TV Club: The manor goes meta for Downton Abbey’s open house

Readers, we have seen the star of tonight’s Downton Abbey, and he is us:

“Why is she in such a tizzy?” (Photo: PBS)

I don’t know whether it’s the series’ headlong rush to its conclusion or last week’s bracing infusion of, um, fresh blood, but Downton Abbey has been a blast for two episodes running. The show always has a certain soapy appeal, puttering along in its glamorous trappings, tut-tutting at motorcars and telephones and lady editors while murders and blackmail plots unfold, but lately it’s been more vigorous, more self-aware.

In this episode, that self-awareness goes into overdrive as Downton Abbey asks, “What’s Downton Abbey? Basically, it’s about a bunch of honkies who live in a church. Or maybe it’s a museum.” When Mary and Tom arrange an open house at the manor to raise funds for the hospital, the show …

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