Martin Freeman, Sophie McShera
It's that time of year again, when a TV viewer's fancy turns to thoughts of love for Downton Abbey.
Now that the British period drama is back on Sundays on PBS, be prepared for Bates-and-Anna watercooler chatter, your pals quoting the Dowager Countess and of course parodies, which are this millennium's sincerest form of flattery.
13 reasons to be Downton's Dowager Countess when you grow up
We've seen tributes from P. Diddy, Sesame Street, The Simpsons and Jimmy Fallon, to name a few. With Downton in its fourth season, we're expecting a slew of new homages. Here are five parodies that we feel are long overdue:
1. The Real Housewives of Downton Lady Mary and Lady Edith's rivalry will be put front and center, but keep an eye out for the Dowager Countess and Martha Levinson. Their acid-tongued animosity is only one snide comment away from a wig-snatching! And since every Housewives needs a resident drunk, we'd need to work in butler Molesly who knows how to cut a rug when he's in his cups.
2. Downton Selfie An Instagram account, Tumblr or hashtag would be a great place for the beloved characters (or fans dressed as said characters) to strike a pose and share it via social media. Can't you just see Thomas pulling duckface? Or perhaps Mary looking dour while the Dowager Countess photobombed in the reflection of a fancy mirror? Let the "likes" roll in!
Downton Abbey Season 4 downstairs scoop
3. O'Brien Is the New Black We know that the lady's maid we all love to hate will be MIA this season for some trumped-up reason, but we'd like to imagine that she's really doing time for one of her many misdeeds (perhaps "Her Ladyship's soap"!). If she survives the hazing, we imagine she'll eventually head up her own prison gang and have a brisk barter system with one of the guards. She just better not accidentally palm a tool or alienate the lunch lady. Netflix, get on this!
4. Downton Disney We've seen Disney-fied versions of Game of Thrones' Daenerys and real-life role models like Jane Gooddall, so isn't it time the ladies (and gents) of Downton got attention? (Also, Lily James and Sophie McShera are starring in Disney's upcoming remake of Cinderella, so it's not that much of a stretch.) Anna would be adorable with those huge eyes of hers, and Bates quite dashing, cane and all.
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5. Downton Shire Abbey The Hobbitses would keep the downstairs staff so busy serving breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon tea, and well, you get the picture.
Have we missed any? What parodies do you think we should expect?
Downton Abbey returns for its fourth season on Sunday on PBS' Masterpiece. Check local listings for times.