The Lizzie Bennet Diaries…Also Known as My New Addiction!

For those of you who are already Lizzie Bennet fans, health and have not yet reached the episode where they reveal Darcy, illness I will warn you, I reveal who Darcy is later in this post. So if you’d like to be surprised, don’t read any further than this. You’ve been warned, fangirls!

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I should start pleading with people to stop introducing me to things…seriously. Ever since I joined The Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army in October 2011, my group of nerd friends has increased by…well, 100% because I really didn’t have a lot of nerdy friends before that.

And one of the best parts of being in this group is sharing the things you love with each other, especially those that they may not have discovered yet. I love sharing Tamora Pierce love and Cassandra Clare love and all that. I get all happy when I hear they tried it and loved it.

But it also works vice versa. They tell me about things: books, TV shows, movies, etc. And I get addicted.

As if I didn’t have enough to obsess over!

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So a few weeks ago while I was away at Gallifrey One, my friend Erin told me about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, an online vlog telling the modern day (fictional) story of Pride and Prejudice. She showed me the very first episode and I thought it was funny and cute but I didn’t really think much about it. I remember my friend Deb telling me that I would probably enjoy it and I catalogued it in my long list of things to read and watch (that list is too long to even contemplate…).

Well, a couple of days ago, my friend, Ana, who was at Gallifrey One with us, asked me if I had watched it yet because it was so good and she was blasting through episodes. Deb and Erin jumped in on the conversation and sounded really excited. And you know me, I hate to be left out of something that gets a fangirl reaction from others. I had to get on this.

I first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I remember loving the book so much, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t really understand more than half of the book. I mean, I’m sure I understand the love story, but there is SO much more to the novel besides that, and as I reread the book over the years (and reread and reread…), I discovered more and more about the book and learned more and more about the book, and it still remains one of my favorite books. I love the story, I love Jane Austen. I think so many people see of it as a romance novel, but there is so much more there besides the romance between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. I seriously encourage every single one of you to get out there and read that book. Because it is one of those novels that doesn’t have copyrights, it’s available for free download on Amazon here. So no excuses.

So I jumped on this Lizzie Bennet bandwagon.

And holy addicting vlog series Batman. This is the most amazing thing ever! I blew through all 94 current episodes in a couple days. I probably could’ve watch them all in one day, if you know, homework hadn’t gotten in the way.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is basically this: a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice shown in the form of video diaries, recorded by the main character, Lizzie Bennet. She lives with her marriage obsessed mother, her quiet, her fashion obsessed and super sweet sister, Jane, and her younger hyperactive handful sister, Lydia. She’s a graduate student in mass communications, making these videos with her best friend, Charlotte Lu. The neighborhood explodes with rich medical student, Bing Lee, moves in, with his sister Caroline Lee and his best friend, William Darcy.

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(Clockwise starting in the left top corner: Maria Lu, Fitz William, Lydia Bennet, Lizzie Bennet, Jane Bennet, Charlotte Lu, George Wickham, Mary Bennet, Bing Lee, Caroline Lee, and Ricky Collins)

Sound familiar in the slightest? Oh yeah, Pride and Prejudice in 2012. Its amazing.

Of course, we are missing Kitty and Mary Bennet, but don’t worry they make appearances and in unexpected places.

Now these videos are the brain chain of Hank Green and Bernie Su, who are just two of the many people who make this awesome show possible. And yes, THE Hank Green, younger brother to young adult lit god, John Green, and the other half of the Vlogbrothers. If you don’t know what the Vlogbrothers are, please god go educate yourself! NOW! :D

The thing that I really like about this adapation is just the hilarity of it all, and how it really shows the depth of the characters and the reality of them all. For some people, its hard to understand the characters through Jane Austen’s writing style because it is unfamiliar to the writing we know today. However, in this adaptation, you really see the characters. You get a real sense of Jane’s kindness and her inability to say bad things about anyone. You really see Lydia’s irresponsibilty and her tendency to not take things seriously. You also see the frustrations of Charlotte as well. The thing that I liked the most though was the way you see Lizzie…she complains about everyone so much, has an opinion on everything and can be so judgemental…hence the “prejudice” part of the title. This is exactly how Elizabeth truly is in the novel, but I think sometimes you miss it because you’re so focused on the actions of Mr. Darcy. In this vlog adaptation, however, you really get to see that character flaw captured in Ashley Clement’s portrayal of Lizzie Bennet.

