We're about to see Dame Maggie Smith in an entirely new light. In The Lady in the Van (opening this week in New York, January 15 nationwide), she plays the real-life Mary Shepherd, a former pianist who, after a series of unfortunate events, wound up living in a van parked outside writer Alan Bennett's London home for 15 years. What would Lady Violet Crawley think of such circumstances? We wish we could see.
Well, at this point we're pretty sure we can imagine how Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess would react. For the past five seasons, Smith has been pulling some epic faces and uttering withering remarks that many on the internet have deemed meme-worthy. Whether aghast at the social changes and technological advances happening around her, or shocking her family by helping granddaughter Edith deal with her out-of-wedlock pregnancy, Violet's always good for a laugh amid the show's soapy drama.
Next year, we'll say goodbye to Downton (those of us who were good and didn't illegally stream season 6 from the U.K., anyway). While we're sure to enjoy Smith's newer work, let's take a moment to savor her most Dowager of Dowager Countess moments. These are basically rules to live by.