I think I might have been the last person to watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – I was certainly the last person in my nuclear family to do so – but perhaps some of you are new to electricity, and I was second last. Penultimate, if you will. And so I’ll tell you about it.
I imagine a good 95% of people who stumble across my blog will have read Pride and Prejudice (got my eye on you, Simon S.), and a fairly high percentage will also have seen an adaptation of some variety. By my count, I’ve seen two films, one TV series, one Bollywood adaptation, and one play – and that’s only the tip of the iceberg for what’s out there. But The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is one of the most innovative ‘takes’ on Pride and Prejudice yet – it’s done as a series of vlogs. (For those not in the know, ‘vlog’ is ‘video blog’, which – in turn – is ‘video web log’. Phew.)
In videos that last about five minutes, ‘Lizzie Bennet’ (a graduate student) recounts her life to camera, mostly being annoyed by her overbearing mother, ambushed by her OTT sister Lydia, and agonising over the love life of her sister Jane. It’s not just Lizzie – Jane and Lydia appear sometimes, alongside Charlotte Lu (her Asian-American best friend), Caroline Lee and (ahem) Bing Lee. No sign of William Darcy yet…
It’s done rather brilliantly, and certainly all we Thomases are fans. It follows the novel pretty precisely, albeit with a modern spin on things. The arrival of the militia morphs into some visiting swimming teams; the entailment of the house becomes threats about having to sell the house because of the financial crisis; Mr. Collins is a businessman, and Catherine de Burgh is his financial backer… And the characters translate perfectly, especially Lydia. What else would she be but a self-indulgent popular cheerleader-type, enthusiastically high-fiving people all over the place?
My favourite moment so far? That Kitty is, in fact, a cat – and, as Lydia says, “Kitty follows me about everywhere.”
Here’s the first episode (if it embeds properly). If you want to watch more, click here. 37 instalments in, most of the novel is still ahead of us – long may it continue!