Dear Lizzie: Thank You


It isn’t a secret that I am a huge fan of Hank Green and Bernie Su’s Pride and Prejudice vlog adaptation, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. From Lizzie’s sarcasm and quick wit to the gorgeous hair-stylings (all of which I’ve now worn in real life because who doesn’t want Disney Princess hair?) and delicious Snickerdoodles of Jane Bennet to sockslides, hilarious Lydia commentary, and episodes and episodes of some freaking awesome costume theater, I was enchanted by Lizzie Bennet’s life (even though — technically — as a Jane Austen reader, I already knew (mostly) what to expect). I laughed with every hipster!Darcy interpretation (Jane’s will forever be my favorite), adored Lizzie and Charlotte’s friendship, felt a whole lot of Bennet sister love, and wanted to stab George Wickham’s eye out with a spork (and a peach). “Everyone deserves tea”, “Darcybot malfunction,” “agoraphobic lobster,” “It was illuminating,” and “Excuse me, Lizzie” all became random phrases I used constantly. Sometimes the LBD was slow. Sometimes it broke my heart. Sometimes it drove me absolutely insane with anticipation. Each time, it became a truth universally acknowledged that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was quickly taking over my life, and… I was in the middle before I knew that I’d begun.

Lizzie Bennet found me during a time when I wanted to stay away from anything that might distract me from my exams/anxiety/general-freaking-out-about-the-future. I actually knew about the web series through some of my friends and Twitter when it first launched last year, but as curious as I was about it, I thought I’d just watch it some day, probably when it finished, and I could just stay away until I had more time to devote to watching something new. But when Bing Lee was introduced (Episode 28) and all of my friends who enjoyed the show fell in love with this character immediately (to the point where none of them could stop talking about it), I knew I had to check it out. That weekend, I marathoned all 28 episodes that existed. I started off enjoying the first few, but it wasn’t until Episode 6 that I knew I was in love. Not with Darcy (he doesn’t sound particularly pleasant in that episode, haha), but with Lizzie Bennet and her storytelling. From that point forward, there was nothing I looked forward to more on Mondays and Thursdays (and sometimes Tuesdays and Fridays, if they were telling part of the story through another character or on Twitter). Which is why I have to spend today, the first Monday without Lizzie Bennet… well, with Lizzie Bennet.

[Beware spoilers, if you haven’t watched all of the videos yet!]

Though The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is not a perfect adaptation, as a pioneer of this new media vlog/transmedia style, I thought it did wonderfully. One of the things I loved about this series is the way it revolutionized storytelling. Lizzie as a narrator was able to reveal her thoughts and views of events in her life not only to us, the viewers, but to actual characters within her narrative. When I started watching her videos, I didn’t realize how significant this aspect of this series would end up becoming. It didn’t occur to me that the people Lizzie was talking about could actually find out about the videos until Caroline popped in and I had to pause YouTube just to freak out a little bit about what the implications of such a thing might be. Bing’s cluelessness about the never-ending “letters to Charlotte” made me laugh, and I didn’t even think how Darcy would react to discovering these things (I cry now when I think about the poor broken-hearted guy, sitting alone in a hotel room somewhere, watching the girl who just rejected him do it again and again and again for thousands of people), or what Wickham’s knowing about them would mean (nothing good at all). I enjoyed the way the transmedia aspect of the LBD universe contributed to the narrative. How certain characters followed and unfollowed each other on twitter, Jane Bennet’s sad pictures on Pintrest, Fitz and Gigi’s plotting to set up Lizzie and Darcy together, the way Charlotte discovered what Wickham was up to, and Lizzie/Darcy/Gigi’s epic San Francisco Unforgiving Hills Date all added something to the story that Lizzie’s videos couldn’t do (though we can argue that Lizzie could have filmed parts of the San Francisco date and played it in her next video… but how could she have gotten closer to Darcy if she were too busy filming?).

