Flying Fish

Jump on the Bandwagon
by Nicole Carlozo -- March 27th, 2012

Not everything is about science and research at the Marine Lab. Read on to learn about the newest student obsession (you’ll never guess).

When I returned to the Marine Lab in January, I found myself hearing two words over and over again. Can you guess what they were? I’ll give you a hint. They weren’t “Masters Project.” They weren’t “Environmental Management” or “Job Hunting” or “Field Season.” In fact, they weren’t related to marine science, the environment, or Duke at all.

They were “Downton Abbey.”

Yes, the Marine Lab joined the Downton Abbey craze this semester and I was a quick convert. Just 2 weeks into the semester, I had watched both seasons courtesy of Netflix and the PBS Downton site. While other students were exploring Hawaii, I was glued to my computer screen for days on end. No, I’m not proud…but even graduate students need downtime. (Downton? Yes, please.)

What is Downton Abbey, you say? Well, let me introduce you! Downton Abbey is an early 20th century period piece that airs through Masterpiece Classic, a PBS series with a focus on period dramas.

Back in 2008, Masterpiece Classic presented a series of Jane Austen adaptations. I watched every episode, held captivated by Austen’s wit, the period costumes, and the overarching themes of social status, marriage, and women.

So when I first heard about Downton Abbey, I was intrigued. The show focuses on an upper class family, their male heir, and their staff. The first episode begins with the sinking of the Titanic, and the last occurs just after WWI. It’s a show about relationships, secrets, transitions, and social status. At first, I was drawn in by the costumes and scenery, but I quickly became addicted to the intricacies of the depicted social structure – the class dynamics and boundaries.

But why am I bringing this up now?

  • First, to tell the world that Nicholas School students and Marine Lab folk do think about other things besides the environment. Yes, I fully acknowledge the “nerd factor” of this post.
  • Second, I seem to be procrastinating today, so why not spend a few minutes talking up a historical drama? I’m sure those pesky presentations can wait…
  • Third, I was on the library website last week and found a picture from Downton Abbey plastered across the main page. It seems the craze is also moving through the masses of the larger Duke community.

So there you have it. What are you waiting for? Go watch a few episodes (or seasons) and tell me what you think! And if you’re not convinced yet, then I have two more words for you: Maggie Smith.

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