"Downton Abbey" Porn Parody "Down on Abby" Was A Long Time Coming

While some long-time viewers of Masterpiece's Downton Abbey may be choking on their crumpets at the news that UK's Harmony Films has created a porn parody of their beloved show, others may see it as a natural progression given the show's history of depicting social and sexual transgressions. The film is due to come out on April 1, 2014, and while this may be an elaborate April Fool's joke with a glossy cover photo, it nonetheless deserves to be considered alongside the other great breaches in social and sexual etiquette that are depicted on the show. Downton Abbey, for all its stifling formality and soap-opera-esque moments (no, Lady Grantham, don't step on that soap and lose your unborn male heir!), also paints a portrait of a family and community struggling to adapt to the pressures of modernity. Downton Abbey could, perhaps, be known by the alternate title, Modernizing Family. Let's take a chronological walk through some of the moments that, despite their stuffy setting, are thoroughly modern.

1.) Thomas is trapped in a closet of Narnian proportions. Downton Abbey makes it very clear that being gay in Edwardian England is no cakewalk. While Lord Crowborough, Thomas's former lover, has the resources to shop for a potential beard, Thomas is weighed down by his orientation and his class status. While we still love to hate him, Thomas's repression helps us understand his overweening ambition and bitterness.

2.) Violet, played by the inestimably talented Maggie Smith, is actually old enough to be the mother of her son on the show. Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham) was born in 1963, and Smith entered the world to an angelic chorus in 1934. The math works out, people! I list this under social transgressions because a number of American shows depict relationships that, in real life, would involve the mother giving birth at fifteen or sixteen. This is good news for the stars of Teen Mom, provided they can get their tots into acting classes around the time they start teething.

3.) Mary is the original Bella Swan. Unfortunately, her deceased lover does not bounce back with sparkling skin and a thirst for animal blood. Instead, Mary's accidental brush with necrophilia (based on an actual event in 1890) must be hidden to protect the family's reputation. In addition, her dalliance with Turkish attaché Kemal Pamuk brings to mind bell hooks' essay, "Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance." hooks discusses interracial sexual encounters, stating:

In other words, Mary is transcending her fixed social status by entertaining a lover who falls outside the ranks of her accepted suitors. Of course, Downton Abbey realizes that this relationship would not be sustainable in 1912. Cue heart attack mid-coitus.

4.) Branson is the original Kate Middleton, if Kate Middleton were a socialist Irish chauffeur. By choosing a member of the lower class as her love and the father of her child, Sybil pushes the family boundaries as far as they can go. Perhaps that is why the show decides to kill her off, leaving Branson to awkwardly bridge the gap between his "downstairs" and "upstairs" lives.

At the end of the day, there is enough manipulation, bribery, and sexual illicitness in Downton Abbey that Down On Abby makes a reasonable addition to the flock of scandals. Given the show's response to transgressors, however, one would expect that the parody porn kills off each actor and actress right at the peak of their passion. The French refer to the orgasm as "la petite mort," or "the little death." When it comes to Downton Abbey, the term lives up to both meanings.