I also liked the direction that they went with these characters. Sure, you still have the marriage obsessed Mrs. Bennet but this is 2012/13. You can’t have the entire series based on marriage. Instead, it focuses very much on idea of the modern, career-driven, ambitious woman. Jane is in the fashion industry, Charlotte and Lizzie are both graduate students, Gigi Darcy is an employee for her brother’s company, Pemberley Digital, Lydia (mostly) works her butt off at community college. These women go through the same to similar romantic entanglements in the novel, but in very modern ways. Without spoiling too much, I really liked how they changed the Lizzie-Mr. Collins-Charlotte triangle from one of marriage and commitment to one of more modern, work-related circumstances.

Plus…the costume theater. Oh god, the costume theater is amazing. The story is mainly told by Lizzie Bennet, though people are constantly walking in on her and joining her videos. Occasionally, you get a video diary by Lydia, a couple random videos by Charlotte and Jane, Gigi Darcy along the way but mostly its Lizzie. But in order to make sure you get the story completely (or as complete as it is in her eyes), she has costumes that she wears for various people in her life, and she’ll put on a little reenactment of a recent event in her life. Its hilarious, especially when she impersonates her mom (below)…oh, god, the amount of actual laughs that this got out of me was great.

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I also really like the changes they made to some of the characters. I like that they kind of cut Kitty Bennet, because in the novel, she was just Lydia’s shadow. I love the changes they did with Mary Bennet; she’s honestly one of my favorite characters in the video series. I also think I have a little crush on Briana Cuoco, who plays her. I also really like Fitz Williams, Darcy’s friend, who is given a larger role and also the role of Gigi Darcy, both pictured below. Fitz lends some serious hilarity to the films and Gigi captures the sweetness and little sister-ness of Georgiana from the original story.

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But the thing that I love the most about it is…its one of my absolute favorite stories of all time told in such a fun and modern way. The episodes aren’t too long, an average of 5 to 10 minutes and each one leaves you wanting more. So far, they are up to episode 95 with only a handful left, as you can imagine, the story is nearly wrapped up.

And let me tell you, not seeing Darcy until episode 60? HORRIBLE! I am a Mr Darcy lover. Yes, Mr Darcy can be a total jerk but I still adore him and he was one of the greatest romantic heroes in literature. And when Darcy did eventually appear…well, I wasn’t disappointed. Meet Daniel Vincent Gordh, a.k.a. William Darcy.

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He is super good looking…and he just captures the essence of Mr. Darcy. And they made Mr. Darcy such a hipster. He’s always going around in ties, bowties, suspenders, little scarfs and geeky glasses. I couldn’t stop laughing every time he shows up in a different outfit, especially the cardigan and bow tie look. Too adorable. He kind of reminds me of Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl. I was most definitely not disappointed…and you really believe him as Mr. Darcy. I count the minutes until he reappears on screen.

Like I said, the story is great…its the story we know and love but in a world where women are a lot stronger and have way more freedom than they did in the time of Elizabeth Bennett. It captures the beauty and values and soul of the original story while keeping it fresh for new eyes. I seriously love it; I blew through all the current episodes as fast as I could and I really recommend you watch it!

I also recommend watching it on the actual website: lizziebennet.com. There you get the videos down by Lydia, Charlotte, Gigi, and other characters. You also get the Twitter conversations between characters as well and all of these lend more to the story than just the Lizzie episodes. I did it that way, and its awesome. You really get the full story, as much as possible, and its enjoyable and really a unique way to tell the story.

And for those of you who are a bit intrigued, check out the first episode, which I have cleverly inserted into this blog post. You’re welcome :D

Hope that you enjoy and that you become as addicted as I did!

New videos are uploaded Mondays and Thursdays at 9 am!

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