Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the greatest book ever written makes for some of the greatest film adaptations ever filmed, some of the greatest sequels/continuations/re-imagining stories ever written... and DEFINITELY the greatest vlog series ever produced.

Yes, that's right. This will be a blog post about Jane Austen, 'Pride and Prejudice,' and my current obsession that I am so over-the-moon about, my feelings simply won't be supressed. I simply must share my enthusiasm with the world. (And I didn't even struggle that much in vain about it, either)

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is Lizzie's video blog, released on youtube.  Its a modernization of Pride and Prejudice, and it is truly the most modernized modernization I've ever encountered. Basically, "Lizzie" starts making her video blogs, or vlogs as urban dictionary would tell me, as part of her masters degree. She has two sisters, Jane and Lydia, and a best friend, Charlotte Lu. Their lives are changed when one Bing Lee, his sister Caroline, and his friend, William Darcy come to town.

The story differs a bit from P&P canon as the producers attempts to modernize the story. For instance, when Mr. Collins shows up with a proposal for Lizzie, its a business proposal he makes (and one which Charlotte then accepts, of course). They have a fantastic ethnic cast, which is not something one can often say about Jane Austen stories. I love how Charlotte Lucas became Charlotte Lu, and Mr. Bingley is Bing Lee. Darcy is rich because his tech start-up, Pemerbley Digital, made him a fortune. Oh, and the evil Wickham is there, and this time he is a swim coach with some amazing shoulders and abs, and the way in which he attempts to "ruin" Lydia is such a clever contemporary take on the horrors facing silly youth today, its, genius. Pure genius, I tell you. Jane Austen would totally approve of the writers artistic license here.

And the clothes Lizzie and Jane wear, and their hairstyles... I pretty much want to buy everything they wear, and its never the same. Who needs pinterest or fashion magazines, when you have the Bennet sisters?

LBD first appeared back in April 2012, a short little five minute video on youtube. Every Monday and Thusday, a new video is released on youtube. When it first started, I was intrigued, but I wasn't on pins and needles waiting for 11am to roll around every Monday and Thursday.

And when they first made spinoff video series, like "The Lydia Bennet," on youtube, along with "Maria of the Lu" (Charlotte's sister, for the P&P newbies), I definitely wasn't sure I needed to watch them. Except that Lydia's vlog became ... incredible. She's one of my most-hated characters in literature, and yet, I like her now. I really, really like her. I was tearing up watching her loneliness and depression when her smarter sisters schooled her and ignored her. And don't even get me started on how heartbreaking it was to watch the Wickham episodes... Kudos to all the LBD folks, but especially Lydia's actress, for doing an amazing job with this character turnaround.


I'd be remiss to not also point out the spinoff series for Gigi (Gerorgiana) Darcy, Pemberly Digital. At first glance, it appears to be a company's demo videos for a new product. But all the phone calls Gigi makes, to Darcy, to his best friend Fitz, and to Wickham, all provide important information about the charcaters and the plot.

Basically, the videos are bonus features, or deleted scenes, and I've always been a sucker for deleted scenes.

And then the story got good. Really REALLY good.

So good that, well, Ashley Vincent is now my favorite Elizabeth Bennet ever, and, dare I even write this, Daniel Vincent Gordh is now my favorite Darcy, topping Eliot Cowan and the Colin Firths.

And then I started to delve into the true genius of 'Lizzie Bennet Diaries' - the interactive features, for our modern audience.You can like/follow Lizzie, William, and all the characters of facebook and twitter- where they post and interact with each other.

You can follow Jane, the fashion stylist, on pinterest and lookbook.

You can read their twitter feeds, where they totally make little inside jokes for all the fans. Like when Gigi and Fitz posted their glee after the big kiss(es!!) on Thursday (oh, it can't possibly be a spoiler... its Pride and Prejudice, after all!)... when Fitz says he can't recover from all the DIZZINESS, it's a total nod to the fans who call Lizzie and Darcy "Dizzie."

And you can look at tumblr, and yfrog, two new platforms I've never even used before. But if it means I get to see photos Gigi Darcy posted from the Lizzie-Darcy-Gigi day of sightseeing in San Francisco, well, then you know I am all over it.

There is so much I could say about LBD - the great story, the amazing actors, the sizzling chemistry between all of the actors - but the thing that truly amazes me and impresses me is how much they have made Pride and Prejudice into a story for the new digital age.

The Pemberley Digital age.

Where a Darcy comes to my town for SXSW.

Other than 'Downton Abbey,' I don't watch television anymore. Who needs to, frankly, when mastery such as the Lizzie Bennet Diaries is out there on youtube (and twitter, facebook, tumblr, yfrog, pinterest, lookbook). I suspect this is the way much of our society will head during our lifetime, so that we won't even have televisions any more.

And when you've exhausted all these fantastic sources to satiate your LBD thirst, you can check out fans' tumbler sites, where they make all sorts of wonderful gems, like this one from sociallyawkwarddarcy (along with really cool active gifs, but I couldn't figure out how to post them here #techfail).

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and apparently the LBD powers-that-be are going to end the story with Episode 100. Episode 98 (the one we've all been waiting for) aired this past Thursday.

Which means March 28 will be LBD's happily-ever-after date.


But I sure have enjoyed the ride.

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