Tuesday, February 11, 2014

An understanding

One year ago today, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries released Episode 87: An Understanding:

Two sisters, terribly at odds and remarkably alike, are forced to reconcile in the midst of the imminent release of a sex tape.  After being exploited and lied to, the younger suffers the worst social nightmare of a world in which “the Internet is forever”; the older faces her own failure in understanding and compassion.   
This is Pride and Prejudice.  At least, it is according to Hank Green and Bernie Su, creators of the Emmy-award-winning web series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  The poignant scene described above is their interpretation of Elizabeth’s response to the Lydia-Wickham scandal and, at episode 87 of 100, serves as the climax of the adaptation.  The moment also represents the show’s argument both that a 200-year-old story matters to modern YouTube audiences and that layering contemporary issues onto classic texts can lead to more effective readings of those texts.  Austen’s novel says, “Elizabeth is flawed and misunderstands Darcy.  She must resolve this before reconciling her future, both romantically and socially.”  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD) takes this empathetic lesson a step further, extending Elizabeth’s repentance to include not only her misunderstanding of Darcy but also of a fully realized Lydia Bennet.  


* See also MK Wiles' (who plays Lydia) blog where she shares some of her thoughts on this episode and this character.
** If you haven't seen the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, start here.  

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