Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

Almost done! It’s the final countdown,

Three more episodes left and than I am done FOOOOOOOREEEEEEEEEEEVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So if you have been following me you know that I hate this show. I really, really do not like this or how they portray the characters.

That movie

But I started it, so I’ve got to finish it.

So Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. But they don’t involve ANY Austen plots or subplots. In fact, besides names they hardly share anything with the original source material.

So in the last episode Elinor and Edward were doing IRS stuff and she is smitten with him, Marianne accidentally dyed herself blue and met Knightley’s friend Nurse Brandon (he chose not to be a doctor big plot point in the previous episode), the friends set Emma up on blind dates to get back at the disastrous dates she paired them with, and Elizabeth had acrylic nails that she hated.

Yes…this is why I don’t like this show.

For the thousandth time

So Edward is back, and he and Elinor have finished getting their IRS stuff all together.

Elinor has a hoodie on, which seems really weird as we spent a large time with her being on Marianne’s case about being a good worker and professional, and she was promoted to be in charge-so why isn’t she dressing professionally?

Elinor is on cloud nine as she loves her IRS man (one of the few people who are happy to see and deal with the IRS). She gets home and Emma and Knighltley are at her house…or is it all their houses? They never make that quite clear and everyone is always in that one apartment.

Weird…

Emma is on break and Knightey is bored. What does he do for a living? He dresses nice but never seems to be doing anything at all…

Elizabeth and Marianne bought an exercise bike and brought it to Elinor’s apartment. So if it is Marianne and Elinor’s apartment why are Emma and Knightley over when she isn’t? Why don’t they go to their houses? I mean I must not be the only one who finds it weird that their friends hang out in their apartment when they aren’t home do I?

I mean if they were going to just use one location then they should have had them share an apartment or a house.

Emma is “working” and wearing a hoodie and ripped jeans? Like what is going on with the clothes today? This whole entire show Emma was a fashionista and as a lawyer always dressing professionally. What is happening here? I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone, more than ever.

Emma: [To Grant Knightley] “What’s the point of having all those muscles if you don’t help a damsel when she’s in distress?”

I actually like that line. One flake of gold in the whole program.

Emma and Elinor leave Elizabeth and Knightley to put it together as they head over to the smoothie shop to “work”. Emma is secretly reading a regular book instead of a law tome, as it turns out she lied to get out of putting the machine together. I knew there was a reason she wasn’t dressed in her usual wear.

Marianne goes to Emma for advice over Elinor and Elinor’s mad, but I don’t blame Marianne for thinking Elinor knows zip. She doesn’t have a great track record, I mean I saw the makeover/date episode.

Elinor complains that they are being loud and distracting as she is working. Well helloooo Elinor you are in a public shop-if you want quiet why don’t you go home and work in your room or go back to the office?

I mean for real!

Lizzie and Grant/Knightley are trying to put the bike together and are seriously struggling. Grant tries to convince Lizzie to get a gym membership like him instead, and Lizzie is surprised that Grant goes once or twice a week to the gym.

Okay that was funny.

Lizzie doesn’t want to go to the gym as they are gross and full of sweaty people, people hog the machines, creepy guys-I feel for you Lizzie, although I don’t have a gym membership as I don’t have time.

Emma can’t stop thinking about the exercise machine is freaking out about her weight and the cupcakes she is eating at the shop. But then she is distracted when Elinor accuses her of manipulating Grant Knightley and that Emma takes him for granted. (She does).

Back at the apartment Grant and Lizzie are talking but Grant is the only one doing anything while Elizabeth is just chilling. That’s how my sister would be.

Grant is struggling and he calls Brandon to help put it together, but doesn’t tell him that he needs his help to put a bike together…a bike that doesn’t even belong to him.

I mean for real!

Marianne comes home and Lizzie is all mad that Marianne bought a take and bake pizza. She’s all why buy a pizza and take it home to cook-well gee Elizabeth maybe I don’t want to take the time to do it myself, maybe I don’t want to travel with my cooked pizza getting cold on the way home, maybe I want to make it when I want to, maybe I want my house to smell of pizza and not pizza grease, maybe I like how it tastes, maybe I got a good deal-I could go on and on with different reasons. Pizza is always good.

It’s times like these I am like we are sooooooo far off what the plot was in any of the books. Like Jane Austen has soooo much for you to work with-and yet you decide to do acrylic nails, exercise bikes, and whether take and bake pizzas are worth your money.

I am so upset right now.

This is awful!

Brandon is so into Marianne, it is soooo cute. This guy, Blake Webb is saving this episode. I don’t know if he read the book or watched an adaption but he is the only one that got his character. You sure are going to make these last few episodes bearable, and I’d appreciate it if you could teach the guy who is Darcy how to act like his character.

