As if we didn’t want to visit the Downton Abbey set enough already, what with their folksy jam sessions and general Britishness, we now know that the cast loves to play Bananagrams in between takes. I’m personally a bit scandalized by this, since the lack of a game board kind of makes Bananagrams the commoner’s Scrabble. That’s something the Dowager Countess would most certainly scoff at. (Don’t even mention Boggle.) Just another way the Downton cast differs from their characters, along with side boob and shiny lip gloss.
Mary Crawley herself, Michelle Dockery, explained to The Sun that new cast member Tom Cullen introduced the cast to the game. I imagine it’s like taking a bag of chips as your contribution to your friend’s party and then eyeing it all night to make sure everyone eats it. Fortunately for Tom, it looks like Bananagrams is a hit, even with Dame Maggie Smith, who appears to be quite the MVP.
“Tom has joined as Lord Gillingham and has brought in Bananagrams. It is like Scrabble but there is no board and you have to lose all of the letters in the pile. Maggie and Laura Carmichael [Lady Edith Crawley] are really good. They usually win. Their vocabulary is bigger than mine I guess.”
Oh, Michelle, you don’t have to explain to me how to play Bananagrams. My college roommate owned the game, and we’d spread the tiles out on the floor and spell like our lives depended on it. So Michelle, if you ever need an extra player, feel free to give me a call, day or night, and I’ll promptly board a plane to the U.K. and join in. If quiet is needed on the set, I’ll be happy to tone down my usual “be quiet, we’re studying for finals over here” style of shouting “Peel!” and “Bananas!” and whisper these announcements instead. Perhaps in an English accent, if it would help you stay in character. And if you want to make a bet promising to give me a walk-on role in the series if I win three games in a row, that would also be acceptable. I might even bring Monopoly along with me. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but those games can go on for a while, so I might need to stay a few extra days.