I also loved that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries went above and beyond the source material in making certain characters come to life. Or re-interpreting Pride and Prejudice, so that it made sense in a modern setting with a grad-student protagonist in a way another adaptation couldn’t have done. I thought it was brilliant that Collins’ proposal to Charlotte (and Lizzie) was a business proposal instead of a financially-based marriage proposal, and I love that Fitz is Darcy’s (gay and in-a-serious-relationship) friend (and ridiculously terrible wing-man). Maria Lu’s videos at Collins & Collins, in which she basically fangirled over Lizzie’s life, Doctor Who, and Harry Potter essentially pushed Charlotte to make amends with Lizzie, and Lydia’s videos added a new perspective to her character that made me love and understand her more than I have ever been able to do with any other Pride and Prejudice adaptation. I cried when Bing dumped Jane by running away, tweeting about it, and never actually dumping her. I cheered when Jane went to Los Angeles to advance her career instead of trying to talk sense (or even just talk) to Bing. I applauded when Charlotte stood up to Darcy and Caroline on behalf of her friends. The Lydia/Lizzie arc destroyed me, but the fact that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries complicated the circumstances surrounding their fight and made them both partially in the wrong was genius, and their relationship at the end of the series makes me smile. It never made sense to me that Bing Lee was a medical student because he was never in class, so I loved that they had him work hard to get back into Jane’s life, and actually choose a new path for himself — a path that fits his character quite well. Some of the side videos were painful to watch (I commend the LBD team so much for the realistically emotionally-draining and terrifying way they portrayed Wickham and Lydia’s manipulative/abusive relationship), and some were simply fun (I love that Gigi had more of a(n insanely perfectly fangirly) voice and contributed to the “Defeat of George Wickham”, even if I’m not sure exactly how Darcy and Fitz were able to prevent the bastard from “never doing this to anyone ever again”), but I’m glad The Lizzie Bennet Diaries attempted to tell as much of the story as they could beyond Lizzie’s perspective. And I respect the writers for taking the time and energy to reveal to us, before Lizzie, all the things that were happening that our dear, opinionated heroine was unaware of. Pride and Prejudice is first and foremost about enlightening Lizzie’s views of the people and world around her. By keeping us, her viewers, in the loop to how perfectly-flawed she is, the Diaries were able to impact her viewers (and explain Lizzie’s character development) more thoroughly than they could have without them.

Though I would have liked to see Darcy interacting with the Bennet sisters (which we have with Lydia in Lizzie’s final tweets), Mrs. Bennet’s reaction to Lizzie actually going out with “a handsome, rich, single young man” (how priceless would that be?), some more Caroline closure (but I think her final tweets with Jane and Bing do this quite well), a Lydia-Gigi conversation, and Jane and Bing’s reactions (maybe even an “I told you so!” from Jane) to Darcy/Lizzie, I loved the way the videos played out and how they finally ended. A story with this many characters and side narratives must have been daunting for the writers and production team (since nothing like this has ever been attempted before), but for the most part, I was happy with the way they ended things. The vlogs started with Lizzie and Charlotte, and a random interlude by Lydia, and they ended with these first three characters as well — the three characters we’ve seen grow the most (Darcy excluded) since The Lizzie Bennet Diaries began. The story is slightly open-ended, but in the LBD universe this makes sense. Lizzie is moving on to a new chapter in her life, and the videos are a page (or rather, 100 pages) out of this one year of hardships, heartbreak, hilarity, and growth. She’s starting a new chapter in her life, and though we’d love to stalk her forever, in terms of video blog and video blogger (and the fact that in real life, no one in her right mind would put half the things Lizzie put on the internet), stopping makes sense. She’s in a good place, our viewership and commentary helped her a lot throughout this year, and now she can move on to something else (dating Darcy, starting her own business in San Francisco, graduating). It’s natural, it makes sense, and, of course, all good things must come to an end.

So thank you Ashley Clements, Daniel Vincent Gordh, Mary Kate Wiles, Laura Spencer, Julia Cho, Maxwell Glick, Jessica Jade Andres, Christopher Sean, Briana Cuoco, Craig Frank, Allison Paige, Janice Lee, and Wes Aderhold for making these characters larger than life. Thank you Hank Green, Bernie Su, Jenni Powell, Margaret Dunlap, Rachel Kiley, Jay Bushman, Alexandra Edwards, Kate Rorick, and Michael Aranda for your commitment to telling this tale and a job well done. And mostly, thank you, Lizzie Bennet, for allowing me to be a part of your world. Your videos might be over, but the lessons you have learned, the things you have taught me, and your story are things I will carry with me for years.

Farewell, friend. I am so glad to have met you.

Fifteen Favorite Moments in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
or The Things I Will Miss the Most & Remember Fondly

(in chronological order because I couldn’t rank these even if I tried)

1. Episode 4: Bing Lee and His 500 Teenage Prostitutes

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 4

“Wait, I’m not done! There was someone else! Another man.”
“Wait, like, ‘frolicking in the meadows, holding hands’ another man?”
“No, dumbass! He brought a friend back with him. An incredibly hot, incredibly rich piece of mancake friend. I heard they went to school together.”
“That doesn’t mean they weren’t frolicking in meadows…”
“Oh my god, stop it! They are too hot and single to be gay!”


