Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

Finally the last episode!

So for those who haven’t been reading my posts or may have forgotten, this is the worst Jane Austen adaption I have ever seen.

On paper this show sounds great, four of the Austen heroines (Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Emma Woodhouse) have been set in modern times and all are friends with each other. Mr. Knightley, Mr. Collins, Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and Edward Ferrars are in this as well. Should be fun right?

The problem is that the show’s plots have little to do with the plots of Jane Austen’s books. The episodes are all pretty boring, and it does the unthinkable-it actually makes you hate Mr. Darcy.

Yes, this is truly, truly, truly terrible and I really regret ever watching it. But I’ve started it and now I have to finish it. So here we go…

Quick recap – Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. Elinor is an accountant, Marianne a Smoothie Barista, Emma a divorce lawyer, Elizabeth a real estate agent, and Knightley/Grant I don’t know.

As I have said before the plots resemble little from the novels but this is where each character is at:

Elinor received a promotion and met IRS agent Edward Ferrars. The two have a lot in common and she had a crush on him, but it turned out he is already in a relationship. He apologized in the last episode if he ever made her feel uncomfortable or if he crossed a line, and Elinor became heartbroken that he isn’t single. She also held a mouse killing party and went on a date with Collin (Mr. Collins) who was only trying to pump her for info on Lizzie. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.

Marianne moved in with Elinor and the two always fight/argue. She was looking for a job and worked with Darcy and Emma for a bit until she found a job at the smoothie shop. She met Brandon (Colonel Brandon) when her skin was turning blue/purple and he likes her. She doesn’t seem super interested, but has reached out to Grant (Mr. Knightley) about how to keep a guy as she never seems to get a second date.

Emma is British (the only one) and a divorce attorney. She works with Darcy and the two fight a lot. She goes on a series of terrible dates set up by her friends (revenge for her terrible setups) and then went on a date with a former client only to realize that wasn’t the best idea.

Elizabeth was hired by Collin (Mr. Collins) to help him find a house but it turned out he was just trying to spend time with her to ask her out. Then she was helping Darcy find a house for “a special lady” but he was annoying and horrible and those episodes made me hate him. She also had to plan family photos, had acrylic nails and found life too difficult with them, and bought an exercise bike that she made the boys put together. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.

Grant (Mr. Knightley) is supposed to be a main character but is really a supporting one to council the girls. I don’t know what he does for a living or anything about him other than he’s friends with the ladies and is in love with Emma. His best friend is Brandon who he called and brought into the plot when Marianne was turning blue. Elizabeth and Elinor know he is in love with Emma but he hasn’t told her yet.

Brandon was introduced late in the series, the episode where Marianne was turning blue. He was instantly attracted to Marianne, but hasn’t wanted to ask her out until they get to know each other better, as revealed in the “putting the exercise bike together” episode. He’s the only character I really enjoy as he is the only one that feels like he’s based off the source material. He also is the only character who when they are a part furthers the original plot.

But here we go, last episode everybody!

Lizzie and Marianne are hanging out shopping online as Lizzie wants to treat herself after having to deal with Darcy (can’t say I blame her as in this adaptation he is a total jerk). Elinor warns her she should wait until the sale has completely gone through, but Lizzie is very confident as Darcy wanted the perfect house for his “special lady” and finally found it.

Elinor and Marianne are intrigued with who this lady could be, and it turns out so is Lizzie. I know it is Georgiana Darcy (his sister), but the ladies try to guess is it sister, cousin, or wife? Lizzie is like family members don’t just buy houses for each other, (but some do), and thinks there is a romantic connection although she doesn’t seem that happy about it. But I don’t know why she would like him as they have hardly had any nice scenes together.

Elinor is moving Marianne’s heavy box out of the hallway and trips and drops the box on her foot. Marianne then calls Brandon to come and check if it is broken or not. Yay! I love Brandon, he’s the only good character in this.

We then switch to Darcy and Emma who are working when Elizabeth interrupts them to see Emma. Darcy seems to be in a better mood, but Emma keeps coughing. Emma and Lizzie discover the girl Darcy bought the house for is named Georgiana, and Elizabeth seems a little too curious about Georgiana’s relationship to Darcy.

Grant then comes to see Emma and offers to take her out after she ended things with “her amazing guy” (he was not amazing). Grant and Brandon talk about this, Brandon revealing he plans to ask Marianne out, but I’m not sure she will say yes. This Marianne is all over the place, in the one episode she seemed into him, but the last she didn’t seem to think of him at all. But Brandon seems pretty confident, and if he is confident in the TV world that means she will say no.

