The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick – A Review

Secret Diaries Secret Diaries of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick 2014 x 200From the desk of Lisa Galek:

In 2012, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries debuted on YouTube. Smart, confident (and only slightly prejudiced) grad student Lizzie Bennet posts videos twice a week all about her life, friends, and family. The Internet promptly fell in love. But, there were some things Lizzie couldn’t share in her videos. Luckily, she kept a diary… and now we finally get to see it.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is a companion book to the excellent LBD web series. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re definitely missing out. Elizabeth Bennet is transformed into a 24-year-old graduate student from California with her own video blog. She posts all kinds of insightful and hilarious content about her wacky family, which includes her two sisters—sweet Jane and energetic Lydia. Oh, and a certain boring, stuffy, and unbelievably rude guy named William Darcy occasionally pops up (but let’s not talk about him because Lizzie just cannot stand him). The videos are an absolutely amazing update on Pride and Prejudice. Very smart, very funny, and very Jane.

But, if you’re not already pretty familiar with this information, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet won’t really make much sense to you. The book is very tied into the web series—so much so that it often feels like a retelling of the content from the videos. Lizzie begins and ends her story like her vlogs do. She starts off by explaining the new online project she’s about to embark on and ends with a happily-ever-after that will make any Austen fan smile. She sometimes even transcribes whole scenes directly from the videos. (To be fair, it’s only the really important ones.)

The big draw for this book is the promise of new content (in fact, that seems to be their main marketing message per these new videos from Lizzie and Darcy). I was hoping that the book would really deliver in this area. After all, the web series is based on a 200-year-old story that anyone with access to Cliff’s Notes can figure out the ending of. Yet, every video makes Austen’s original feel fresh, engaging, interesting, and really funny. If anyone could pull off a great tie-in novel, it would be the folks at Pemberley Digital. Continue reading

A Closer Look at the Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 35-50

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lizzie

From the desk of Virginia Claire

There is a lot to cover this week for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. One announcement before we get started; the series will be ending on March 28th with the 100th episode. (mass hysteria and sobbing ensues!). Sadness I know but the book does come to an end and so much the LBD.  On a happier note we are just reaching the halfway point of looking at the vlogs so there is still a more discussion to come. I also can’t wait to see which book the creative team of Hank and Bernie do next. I myself am voting for Emma, mainly because I want to see a modern Emma more than a modern Anne (I am huge fan of Persuasion, but Anne Elliot is just not a blogger the way Emma would be)

This week I watched episodes 35-50 and then Charlotte and Maria Lu’s spinoff from Collins and Collins. Lizzie starts off episode 35 by saying “and everything is as it should be.” This pleasant feeling doesn’t last long for Lizzie because Mr. Collins arrives and annoys her to no end. He offers her a job, which she refuses but which Charlotte then takes. Then Charlotte leaves for the job with Mr. Collin. Next Wickham comes and tells his story of woe at the hands of Darcy to Lizzie, which makes Lizzie hate Darcy even more. After Bing’s birthday party Bing, Darcy and Caroline leave for LA without telling anyone. Jane finds out about the move from Twitter. She is broken hearted and decides to move to LA for a job promotion and a change of scene. Wickham then takes a job with the Meryton Marines and goes off to flirt and party with other girls. Lizzie isn’t broken hearted over his departure but she does wonder, “why is everyone moving on but me?” Episode 50.  In Charlotte and Maria’s spinoff we see the reconciliation that will happen between the friends. Charlotte too misses Lizzie and her sister has her watch Lizzie’s videos to see how much Lizzie misses Charlotte. Maria’s videos are a cute spinoff that shows us a glimpse at Charlotte in a new light but I don’t think they are as funny as other spinoffs like Lydia’s and Gigis’; they seem more like a plot device then stand alone vlogs.

