A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 67-76

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lizzie Bennet © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

From the desk of Virginia Claire Tharrington:

This week on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Lizzie comes home from Collins & Collins and celebrates the holidays. Episodes 67-76 don’t introduce any new characters (though we do see Mary from Lydia’s videos in Lizzie’s videos for the first time), but there is significant character development of Lizzie, Jane and Lydia. The girls catch up on news from Jane, like that she never heard from Bing when she was in LA, and Charlotte tries to get Lizzie to explain more of what was in Darcy’s letter. Lizzie does do a “story time” where she talks about Darcy and Wickham and how Wickham squandered all his money for college in one year, but she does not mention Gigi at all. Lydia then takes over Lizzie’s vlog while she is in the library studying for exams. Lydia says that the girl’s “summer friends” (Darcy, Caroline and Bing) have “toes filled our lives with drama and annoyance” (Episode 69). She “liked it so much better when it was just you and me and Lizzie and Charlotte and Mary.” Lydia shows her love for her sisters when she says, “It’s almost New Years and that means new people and new places and new super fun times. No more anx’ and drama and stupid people who don’t matter.” While Lydia remains vivacious and lively, this is a slightly more serious side of Lydia because she seems lonely and to be looking out for her sisters and wishing that they could go back to the way they were before Lizzie started her vlog. Lydia says, “We work best just us.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Charlotte and Lizzie © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

This, new side of Lydia, is contrasted later by the fight that she and Lizzie get in after her birthday party extravaganza.  Lizzie gives Lydia a book as a birthday present called Where Did I Park My Car? A Party Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Successful Adult. Lydia is really hurt by Lizzie’s gift when she realizes that it isn’t a joke. Lydia sees the gift as a condemnation from Lizzie of Lydia’s behavior. Lydia thinks that Lizzie has been influenced in her opinion of Lydia’s actions by Darcy and Caroline and their criticism of Lydia. While Lydia might have a point she seems to be blowing this out of proportion in Lizzie’s eyes and continues to hold a grudge against Lizzie. This will be one of the factors that drives Lydia into the arms of George Wickham.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lydia and Lizzie © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

The girls celebrate Christmas and New Years where Lizzie makes a New Years resolution. She wants to “find out where I am suppose to be” (Episode 76). It is a New Year and a new Lizzie. While I like the old Lizzie just fine, I do think she is growing and changing to become an even brighter, smarter and funnier woman. Lydia is off to Vegas to celebrate the New Year and though the sister are fighting, Lizzie confesses that she is hard on Lydia but that is because she does not want Lydia to make bad decisions and get hurt by the world. As we will soon find out Lizzie’s protection can only go so far.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lydia and Lizzie © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Lizzie ends by saying that she is taking a week off vloging so she can get ready for her trip to go shadow Pemberley Digital. Then she says “Why does that sounds so familiar?” (I don’t know Lizzie but you are going to be in for heck of a shock when you find out)

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Charlotte, Lizzie and Jane © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Narrative Voice of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

This is a topic that I have been pondering for a while, narrative voice the LBD v Pride and Prejudice. Having Lizzie narrate the videos gives an interesting twist on the story since in the novel there is a 3rd person narrator most of the time, yet sometimes the reader does get Lizzie’s free indirect discourse where we follow her train of thoughts as if it was narration. Jane Austen was an early writer to experiment with free indirect discourse so it is wonderful to see the vlogs experimenting with this type of narration compared to other adaptations.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lizzie Bennet © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Free indirect discourse involves both a character’s speech and the narrator’s comments. What distinguishes free indirect speech from normal indirect speech is the lack of an introductory expression such as “He said” or “he thought.” Free indirect discourse can also be described, as a “Technique of presenting a character’s voice partly mediated by the voice of the author, or, the character speaks through the voice of the narrator, and the two instances then are merged.”

Her astonishment, as she reflected on what had passed, was increased by every review of it. That she should receive an offer of marriage from Mr. Darcy! that he should have been in love with her for so many months! so much in love as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objections which had made him prevent his friend’s marrying her sister, and which must appear at least with equal force in his own case, was almost incredible! (Pride and Prejudice chapter 34)

This seems to me to be what The Lizzie Bennet Diaries are when Lizzie looks directly at the camera and tells us her thoughts and feeling. We lose the boundary between narration and her thoughts. This is so interesting because the free indirect discourse is what almost every other adaptation lacks. The 1980s version comes as close as any when it did a voice over for Elizabeth saying, “till the moment I never knew myself”.

Image from Pride and Prejudice 1980: Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet © 2004 BBC Worldwide

All the other versions require dialogue or facial expressions for the viewer to see how Lizzie feels. With The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lizzie tells us exactly how she is feeling and what she is thinking. While this isn’t exactly free indirect discourse, because Lizzie is speaking to the camera, it is as close as I have ever seen in an adaptation. This is one thing that makes The LBD so unique and actually so like the book.

Next week I am going to focus on the Lydia Bennet Diaries before going back to look at Lizzie’s videos. We need to see her relationship with Wickham progress. ENJOY!

Favorite Quotes of the Week:

  • Is that a Darcyism?” – When Lizzie thinks she might have quoted Darcy (Episode 68)
  • We work best… Just us.” – Lydia talking about her sisters (Episode 69)
  • Yeah 21! And we are going to go out and celebrate your 21st the American way… by going to a bar and getting card and showing your real ID for once.” – Lizzie talking about Lydia’s birthday (Episode 71)
  • Stain in all colors, a small fire out back that was luckily put out before it burned anything other than a shrub and someone keeps spiking volleyballs at the garden gnomes.” – Lizzie describing the insanity of Lydia’s Birthday Party (Episode 72)

Awesome Links:

Images courtesy © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; text © 2013 Virginia Claire Tharrington

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