Thursday, March 28, 2013

Goodbye Lizzie

I hate goodbyes.

Yet goodbyes must be said.  And with that comes gratitude.

So this is my (very spoilerific) thank you to Lizzie Bennet and all those who have breathed new life into this incredible story.

* * * * * * * * * *

I actually checked and it was April 24th of last year.  Lois was in London and we were corresponding about a variety of things.  And she sent me a link to a vlog and an explanation of that vlog. 
"My name is Lizzie Bennet, and this is my life."

Honestly, I was skeptical.

I've read Pride and Prejudice five times.
If I was forced to pick a favorite book, that would have to be it.
I've studied, read articles, written papers on this groundbreaking little novel.
There are books we like, books we identify with, and then books that define us.
Austen's masterpiece has run that gammot for me.

So... a modern adaptation? Ok, fine...
A vlog? This might get cheesy reeeeally fast.
I mean how are they going to handle _____ and _____ and ______?
But, on the other hand... wow, that interpretation of Lydia was hilarious - and spot on.

So (my totally awesome, older brother and) I watched all 5 episodes that were then available.
And, as a nerd, I was impressed.
Of course Jane would be a fashion blogger.
Bing Lee. Nice one.
Wow. Lydia is quite... energetic.

And slowly Mondays and Thursdays (and later Tuesdays & Fridays) became a little extra special.
I was working on my honors thesis at the time - which, of course, was on Austen - and after class or homework, I had this 5-minutes of fun waiting for me.

But then it became more than a show.  More than a silly vlog.
I realized I needed Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
A year ago this week, I found out I would not be continuing my studies in English (and specifically of Austen) that fall.  Well, at least, not traditional studies.  In the interim, I've been on a journey through LBD to re-evaluate the power of Austen's characters and narratives.  I had argued for years that Austen was valuable due to the universality of her writing.  LBD took that argument further than any of my papers or class discussions could.  They, quite literally, fleshed out characters that are identifiably Austen, but convincingly 21st century.

The ladies of LBD - you've won a special place in my heart.
The strongest part of this adaptation was its emphasis on the girls' relationships.
Whether it was the fights in "Friends Forever" or "2+1," the comforting in "Snickerdoodles," or the daunting encouragement in "New Jane" - this series showed Lizzie becoming a great friend and sister in a powerful way.  And "An Understanding" reduced me to a puddle of tears, wishing I could just hug my sisters and tell them how much I love them.


These girls.  Wow!
Laura, Ashley, MK - you blew me away.
Thank you for becoming so vulnerable in your portrayal of these characters.
I can only imagine how terrifying it would be to tackle such iconic characters - let alone in an unfamiliar medium.  But you made this show fly!
You gorgeous, ginger trio became such favorites, such dear friends.
Thank you!!

Laura - Everyone deserves tea.
MK - Whaaaaaat.
And Ashley - shut your ugly dump truck face!


Ah!  The rest of this brilliant cast [pictured here, minus the lovely Alison Paige as Gigi Darcy].

You just became major faves!
Except you, Wes.  You've officially been dubbed "Sir Wix the Poopface" and we don't like your selfies on instagram.
Actually, your selfies are ironically hilarious... and I do understand that you're not G-dubs.  But still.

Really though! Every single one of these "starving artists" made this show the best that it could be.
Stand out performances for me?  Maxwell Glick's Collins, Craig Frank's Fitz, and Briana Cuoco's Mary.
Thank you all for your dedicated work!


Ok... the writers!

Kate Noble & Margaret Dunlap - Thank you for your beautifully crafted lines.  This show's dialogue was brilliant.  And the quotes are hilarious!!

Jay Bushman - What you do with transmedia is so inspiring. As in you're challenging some of my life plans.  And the immersiveness of the LBD universe is what made it so powerful!! Thank you also for the episodes you wrote.

Rachel Kiley - Thank you thank you thank you for re-imagining Lydia.  For challenging a perception of her as 2-D and annoying.  She became one of my absolute favorite parts of LBD, and a large part was how you wrote her.

Bernie-trolling-Su!  You are definitely the next Moffat.  And you're brilliant. Thank you for being willing to experiment!  Thank you for willing to push all the limits to tell this powerful story the way it deserved!!

You didn't think I would forget about Darcy, did you??

Of course not!!

Daniel Vincent Gordh,
I'm pretty sure that I, like every girl watching this, was in love with Darcy even before he was mentioned in LBD.  But you took a love for Darcy to a whole other level.  It wasn't your good looks, bow-ties, or even Dizzie Day - though we definitely appreciated those.  You brought something to this character that really moved me.  From shy and awkward to selfless and caring - you rejuvinated the character and made him accessible. 
Dizzie Day did leave me in tears, not just due to excitement and joy, but becaue I found myself once again hopelessly in love with Darcy as a person.  Every girl wants to be loved unexpectedly. Every girl wants someone who will fight for her against all hope. 

Thank you for a Darcy that was so illuminating.

Though I am sad, I'm trying "face contorting" today.

The journey over the past year has been amazing.  I'm so grateful for the both the adaptation and the connection its given me with other people - especially my sisters and close friends.  My sisters actually started reading Pride and Prejudice because of LBD - a feat I could never inspire by myself.  And sharing this journey with these special people is something so precious to me - in fact, "It's super important" ;)

Thank you to Hank Green and Bernie Su for daring to try this.
Thank you to everyone behind the scenes making it happen.
Thanks to each actor/artist involved in Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
I hope the kickstarter reaches a gazillion so you all get amazing bonuses!!

This has been an incredible part of my transition this last year, and the longest I've spent continusouly immersed in any piece of fiction.  I really can't thank all everyone involved enough.

It was so good to see you.


  1. Wow. Samara - you said it. There's nothing more to say. Great post summarizing the show, the actors & all of our many "feels." What a journey :)

  2. Beautiful. i hope you share this with everyone on Twitter so they can know what glorious work they did and how beautifully you said it :)