A psychologist explores the secrets of America's passionate relationship with the popular BBC series
Why is it that anywhere we go, people are talking about the British TV series Downton Abbey?
From a psychological point of view, Downton Abbey offers many more sophisticated stimuli than the American audience is used to, not only in entertainment but in life itself. Here is a list of several factors enhancing the popularity of the show.
1. It is a welcome antidote to the cheapening of relationships seen on "reality TV." Social protocols of the current age have changed so much from the World War I era of Downton Abbey. There is a fascination with how things were two or three generations ago that enthralls many people. Many of us are watching a show depicting what our grand-, great-grand- or great-great-grandparents experienced in terms of social convention. The rules of relationships are fascinating and often inspiring. As viewers attracted to the show, this may reveal a longing to be slightly more formal in our own relationships. It certainly provides a welcome antidote to most of the relationships we see on reality TV.
2. The fashion of the time inspires ornate modesty. The lords and ladies of Downton Abbey wear beautiful outfits in styles we may only have seen in family photos or even paintings depicting weddings from long ago. This is visually striking to us. Breathtaking beauty can be sexually modest and Downton Abbey serves as a fascinating and perhaps very important reminder of this.
3. Visually, the setting of Downton Abbey itself and the classical styles of the time were much more sophisticated. The modern brain's visual cortex is used to complex stimuli though today we don't often see it on walls, carpets, pitchers, dresses, furniture, windows, etc. The Downton Abbey estate itself is a feast for the senses when contrasted with our relatively stark environmental, personal fashion and home furnishing styles. Keep reading ...
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