This makes me sad, but at the same time I’m happy we are back on track to the original Austen plot. Thank goodness for Brandon or else I’m sure we would have another mouse killing party episode.

Elizabeth goes to Darcy’s new house after everything has been completed and meets Georgiana. The actress they chose for Georgiana is adorable and does the part perfectly. She’s like a delicate little flower you want to protect.

Brandon tries to ask Marianne out but each time is interrupted or something happens. He’s so cute though. Even though it hasn’t happened how he wanted, he’s still going to try.

How sweet!

Grant shows up at Emma’s work to take her on their “date”, but she is most definitely sick. Grant takes her home instead, makes her tea, orders food in, and they talk about her family and their childhood. They imitate her father and it’s super adorable and all I can think is why wasn’t this in the earlier episodes? Like this is good writing, this is great plot, this show could have been so much better if they hadn’t wasted all the “Austen” until the end.

Elizabeth brought food for Elinor, who’s still resting as her foot bothers her. Elizabeth tells her about how she talked to Darcy and is seeing him different, agreeing to go out with him for Thai food. I don’t agree with this as the awful way they made Darcy doesn’t track with Austen’s depictions. If I was her friend I would have told her to pass on him and his bad attitude, which is the exact opposite of how you want your Darcy to be.

After Elizabeth leaves, Brandon comes over to ask Marianne out, but she isn’t home. He decides to wait but when Marianne comes home she has a giant bomb to drop. Marianne met John Willoughby, a photographer, who invited her to come to Paris with him. Brandon hearing how excited she is, decides to bow out and head home.

We end the episode with Elinor trying to convince Marianne not to run off with a stranger, but Marianne convincing her she needs to follow her dream (she never expressed modeling before, like why is this her “thing” now?)

Marianne also orders another heavy box, a present for Elinor and drops it on her foot. And that’s the end.

I think the crew behind this thought they would be able to make more episodes/seasons, but it doesn’t surprise me that it ended early/after one season. So little happened to make it interesting, and to be honest, all the episodes and scenes without Brandon are not worth watching.

The biggest problem with the show is that there was too little Austen in it. The writers saved most of the plot lines that were based on the source material for the later episodes instead of having them be earlier and interweaving them all.

If I were to do this I think I would start with characters from Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice to begin with (later introducing characters from her other works), but to have each season be focused mainly on one particular book. For example I would start with Sense and Sensibility. The first season’s arc’s primary focus would be on how Mr. Dashwood died and left everything to their older half-brother. Marianne would quit college and move in with her older sister to work a bit before she could finish her degree. I also would make the Dashwood sisters biracial, so that could further villianize Fanny Dashwood and it would add an extra tone to her comments “they aren’t really your sisters”. I think Elinor’s story arc would be to meet Edward she likes him, later discovering he’s engaged, and becoming upset at being disappointed by every man in her life. In the end she would seek counseling and that would end her first season story arc, with Edward of course coming back in a later season. With Marianne I would have her not be interested in Brandon because he is too stable and right now the two “stable men” in her life disappointed her (her father and brother). She’s interested in a spontaneous man, getting involved with John Willoughby, who I would make one of those guys who are like I’ll take care of my woman, she’ll never have to do anything, women shouldn’t work, etc.-so Marianne decides to forgo her original college plans; and of course is brokenhearted by the end of it. I like the idea of John being a photographer, director, etc-someone in power who chooses to marry a wealthy woman so that her family money can fund his lifestyle. Marianne’s ending season would be when she decides to focus on herself and agree to one date by Brandon. I would also have the season end with Emma, having encouraged both women, believing that she is the one that brought them to where they are (Elinor in counseling and Marianne dating Brandon), therefore deciding to further her “good works” by directing her attention to two new interns/hires at her company Fanny Price and Harriet Smith. Fanny I would I make her a foster child of the Bertrams, or she is the child of a family friend that they become legal guardians of (so that we don’t have to deal with the incest issue.)

Season 2 would be all about Emma, I see her as being expected as the one to take over her father’s company. I would have had in season 1 that an article come out about her that doesn’t paint her in the best light, or she overhears someone taking about how she is a horrible person and she decides to do some charity work to improve her image. In my head I imagine a character like Taraji P. Henson’s character from Think Like A Man, or Fallon in the new Dynasty. She also believes she’s the one responsible for the resolutions in the Dashwood sister’s lives and decides to try and help others. We could go the sweet Harriet Smith route, or we could do a new depiction of and make Harriet Smith slightly like Eve in All About Eve. I would have Fanny not follow Emma’s “help” but does end up becoming her “real” friend. Also we could introduce the other characters in Emma, such as the Elton’s, be clients of the company. This season could end with her finally finding herself, with her friend Knightley and end with introducing Darcy, maybe a a company party where Darcy and Elizabeth have their interaction and bringing in Emma’s old friend Anne Elliot.

