Downton vs zombies

They say opposites attract, and after more than 20 years with my Carpenter, I would say they are right.

To prove my point I will now compare our personalities to each of our favorite television series, which we enjoy in separate rooms, with separate televisions and our own remotes. This is how you keep the magic alive, my friends.

Here it is in a nutshell: I am obsessed with Downton Abbey and the Carpenter is addicted to The Walking Dead. That should tell you everything you need to know about us.

Instead of forcing our interests upon the other, which could only end badly, we have agreed to accept our irreconcilable differences. It works for us. We need our space and time to ourselves with the mind-numbing entertainment that only television can provide. I make no apologies for that.

I prefer to watch the lives of others unravel for a change, taking delight in a huge cast, many plots and absolutely no swearing, smut or vulgar violence (okay, it could maybe use a little of each). The Carpenter enjoys watching zombies devour the living in a twisted plot of never-ending fear and anxiety, where characters are armed with the knowledge that the only way to kill the walking dead is to shoot them through the brain in a spectacle of blood splatter.

Admittedly it makes for a bizarre Saturday night soundtrack in our house. On one floor you hear the serious orchestral music introducing Downton Abbey’s cast, with the pleasant ringing of the servant’s bells.  Dramatic music warns of pending doom, while lighter music speaks to a hopeful storyline that will not last. There is the repeated beckoning of Mr. Carson, or Lady Mary’s painfully dry arrogance. I have become intensely devoted to the characters from the warmth of my bed, where I nest in propped-up pillows beneath layers of blankets. But there I sit, alone and happily transported to the British countryside, accepting that I get the smaller of the two televisions all to myself. No matter. I quietly cheer on Mr. Bates, the strong, quiet-type with the dark side and secret past. If I were in that script, Mr. Bates would be my Carpenter. Just sayin’.

 Meanwhile, on the other floor of my home you hear the mumbled growls of walking dead creatures, hissing and moaning in a lifeless search for human food. Intense moments erupt when the zombies find their prey. The television volume explodes with each zombie attack, gurgling sounds emerging from their slack, decrepit mouths and thrashing sounds of ripped flesh met with gunshots, blood splatter and screams of horror. It figures this would be the biggest television with surround sound, in the heart of our home, where the Carpenter sits complacently as people plot to kill and destroy one another in a sick social game of survivor. I know when it’s a really gory scene because the Carpenter will applaud with shouts of “Cool!” Sicko.

This is quite the metaphor for our marriage, yet it works. The Carpenter says I’m a zombie in the morning (read: totally hot) and I think he has all the charm and just enough bad to be Mr. Bates. One person’s idea of romance is another person’s zombie. Opposites attract.



Kelly Waterhouse