Now I want to look at some of my favorite moments and characters from these episodes.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Collins and Lizzie

Mr. Collin: Mr. Collins is by far my favorite character (other than Lizzie) in the novel and in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I find his so delightful obtuse yet verbose that he is irresistible to me in his ridiculousness. I interviewed Maxwell Glick who plays Mr. Collins and he was so thoughtful and wonderful that he sent me some wonderful answers to my questions. I am including a handful below.

How do you think you make Mr. Collins different or special?

Max-I wanted to bring something to Mr. Collins that took the perception of him as this rather repulsive character, and made him actually have more dimensions and real feelings.  I took the approach that he just “doesn’t get it” – not that he is a terrible person or intentionally says hurtful things.  He has poor social skills, but I don’t think his heart is in the wrong place. I wanted it to appear that everything he says is carefully scripted, albeit poorly, sometimes.  I also wanted to add a touch of humor to the guy.  After all, he is far from a boor. I wanted the audience to say “Oh I totally know someone like that.”

What do you think was the hardest aspect of Mr. Collins to adapt into modern times?

Max-Mr. Collins is a clergyman in the book, and that would be a tough storyline in modern times, so the way the writers made him a venture capitalist interested in online video, was just genius. 

I think the “first proposal” followed by the “your pitch needs work” episodes are brilliant in terms of Mr. Collins character. Do you have a favorite scene or episode?

Max-I have two favorite moments.  The Proposal where I keep bringing out an increasingly larger envelope is just hysterical to me. I love that.  Also I love my episode with Lydia.  This was one of the most fun times for me on set.  I got to bring out Collins’ incredibly uncomfortable emotions, as Lydia got closer to him.  That was just a blast. I wish I had some more episodes with her.

(hopefully I will get to post the entire interview at a later date because it is very interesting)

It was so wonderful talking to Max about Mr. Collins. He gave lots of insight into how he played Collins and how he thought about the character. Max is a hilarious guy. Check out his Flashback Friday Videos from his closet. These are adorable and entertaining videos where he sings top 10 songs from different years with no music. It is cute so check them out.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lydia and Collins

Lydia v Mr. Collins: Episode 37 is perhaps my favorite episode thus far. It combines two of my favorite characters Lydia and Mr. Collins. Lydia puts Collins in his place from the beginning and makes Mr. Collins increasing uncomfortable till he runs away leaving Lydia alone when she says “and that my nerdy older sister is how you properly get rid of Mr. Collins. BOOM!” Lydia wins and I love it.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Collins and Charlotte

Your Pitch Needs Work”: Episode 41 is pretty brilliant because we see Charlotte’s guidance of Collins and how she influences him. Charlotte is very subtle in her manipulation of Collins. She isn’t portrayed in a negative light but we do see that she is in control of the situation and “fishing for an offer” from him. I am not condemning Charlotte in the least because she knows exactly what she is getting into with Collins, and I think it is a very conscious decision on her part.

Charlotte and Lizzie: Charlotte is a voice of reason for both Lizzie and Collins, so when Charlotte chooses to take the job with Mr. Collins, Lizzie feels completely crushed. The girls get in a huge fight over Charlotte’s decision in episode 42, which shows a more selfish side. of Lizzie. It is only through Maria showing Charlotte episode 43 where Lizzie laments not talking to her bestie that Charlotte calls Lizzie and invites her to come, stay and see Collins and Collins.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Wickham and Lizzie

George’s Intro: In episode 45 we meet George Wickham! I am going to skip the Darcy v. Wickham story because it just isn’t as funny as George himself. George is looking at Lizzie bookshelf when he says “I have to make sure you don’t have any red flags like books on serial killers or anything shady or with shades.” Later in the episode Lydia runs in with a solo cup “accidentally” spilling water all over him, then casually suggests that he just takes his first off. I don’t know if this is a funny nod to the 1995 “wet t-shirt scene” but it is funny none the less. Lizzie and Lydia both get a little distracted by Wickham’s excellent body and abs.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lydia, Wickham and Lizzie

Snickerdoodles: On a more serious note episode 48 is very sad because we see Jane break down from her normal happy self to distraught and upset Jane who is just looking for answers from Bing. The viewers are in the same boat as Lizzie when she says “and if I could find Bing Lee and smash him over the head with a frying pan to knock some sense into him then I would.” At this point it is very unclear why Bing broke up with Jane and will not talk to her anymore, but we will find out more in later episodes.

