Much to the disappointment of its many, immaculately-attired fans, PBS’ period drama Downton Abbey wound to a close two nights ago, putting a cap on the most-watched program in the history of the Public Broadcasting Service. (Naturally, the grand finale drew the highest ratings in the show’s six-season history.) The popular furs-and-pearls drama tackled issues of race and class in an age of suffocating propriety, when women were constrained to the home and a man was free to marry his cousin under the auspices of God’s will. Last night, John Legend stopped by the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live! to give the program a send-off it deserves, as only he can.
Clad in a picture-perfect tux and white bow tie, the celebrated R&B songbird took the piano bench to play a moving rendition of the swooning, gorgeous theme music for Downton Abbey, with one significant change — he’s added some lyrics to the heretofore instrumental composition. The lyrics, most likely dreamt up by Kimmel’s writers room, gently poke fun at the fabulous privilege enjoyed by the characters, the ins and outs of early 2oth-century living, and the racially homogeneous makeup of the cast. Some of the lines are real gems “Can someone come and comb my hair / I have so many hats to wear” could very well be the show’s mission statement) while some simply state facts in franker language than would befit this ultra-proper program. (“Grandmamma is such a witch / she needs to get laid” is both a subtle nod to actress Maggie Smith’s role in the Harry Potter films, and a truth-bomb that would’ve considerably spiced up the show that some found stodgy to a fault.) It’s a shame to see Downton permanently leave the TV schedule, but Legend has left them with a fitting tribute, and anyone who wants to see old British people speaking quietly may still turn on any program running on the BBC.