Speaking of which there are only three episodes left (including this one) and we have yet to resolve the Darcy house issue, Brandon and Marianne need to get together, Elinor and Edward need to get togther, and Emma and Knightley need to match up. There are a lot of loose ends and only 50 mins until resolution (I paused 10 in and each episode is 20 mins). And what about Collin, is he coming back too?

Or plot!

So back to the Smoothie Shop Elinor admits to Emma she really likes Edward and all I can think is what about Lucy? In fact what about Fanny Dashwood, Lady Catherine, Mr. Wickham, Mr. Willoughby, Frank Churchill, Jane Fairfax, etc.? Where are the villains and character foils? Where is the drama? Where is the comedy? Where are the components of Jane Austen we love, her giant tapestry of plots and characters, and so on.

Where are the Austen things and characters I love??!!

I am extremely disappointed.

UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Like in the Jane Austen Academy they kept the issues from the books and transferred them to the story. Instead of losing her home-Anne lost her school that her ancestors had founded, Elizabeth is sparring with Darcy, Fredrick Wentworth is back in town, you know….

Elinor wants to date Edward but isn’t sure as they wok together-but they don’t, not really. I mean Elinor is an accountant and he’s with the IRS so you do not work together and it won’t be breaking any rules.

Seriously

Emma encourages Elinor, trying to get her to ask Edward out, but Elinor says she physically can’t. We then get a flashback of her being geeky and struggling. I think she looks cute with glasses on, glasses that we never ever see her wear again. Hello actors and actresses that’s not how glasses work. Even if you do wear contacts, you eventually have to wear glasses again or else you’ll mess up your eyes. And what’s wrong with having a character wear glasses. We defintely need more characters who wear them.

So Lizzie and Marianne are not helping at all, while the guys do all the work. Brandon is so into Marianne, still being cute. Grant/Knightley is like you don’t know that much about Marianne are you sure and Brandon is all I know her medical history (last episode). Whoever wrote his lines- you get a gold star, you are actually getting some laughs out of me.

Knightley/Grant is the one doing all the work, while Brandon is distracted by Marianne. Knightley/Grant is like dude just ask her out so we can get this torture machine put together and Brandon is all no, I need her to get to know me first. Awww, Brandon you are actually making watching this bearable. Too bad you weren’t here earlier.

Soooo cute!!!!

Grant/Knightley is all it’s better to ask someone out and be possibly turned down then to become a friend and stuck in the friendzone. Hmm…who could he be talking about?

The pizza burns as Lizzie and Marianne were too bust talking right next to it and didn’t notice, or smell it, and Lizzie is all that’s why you should never make or bake pizza at home. Whatever. How did they not notice it, being right next to the oven? How could they with the vast amount of choices and plots to use decide to focus on take and bake pizzas.

Back to the Smoothie Shop, Elinor “I’m working stop distracting me” Dashwood is going on about how she wants Edward to ask her out. Girl you have two episodes left, better get to asking.

Elinor can’t move in that but decides to flat out tell Emma Grant is into her.

Like that wasn’t your secret to tell Elinor. And Emma is actually shocked at this. Really?

I present Exhibit A:

And let’s not forget his massaging you, paying for the food, tipping Marianne and making her look good at work because Emma told him to, putting the exercise bike together as Emma told him too, etc.

Mr. Knightley loves Emma

Elinor gets all psychoanalyzing Emma and Knightley, but they are interrupted when Elinor spots Edward at the smoothie shop.

Look at that guy…

Emma encourages Elinor to not hide behind the couch but go ask him out. I’m going to pause here and say I do NOT get why in movies do they always hide behind or underneath things when they spot someone they want to avoid. Who really would hide under a restaurant table or other things in public where is it dirty and you are sure to touch something you would rather not.  Why not just make sure they only see the back of your head.

I mean for real!

Edward has like button up shirt and pants from circa 2005 there. Where did you get those, and put them back in their time machine please and thank you.

It’s not working for you. Those pants, that shirt…

Edward is there WITH A girl!!!

Is it Lucy? Are we finally getting some actual Jane Austen content???

Please, oh please!

Back at the apartment they are eating the burnt pizza, although I’m thinking why don’t they just order a new one.

The girls eat ice cream while the guys build the bike.

Poor Grant, he’s all sweaty and tired from doing 99% of the work. Poor dude. And all because you’ll do anything Emma tells you to do.

Poor Elinor is sad and depressed and Emma tries to cheer her up by saying maybe the girl is Edward’s sister and they are just creepy close. Really, Emma? Really?

Like HOW would that make her feel better? HOW? But this is so true, us women do this to each other all the time.

Grant Knightley takes a break and talks to Marianne, who decides to ask him for help with her guy problem. He tries to encourage her to not try to focus on making changes for guys but do changer herself only if she wants to do it. That instead she just needs to be herself. Aw, that’s cute. Even though I am sad/upset that there is no Fanny Price, Catherine Morland, Anne Elliot, Mr. Tilney, or Captain Wentworth I do like how Grant/Mr. Knightley is friends with everyone and counsels not just Emma but all the ladies. It is very cute and very well done.

