Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Its an online show, but its definitely finding fans!


As a lifelong Pride and Prejudice fan, when I first heard that Hank Green and Bernie Su were producing their own YouTube version of the storyline my initial reaction was a deep, soul-tearing groan. It wasn’t so much that I viewed the novel as some sort of sacred temple; I really enjoyed the indie, modernized 2003 movie and was a giggling maniac while reading 2009’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. No, my issue with the web series was the idea that somehow, the new format would become part of the darker corner of the Internet, the realm of dancing convicts, talking fruit, and more cat pictures than you can find on Britney Spears’s cell phone (think about it). I worried that the videos would basically be Lizzie complaining about her mother and being single, and I worried that Jane Austen’s brilliant characters would be relegated to cheap stereotypes due to time constraints: Jane as the Doe-eyed Na├»ve Girl, Lydia as the Slut, Lizzie as the Angry Feminist, etc. Most importantly, however, I worried that due to the rising popularity of vlogging, more and more people would turn to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries as a replacement for the original novel, and not as a supplement.-The original maverick

Storyline:A modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, the series is told in vlog-style by Lizzie Bennet (Ashley Clements)  as she narrates the trials and tribulations of her family life with the help of her best friend and aspiring filmmaker, Charlotte Lu, "practically perfect" older sister, Jane, and easily excitable younger sister, Lydia. As in Pride and Prejudice, Lizzie's mother is all too eager to marry her and her sisters off to rich men, so when wealthy medical student Bing Lee moves into the neighborhood and manages to woo Jane, it changes the entire dynamic of the family. It isn't long before Bing's even more wealthy friend and heir to an entertainment corporation, the mysterious Darcy, makes his way into the Bennet sisters' lives, too.

“OMG have you been watching Lydia’s latest videos? If you haven’t, go watch them right now. Now! Watch them twice! Like, share, favorite, they’re totes more adorbs than mine and not a total boo-hoo downer like these videos!”-Linsay

From the very first episode, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries have not only assuaged my fears, they’ve taken them out back and set them on fire. Writers Margaret Dunlap, Rachel Kiley, and Kate Rorick have taken a brilliant leap from 19th century prose to 21st century dialogue, painting out the entire novel all from Lizzie’s bedroom. Their adaption cleverly treads the line between a desire to remain faithful to the original material and one to modernize certain aspects of the story (for example, instead of choosing to marry Mr. Collins, Charlotte Lu(cas) decides to sell out on her filmmaking dreams by becoming a partner in his web video company); as for their wit, Austen herself couldn’t have done better were she alive today (I didn’t stop laughing for five minutes at Kitty Bennet the kitten, and anytime someone pantomimes Darcy I need to take a few breaths to constrain myself).-the original maverick
Bing and Jane. Adorable couple!
Laura Spencer manages to portray the delicate role of Jane Bennet with the skill of a master actress; she’s sweet without being saccharine, angelic without being inhuman. Julia Cho tackles a nuanced role brilliantly as well; the pain she conveys as she slowly decides to abandon her hometown, her best friend, and her dreams adds a new layer to Charlotte that even the most diehard P&P fans might be surprised at. Although a new addition, Wes Aderhold’s George Wickham is such a dashing scoundrel that I think deep down we all wish he won’t turn out so bad in the end. Christopher Sean and Maxwell Glick practically live the roles given them (I defy you to find a more adorable Bing Lee or a more ridiculous Mr. Collins), and Jessica Jade Andres plays a snarky, SoCal Caroline Lee so well you can practically see her judging you from across the camera. Perhaps most impressive, however, is the incredibly talented Mary Kate Wiles. In almost every adaptation she’s in, Lydia Bennet is mitigated to the role of the mindless floozy, a girl who throws herself at men and thinks nothing about the world around her. With the help of her writers, Wiles, on the other hand, turns Lydia into something of an diabolical genius, a young woman who, admittedly, lives to party, but one who also takes pity on stray cats, young boys who are picked on, and her painfully single middle sister. Her role in the LBD merely cements the reputation her other web series Squaresville established as a rising actress to be on the lookout for.-the original maverick

Lizzy Bennet Diaries
Lizzy Bennet Diaries Tumblr



Cafe Fashionista said...

Seriously need to check this out ASAP!! :)

Sara Gerard said...

This looks really interesting! What a cool idea, I love that there are actual shows on youtube now.

mazzy may said...

I so want to watch this show!

Chris Ed said...

Really interesting show! I will check this out!