So… I’ll admit that I’m kind of in love with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I don’t regularly watch TV or any kind of show really, but this one got me hooked. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a series of videos on YouTube (you can start here, but I recommend you clear your schedule for the rest of the day) that depicts a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in vlogging form. Since the series is wrapping up, *sniff, sniff*, I’m feeling a little lost. What will I do without Lizzie and Darcy in my life?
Okay, not really. I’m a big girl and I have a busy life. But still, it’s been something that I’ve enjoyed watching. This isn’t the only “remake” of Pride and Prejudice that I’ve loved, either. With books, I practically devour any Jane Austen adaptation. It doesn’t have to be the Pride and Prejudice story line (though those are my favorite), since I’m pretty much enthralled no matter what Austen classic the author has decided to make over.
What makes these stories so popular? In Hollywood, popular culture and especially publishing? Why do they resonate with such a large audience, enough so that we’re all willing to read the same plot over and over and over without getting bored?
I have a few theories:
1. We know what to expect. Sure, it’s the same story, but we like it. It’s comforting. We know which characters are going to end up together and we like that the surprises are small. We enjoy seeing the subtle differences each author creates to make the story their own.
2. It’s clean. Okay, so this is debatable, since some adaptations take quite a few liberties and often have their characters doing things that no respectable lady in the early 1800’s would do. BUT, in the majority of cases, the ‘purity’ of the characters remains the same. It’s a clean love story that we can all enjoy without feeling uncomfortable. We can tell our grandmother how much we liked the book without her (or anyone else) passing judgment on our reading decisions.
In relation to the previous point, but still separate enough to warrant another bullet point:
3. The love story is timeless. Because the sexual tension isn’t ramped up like so many recently published books, I personally think it makes these love stories more lasting. We can believe that their love is based on more than just looks. It won’t fade as soon as one of the characters gets fat. They love each other based on their personalities rather than for their looks.
4. We feel smart. When people start talking about the classics, we instantly feel like our IQ gets a boost when we say that we’ve read all of Austen’s work. Also, if we’re reading an adaptation, we feel smart simply because we can predict what’s going to happen.
5. We all secretly love the costumes. Basically this rule only applies to the adaptations that still take place in the 1800s, but come on, who among us hasn’t thought about how an empire-waist gown might hide our stomach flab, or how the men look so sophisticated in their coats and breeches? I mean, not that I have stomach flab or anything … *cough, cough*
Am I the only one who loves Jane Austen and all the adaptations so much? (I doubt it, otherwise there wouldn’t be that many adaptations).
Have any Austen adaptions that you’d recommend I watch or read? TELL ME. NOW.