How sweet!

The bike is finally put together, Emma tests it out, and it falls apart. Yes…that’s it. All that work for nothing. It’s supposed to be funny, but falls flat.

So where is the Jane Austen?!!! It’s like not even here, just a few drops. Why? Why? There is so much you could do, choose from, there is just so much…and this is what you came up with.

Why?

I can’t wait until I’m finally finished with this. Then I’ll be freeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Only two left!!!

For more Austentatious, go to Make Me a Match: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to NovelTea Tins’ Romance Sampler

For more Emma, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

Make Me a Match: Austentatious (2015)

So I have been seeing everywhere, “use this time to do things you have put off.” “I’ve done so many things I have been putting off.” Etc. So I have decided it is time to take care of something I have been putting off…

OH NO!

So if you have been following me you know that I hate this show.  I really, really do not like this show or how they portray the characters. But I started it, so I’ve got to finish it.

So Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. But they don’t involve ANY Austen plots or subplots. In fact besides names they hardly share anything with the original source material.

 

Elinor and Edward were working together (she works for an accounting firm he is IRS) and get a flat then they bleh-IRS, Accountant, IRS, accountant, IRS, accountant, statistics, bills, blah blah blah blah blah.

Collin, their creepy neighbor, is trying to get with Elizabeth-even pretending he is looking for a house. Meanwhile, Darcy is absolutely horrible to Elizabeth-like there is no coming back from him.

Marianne did not that much, she worked at the smoothie shop-Emma didn’t really do much than be a friend.

Here we go…

At Marianne’s smoothie shop, the gang is all gathered together. Elizabeth has just gotten acrylics and can’t type or call. So complains how heavy they make her feel- like her knuckles drag on ground. What even is this plot?

Emma is bored and upset that they won’t let her set them up on a date. Where does she even know all these men, I never see her interact with anyone?

Hmmm…

Elizabeth, Elinor, and Grant (Mr. Knightley) want to set Emma up on a date as they want payback for all the awful dates she set them on.

Marianne is called over and they all exclaim that she is blue-I think she is a bit more purple, but she does look like Violet in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Knightley decides to call a doctor friend to check on Marianne, and I can’t believe she can’t see how purple she is with how much they say she spends in front of the mirror.

What the heck?

They agree to do Elizabeth’s match first, than Elinor, and then Grant (Knightley). After her date, Emma mets up with Elizabeth angry as her date was awful. She went on a date with a guy who dressed up like the genie and wants to boogie, taking her on a bicycle built for two.

Where did Elizabeth even meet this guy?

What is this?

It took three hours to get there, and all I can think is he must be in really good physical shape to bike the two of them 3 hours.

Wow!

Marianne makes cinnamon rolls, but she is still purple. Like this the dumbest thing ever-how can she not see that she is PURPLE!!!!

Elinor goes to see Emma after her set up date and they went to a drive-in movie and the truck has an emergency bunker. Too be honest-he doesn’t seem that bad to be super prepared as he would be doing really well right now. He went on about Jenny his ex-girlfriend which is a major no. But on a whole, he’s not that bad.

Emma is harshing on him for not liking the movie, but I’m with him. The romantic lead does not sound good, in fact this movie sounds bad to me.

Grant (Knightley) goes to the smoothie shop to see a still-purple Marianne, and brings Brandon [Colonel Brandon] a nurse. Why do they always put him in the medical field? And if they are going to do that, why not give him the background of a soldier?

Grant brings Brandon in, his basketball buddy. Brandon quizzes Marianne in public and right in front of Grant (Knightly) which to me I think is kinda rude.

Grant bows out and gets a call from Emma. She goes out on an ice fishing date, although the guy is wearing shorts in the snow? What? He goes by Stinky as that is how he smells. So all I can think is, where do they live? What state? What city?

Like, where did her friends find these guys? Seriously, Collin would be a better choice.

Back at the smoothie shop they are quizzing Brandon about being a nurse over doctor and he said he didn’t want to continue school as he wanted to help people now. You know guys, he also might not have had the money and or the grades. Like be respectful of the man’s feelings don’t embarrass him.

So meanwhile, Liz’s whole storyline is “I can’t handle acrylic nails.” Really?

Seriously…?

Ugh.

Ugh, not again…

This show is so dumb.

Brandon likes Marianne and asks about her, and Grant is like I don’t know more about her symptoms. Haha, an actually funny joke.

Emma is still on the date from hell, ice fishing with the stinky guy trying to feel her up and has a gun to shoot fish. Like who would really do that, and a grenade?-seriously you wouldn’t catch anything.

Grant comes in to apologize and gives Emma a massage…hmmm. Well gee Emma giant clues in your face.

Emma swears off set ups unless asked, yea right-we will see how long that lasts.

Marianne is no longer blue, and it turns out she never washed her new midnight blue sheets-that’s why she has been so blue.

And that’s the end. What the heck is this show.