Next week we will watch episodes 51-66. Enjoy!

Favorite quote of the week:What do you think it is? Maybe George has incriminating photos of Darcy. Maybe George has videos of Darcy in a boy band” Episode 44 – Lizzie trying to figure out the dark history between Darcy and George Wickham.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lizzie and Jane

Further Reading:

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

A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 27 – 34

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Bing and Jane

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.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Caroline, Bing and Lizzie

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 Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Caroline and Lizzie

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 Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Bing and Lizzie

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.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Bing and Jane

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.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Jane and Lizzie

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.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Caroline and Lizzie

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!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lydia montage

LYDIA’S TURN

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.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lydia, Kitty and Mary

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).

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lydia's life problem solutions

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!”

Further Reading:

© 2013, Virginia Claire Tharrington, Austenprose

A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 17 – 26

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Ep 17 swimming with sissors

From the desk of Virginia Claire Tharrington

Last week we were introduced to our heroine Lizzie Bennet, her sisters Jane and Lydia, and best friend Charlotte. This week in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries episodes 17- 26, the Adorbs steals a show, Jane gets Binged, and we meet Mr. Collins! So I lied last week. We don’t get to meet Wickham in these episodes, he is just mentioned through discussion. Sorry for the let down, but we do get to meet, my favorite character Mr. Collins.

Wickham’s militia is modernized into a swimming competition that descends on the town every year. Lizzie is not impressed by the swimmers eloquence or astuteness when she and Lydia go to Carter’s bar. However, she is impressed by George Wickham’s gentlemanly manners. Lizzie says they met when he put his coat over a beer puddle. She commented “gentleman are an endangered species” to which George replied “yeah but they are making a comeback like mix tapes and tandem bicycles.” (well, isn’t that the cutest line ever!) He and Lizzie also exchanged numbers and start texting. Lizzie is obviously excited when she is telling Jane about this new boy because he seems different from all of the other swimmers. Lizzie thinks that Wickham might not have the same thinly veiled ulterior motives and all around douchebagginess of the other swimmers (who pretty much sound like frat boys). We will see how he turns out later. Continue reading

A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 1 – 16

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: :Lizzie and LYDEEAH

From the desk of Virginia Claire Tharrington

Last week I wrote about my passion for the web vlog The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and introduced you to the concept of this new Pride and Prejudice adaptation and its main characters. This week I will cover Episodes 1 – 16.

What I love so much about these first episodes is that they really are all about the heroine Lizzie Bennet. We see her family, her friends, her thoughts, and her life, quirks and all. These episodes are really about her expressing who she is as a person in that moment, and it is delightful to watch.

Colin Firth dripping wet with sex as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (1995)

So often with Pride and Prejudice adaptations the focus goes right to the hero Mr. Darcy (1995 version) and I am not saying that is all bad; it is just a different view than I have of the novel. While we hear about Darcy in the early episodes, we do not see him, which gives us purely Lizzie and her friend’s viewpoints. I see Pride and Prejudice as a story about Lizzie’s self-awareness. In the LBD we are left to focus on Lizzie, which I think is Jane Austen’s whole point. Yes, Darcy is fine and dandy, BUT Lizzie Bennet is the greatest character to grace the pages of a novel (or grace a computer screen). Immediately in the vlogs we see Lizzie’s wit, charm, and personality, which is key to her character. We also see her ability to laugh and not take her self too seriously. Lizzie tells us in the second video that she loves rain, classic novels and Colin Firth movies (This tells me that we are really meant to be best friends, so move over Charlotte Lu!).

