Previously – 1: An introduction (1/6)
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD) launched on Youtube in April of 2012 in twice-weekly instalments, each episode with a run-time of approximately four minutes. A modern take on Austen’s most beloved work, LBD recreates twenty-year old Elizabeth Bennet from the 1813 novel into a present-day twenty-four year old graduate student in communications. As part of her studies Lizzie and her best friend, Charlotte conceive the video series as their response to a class project.
The structure of Pride and Prejudice and its characters lend to some effortless translation. Bingley becomes Bing Lee, injecting diversity into the cast along with his sister, Caroline. Charlotte Lucas is recreated as a fellow grad student and Girl Friday, Charlotte Lu. The Bennet parentals never appear on screen – their presence is felt second-hand via the story elements retold as costume theatre. This serves two functions; limiting the number of cast members necessary, and signalling to the audience that their protagonist’s perspective might not be completely correct.
The female characters aren’t the only ones that have undergone changes for the time period. Whereas Bingley’s weakness in the original stems from his sisters’ use of him as a puppet, in LBD his malleability stems from uncertainty in his career direction. Wickham becomes an even more frightful character as he uses his charm to weave an inextricable hold over the youngest Bennet sister, preying on her vulnerability.
The storyline is firmly rooted in the 21st century with the hundred episodes detailing Lizzie as she and her sisters learn to understand themselves and each other better. Some creative licence was necessary in order to streamline the narrative arcs. Five Bennet sisters become three with Mary and Kitty making chuckle-worthy appearances as the emo cousin and the family pet respectively. The wit of Austen’s work was retained with the use of more modern concepts of sarcasm, snark and parody. Costume dramas enable events taking place elsewhere to be retold to the camera in Lizzie’s bedroom. Read the rest of this entry »