Like, every time I watch this show I regret my review of The Jane Austen Academy as after watching an episode of this-all I can think is that book was immensely astronomically better at putting the stories of Jane Austen all together in a modern setting. I know it isn’t easy but seriously what does any of this that I just watched have to do with Jane Austen??!!!

Thank goodness I’m almost done. This only lasted for one season and it is easy to see why.

For more Austentatious, go to Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

For more Emma, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

So I was on instagram, like always these days, and someone shared in their stories that Streaming Musicals was going to do a free live streaming film premiere of the new production of Pride and Prejudice: A New Musical. 

Or watch it!

I had seen it shared on facebook, I even shared it myself, but hadn’t really decided if I was going to watch it or not. However, after seeing everyone sharing about how much they enjoyed the virtual tea conference that occurred the day before, and that I couldn’t go to as I’m still going into work, I was like I’m not missing out again-I’m watching it.

I love musicals, in fact I studied drama in high school and attended a college prep/art school.

My senior project for my drama class was we had to find a musical, budget it, design costumes, set, etc-and create a look book with our findings. I of course being a Jane Austen fan actually chose a Pride and Prejudice musical, although that one was called, First ImpressionsSo not only did I want to see this because I love Jane Austen, but I was excited to see how this compared to the 1959 musical.

Hmmm…

So at 7 o’clock PST I got my pot of tea, computer, notebook, and sat down to watch.

The actual production was performed and filmed at Palo Alto’s TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley, where it ran December 4-January 4. Book, music, and lyrics were written by Paul Gordon, and of course Jane Austen.

It was really interesting watching it this way. I know I appreciated it as I may live in California but that does’t mean I have the time or money to see it live, so even though COVID-19 is a serious downer, I’m thankful it gave someone like me this chance to be a part and view this musical.

Hosts:

Before the production started we were hosted by three ladies, who unfortunately I only have two names, Beth Leavel and Julie James. They gave a little preshow talk, but I didn’t think it was as well done as Hillari DeSchane’s talk before the Mansfield Park Opera. I guess they thought that most people would already know the story, but I still think it would have been wise to have a quick summary of the book, the time period, and place for anyone who didn’t.

Hmm…

One lady described the summary of Pride and Prejudice as being a boy is rude to a girl, tries to ask her out and she refuses, but then she finds out he is rich and wants to be with him.

What are you talking about?

That really bothered me as it is 100% inaccurate. They knew from the beginning he was rich, richer than Mr. Bingley in fact, and it wasn’t seeing the house that changed her mind so much as seeing how he acted at Pemberley and how the servants praised him.

But they did have very high energy though, and when they returned at intermission they hosted the question and answer session better.

Quick Summary:

The story is really about a mother who wants to marry her five daughters as she constantly worries that her husband will die and leave her and her daughters with little to live on (her husband’s estate is entailed and neither person was very good at saving). She tries to match them up with any eligible men whether or not they want it.

 Netherfield Park is let and with it comes single and wealthy Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Mr. Bingley falls for the eldest daughter, Jane Bennet, and she falls for him. No ones tries to win Mr. Darcy as though he is rich, he is very proud looking. Elizabeth overhears him make a unflattering remark about her and she is extremely angry.

Her sister goes to visit Mr. Bingley’s sister, Miss Caroline Bingley, and grows ill after being caught out in the rain. Elizabeth goes to stay and take care of her sister, also spending time with the Bingleys and Mr. Darcy.

Later, Elizabeth meets a man, Mr. Wickham, who says he grew up with Mr. Darcy and shares how Darcy kept his inheritance, forcing Wickham to join the military instead of the church. Elizabeth is pleased to have another reason to dislike Darcy, besides her wounded pride, and Wickham spreads the story throughout the community.

Mr. Bennet’s cousin Mr. Collins, who will inherit their home, comes to visit and plans to ask one of the Bennet girls to marry him. Mr. Bingley holds a ball, and Elizabeth hopes to dance with Mr. Wickham, but he doesn’t come and she ends up dancing with Mr. Darcy. Her siblings also are very embarrassing and her mother.

So embarrassed

Mr. Collins asks Elizabeth to marry him, and she refuses him. He becomes hurt and angry and instead marries her best friend Charlotte Lucas. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley leave with no engagement to Jane. Later Elizabeth visits Charlotte and meets Mr. Darcy’s aunt and Mr. Collins patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. There she discovers from Mr. Darcy’s cousin that Darcy was the one who convinced Bingley not to ask Jane to marry him. Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to marry him, which surprises her and she refuses him.

Later Mr. Darcy gives Elizabeth a letter in which he shares why he encouraged his friend to refuse Jane and the true story of what happened with Mr. Wickham, that he spent his inheritance and when Darcy refused to give him more, Wickham goes after his fifteen year old sister. She knows this is true as what he shares is something no one would want to ever come to light. But after reading the letter, Elizabeth is even more confused. How could she be such a bad judge of character? She and her aunt and uncle Gardiner take a walking tour and stop at Pemberley, where they are surprised by Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth sees another side of him.

