You know how at the bottom of every report card, there’s a comment section for the teacher to fill out? Usually you see soft-soaped versions of what the teacher REALLY thinks, ie: “Johnny is a very social boy. It requires a great deal of effort to redirect him.” Translation: “Johnny won’t shut his yap. I’m sick to death of him.”
I’m a former teacher, so without further ado, here are Season Four's report card comments for Edith, Tom, Mary, and the Kitchen Triangle.
Edith Crawley: Edith is quiet and struggles a bit in her social relationships. She tends to rush through her work, which leads to a lot of re-dos on her assignments. Please discuss this with her. -Mrs. McCormick
Translation: Your kid NEVER THINKS. She signs documents without reading them, has unprotected sex, plans illegal abortions, changes her mind, adopts out her baby, then takes it back to give to a pig farmer with dollar signs in his eyes. Edith needs some serious counseling! I’ll be sad to see her go at the end of term. Her bad decision making, while damaging to her, is unending entertainment for the rest of us. We're taking bets in the teacher's lounge as to what stupid thing Edith will do next. –Mrs. M
Tom Branson: Tom, though a delightful boy, has been introverted and withdrawn since the deaths of your family members (I’m very sorry). He seems unsure of himself and often makes bad decisions based on these insecurities. I’ve tried to help him, but progress is slow. I think a change of scenery this summer will do him good. Let me know what I can do to help. -Mrs. McCormick
Translation: Wake up, Mom and Dad. I know Tom's been through a lot with the deaths of his wife and brother-in-law, but the fact is, he's an OUT-OF-CONTROL APPROVAL JUNKIE! Twice now he’s been put in compromising situations by sly, scheming women. First, a flirty maid plays on his insecurities, gets fired, gets rehired, gets him drunk, then tries to blackmail him with a false pregnancy. Somehow his honor scrapes through with the help of smart Mrs. Hughes. You’d think he’d learn after that. But nooo.... two seconds later, a manipulative teacher from the village convinces him to take her upstairs at the Abbey. He doesn’t want to. He protests. He whimpers. He drags his feet. But alas, the teacher shuts him up with the insurmountable third grade challenge, "Are you chicken?" Tom is stupid and has no hope of regaining the intelligence and self-esteem he once had. He must be shipped off to America at once where he is sure to succeed in politics. -Mrs. M
Alfred, Daisy, Ivy: Dear Parents, I am writing the same note to all of you as your three children have great difficulty working with one another. Not a day goes by when they are not in each other's business or trying to pit one person against the other. This makes for an unproductive, emotionally-charged learning environment. I’ve tried separating them, but they always seem to manage to come together. I am planning a firmer strategy of Divide and Conquer that will hopefully prove successful. I welcome your suggestions. -Mrs. McCormick
Translation: Hear me now, parents: Your kids' pathetic love triangle is on my LAST NERVE! Alfred, for all his wide-eyed earnestness about making perfect hollandaise, is an INSTIGATOR. He knows Ivy couldn’t care less about him. He knows Daisy’s in love with him. Does that stop him from pursuing Ivy right under Daisy’s nose? No! I’ve had it with his mealy mouthed, I’m-so-innocent-in-all-this attitude. If I had my druthers, I’d pack him off to London, arrange for Ivy to work in America, and plant Daisy forever under the strict eye of Mrs. Patmore. Frankly, I’m counting the days til they’re all out of my class. -Mrs. M
Mary Crawley: Mary has made so much progress this year! She’s grown into a strong, independent student, who can complete tasks on her own. She is very self-possessed and caring to those who struggle. She does seem to attract a lot of unwanted attention from boys. I’m monitoring the situation, and so far she appears to be on top of it.
Translation: Finally…Mary can put herself to bed without the aid of a maid! Hallelujah! Now that’s progress for a pampered princess. What a spoiled brat she is! I have to admit, she is surprisingly caring towards her employees, particularly Anna and John Bates. One wouldn’t think that possible with her nose so far up in the air. And what is it with the three boys? (“Mary’s Men” as Grandma calls them). I just want to box them on the ears! What part of NO don't they understand? They won’t give up, though, so on their heads be it. Someone please bring Mary’s grooming to her attention. The other day she came to school smelling a bit like pig. For the most part I enjoy watching Mary's non stop shape-shifting (Lady of the Manor one day, livestock manager the next) but even she's becoming tiringly predictable. Where have all the interesting students gone? –Mrs. M
Next Report Card: Violet, Cora, Robert, and Isabelle