Season 3 would be Pride and Prejudice, this one would probably be the easiest to adapt to modern times as there are a lot of different avenues you can take. End the season with them staring to be together, and introducing Catherine Morland, maybe as a friend of Marianne’s? Season 4 could be one of these ladies, I unfortunately haven’t plotted those out as much as the first three. But they are all easily adaptable to modern times. And there are quite a few different ways to interweave all their stories together.

I kind of hope someone takes another shot at this as it has a lot of potential. You also could make it a rainbow cast and have a lot of different ethnicities in this as well.

So while the potential was there, the series just wasn’t up to it. I don’t not recommend watching unless you wish to be bored.

For more Austentatious, go to Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Incense and Sensibility

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to When Trouble Strikes, Head to the Library: 13 More of the Best Fictional Libraries

For more Emma, go to Emma Manga

Spill the Tea: The Laughing C.A.T. (Coffee Roasting and Tea)

Last year for my niece’s 16th Birthday my sister and I took her to Reno, Nevada. While we were there we did whatever she wanted to do…along with a couple things I wanted to do such as visit a tea shop!

I did a quick search and receive several options, one of which I spotted was The Laughing C.A.T

If you know me, you might have realized I LOVE cats. So when I saw a tea place that had to do with cats, I was like let’s go there.

Thats me

When we arrived we went up to the door and it was locked, even though online it said open.

Of course while “Reno” was open in February 2021, not every place was and I figured maybe he forgot to update his hours online? But the store sign said open. Confused we decided to call and see. When I called on the phone, it took a long time ringing and while I was waiting for a response, a man came up to the door, unlocked it and then said sorry the phone is ringing. Before I could tell him it was me, he locked the door and ran inside, I trying to tell him it was me, I was on the phone.

Already I’m thinking this is not off to a good start. We then had to wait quite a while until he returned, letting us know that whoever it was had hung up. I again tried to tell him it was me, but he didn’t understand me.

He asked us what we wanted and I told him that we wanted tea. He told us he doesn’t sell drinks, only tea and coffee.

We all looked at each other quizzically and felt like that meme with the lady and the math equations. I could tell we all had the same thought “but tea and coffee are drinks”.

What??

We said okay, we wanted to buy tea and asked him what he had, or if he could just give us a menu. He told us no one could come into the store because of COVID but to instead just tell him what we wanted. I was starting to get annoyed by this and asked him again if he had an online menu where we could see choices and he told me no, just to tell him what we like.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like when people do that. Let me know what you have and what to choose from. Otherwise I’m just spouting off things I don’t know if you have or not and we stay here longer than we should while I try to puzzle out what the “right answers” are.

From Laura (1944)

My sister told him we like black teas and then he asked if we liked milk in our tea. I said that I did and he told me I shouldn’t drink milk in my tea. I told him that’s how I like it, but he ignored me and went on a long discussion about how milk ruins tea. I was starting to get more annoyed at this as I really didn’t like his dismissive attitude or how he was trying to tell me how to drink my tea.

He then recommended his Earl Grey which doesn’t have any bergamot in it. I said I like Earl Grey with bergamot and this prompted a long discussion about how bergamot ruins Earl Grey and you shouldn’t drink those types of tea. He also recommended his Irish Breakfast tea, and when I said I have yet to find an Irish Breakfast tea I like, this prompted another discussion about how it’s probably the “wrong” tea I’ve been drinking. He said his Irish Breakfast was so good, it should be had without milk and sugar. I started to tune him out as I really didn’t want to be lectured but I wanted to purchase some tea.

Not hate, just dislike.

To be honest I was ready to just abandon this shop and head to one of the thousand of Starbucks in the area, but I had made us drive out here so I was prepared to just buy something, anything, to be gone. I agreed to buy the Irish Breakfast and my sister purchased the Earl Grey.

The owner took our cards and returned with the loose leaf tea (I don’t sell drinks only tea or coffee now makes sense) and the door shut and locked in our faces.

This whole exchange felt really odd to me, it felt like he didn’t want us open and to just leave. I would not recommend going her as none of us enjoyed our shopping excursion there

Online the shop had a lot a lot of good reviews about how knowledgeable the owner is and what a great experience they had but we felt that he treated us as if we were beneath him, some newbies to tea who weren’t worth his attention just his lectures.