But then her younger sister, Lydia, makes a disastrous mistake by running off with Mr. Wickham. Will this destroy her family? Will this end her chance with Mr. Darcy?

Costumes:

The one costume I didn’t like was Elizabeth’s outfit.

From left to right: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Mr. Collins, Kitty, and Lydia.

So I really like the 1800s, especially the West, and one thing I read years ago that has never left my mind is that one way to tell if a Western film is accurate or not is whether or not the cowboys wear suspenders or belts. Belt loops were not created until the 1920s (for men and women), cowboys/cowpokes copyed the Chilean huaso of wearing sashes or suspenders. Some people wore belts, like soldiers, but they were often more ornamental and overlaid outfits not sitting in belt loops. So all I could do was look at this skirt and see those belt loops which were completely inaccurate to the time period. It probably was just an oversight by the costume designer, and I don’t know if anyone else noticed it, but I didn’t like it.

Although I do like the way they did her quick changes. Elizabeth is in every scene and wears the same outfit throughout the whole first act, but with other scenes adds a ribbon at her waist, a vest, and a jacket. I liked this as I had the same idea when I did my project although I did not care for the vest the put her in as it did not match.

Elizabeth Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, Mr. Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas.

But I love what she wears in the second act. That dress was so cute!

I lovd Mr. Darcy’s costumes, but you know me:

This should say breeches instead of pants, but I didn’t write this so it gets a pass. It was an instagram answer from a question I asked my followers.

But enough about that, let’s move on to the musical.

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act I

The style of music reminded me a lot of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s choice with Jesus Christ Super Star. In that production we have an ancient text juxtaposed with rock songs, while in this we have a regency story paired with pop. I really enjoyed it and the music as I think they captured the heart of the novel and were extremely enjoyable. Many of them I could see purchasing and downloading and listening to over and over again.

So I wish I had a book to go off, but I don’t so I don’t know what every song is called. But we start off the musical with Elizabeth Bennet (Mary Mattison) quoting the first line of Pride and Prejudice:

Then she and Charlotte Lucas then sing about “happiness in marriage.” In this Elizabeth isn’t looking for a man, in fact she has a strong leave me alone vibe, while Charlotte (played by Dani Marcus) was spot on in counseling her. I felt Marcus completely captured the character of Charlotte Lucas.

I really enjoyed Mattison’s singing and I think she did a wonderful job with the character of Elizabeth, although Gordon did make a few changes to Elizabeth. As said above, Elizabeth doesn’t want to get married and she doesn’t want a man (which isn’t what happens in the book as in the novel she isn’t against marriage, but just isn’t throwing herself at men nor is she interested in Mr. Collins.) In fact this sentiment is more similar to Emma Woodhouse..

At first I was a little upset at the change, but as I continued watching the musical I think it served well to enforce Elizabeth’s headstrong and stubborn side. Elizabeth believes what she wants and won’t listen to others, like Charlotte. Having her be so staunch in her beliefs mimics the way she acts about Darcy, believing Mr. Wickham and never considering there could be another side to the story, or thinking about the fact she believes this man with no proof. My interpretation of this was that one should be film in their beliefs, but at the same time not let their headstrong or stubborn ways blind them. In the end Elizabeth acknowledges that it is not a truth universally acknowledged that a man with fortune is in want of a wife or that every woman wants to marry, but to keep your heart open.

Elizabeth is also the narrator of the musical, and introduces her family-her father Mr. Bennet, mother Mrs. Bennet, and four sisters-Jane, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia. I also enjoyed the tizzy Mrs. Bennet is constantly in as she worries over their future and felt that Heather Orth truly captured the character-and Gordon was perfect in the lines he gave her.

“Mrs. Bennet: None of my five daughters will be old maids if I can help it…even you Mary.

I also enjoyed Tara Kostmayer’s portrayal of Lydia as silly, flirty, and needing to be the center of attention. And Gordon summed up her character very nicely in this:

“Elizabeth Bennet: Lydia is just 15.

Jane Bennet: Going on 25.

Mr. Bennet: In all but wisdom.”

I also loved Melissa Wolfklain as Mary Bennet. She was just so droll and perfect.

Elizabeth sings a song about being headstrong that I enjoyed, but the whole time I kept thinking of Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong GirlIf you need something new to read you should definitely check it out.

So after being introduced to the Bennet family we have the ball where we meet Mr. Bingley (Travis Leland), Miss Caroline Bingley (Monique Hafen Adams), and Mr. Darcy (Justin Mortelliti). I really liked the way Gordon and the actors interpreted these characters. Mr. Bingley is extremely tongue-tied and often has trouble relaying how he feels relying heavily on Darcy. This worked well to show why Darcy feels the need to protect his sweet, friend (treating him very similar to how he treats Georgiana) and why Bingley so heavily values on Darcy’s judgement over his own.