In the first few episodes we meet the Bennet sisters Lizzie, Jane and Lydia and Lizzie’s best friend Charlotte. Each is a delightful modernization of their counterpart from the novel, but they also stand alone as characters for the series even if you have never read Pride and Prejudice or seen one its many film adaptations before. The transformation from Regency-era to the 21st-century is so well done that I have very little to critique about them.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Laura Spencer as Jane Bennet

Laure Spencer plays Jane Bennet. She is the oldest Bennet sister and just as adorable as I ever could imagine the character in the novel to be. Jane is excessively sweet, but she doesn’t come off as fake. She is totally genuine, if a slight space cadet, and she is a wonderful sister to Lizzie and Lydia. She sees the best in everyone just like in the novel. Jane does come off as a bit naïve, but she sticks up for herself and her sisters when she needs to which I admire. She is also funnier than the Jane in the book, which is refreshing. In episode 15 she does a great impression of Darcy, and it is simply irresistible.

Julia Cho plays Charlotte Lu, Lizzie’s best friend and the video editor of Lizzie’s vlog project. She is a fairly dramatic departure from her character in the novel. We can see why she and Lizzie are drawn together. They are both smart, funny young women who obviously enjoy each other’s company and goofing off. Charlotte also pranks Lizzie several times in the editing of her videos, which is a cute detail. Charlotte is more pragmatic than Lizzie about the real world and her chances after grad school. Charlotte doesn’t have the “soon to be old maid” anxiety that she does in the book. Instead, her worries come from school loans and family financial problems. This is a pertinent modernization because it gives Charlotte the same urgency to find “stability and success.” In the novel she finds it through marriage to the odious Mr. Collins while in the LBD she finds it through her job. It is also very relatable for students today who are struggling to find security in their financial situations

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lydia says Man Banana

Lydia… Lydia… Lydia. Where to begin with Lydia? First off Mary Kate Wiles is the most engaging Lydia I have ever seen. We see her party girl ways in these early episodes but we also see how open she and how that could/will lead to conflict down the road. She loves life and seems to be enjoying every minute of it. Her bantering interactions with Lizzie are brilliant. They have a sisterly affection that has been lacking in many other adaptions. Elizabeth (in other adaptations) sometimes seems very aloof and judgmental of Lydia, yet they are sisters and spend huge amounts of time together, so they have to get along to some degree. While in the LBD, Lizzie and Lydia might not appreciate each other fully, they clearly care for one another and have a good time together.

They also are pretty hard on each other. Lydia is constantly getting on Lizzie for being “lame” or a “nerd” and Lizzie calls Lydia a “slut” several times and voices her opinion about Lydia’s poor life choices. I think these are some of Lizzie’s weaker moments because she is not seeing Lydia’s vulnerability. My favorite moment with Lydia is when she is hung over from a night drinking at “Carter’s Bar” and sleeping in Lizzie’s bed. Lizzie wakes Lydia up to help her with a video by blasting music in headphones. Lydia is a wild 20 year-old who is looking for a goodtime everywhere she goes. She just does not seem to see long term consequences of any of her actions. We also see her infatuation with Lizzie’s vlogs because she is always barging in and trying to give the camera her best angle. She seems to be seeking attention everywhere she goes. In the Q&A videos we learn that Lydia’s fake ID say “Mary Crawford” and that she is 26. This is a great little detail for Janeites who know the worldly and wild Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Lizzie: and Charlotte

While these are the only characters we actually see in the early episodes we hear about many more thought Lizzie’s “costume theater” where she dons hats and uses props to portray of characters important to the story. Through her we learn that her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, are an oddly matched couple, but I wish the LBD had more about their relationship. We hear a lot about Mrs. Bennet desire for her daughters to get married (this does seem slightly dated for todays world but I see why they had to do it) and Mr. Bennet’s ability to aggravate his wife. But I miss seeing these memorable characters in the flesh.

