Today we are shining a special spotlight on some of the most spot-on short video parodies in recent memory - with a special focus on the crème de la crème of such shorts; unveiled last night on THE Jimmy Fallon SHOW, the absolutely hilarious first installment of DOWNTON SIXBEY, starring Jimmy Fallon and Brooke Shields as well as Fallon's announcer, Steve Higgins (and a cameo from SNL and PORTLANDIA's Fred Armisen). An incredibly detailed and well-honed winking homage to the international smash hit Julian Fellowes early-19th century-set DOWNTON ABBEY that has cleaned up at the recent Emmy Awards and Golden Globes - a drama largely concerning itself with the goings on upstairs and downstairs at an impossible palatial country estate - DOWNTON SIXBEY centers on the various intrigues of the cast of characters at Studio 6B at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City and contains countless winks and nudges to and taken at the expense of the hit Brit soap sensation of the century. From the opening sequence - a direct shot-for-shot recreation of the already iconic DOWNTON prologue - through to Fallon's all-to-apt pronunciation of "here", Broadway and Hollywood star Brooke Shields looking ravishing as she says "howdy" as politely as the other Lady Grantham herself and beyond - without even mentioning Fred Armisen's cameo as the homely "other daughter" and the ?uestlove (Fallon's bandleader and the head of The Roots) cameo cliffhanger at the conclusion - this joking and sensitively rendered tribute hits the notes and chords all too few of the countless DOWNTON ABBEY parodies committed to celluloid so far fail to consistently reach and truly sings, zings and stings. When it comes to this sort of thing, it's all in the details, after all, isn't it? The same could be said of DOWNTON ABBEY itself, actually.
Be sure to stay tuned to BroadwayWorld for my extensive InDepth InterView with the star of DOWNTON SIXBEY, as well as many feature films, television shows and a slew of Broadway roles - Brooke Shields - coming up this weekend!
Parody Fit For A Grantham
So, without further ado, click below for the clip to set this early weekend of Spring off on the funniest of feet - and, let's hope there are many, many more DOWNTON SIXBEY episodes to come in the coming weeks!
Also, if you have not picked up Season 2 of DOWNTON ABBEY it is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, as is Season 1. It is the perfect Spring/Summer entertainment addiction as the temperature rises and the TV landscape grows barren.
Here is the trailer for the second season.
Additionally, DOWNTON fans would be wise to check out another Julian Fellowes property based on a classic English novel that has just been released on DVD and for Instant View in the US - FROM TIME TO TIME, starring the legendary DOWNTON dowager countess herself, Dame Maggie Smith, in a tale of war, history, mansions, gardens and ghosts. It is an elegant and elegiac experience sure to please Fellowes fans of all ages with more twists and secrets than a centuries old manse like Downton and more ghosts than a graveyard. A spooky, sentimental and smart time-passer ideal for a Spring evening.
Check out the trailer for FROM TIME TO TIME here.
As if it wasn't enough that DOWNTON ABBEY is currently filming Season Three - featuring new cast addition, Oscar-winner Shirley MacLaine - and TIME TO TIME has just hit the shelves in the States, this weekend also sees the ABC TV premiere of the new 4-part miniseries exploring the history and inhabitants of the ship of dreams, TITANIC, written by DOWNTON creator Julian Fellowes. Having viewed the first three parts myself, I can tell you it is a complex labyrinth of characters and contains the high level of characterization and period detail we have come to expect from the Oscar-winning scribe of Robert Altman's superb GOSFORD PARK and the structure and historical accuracy alone makes it a worthwhile watch.
TITANIC airs on Saturday and Sunday, with Parts 1-3 shown the first night and the night of the conclusion marking the actual centennial of the fateful disaster that took place on April 15, 1912.
View the trailer for ABC's TITANIC below.
Lastly, a must-see for DOWNTON fans, check out this engrossing in-depth discussion with the cast of the show, courtesy of PBS.
As a special bonus, here is the French & Saunders DOWNTON ABBEY parody created for charity featuring ABSOLUTLEY FABULOUS stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley (as well as SEX & THE CITY and stage star Kim Cattral) in UPTOWN DOWNSTAIRS ABBEY, "a house divided by stairs."
As a final bonus, check out this ribald SNL parody of DOWNTON ABBEY using clips from the show itself as if it were advertised to air soon on Spike TV - yes, it is as funny as it sounds.
So, what DOWNTON ABBEY parody is the funniest and your personal favorite? Furthermore, what do you think it is about the show that has caused tongues to wag and so much interest to be drawn to it from audiences, critics and comedians alike? Will Season 3 be able to top the series-high quality of the Christmas episode closing out Season 2 - and will there be ample fodder to poke fun at like in the clips above? We will have to wait until Season 3 to see, but I wouldn't worry too much! And, anyway, to bide our time until then, we have FROM TIME TO TIME and TITANIC to satisfy our DOWNTON desires. Yet, one question remains: what can't Julian Fellowes do?