Bingley and Jane sing a song about their love and it is so cute. They both sing about how they like each other and want to tell each other, but when they try to talk they are too tongue tied and say hardly anything. It was absolutely adorable and both Leland as Bingley and Sharon Rietkerk as Jane Bennet were just perfect. I think this song really captured what Austen wrote:

“…in spite of his [Mr. Bingley] being a lover, Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her [Jane] and himself [Mr. Bingly].”

-Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 55

Adams as Caroline was also perfect as she was just the right amount of mean and snobby-she made the friendliest words sound like a slap in the face. Leland and Adams worked well off each other as Mr. and Miss Bingley. They were like two sides of the same coin-he geniality, kindness, optimism, glee; she rude, snobby, sarcastic, and cold.

“Mr. Bingley: I’m enjoying myself immensely.

Caroline Bingley: Yes brother, but that’s why you have me.”

But out of all the characters, my favorite was Mortelliti as Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, and Miss Bingley.

One thing I really, really enjoyed about this musical was while it is narrated and told from Elizabeth, every song that Mr. Darcy has gives us a view into who he is. I think this worked for this medium as a musical and stage production you aren’t given the time and subtly a movie has as you can’t concentrate on something small, but have to make sure that no matter the seats they can witness what is happening. With having the songs show Darcy’s point of view and feelings alongside Elizabeth’s it works in with the themes of first impressions/pride and prejudice, and gives it a kind of his story/her story dynamic.

I really enjoyed this interpretation because even though we see how Darcy feels about Elizabeth throughout, it doesn’t take away from what Austen wrote and the realizations they have after the proposal and his letter (Darcy seeing how he presents himself and that he’s not right about everything [Jane + Bingley], and his decision to change; nor does it take away from Elizabeth realizing that she is not right about everything [Wickham + Darcy] and that she was judgmental because she was wounded, she changing as well.) Having Darcy’s songs just allows us see the two character’s journeys from the beginning. The title of the musical is a “new” musical so it seems fitting for Gordon to try a different interpretation.

Mr. Darcy’s first song is about being separated from the others, about keeping away from these people and to not fall for anyone. It is really interesting as the words are juxtapositioned with a soft melody, one that could easily be a love song. I personally believe that when Mr. Darcy made that comment about Elizabeth being not tolerable enough for him it was more trying to get Bingley to leave him alone as he didn’t want to dance or be there. Then later when she visits her sister, he pays attention to her and likes her-not realizing she heard his earlier comment. But this particular song and the music almost sounds to me as if Gordon is saying he did see her and is trying to convince himself to stay away, the melody being a seed of romance, the not tolerable being him trying to convince himself to not like. It is an interesting point and feel free to comment below what you think.

After Jane visits and grows ill, Elizabeth comes to stay and help. One of the best scenes was the accomplished woman and the turn about the room scene. In this Mortelliti did some brooding, but when he mentions their reasons for walking about he says it more flirtatious. We then have Caroline trying to bully Elizabeth and have Darcy find her boring. After Darcy shares his idea of an accomplished lady he says this while looking right at Elizabeth:

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

It is hilarious how Elizabeth drops the book like it is on fire and immediately takes it as a negative.

And of course spending this time with Elizabeth Darcy has fallen for her. He sings a song about it and I loved when he belted out how much he was in love with her. I also really loved this line:

“Oh dear God…must I like her eyes. Oh, I’m in so much trouble.

I like your eyes and d***it,  it’s alarming.”

I thought this perfectly captured how much he didn’t want to like her, it was the foundation of his future proposal, and I just all around enjoyed this song, best song so far.

Mr. Collins is introduced and Brian Herndon was fantastically pompous. He just was just so ugh-there aren’t any other words to describe him. And in my book if you don’t feel ugh when you see a portrayal of Mr. Collins than they are not doing it right. His song is just so awfully perfect as he sings about the sisters being this abundance of riches, Mary and Kitty’s face express exactly how I felt listening to it.

From left to right: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Mr. Collins, Kitty, and Lydia.

This song and the acting was great, but the person who stole the stage in it again was Melissa Wolfklain as Mary Bennet. There is a part where they sing Mary should be the one and her face is like Lord please, no anything but that-I’ll join a convent, I’ll go help lepers, just please no Mr. Collins. And later she uses a book to try and shield herself from his view.

Later the girls are out and run into Lydia and Kitty’s friends, Captain Denny (Sean Fenton) and a new face Mr. Wickham (Taylor Crousore). Everyone is pleased to run into the handsome and genial men…except Mary. In her droll and moralizing tone she states:

“Mary Bennet: I find war to be very upsetting.”

Melissa Wolfklain seriously just killed it as Mary Bennet. She was hilarious and perfect.

Mr. Darcy comes upon them and I love the staging of him and Wickham. Both on opposite sides and staring each other down like two gunslingers. With Bingley in the middle.