That evening at the hotel we tried the tea and I was not impressed with the Irish Breakfast. I did not think it was that good and ended up giving it to a friend of mine later. My sister liked her Earl Grey as a base for other tea, but on its own with no milk or bergamot; she felt it was underwhelming.

I like the label on the tea, but I did not have a good experience here and when I return to Reno I will not be returning to this tea place ever, but instead plan to be checking out The Spice and Tea Shoppe instead.

For more tea house reviews, go to Spill the Tea: Tea Bar and Fusion Café Review

For more tea posts, go to I Won the Tea and Me Blog & Harts of America Giveaway

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 13, A Better Place

So it has been a while since I last reviewed one of these chapters from the Choices videogame. Originally I was just playing the game but as I could do that faster than I could review, I ended up deciding to not play another chapter until I finished reviewing what I already had played. Of course things came up and I got distracted by other things on my list to write/review/etc-so now I am getting to Chapter 13 of Book 1, while I think Pixelberry has already created book three or four of this video game.

Anyway, quick backstory since it has been so long. This game is storybook based where you have a story that progresses a certain way, but at times you get to make a choice as to what to do, say, who to fall in love with, etc. Some choices require you to spend diamonds to play, which you can earn every time you play a chapter or purchase from their store. Some “books” have different side quests, like in this one you want to become an accomplished woman and certain choices allow you to gain items.

It’s really fun as you have the power to decide what path the story takes.

This game is set in the Regency time period, and of course is catered toward Jane Austen fans. In this game you are the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Edgewater, something you discovered on your mother’s deathbed. You met your father and he accepted you and has decided to make you his legal heir, as your half-brother passed away.

You also have an evil stepmother and conniving stepbrother, Mr. Marcastle, who has a dim fiancé, Miss Sutton. They are all plotting against you.

And a lot has happened since the beginning of the book: you have held a garden party (which you rocked), you are currently having a London season, you went to Mr. Sinclaire’s house (a suitor I am all about)-who has a sad Rebeccaesque backstory and he gifted you a book, you visited the Opera St. James where your mother used to preform, went to see an Opera and were stuck with the Duke who is a horrible jerk, took a walk in the rain with Mr. Sinclaire, learned to paint, helped your friend refuse a gross geezer, found out the truth about Mr. Sinclaire’s wife and the Duke, and was able to meet up with your father one last time before he died. On his deathbed you receive one last giant twist: it turns out that your parents were married before you were born! You’re not but yet still are illegitimate.

Now here is where the story isn’t tracking true to actual history. In the game your parents were married and then had an annulment making you illegitimate. But I did some research and it turns out that:

“any children of an annulled marriage become bastards (who cannot inherit or be declared legitimate at the whim of the peer) and likewise outcasts of society.”

KRISTEN KOSTNER, “A PRIMER ON REGENCY DIVORCE AND ANNULMENTS,” KRISTEN KOSTNER (BLOG), ENTRY POSTED OCTOBER 11, 2018, ACCESSED JULY 22, 2021,

So this next conflict of this game is to try and inherit the estate is not something that is possible, unless I can prove that the annulment never legally took place and my stepmother’s marriage is invalid. I don’t know if the game’s creator’s did any proper research, but let’s see what happens next in the game at the funeral.

You start this chapter off with your grandmother the two of you consoling each other over the loss of your father and her son. But even though Grandmother is sad, she is also still as conniving and concerned about the estate as ever. She eagerly wants me to harpoon the Duke (who we don’t like since he tried to attack me) in order to have a better hold on the estate. I’d much rather have the Mr. Darcy/Maxim de Winter-esque character, Mr. Sinclaire.

Grandmother also warns me not to make a scene at the funeral, and I’ve played enough of these choices game to know that is 100% what my character will do later on-no matter how much I don’t want to.

Oh well…

You have the option to purchase a black gown to wear to the funeral or wear something else that you already have in your closet, and this kind of option is one I hate. I understand the game wants to make money off, but sometimes it makes no sense to have them purchase an item and not provide one. It’s a funeral! But whatever. I of course know that it would be clearly uncouth of me not to wear black, so I purchased it.

The time of the funeral has come and we go to church to have it. Your stepmother and stepbrother both refuse to allow you to seat with them. This I also don’t understand, why not just sit with your grandmother? Instead you have the two options of making a little scene or making a much larger one.

I of course chose the more respectful of the two options, the smaller scene-but either way a scene is made and I know grandma will not be happy.

