family home would also mean living with the family. No matter how big the estate family can often make any space feel confining, and there’s no such thing as personal space when one lives with one’s parents for the entirety of a person’s life. It’s important that members of the Crawley family love Downton because it’s a home they will never be able to get away from.
8Wish – The Help
With maids, footmen, a butler, housekeeper, a cook, and then some, who hasn’t wished to put all household chores onto someone else’s shoulders?
The Crawley family never had to set a table or launder a pair of pants in their lifetime, and that sounds like quite a life of ease and vacation. Most of the help at Downton also respected the family they worked for which led to relative peace and comfort for those who lived “upstairs”. Not having to make dinner when a person comes home from work would be lovely.
7Not – Earl Of Grantham
Perhaps he’s not the first relative you thought of when considering not joining the Crawley family, but he should have been. He may have been the head of the family, but that was only because he was a man, not because he had the skills to succeed. Without his American wife, Cora, his wiser son-in-laws, Matthew and Tom, or the eventual assistance of his daughter Mary, he likely would have brought the family to ruin. He just never seems to be paying enough attention to those around him, except maybe for his dog.
6Wish – Siblings
Mary, Edith, and Sybil, perhaps they didn’t always get along, but in a family like the Crawley’s, it would have been much worse to carry the burden of expectation alone. Who would it be possible to talk to about the inner workings of the family, or the expectations of the parents, or the goings-on with the servants, if not for siblings? It’s not exactly proper behavior to air the dirty laundry of the house to outside friends or strangers. Siblings are lovely and necessary in the Crawley family.
5Not – Siblings
On the other hand, particularly after the loss of kind sister Sybil, there’s no way one would want to join the Crawley family to be the sibling only of Mary or Edith. Who wants to take part in their name-calling or casual (as well as planned) cruelty?
Who wants to join a family where one sister would write to an embassy to get you in trouble and another would drive your fiance away? That’s not something anyone would sign up for if they knew they had other options.
4Wish – The Outfits
It wasn’t just watching the Crawley’s through the 1920s that made viewers wish for the outfits the sisters and Lady Grantham got to wear, whether it was during the day, to dinner, or out to special occasions. Like the celebrities of the day they barely need to wear an outfit more than once, and the daughters at least were always paying attention to the coming fashions. It helps that you wouldn’t have to clean or put away any of the fancy outfits you got to wear either. All the show-stopping splendor without any of the work.
3Not – Changing Outfits
While all the outfits seen on Downton Abbey were beautiful, there’s a reason there had to be so many. Everyone had to change outfits two to three times a day. As fun as it can be to dress up for special occasions, having to fuss with hair, makeup, dresses, and styling twice in a single twelve-hour period is a bit much, and not a great use of time.
2Wish – Violet Crawley
Who hasn’t once wished Maggie Smith could be their grandmother? No one, that’s who. With her sharp tongue, keen wit, classic look, and outspoken manner, the Dowager Countess of Grantham seems like exactly the relative to keep in the family. She knows what’s what and she can even keep the men around her (son included) in line when necessary. She certainly would make every family gathering that much more entertaining.
1Not – Women Can’t Inherit
A lot of the struggles the Crawley family finds themselves in have to do with the future and inheritance of Downton Abbey itself. Why do they have so many problems? Because, according to tradition and law, women (meaning the three Crawley daughters) cannot inherit. That’s not exactly a situation most people would like to jump through time to place themselves in, even for the 200 rooms and over 1,000 acres. What’s the point if you can’t keep it?