From the desk of Virginia Claire Tharrington
Some rather dramatic changes occurred this week in episodes 27 – 34 of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Jane and Lizzie go to NETHERFIELD—we meet Bing (Christopher Sean) and Caroline (Jessica Jade Andres)—and hear an awful lot about Darcy (don’t worry, the suspense only gets worse because we will not see him for another 25 episodes). Lizzie has a lot of visitors in these episodes because she has new characters to introduce, she is living in someone else’s house so there is less privacy, and she has a lot of narrative to relate.
At first, Lizzie thinks that Caroline, Bing and Darcy don’t know about her vlog, but in today’s world of instant Google, this doesn’t seem very well thought out since she does use her name in the vlogs and tweets about the videos. Caroline finds out about the vlogs and becomes very “friendly” with Lizzie, though she promises not the tell Bing and Darcy. While Caroline and Lizzie do have a “friendship” over the course of Lizzie’s time at Netherfield, there is certainly a sense that Caroline might have ulterior motives in becoming her friend and wanting to be in her vlogs. The good news about their friendship is that Caroline adds variety to the vlog and they are very funny together. Caroline in The Lizzie Bennet Diaires is a vast departure from Jane Austen’s Miss Caroline Bingley in the novel where she is never really friendly with Elizabeth Bennet (Lizzie), and never nice. She is consumed with Darcy and shows him excessive amounts of attention, “I am afraid you do not like your pen. Let me mend it for you” (P&P Ch.10). In the novel Elizabeth or the narrator observe and comment on Miss Bingley’s attentions to Darcy, “the perpetual commendations of the lady either on his hand-writing, or on the evenness of his lines, or on the length of his letter, with the perfect unconcern with which her praises were received, formed a curious dialogue, and was exactly in unison with her opinion of each” (P&P Ch. 10). We can see here Elizabeth observing and judging both Miss Bingley and Darcy along with the narrator. She sees Miss Bingley’s attention contrasted with Mr. Darcy’s coldness and indifference.
The vlog removes us from the actual scene so that the viewers get a slightly less accurate picture of the conversations that go on. Lizzie does say “I forget nothing” when she is doing her animated costume theater interpretations. People remark on how good her memory is for recalling exactly what people say, yet getting the words verbatim doesn’t change the fact that the audience is getting a bias version of the events through Lizzie’s eyes. Now I will grant you, the narrator in the novel is not necessarily unbiased, (Caroline and Louisa) “declared that they were miserable. They solaced their wretchedness, however, by duets after supper” (P&P Ch. 8). That is a fairly snarky narrator, and while Lizzie does give us some sass when describing the dialogues, it is not quite the same as being in the room with everyone as the reader is in the book. The costume theaters discussing Darcy and Elizabeth’s famous battle of wits is also a little strange since Caroline is the one taking part in it, but it is still delightful and very memorable.
The viewers also get to meet BING LEE (the Charles Bingley character) in these episodes, but he does not know that he is on Lizzie vlog. He just thinks that Lizzie and Jane are sending video letters to Charlotte. Lizzie struggles with the ethical line here. She is torn between wanting to show Bing on the vlogs and her desire for him not to know about the videos since he is the topic of many conversations between the girls. This is a fine line to walk. I think it is admirable that the writers show Lizzie’s hesitation about this continuing lie because one interesting thing about the novel, to me, seems to be about the power and importance of frank communication.
Bing Lee is just as wonderful, sweet, and endearing as Charles Bingley in Pride and Prejudice. He dotes on Jane when she has a cold, which leads to the adorableness of Episode 28. Caroline rightly says of Bing, “Have you met my brother? When he sees a spider in the house he catches it and releases it into the rose garden. He probably gives it a checkup and a lollipop before letting it go” Episode 29. Lizzie certainly starts to like Bing more and more because he is so sweet to Jane and to herself. He also doesn’t have much competition from Darcy in the sweetness category. Lizzie does get frustrated with how nice Bing and Jane are and how they both hate confrontation.