Mr. Bingley tries to flirt with Jane and instead it comes out horribley

“Mr. Bingley: Good afternoon Miss Bennet. You look…thirsty.

Jane Bennet: [Confused but really likes Mr. Bingley]…I am thirsty.”

They end up leaving Mr. Wickham and Elizabeth together and Mr. Wckham shares about Mr. Darcy being cruel to him. I liked Crousore’s and Gordon’s interpretation and how Wickham tests the waters with Elizabeth, feeling out what Elizabeth thinks of Darcy, and after hearing she can’t stand him then promptly upends his sob story. He sings a ballad about how he’d been wronged, (with the perfect level of pretend humbleness and smaryness) and his heartbreak to know being forced to live the life of a soldier instead of a clergyman. I really liked this line:

“I speak my truth to you”

Key word there my, my truth as in I’m lying.

The ball at Netherfield comes and Elizabeth is disappointed to be dancing with Darcy rather than Wickham. I really enjoyed the interaction between the two as Darcy is trying so, so, so, so, hard to flirt with her but everything he says Elizabeth takes as an insult. It was hilarious as he not overt in his attentions, but you can tell he is trying to compliment her but each time Elizabeth assumes he is making fun of her.

Again I really enjoy how much time we spend with Darcy and him sharing how he feels. It works really well in this format and makes a stronger show. Plus I like that they are trying to distinguish it from other adaptions, along with keeping pieces that people love from the previous ones.

After the ball Mr. Collins tries to propose to Elizabeth and when she hears he wants to have a private word with her I love how she immediately picks up a cup of tea. She’s all-I need tea if I’m gonna get through this.

The two sing a song with Mr.Collins going on about his proposal completely ignoring Elizabeth’s refusals. She rebuttals with the perfect blend of anger and good manners, and I like her final shove at the end that helps her words get through his head.

After that Mr. Collins marries Charlotte and the  Bingleys & Darcy leave Netherfield.  Elizabeth tries to comfort Jane, but Jane insists that that Mr. Bingley was just an acquaintance and she is fine.  Jane’s song is the perfect mix of beatiful and sad as she tries to convince herself she doesn’t love him but isn’t fooling anyone as in every note we can feel the heartbreak. It was a fantastic performance.

We then find ourselves with the Collins, Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Bingley at Lady Catherine’s home. Now I know why they were there as I’ve read the book, but it was a bit weird they didn’t have an introduction as to who she was or why Elizabeth was visting. However, my thoughts didn’t rest on that long as Lucinda Hitchcock Cone was perfect as Lady Catherine as she was just relentless in grilling Elizabeth. I really enjoyed how Mortelilti as Darcy has a smirk the whole time, as if he was just enjoying watching Elizabeth hold her own against Lady Catherine. Mr. Bingley just looks uncomfortable and as if he wants to leave, but is afraid to as Lady Catherine might turn on him, just trying to blend into the furniture.

In this Colonel Fitzwilliam is not Darcy’s cousin but is introduced as his friend, why the change I don’t know.

Oh, well.

Lady Catherine sings her song and it is one of the most egotistical songs I have heard, like levels of Ratigan’s song in The Great Mouse Detective or Gaston’s in Beauty and the Beast.

Elizabeth Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, Mr. Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas.

I love how Elizabeth and Lady Catherine share that same stare of Death that Darcy and Wickham did earlier when they do a song battle:

And right in the middle of their “song battle” Mr. Darcy laughs and all pause and stare daggers at him.

I should not have laughed.

Later Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam are talking and he relays that Mr. Darcy is the reason Bingley left and didn’t propose to Jane. She is furious and sings a song about what kind of man could do this-but every trait and action she uses to describe Darcy perfectly applies to how she has been toward Darcy. This was very interesting as I’ve never thought of them as being the same, but in this production they are quite similar in their personality and the way they are perceived by others; except Elizabeth is a extrovert while Darcy an introvert.

Hmmm…

Darcy of course doesn’t hear her song and thinks it is the perfect time to propose, and again the comedic timing in this is just perfect. And while we are not surprised at Darcy’s feelings I love how both he and Elizabeth are

“Mr. Darcy: “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Elizabeth: [Completely shocked] You do?

Mr. Darcy: [Utterly baffled] I do?!

I could not stop laughing, that is comedic gold. Neither one can figure it out and he is so flabbergasted when proposing.Elizabeth of course objects and I love how he continues to be baffled and confused at her statements

Then Morteletti as Darcy sings and I loved this song. Morteletti gave it the perfect blend of anger, pain, and heartbreak. He runs the gamut of emotions. He has a great voice and every time he sings Miss Bennet you can just feel his heartache as he holds the note. Elizabeth is on the other side of the stage and sings as well, and you can feel their anguish. I know some people might find it as a cliche but I am a sucker for things like that.

End Act I

Intermission:

With intermission I put my kettle on the stove,

Got the snacks…and settled down to listen to the talk with the cast and Paul Gordon.

