Saturday, January 18, 2014

Disability On Downton Abbey … Nerdy Followup

A week ago, I posted about the different ways that the hit TV show “Downton Abbey” uses and depicts characters with disabilities. I’m happy to say that the piece got me my very first “Internet Honor”. I am now, officially, “Cousin Andrew”.

You see, at least half of my enjoyment of “Downton Abbey” comes not from watching the show, but from listening to a podcast about the show after each episode. The podcast is “Up Yours, Downstairs” - [Facebook Page]. As the name suggests, husband and wife podcasters Tom Schneider and Kelly Annaken love the show, but have a keen appreciation for how ridiculous it can be. So, their episode recaps are very snarky, and tons of fun. That said, at the right times … like what happened to Anna in last week’s episode … Kelly and Tom’s emotional responses are very real and heartfelt. It’s a great combination.

Kelly and Tom refer to their listeners, collectively, as “Cousins”, because of the important role that Cousins have played in the plots of “Downton Abbey”. At the start of each podcast, they read “Telegrams” (emails) and “Carrier Pigeons” (Tweets) from “The Cousins”, and name one of the writers “Cousin Of The Week”. After I posted about “Downton Abbey”, I Tweeted about it to Kelly and Tom (@5maggiesmiths). They, in turn, talked about it on their next podcast, and gave a very kind endorsement … concluding by naming me, “Cousin Of The Week”.

It’s a silly thing, but as a longtime listener and “Downton Abbey” fan, I was thrilled.

By the way, Kelly and Tom have occasionally made some astute comments themselves on the disability aspects of “Downton”. Most memorably, in their very first podcast, recapping the very first “Downton” episode, they commented that the naked prejudice against Bates’ disability demonstrated the need for the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was impressed that they, a. knew about the ADA, and b. made the right kind of connection with one of the least understood parts of the ADA, the employment discrimination sections.

So, cheers to Kelly and Tom, from Cousin Andrew.

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