2. Episode 6: Snobby Mr. Douchey

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 6

“This dance is preposterous. I hate dancing. It’s a waste of time. Like saying nice things to people. Many of these people seem to be enjoying popular music unironically. Besides, none of these girls stand up to my ridiculous standards.”
“What about Jane’s sister, Lizzie? I know she’s not that geat looking, but you could do worse….”
“You found the only pretty girl at this wedding. Even if she smiles too much. I dislike smiling. It contorts the face.”


3. Episode 12: Jane Chimes In

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 12

“How about Darcy? And I defy you to call him sweet.”
“I’ll admit he’s a little prickly, but he’s… he’s… Ah, he… No, no no no, I was just talking to Lydia about this. Gosh, it’s going to come to me any second now… I can’t think with the camera looking at me like that. He’s… tall. Darcy is tall.”
“Okay, for the record, when the nicest thing Jane Bennet has to say about you is “tall”, you have personality problems.”

4. Episode 15: Lizzie Bennet is in Denial

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 15

“Pray tell, what is it that makes you tink well of any of these cretins?”
“I’ve been thinking about the pleasure a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.”
“And then he stared directly at Lizzie.”

“Oh look, your little crush is coming this way. . . Are you fake texting?”
“It’s super important.”

5. Episode 28: Meeting Bing Lee

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 28

“Oh, that’s not good! This is very bad. Charlotte, you need to hurry over right away!”
“Why? Am I going to die?”
“Don’t worry, I took a seminar in breaking bad news to people. You’re in good hands.”
“So what do you think, Mr. Almost-A-Doctor?”
“Jane, it truly pains me to tell you this, but you have only 7 or 8 decades to live.”
“Aren’t you afraid that I’m going to infect you with my disease?”
“Oh, Jane! I’m afraid it’s too late! I’ve already caught it!”


6. Episode 30: Ticking Clock

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 30

“I was trying to read, but little did I know I was setting myself up for more of Darcy scrutiny. Or as I shall now call it, Darceny.”

“It’s like he’s purposely dooming himself to be alone for life… I’m sorry again that I misjudged you, but seriously, how do you put up with him?”
“Well, you get used to it.”
“You get USED to it? Like it’s some stuck up douchebag threshold you’ve achieved?”
“Yes! No… I mean, he’s just… he’s… he’s…”
“Tall?”

7. Episode 33: Nope! He Doesn’t Like Me!

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 33

“Hey, you’re kind of into audiovisual stuff. How do you like these speakers? They have a 270 degree delivery system, providing true stereoscopic sound. I put them in myself.”
“The sound quality is mediocre at best.”
“Oh… Umm… yeah… So… umm, this song is really catchy. I hear it’s popular and really good for dancing. You like this kind of music, right? Uh, I mean, that’s what Caroline said. Not that we talk about you, but yeah, it’s… uh, dance music. (And this is the part where she ignored him.) I said, this music… uh, it’s really good for dancing.”

8. Episode 37: Lydia VS. Mr. Collins

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 37

“If you speak another word to me, I will slap you so hard that you will fall back in time to before it was cool to like things before they were cool.”

“We could get married underneath the twilight sky, and dance with the chipmunks and sparrows to celebrate our eternal love. Bask in the morning light as the darkness fades. Just you and me, moving together, over and over and over, binging as one.”


9. Episode 60: Are You Kidding Me!

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 60

“I’m sorry, but the last few months have been crazy. I’ve been hiding something from you that I shouldn’t have and that I can’t anymore… I didn’t come to Collinss & Collins to monitor corporate progress. I came here to see you.”
“Okay.”
“Two parts of me have been at war. Your odd family, your financial troubles… You’re in a different world from me. People expect me to travel in certain circles, and I do respect the wishes of my family, but not today. I’ve been fighting against this for months now but Lizzie Bennet, I’m in love with you.”

10. Episode 72: Party Time

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 72

“(DO you think Darcy has virtues? Because it’s like, I don’t care, but I think it would be really interesting if you changed your mind about him.)”
“Mary, read!”
“Actually, Darcy’s not so bad. He has more virtues than SOME I could mention.”
“Oh. Sounds like I have some catching up to do. But you can get me all caught up tonight at your sister’s party.”
“You’re not invited… NO, YOU’RE NOT INVITED. YOU CAN’T COME TONIGHT.”

11. Episode 78: The Lizzie Trap

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 78

“…Actually, I have another problem I think you could help me with… It’s a problem with… studying.”
“With one of your courses?”
“Yes! Exactly!”
“Which course?”
“Uhh… math.”
“Oh, I don’t really think I’m the right person to help.”
“NO! You’re perfect! You’re EXACTLY the right person to ask!”
“Okay…I’ll just—”
“—What are you doing?”
“Turning off the camera! What are YOU doing?”