Mr. Sinclaire, a good friend of my father’s and his closest neighbor, also comes to the funeral and pays his respects to me. The two of us have grown closer together but is it enough for a proposal? I feel like when I play Marrying Mr. Darcy, just because you are able to get proposed to you still have a final gamble/roll to take.

The service is beautiful, and Mr. Sinclaire is happy to hear that my father approved of him asking for my hand in marriage. (Things are looking good).

At the end of the service we all say our final goodbyes and the writers wrote this chapter so prettily. These words are so sad and full of emotions, you can feel the pain and sorrow there.

Afterwards is a reception in which you see Mr. Harper the horseman. He wants to pay his respects but you stepmother is a cruel woman and won’t allow him to. You also speak to the other guests and your stepbrother, realizing that your stepbrother had deep feelings for your father. Could Mr. Marcastle actually have a heart?

Hmm…

Even though I try not to Mr. Marcastle and I make a scene. Oops! It looks like one of thede writers just wants all the drama!

You also run into your best friend Miss Parson, your new friend Miss Sutton (fiancé to Mr. Marcastle but she values your friendship more), and Prince Hamid. All are here for you to support and encourage you during this rough time. Each offers you a diamond choice to do something with them.

You also into Mr. Sinclaire again and he offers to show you his home, Ledford Park, if you are in need of a respite. Now I know this isn’t what one should do in Regency Times (Marianne Dashwood had taught me that), but I’m really curious about his home and I have enough diamonds to purchase the option that I agree.

You go to his home and it is beautiful, very much like Pemberley. The two of you walk the grounds and talk. As Mr. Sinclaire also lost his father, he understands the pain you are going through. Mr. Sinclaire shares about his father and all he says makes him sound even more like Mr. Darcy.

He shares with you a cute story about how his mother would have him throw a coin in a fountain and make a wish when he was sad, this always giving him hope. You decide to try it out, being all cute and romantic together. Aw!

The two of you just sit for a while and Mr. Sinclaire promises to help you in any way he can. Not a proposal, but his friendship is very important and you are a step closer.

How sweet!

The next day you discover that your stepmother is trying to keep you from gaining your inheritance by saying you are not your father’s child and that your father was mentally incompetent. But you have letters to prove it, your grandmother knows that it is true, and it doesn’t matter if he was mentally incompetent. I’m not an expert in Regency law but trying to get him to be declared incompetent seems like a weird route to take. Plus we already know that one wouldn’t want to have their family branded as crazy.

Plus Henrietta is all “I’m the widow” people will feel sorry for me-but that doesn’t means nothing. History is full of women who were given the shaft. Taking a cue from Sense and Sensibility, the only thing that is important is to who will get the money. And as of right now that is my character.

We end the chapter with me being trapped in my room. (Someone watched Cinderella.) Again, this is a pretty dumb move as the Dowager Countess, my grandma, is there and will know something is up. She’s very smart and not about to let her son’s last wishes go unhonored. She will be gunning for the Countess I’m sure.

For more Desire and Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 12, In Sickness and In Health

For more on Choices, go to When Trouble Strikes, Head to the Library: 13 More of the Best Fictional Libraries

MadsenCreations’ New “Spring” Jane Austen Items!

So I don’t know about those of you in colder parts of the world, but here in CA the weather has turned slightly warmer making many think about Spring and Summer plans.

MadsenCreations is no different as she has started rolling out new Jane Austen items in her “Spring Collection”.

Hmm…?

First we have a Pemberley Est. T-Shirt:

I assisted a bit (gave a suggestion of what should go under Pemberley). This shirt is cute and perfect for any Jane Austen fan. Order by clicking here

And then for the Northanger Abbey fans, a Northanger Abbey Crop Top:

If interested order here

Not to mention you can still order the items from the Get Spooky! Collection that I helped design. Such as the Northanger Abbey sweatshirt, Northanger Abbey shirt

Which also comes in children’s sizes!

Or a Jane Austen Catrina/Sugar Skull Mug.

If those aren’t your cup of tea you can also order your very own Jane Austen Runs My Life Shirt.

We also designed a Jane Austen crop top and full tee based off the one Selena wore in Selena: The TV Series.

Is there a Jane Austen item you want and have been unable to find? Reach out to MadsenCreations and she can help make it a reality. AustenTherapy wanted a Jane Austen Henry Tilney Fanny Pack and MadsenCreations made it!

And don’t forget to use the code Janeaustenrunsmylife for 10% off your total order (Jane Austen and non-Jane Austen items).

For more on MadsenCreations go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Holiday Gift Guide: Jane Austen Products

For more Jane Austen Stuff, go to Pride and Prejudice: The Game