WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Windmills in the Head

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Windmills in the Head

I’m sure they were told it couldn’t – or shouldn’t – be done (hence the tongue-in-check Word of the Week) . . . and look at them now. As a writer, I can totally identify and empathize. I hear contradictory advice all the time (“write what you know,” then “write your dreams and fantastical thoughts;” “don’t edit as you go,” then “don’t let your mistakes get too out of hand as you write,” etc., etc.).

This week, as we X more squares on our calendars of confinement, might I suggest a dive into the world of YouTube Jane Austen web series? None of them are new. It’s likely you’ve seen many, if not all of them. But just in case you haven’t, for your delectation, in no particular order . . .

You’re welcome.

Windmills in the Head

Foolish projects.

Pride and Prejudice

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

“My year long video diary of my sisters, my best friend Charlotte, and eventually a guy named Darcy.”

Emma

“Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse is reimagined as a young lifestyle coach and matchmaking entrepreneur.”

 

Sense and Sensibility

Project Dashwood

“Teen vlogger Margaret Dashwood documents a year in the life of her family.”

 

Elinor and Marianne Take Barton

“Updating the action to a modern-day university, ‘Elinor and Marianne Take Barton’ explores the highs and lows of being young, (relatively) independent and dealing with friends, family and boys. As well as the video diary of Marianne Dashwood, the series follows the other characters through social media and Tumblr blogs.”

 

Mansfield Park

From Mansfield With Love

“From Mansfield With Love follows the life of Frankie Price as she posts a series of vlog letters detailing the ups and downs of life at Mansfield Park.”

 

Northanger Abbey

Northbound

“Join Catherine Morland as she chronicles the perils of young adulthood and her many (mis)adventures through her vlogs on YouTube.”

 

The Cate Morland Chronicles

“Cate Morland, a recent journalism graduate who is obsessed with fan culture, particularly of the short-lived cult series The Mysteries of Udolpho, finds her new job at an LA entertainment magazine puts her in contact with many different people in the pop culture sphere, but none more exciting than Henry Tilney, the former star of The Mysteries of Udolpho himself…”

 

Sanditon

Welcome to Sanditon

“Welcome to Sanditon relocates the action from the English seaside to a California beach town, and replaces the novel’s protagonist with LBD’s [Lizzie Bennet Diaries} Gigi Darcy. Gigi has come to Sanditon, CA to run a beta demo of the Pemberley Digital Domino application. The residents of Sanditon have all been invited to join in the test, and discover how this “life-revealing” app performs.”

 

All-Purpose Jane Austen

The Jane Games

“A web series in which Jane Austen and her characters abandon pride and good sense to compete on a modern day reality show.”

 

Persuasion did have two web series that I watched, albeit a couple of years ago, that have since disappeared entirely. Just in case my search skills failed me, their titles were The Elliots and Anne Elliot (although this last one petered out after four episodes; I kept hoping the actress would do more because it was a promising series).

 

Bonus Entry

I am no fan of anything bearing the name Brontë, so it took me by surprise that I really enjoyed the web series based on Jane Eyre. Maybe it was far enough removed from the source material, and true aficionados will not be so approving.

The Autobiography of Jane Eyre

 

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: LOL FTW

lizzie bennet diaries logo

My name is Obstinate Headstrong Girl, and this is my review of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

I’ve written in the past how I do not understand why a movie or miniseries calls itself Pride and Prejudice then proceeds to veer away from the words, situations, and intrinsic characterizations of P&P.  To me that means you based the movie on the novel P&P, you did not recreate it for the screen.  No worries here – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries does not claim to be P&P.  Welcome to the world of the variation.

As we move into the realm of the adaptation by variation I have only one caveat: please stay true to the foundation laid down by the book.  Invent new situations for the Bennets and Bingleys, tell me what comes next for Elizabeth and Darcy, and even conjecture a ‘what if’ scenario that eliminates parts of the storyline from the book.  I only ask that you don’t turn stray too far from the original characterizations.  I love it when authors take what Jane Austen wrote and build on it rather than merely taking the names of her characters and creating whole new personalities and personages.  Take Elizabeth and Darcy on a time-traveling sea voyage to China if you dare; please do not switch Elizabeth’s personality with Caroline Bingley’s nor have her become the female Jack the Ripper of Meryton.  Anyway…on to the Diaries.

The most famous first line in fiction becomes a t-shirt depicting a mother's desperate wish for her perpetually single daughter.

The most famous first line in fiction becomes a t-shirt epitomizing a mother’s desperate wish for her perpetually single daughter.