While I love all of Lizzie other impersonations, her take on her mother does bother me because she has a southern accent. As a young Southern woman (who has a fairly strong accent and a mother who has never tried her hand at matchmaking or stalking) I can tell you I don’t like the fact that Mrs. Bennet seems to be a “traditional Southern lady” and desperate for her daughters to get married (I keep thinking she is going to say she wants to go home to Tara but she never does). I do see the humor is Mrs. Bennet; I just hate that she has to be a “traditional Southern lady” stereotype because she sounds like a husband-hunting, match-making, coupon-cutting lunatic and most Southern women I know are nothing like that.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries E13 Lydia and Lizzie

Mr. Bennet is also lacking because we never get to see him, hear his cutting wit, or see his flaws as a father. Mr. Bennet is a wonderful and witty character in the novel, but in the LBD we just hear that he is cloistered away all day reading, enjoying his bonsai trees, or playing with trains instead of seeing him. Lizzie does tell us that he enjoys winding his wife up which sounds exactly like Mr. Bennet from the novel. In LBD, he seems like a jolly, slightly eccentric, model train loving man rather than the caustic, witty and negligence father that he is in the novel. Throughout the series there are no “adults” shown in the vlogs. Lizzie explains that since her parents are openly discussed in the vlogs, she would rather they not know about it. However, I really do miss Mr. and Mrs. Bennet.

Lizzie also tells us about Bing Lee his sister Caroline and their friend William Darcy. The Bennet’s meet them at a wedding, the modern interpretation of the assembly dance in the novel. In many respects the early encounters with Bing and Darcy parallel the book. One interesting thing is how similar Lizzie and Darcy sound in their personalities when she is describing the wedding events. Both are described as standing back from the crowd observing others rather than taking part in the festivities themselves. It is interesting that even from the beginning we can see how similar they really are even though our heroine can’t. Lizzie and Darcy are forced to dance together because Lizzie catches the bouquet, and Darcy catches the garter. Lizzie says that her dance with Darcy was the most awkward dance EVER, and she hates him even more after he slights her by saying, “Lizzie Bennet is decent enough.” She describes him as obnoxious, rude, snobby, and a douchebag. Really I can’t do Lizzie justice in this area so just go re-watch the video because it is hilarious.

Lizzie Bennet Diaries cast

Even though we hear a lot about Darcy and Bing in these early episodes, critics could say that they consume too many episodes, I think these vlogs are still much more focused on Lizzie than any other adaptation because we only get these commentaries from Lizzie’s perspective (and once from Charlotte and Jane who step in because they feel Lizzie isn’t telling the whole story). Of course Lizzie isn’t telling the whole story because it is her story with her bias of it. She is out narrative voice in the vlogs which I will talk a lot more about this in a later blog. We only have her as our guide, though I would argue she is a story teller and would follow her anywhere!

I will talk more about Darcy, Caroline, and Bing in later articles so don’t worry, we aren’t done yet. Next week I am watching episodes 17-26 where we meet WICKHAM and COLLINS!

Favorite Quotes: Episodes 1-16

  • “What if he is a gay serial killer?” (when Lizzie is thinking about Bing Lee)
  • “And what makes you think he has 500 teenage prostitutes?” (Lizzie talking to her mother)
  • “Are there any hot chicks that you want to slip your man banana into, Darcy, my homie?” (Lydia trying to reenact how Bing Lee might talk to Darcy – perhaps a cute nod to the fact that Jane Austen never had two men talking alone together in her novels because she didn’t know what they would say)
  • “Lizzie Bennet decent enough” (Lizzie telling us about Darcy’s slight of her at the wedding)
  • “There is still a Bennet sister with a longer track record of bad decision making” (Lizzie talking about Lydia)
  • “And the people in this town — enjoying top 40 radio, laughter and non-organic produce — so uncivilized” (Charlotte pretending to be Caroline)
  • “Mary Crawford… 26!!!” (Lydia’s fake ID)

Further Reading:

© 2013 Virginia Claire Tharrington, Austenprose