Lizzie’s descriptions of her disdain for Darcy and what she believes to be his equal aversion of her are some of the best episodes so far. She refuses to see that he might be interested in her for any other reason other than to criticize her. She is blinded by her own dislike of him to see what the others see; that Darcy is very interested in her. Caroline certainly sees this and it is most likely her motivation for her fake friendship with Lizzie. When Darcy tries to ask Lizzie to dance she just ignores him at first and then rebuffs him in a very similar way to how she does it in the novel. It is absolutely brilliant and hilarious.
By the end of her stay at Netherfield, Lizzie is VERY ready to go home, and frankly so am I. I want Lydia and Charlotte back in the videos. Caroline and Bing are great and all, but they just don’t have the sassiness that Lydia and Charlotte bring to this series. Jane is the one who finds out that their parent’s house renovations have been completed for a week and that their mother has just been lying to them to make them stay at Netherfield longer. Needless to say, Lizzie is not a happy camper when she finds out and packs up right away!
While her sisters are off at Netherfield, Lydia descries to start her own vlog with her cousin Mary and her cat (Kitty Bennet even gets her own episode!!!). Lydia’s vlog is called “The Lydia Bennet” and has it own story line of her dying of boredom, meeting boys, renting out Mary’s attic to a stranger, and getting revenge on girls that made fun of Mary. Overall, these videos are delightfully entertaining because they expand the characters of Lydia and Mary, and we get fantastic dialogue. Lydia explains her problem solving skills when she says “Well if you want my advice, I always solve my problems in these three easy steps 1. Alcohol 2. Pretend the don’t exist 3. More alcohol… it’s a universal truth!!” (Episode 4) We also get to see the cute Kitty Bennet (the cat) who is just adorable and should be in more videos.
Check out the archives on the LBD website because the twitter feeds are great between Caroline, Darcy, and Bing. Gigi (Georgiana Darcy) also gets mentioned which is exciting for those people paying very close attention because we don’t meet Gigi in person for many more episodes. There is also a lot of information in the archives about choices the creators made and other insights. It is a great source and you can really addicted by reading all of it. (I fight this addiction a lot).
That’s all for this week. Next week we will be watching episodes 35-50 with Mr. Collins and Wickham!
Great Quotes from Episodes 27 – 34:
- “The bad… I am living under the same roof as Darcy… WHAT THE F?” – Lizzie talking about staying at Netherfield episode 27.
- “Hey this mister is soon to be a doctor” – Bing to Jane in all of there adorableness in episode 28.
- “Have you met my brother? When he sees a spider in the house he catches it and releases it into the rose garden. He probably gives it a checkup and a lollipop before letting it go.” – Caroline talking about Bing in Episode 29.
- “Some women are considered together if they know how to tip a waiter and go to the gym twice a week.” – Lizzie describing what Darcy said about put together (accomplished) women with Caroline. They reenact this conversation by playing a “Darceny (Darcy + Scrutiny)” game show in episode 30. BRILLIANT
- “When the two of them are together its like an agreeable-off. I want to put my eye out with a spork!” - Lizzie describing how nice Jane and Bing are in episode 31.
- “Well his arrogance is comical. We should have just laughed at him.” – Lizzie talking to Caroline about how to reprimand Darcy for his rude comments about them walking around the room in episode 32.
- “I am always civil” – Lizzie defending her behavior toward Darcy to Jane in episode 33.
- “Darcy doesn’t like anything except himself and wearing scarves during the summer” – this line is so funny that it speaks for itself from episode 33!
Best Lydia Quotes: (really hard to pick because every line she says is pretty fantastic)
- “This phone is my only connection to the outside world. If you are receiving this communication I may already be dead… of BOREDOM.” – Lydia’s opening line to her vlogs
- “That’s Mary. She my cousin who likes things like reading and darkness and having no facial expressions” – Lydia’s description of Mary
- “I heard that someone stuck hundreds of unicorn stickers all over their car windows… apparently there has been lots of nail breakage in attempts to scrape them off.” – Mary describing Lydia’s revenge on the girls who made fun of her. “Totes Adorbs!”
- Introduction to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries
- A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 1 – 16
- A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 17 – 26
- Visit the website for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
© 2013, Virginia Claire Tharrington, Austenprose