Downton Abbey Season 3 US Premiere: The Non-Spoiler Semi-Recap
Megan Burns | Jan 7, 2013 | 1:45PM |

So Season 3 of Downton Abbey premiered in the US last night, and Twitter was abuzz with people being excited and/or not excited. But let’s backtrack a moment; who are these Downton fanatics? Well, to begin with, a lot of people “get” the show, but there are still a ton who just don’t:

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Paul Zerdin WINNER of Americas Got Talent Live at Arlington Drafthouse @ Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse
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“Technically immaculate, it’s what he does with his slick talent that really sets him apart. His relationship with the characters has all the dramatic tension of a real life double act” – The Guardian Paul Zerdin has helped make ventriloquism cool again. From the Royal Variety Performance to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, to India’s comedy circuit, Montreal’s Just For Laughs and UK tours with his Sponge Fest show and forthcoming Puppet Master tour. Paul’s fresh twist on this traditional comedy art has impressed everyone from Her Majesty the Queen onwards. “It is Zerdin’s sharp script that is the heartbeat of the show” – The Times Crucially, Paul Zerdin appeals to both comedy club and mainstream audiences in equal measure. The UK’s number one ventriloquist’s career has included appearances on everything from the Royal Variety Performance, Paramount and Comedy Central’s, The World Stands Up to ITV Daybreak, BBC TV’s The One Show, Sky News and Jason Manford’s Comedy Rocks. **** "Pure audience gratifying magic” – Time Out With Paul’s winning combination of technical skill, hilarious ventriloquism, charm and impeccable comic timing, Paul Zerdin’s live shows see him bring to life several very different characters amongst whom are the cheeky pre-adolescent Sam, belligerent OAP Albert and precocious infant Baby and in 2012 on his Puppet Master live tour, Paul will be introducing a new character! “I see myself as a one man Muppet sitcom, reining the characters in” commented Zerdin. “The old man has a thing for the ladies and so does Sam who is about to become a teen and knows naughty words. Between the two of them they lead the baby astray and the baby, of course, wants to know everything. I think it is important to have characters that people can relate to rather than, say, talking sheep which are less believable”. Simply put, Zerdin is the man who can make ventriloquism look cool” – The Stage Zerdin, who got the ‘biggest laugh of the night’ at the Royal Variety Performance in 2009, according to audience members, also went on to get 5 star reviews at that year’s Edinburgh Festival. Paul returned to Edinburgh to sold-out houses in 2010 and made his debut at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival that year before embarking on a major UK tour with Sponge Fest in 2010/2011. That Paul Zerdin should make his career in show business is not entirely unexpected “my mother was a BBC Radio 2 presenter and my father worked for the BBC World Service, so my sister and I spent a lot of time in the studios”, he reveals. When Paul was 10, a family friend made him a puppet theatre which he used to put on shows. As he is the first to admit, his hobby quickly grew into an obsession. “The real turning point was when I was given a book on ventriloquism by the legendary Ray Alan. By the time I hit my teens I was spending half an hour a day in front of the mirror practising talking without moving my lips.” Having failed his GCSE’s in spectacular style, Zerdin got a job in a magic shop, developing his magic skills along the way. Simultaneously, he was also developing a sideline as a children’s entertainer. “Compared to my friends and their measly paper rounds, I was raking it in!” he laughs. Zerdin made his TV debut as a magician on the BBC’s Tricky Business and shortly afterwards, at the age of just 20, landed a two year contract presenting the Disney produced kids’ programme Rise and Shine for GMTV. In 1996, Paul was the first outright winner – by over 100,000 votes of LWT’s The Big Big Talent Show, hosted by Jonathan Ross. The experience not only raised his profile, but introduced him to Nigel Lythgoe, the man who would go on to create reality shows such as Popstars and American Idol. Lythgoe took the 22 year old Paul under his wing, paving the way for appearances on scores of shows, Tonight at the London Palladium, and Generation Game among them. It was Nigel who gave Paul his first brush with Royalty when he secured him a spot on the Prince’s Trust Gala Show in 1997. “That was a totally surreal experience”, he laughs. “I was sharing a dressing room with Julian Clary, Alan Davies and Frank Bruno with The Spice Girls next door”. By the late nineties it was obvious that traditional variety shows were losing their appeal and it was then that Zerdin decided to introduce stand-up into his routine, a decision that has paid off handsomely. From Ray Alan through to Keith Harris, ventriloquists have been a staple of UK entertainment for years, but it has taken Paul Zerdin to bring his mix of stand-up and ventriloquism to the forefront of contemporary entertainment to truly put ventriloquism on the comedy map.
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(BEYONCE IS A PERSON, NOT A “THING,” CECELIA.) Anyway, if you’ve never seen the show, you might be saying, “Why should I watch?” Well, BECAUSE OF THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

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(To recap, that’s 1. peer pressure, 2. awesomeness, 3. getting punched, and 4. feelings.) If you HAVEN’T seen it yet, probably avoid the internet at all costs, because people WILL spoil it for you, whether it’s intentional or otherwise. @VirtuousAbbey gets what I’m saying:

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You should also apparently avoid Cracker Barrel:

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Fortunately for you, there are zero spoilers in this post. SO, let’s talk to some Twitter users, yeah? First up, emotions were clearly running high, due in large part (it seems) to parental incompetence:

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Meanwhile, we have @indiamorgan, who found the real life version of Downton Abbey via NYC public transportation this morning:Picture 211Really, India? I’d have said it’s real life Downton Abbey because you’re spreading the Spanish Flu up in the subway all willy-nilly. (Somewhere, six feet underground, Lavinia Swire is PISSED.) But then Maggie Locker’s all:

Picture 213TRUE DAT. But who do we hate more than Lavinia? Lady Edith, it would appear:

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(Thanks for the warning, @allthewine. We will avoid you like the plague.) Seriously, though, POOR EDITH; as if it’s not already bad enough just BEING Lady Edith, here’s what @michaeldthomas wishes for her character:

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Not that I wouldn’t be into that scenario, but seriously, let’s pawn the cursed tiki off on someone like Daisy or O’Brien’s bangs, AMIRITE? Here’s another scenario I’d be semi-into:

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And/or this one:

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Imaginary plot-thickeners aside, though, some people thought the premiere was too long:

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Ugh, I WISH, Jess Schwartz. I wish. Hey but back to Downton illnesses, @MissLiberty has officially given us the best game EVER to play next time we wind up in the ER:

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THANKS FOR THAT! Anyways, I’ve already seen all of Season 3, and I can tell you right now that some shit’s about to go down that is going to knock the wind out of your sails, make you question your entire existence, etc. Am I going to spoil that for you? No. (Do I kind of wish I was going to spoil that for you? Yes.) The best way to find out what’s up is to join the rest of the cult and watch every Sunday on PBS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Just do it, okay? And then tweet about it, because it really bothers the rest of the non-Downton-Abbey-watching planet:

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CHEERIO!

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