I'm a season late to the Downton Abbey fan club, but am no less a devotee of the Masterpiece Theater mini-series than those who've been watching from Day 1. In fact, I watched the entire first season in one day (you can do the same on PBS.org streaming) because it's all so darn delicious. The period clothing, the British-style soap opera, the acting, and the characters. I especially adore Dame Maggie Smith, who is nothing less than brilliant in her role as Lady Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham. She is the queen (or should I say the lady) of one-liners.
Sure, the writers may come up with her character's biting zingers, but Smith's delivery is pure perfection. Her quips are of the sort you want to memorize so that you can use them -- should the occasion ever arise in your own bourgeois life.
There are so many witticisms by Lady Violet, in fact, that the inevitable has occurred. Her gems have made it into a Sh*t the Dowager Countess Says video.
I'm so over the "Sh*t So-and-So Says" fad, but I'll make an exception for Maggie Smith.
Here's a taste:
Once, Lady Violet insulted her "arch enemy" Mrs. Crawley, who said, "I'll take that as a compliment." Lady Violet one-upped her with: "Oh, I must have said it wrong."
What a total bitch. Love. Her.
On another occasion, her daughter-in-law Cora (played by Elizabeth McGovern) said, "I hate to go behind Robert's back." To which Lady Violet responded: "That is a scruple no successful wife can afford."
Another time Cora and Violet were talking and Cora said: "I might send [Mary] over to visit my aunt. She could get to know New York." Lady Violet, who is vehemently anti-American said: "Oh, I don't think things are quite that desperate."
And I love this gem: "No one wants to kiss a girl in black."
And if you watch it, you know it: "What is a weekend?"
Not all of my favorites made it into these clips, but many of them did. So without further ado, I bring you "Sh*t the Dowager Countess Says":
I'd love to hear what Lady Violet would have to say about that.
What's your favorite Lady Violet line?
Image via kerrymuzzey/YouTube