Andrew, Andrew, Andrew…
First of all, thank you to those who sent messages – I am healthy (just about; cold on its way) and my computer is more or less healthy; I have been back in Somerset for a few days and forgot to tell you – sorry. It was a brief visit, but another very nice one. Now I’m back in Oxford, but thanks to my enormous amount of leave taken at Christmas, shall not be back at work until Wednesday.
And now back to chastising Andrew Davies. I watched Sense and Sensibility last week, or whenever it was on, and was impressed. Great casting, good script. A few holes, but not everything can be Cranford, can it? And Davies had proved himself with the 1995 Pride and Prejudice. What happened? I have a theory that Andrew started reading the novel, got to the end of chapter three and, like so many high schoolers before him, thought watching the film would suffice for the rest. I mean, what happened? There was so much wrong with today’s episode, both in how it related to the novel, and in itself. Did Marianne passionately kiss Willoughby? No. Should any couple kiss in slow motion? No. Did Elinor hide in caves or wander along cliff tops? Probably not. Do we want suggestive scenes of waves crashing against shores? Er, no. Would Edward Ferrars pop out for a bit of log chopping in the middle of tea? Dare I say it, no. This scene, I understand, was supposed to be the Colin-Firth-in-lake equivalent, but to me just looked like a silly man getting soggy.
What did I like? The Misses Steele were good. The Palmers – for my money, the funniest couple in all of fiction – were shamefully underused. Mrs. Jennings continued to be funny; Margaret was quite sweet. But that’s not enough, Andrew – please give the novel a proper read before you adapt it, and don’t presume that you’re better at plotting than Jane is. Contrary to the opinion of marketing agents, Jane Austen is not “all about sex!!!” Yes, sexual attraction holds considerable sway, but she ain’t Barbara Cartland.
Disappointed, Andrew. Could Do Better.