I’ll come down off my soapbox and once again say I thoroughly enjoyed The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, or LBD.  Created by Hank Green and Bernie Su, LBD is an online variation of Pride and Prejudice that features three to five minute ‘webisodes’ offering up vignettes of specific events in the life of Lizzie Bennet, a 24-year-old mass communications grad student who still lives at home with her parents and two sisters.  The creative minds behind LBD branched from the YouTube videos to also have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.  One can actually get tweets and status updates from their favorite characters, and see their posted pictures.  The characters moved from the fictional world of the written page to the surreal world of the internet.  Marketing genius.

lbd character collage

Pride and Prejudice characters through the incarnations (1995, 2005, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries 2012-13)

The P&P story has been brought into the 21st century: Jane is really sweet and underemployed in the fashion industry; Lizzie is a “perpetually single” professional student who is more than ready to graduate and get out; Lydia is a young collegian/barfly/party girl (Ly-dee-yah…whaaaat?!).  Most of the major characters are here, although the Bennet family shrank by two daughters.  Kitty is now a real kitty, as in cat, and Mary has been demoted to the cousin that Lizzie keeps forgetting.  Lady Catherine de Bourgh is referred to, of course constantly by Mr. Collins, as the venture capitalist funding his media firm, Collins and Collins.  The secondary characters, such as the Lucases and Gardiners (now a single person in the form of Lizzie’s advisor), are mentioned in passing then promptly forgotten.  The principal characters instead are now Lizzie, Jane, Lydia, and Charlotte.  These four alternately relate what happened in Lizzie’s life earlier that day or the previous night, or speculate on what will happen later.  For storyline continuity, until the other characters make appearances, or when the action takes place off camera, the viewer is treated to Lizzie’s ‘costume theatre,’ which is one of the best ideas of LBD.  When Lizzie dons a shawl and huge flowered hat and drawls like the best southern belle at the Kentucky Derby, truly Mrs. Bennet has been brought to life in all her scheming yet flighty glory.  “Mah Lizzie is quite the straaange one.  All that readin’ and writin’ and studyin’.”  Lizzie deems her mother a member of the “2.5 WPF Club,” meaning 2.5 kids and a white picket fence, the subject Lizzie’s mom harps on 24/7.  Someone, surely someone must be in want of Lizzie as their wife!

Lizzie Bennet as Mrs. Bennet; Charlotte Lu as Mr. Bennet

Diverting costume theatre with Lizzie Bennet as Mrs. Bennet, Charlotte Lu as Mr. Bennet

I could further tell you that military man Col. Fitzwilliam is now the hip and awesome-haired Fitz Williams, Mr. Collins the cleric is now Mr. Collins (not Ricky, if you please!) the would-be video game and digital media mogul, and Wickham is an assistant swim coach who threatens to release an oh-so-21st-century sex tape of Lydia as his means of extortion.  The Darcy estate in Derbyshire is now a silicon valley skyscraper known as Pemberley Digital.  Without further explaining how the storyline of P&P becomes the diaries – there are 100 webisodes, after all – let me just say that it translates well and it works, even if you’re not in the target demographic of 16-26 years of age.  The Austen-angst is still there.  Lizzie and Darcy still meet poorly and painfully, at a wedding this time, where he utters the disparaging comment that Lizzie is “decent enough” (off camera, recounted in the hilarious costume theatre, episode 7).  They still miscommunicate and fail to communicate throughout the series.  Jane and Bing Lee (Get it? Bing Lee?!) still meet and and bat eyes then separate then reunite.  Caroline schemes against everyone.  Mr. Collins remains loquacious and just plain weird.  Lydia and Wickham behave badly.  The most beloved aspects of the story remain faithful to Austen even if the situations (college deadlines, medical school, digital media, Las Vegas and Los Angeles trips, etc.) are very much present day.  If you want to know what happens…I highly recommend watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Unlike the novel, however, the Bennet girls do not all marry and live happily ever after.  Jane and Lizzie both get their men, but in very post-feminist ways by staying single and keeping their last names.  Ly-dee-yah wises up and grows up in a nod to the camp that wished Austen-Lydia would have done so at the end of P&P.  Wickham and Caroline just slink fade away.  But it all just works.

This is all the Darcy we get?  C'mon! (episode 59)

This is all the Darcy we get? And after we waited for fifty-eight episodes?! C’mon! (episode 59)

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries definitely give you Lizzie Bennet’s unvarnished opinion on all matters in her life.  We see her good and bad moments.  We see her reactions to events and her actions to live her life.  We see the reactions of her friends when they hear about her web diary and go watch the back episodes (I love it when Darcy pouts to Lizzie: “You called me a robot, and a newsie” in episode 61).  I do think LBD has a little too much Lydia and possibly even Jane, and too little Darcy for my taste (we hear about him in episode 6, “Snobby Mr. Douchey” but do not actually see him until episode 59, from the neck down; his face appears in episode 60).  We viewers get second-hand recountings of all the Lizzie/Darcy interactions at Netherfield, missing all the wonderful first-hand barb-trading and sly glances.  It took waiting until episode 98 for the reconciliation.  Really, can there ever be too much Darcy?

You are too generous to trifle with me...My affections and wishes are unchanged...version 2013.

You are too generous to trifle with me…My affections and wishes are unchanged…version 2013.

So, if you have the attention span of a gnat that can watch three to five minute web diary episodes and can tolerate a very modern variation of the Jane Austen classic, I highly recommend The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  FWIW, IMO.

The characters of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

The characters of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.