Previously: Audience Connection (4/6)
There are many notable changes within the Austen-verse that provide opportunities for discussion. Where the focus of the original story is that of the Bennet sisters marrying to advantage in spite of their disadvantageous social hierarchy, the modern retelling chooses to focus on the female relationships both friendly and familial. Darcy isn’t introduced directly until past the half-way point of the series, the attention is firmly on Lizzie, her sisters and her co-collaborator Charlotte. Class and wealth remain important themes throughout but the agency of the female characters is heightened through the benefit of the feminist movement. Charlotte becomes the CEO of a company due to her impressive skills and endeavour, Lizzie’s ability to connect with the audience results in a range of choices Austen’s women could not imagine, and Lydia finds herself saved and yet irrevocably changed by her experiences. Unlike Austen’s women who could only manoeuvre within very specific spheres, Su’s women proactively expectation and find value in themselves outside of their relationships with men. You can’t help but think that Austen would approve.
Differentiating this adaptation is its refusal to walk down the well-trodden path of the marriage storyline. If Austen were alive today she wouldn’t be invoking stories simply about the marriage options of her characters, she would exploring class, wealth and opportunity in a modern age. Lizzie Bennet, graduate student in communications, allows Elizabeth to be represented in the irrepressible way that makes us love her, retaining all her good and bad qualities while being germane to today’s time.
Regardless of the means in which Lizzie’s perspective is told, her tendency towards inaccurate storytelling is depicted equally. Throughout the videos, her depictions of characters are tempered, or supported, by the perspective of others. The immediacy of the first person narrative via webcam brings a fresh dynamism to the two hundred year old tale. While the need for all characters to speak into camera strains the bounds of logic and credulity by the end of the series, it does create an intimacy with the audience – a short cut into the thoughts of the plucky protagonist – where a voiceover may have been instituted in the past. Read the rest of this entry »