by Robert Bell
'DOWNTON ABBEY' RECEPTION
6 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $25-$30.
First, an admission: I know now that everybody jokingly calls it this, but at first I really for reals thought the show was called "Downtown Abbey," kind of absentmindedly thinking (or maybe hoping) that it was about an urban monastery filled with crime-fighting monks who also brew delicious, fancy beer, which they would drink at the end of each episode to celebrate another crime successfully solved.
I was badly way off, though, which is a shame because that seems like a pretty solid premise for a one-hour primetime hit. Soon enough I realized that it was not a show about monks, but in reality a very British period drama about a rich family and their big huge house and their problems with the help. There was lots of gossipy whispering and something about a dowager countess who's looking for a fiancee? That's not quite right, but close.
I might give it a chance, but it just seems so extremely British, and not in a charmingly whimsical way, like "The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society." More like in a hard-to-understand way, you know, like Guy Ritchie characters, or calling every bowl of lumpy mystery food a "pudding."
But hey, I'm probably just a philistine. After all, the show is hugely popular. My wife loves "Downton Abbey" and lots of her friends do too. They're all champing at the bit for new episodes, so this reception, presented by the AETN Foundation, seems like surefire good times, what with its sneak-preview screening of the first episode of Season 3 and its cocktails and period costume contest.