12. Episode 83: Corporate Interview

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 83

“I discovered something early that I loved to do and do well, and I built my company around that. You must know what I mean, what with your videos.”
“My videos?”
“You discovered something that you loved to do and do well.”
“They’re just… little videos. Me telling stories about my mundane life.”
“But it resonates with people! You’re a natural storyteller.”

13. Episode 93: Look Who’s Back

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 93

“I think they want to hear about how things are between you and a certain gentleman, who you’ve described many times in unflattering ways.”
“…Now let’s not bring THAT up.”
“Yeah, it’s not like those aren’t immortalized on video.”
“Well… there’s nothing more to say about Darcy.”
“Really? Nothing? You SAW your videos from Pemberley Digital, right?”
“I’ll admit there was a certain amount of—”
“—Chemistry? Heat? Tension?”

14. Episode 98: Gratitute

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 98

“Lizzie, I still feel the same way I felt back in the fall. More strongly even than I did then. So if you just want to be friends or say thank you for recent events then—”
“—Does that… clarify some things for you?”
“…Some. I could use some further illumination on certain points, however.”

—Questions & Answers #10 w/ William Darcy

the lizzie bennet diaries q & a 10

“Since I am also a viewer of your videos, I feel like I have the right to ask you a question. That day a few months ago when I asked you to the theatre, what was your reply going to be?”
“Isn’t that obvious?”
“Well, given the events of the last year, I think we could all use a little clarification.”
“I would have said… yes. Happy now?”
“Very. Well, have a good day, Lizzie Bennet. I am sorry to have disturbed you.”
“What? Seriously?”

15. Episode 99: Future Talk

the lizzie bennet diaries episode 99

“My mind changed soon enough.”
“When? When did you change your mind about me?”
“I haven’t a clue. I honestly don’t remember when. I don’t think there was one specific moment. I was in the middle before I knew that I’d begun. And what about you? When did you discover your feelings had changed?”
“Oh… I think the moment I saw the offices at Pemberley Digital. You should know, those napping pods? Women swoon… No, like you, it happened gradually.”




Aimee

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. she who was not here (@paisleyblu)
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 15:55:29

    Awww, this was so beautiful. You are so eloquent and thoughtful with your reviews.😀

    I’m amazed you only picked out 15 favorite moments on this list (I wouldn’t have been able to keep it under that reasonable number, at all).

    Reply

    • aimee
      Apr 02, 2013 @ 20:00:46

      Aww thank you!❤ Haha, choosing only fifteen moments/episodes was incredibly difficult. I actually spent the weekend rewatching most of LBD and skimming through anything I didn’t have time to fully rewatch (you have a lot of free time when you’re sick). My list ended up being about… half the series. ><;; But then I narrowed it down to 25. Then I rewatched those 25 and narrowed it down to 20. And after that, fifteen just…. happened. I tried for ten, but I couldn't do it. I love these fifteen episodes so much (and they're all so quotable).

      Reply

  2. Rie @ Mission to Read
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 03:27:54

    I loved this web series and I’m so sad that it ended, but I felt the ending was a bit anti-climatic.😦

    Reply

    • aimee
      Apr 06, 2013 @ 05:45:18

      I’m sad it’s ended too! And I kind of know what you mean about the anticlimax. I actually liked the ending, but I think after the fast pace of the Pemberley videos and the emotional climax of the Lydia/Wickham/Lizzie drama, it just became very, very slow. I like the way they ended things, however, but I think the filler episodes (or the slothlike pace of some of the later episodes) made the Lizzie/Darcy climax/conclusion feel a little anticlimactic. But I also think it’s because the focus of this series was the Bennet sisters more than the Lizzie/Darcy romance. So the Wickham climax was huge, and the actual climax of Pride and Prejudice (Darcy’s second proposal/love confession) wasn’t much of a climax in comparison (when it played a bigger role in the books)… if that makes sense.

      I do still really wish we had had a little more time to see Darcy and Lizzie as a couple, just to bring the story around full circle (seeing him interact with the Bennets, hearing Mrs. Bennet’s reaction to them or Bing and Jane’s), or more of Caroline (since the only conclusion/closure we get about her is through Twitter). After the Wickham thing, I think it would have made more sense to build this part of the story up because they ended up having to rush those episodes (and there were only two and a half, and a question video, so it didn’t feel that wrapped up). (But I think the social media endings on twitter really made the ending feel like an ending, so I’m okay with the way things wrapped…)

      Reply

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