"You know the trouble with you lot? You're all in love with the wrong people." — the wisdom of Mrs. Patmore
Not every servant on Downton Abbey can have the fairy tale romance of Bates and Anna (false murder rap and imprisonment aside), and a servant in the 1920s is further constrained by his/her status. For every Gwen (Rose Leslie) who opened up her romantic prospects by becoming a secretary, sadly there's a fallen Ethel (Amy Nuttall) who's forced into prostitution after having an affair with a military man. What's one of the serving class to do but flirt awkwardly with one of their own in hopes of safely pairing off?
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With Valentine's Day around the corner from Sunday's Downton Abbey (8/7c on PBS), TVGuide.com wanted to address Mrs. Patmore's (Lesley Nicol) keen observation. Who are the right people the servants should be pursuing? Is everyone deserving of love? We play matchmaker for Downton's downstairs denizens:
Daisy (Sophie McShera)
The Object of Her Affection: Alfred (Matt Milne)
Her Best Match: Someone we have yet to meet. Daisy hasn't had the best luck in love. First she pursued a gay man and now she's chasing after the indifferent Alfred. Although we initially found Daisy rather whiny and annoying, she's grown on us. The guilt she felt for marrying poor, dying William (Thomas Howes) just demonstrates her strong sense of morality, and she's been a good adoptive daughter to his dad, Mr. Mason (Paul Copley). If she does indeed inherit his farm, she'll need a guy who is just as simple, hardworking and steady as she is.
The Object of His Affection: Ivy (Cara Theobold)
His Best Match: Ivy, in a few years. She's sweet-natured and fun-loving, but is still experimenting with life (like when she wore rouge!), as she should be while she's young. Once she settles down, however, her interest in pop culture and life outside Downton will be a nice balance to Alfred's more conservative style.
The Object of Her Affection: Jimmy (Ed Speleers)
Her Best Match: Alfred, in a few years. Alfred has become bolder ever since he kissed the brash American lady's maid, and is already learning to think more progressively. We think that eventually, he'll be a match for her adventurous nature and will be able to navigate through the landmines in Downton's downstairs more adroitly. His cooking knowledge has already proven to be helpful to Ivy, and if she's destined to replace Daisy as the assistant cook down the line, she could use the expertise.
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The Object of His Affection: Himself
His Best Match: An American sugar mama. Let's face it: Jimmy is a good-looking fellow who knows it. He's a natural flirt and has the self-assurance to charm any sweet young thing, but his overweening ambition is better suited to a woman who's more worldly. We think a Yankee would appreciate his mannerly but cheeky ways.
Thomas (Rob James-Collier)
The Object of His Affection: James
His Best Match: Nobody for now. We're not saying that Thomas is unworthy of love, but he needs to get his anger issues straightened out first. His backstabbing ways and casual cruelties are a mark of a man who is supremely unhappy. No wonder his one friend, O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran), has become his enemy! We imagine that someday, a somewhat older gentleman would have the patience to deal with Thomas. Until then, he can have a few more flings like the one he had with the visiting duke.
Do you agree or disagree? Who do you think are the best matches for each of these servants? What about the older staff? Weigh in below!
Hopefully, the staff can straighten themselves out during Downton Abbey's massive two-hour episode, which airs Sunday at 8/7c on PBS.