So they had a few questions for the cast and crew and it was really interesting to see them this way as you saw a view into their home.

Paul Gordon shared that he read Pride and Prejudice and watched many film adaptions before he wrote the musical. He said that instead of doing how he did with other Austen musicals, he decides to write the songs the way he felt, and that’s why they came out more pop-like.

One question to Taylor Crousore struck me as strange, as they asked him how it felt to play “Mr. Wickham, a very misunderstood character.”

Huh?

I don’t think Wickham is misunderstood, I think he is extremely clear in what he does and wants. Crousore, however, brought up an excellent point about the character. He shared how crucial Wickham is to the story, I mean he is the reason why Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy is so high, but also the reason she realizes she was wrong about him, and in the end he brings them back together. Without him Elizabeth probably would have forgiven Darcy sooner and might not have refused him when he proposed-but then on the flip side without Wickhim, she and Darcy might not have gotten together. We will never know!

I didn’t take as much notes on intermission as I was getting the tea + snacks ready, and before I knew it, it was time for the second act.

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act II

We start off with Darcy giving Elizabeth his letter, having had to write his feelings down as he wasn’t able to say it. Aw, poor Darcy.

I really enjoyed this scene as Elizabeth reads it angry and talking back to Darcy’s words, only to stop when she gets to why Darcy doesn’t like Wickham. It was done extremely well as Elizabeth is hurt and angry over what happened with her beloved sister Jane and Wickham, but then she softens when Darcy talks of his beloved sister.

Darcy’s song made me think of an ’80s power ballad, about his sister and the part when he belts out “she was fifteen”, you can really hear his heartbreak. Mortelliti was perfect in this as you could feel the love he had for his sister, the guilt he has for not protecting her better, and the anguish he shares over someone hurting his sister that he raised as a daughter (they are many years apart and his dad died when she was so young).

I’m crying!

I loved the duality of the song as Darcy sings softly, still in love with Elizabeth while Elizabeth is loud and harsh as she is angry-but then she softens when she reads of Darcy’s sister.

Elizabeth returns home and learns of Lydia’s plans of going off to Brighton. Jane has a song that she sings as they share each other’s news and their relationship is so adorable. I like how Elizabeth protects her sister, mimicking how Darcy protects his.

Before Lydia and the soldiers leave, Wickham and Denny stop by and say goodbye. I loved the exchange between Elizabth and Wickham as she lets him know she knows the truth and won’t take any of his charm. Wickham is so baffled as what to say or do, he ultimately just leaves. Hilarious!

Elizabeth is invited to go on a walking tour with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and they end up at Pemberley, which gets its own song. I’m glad it does as it needed to and if it hadn’t I would be solely disappointed.

“Cast: Pemberley we love you tenderly.”

I’m so happy they said that this would be on the site forever. Then all of you who missed it can have another chance to watch, or rewatch it.

Elizabeth listens to the  servants talk about Darcy, and that combined with the letter leaves her puzzled as to who is Darcy. I really enjoyed this song, as I did with all of them and I encourage you to purchase them and sing while quarantined.

As Elizabeth sings Darcy coms up behind her, surprising her. It is such a cute scene I wish I had been fast enough to screenshot it.

Elizabeth is embarrassed to be there as they didn’t realize that he was coming home.

“Mr. Darcy: I find the intrusion rather agreeable.”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhh!!!!!! He is so cute!

So while this Darcy isn’t as broody as other depictions, you still see a change in him as he realized how he was being seen by others and becomes much more open. It is amazing what a difference in body language, and looking back there were sublte difference throughout the musical in every scene with him. They are so cute together, *Swoon*. 

How sweet!

He introduces Elizabeth to his sister Georgiana, and it is so adorable.

“Georgiana Darcy: It is a pleasure to meet you. My brother speaks of you so often!

Elizabeth Darcy: [Surprised] Does he?

Mr. Darcy [Definitely] He does!”

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! So cute!

How sweet!

Miss Bingley is back and snobby and sarcastic as ever. Monique Hafen Adams, you are perfect at it. Mr. Bingley is there as well and it is so obvious he is trying to grill her about any news of Jane.

Darcy was just so perfect- I gushed so much while I was watching this scene that I accidentally wrote over what I wrote and I now cannot decipher it, except that Justin Mortelliti and Paul Gordon did this perfectly and I think Jane Austen would be proud.

Elizabeth receives Jane’s letter about Lydia and then Darcy finds out he is angry. I liked the way Mortelliti portrayed it and how you can see how upset he is and the guilt he feels-taking on the blame that another 15 year old and another family has to go through this. He quickly leaves, running off to find them.

But Elizabeth misunderstands it, thinking that it is directed at her, that he is ashamed and it is so sad as she has lost him. She has finally admitted it and realizes she does care for him and wants to be with him. It is a powerful song!

Back at home it is a mess. Mary tries to be helpful, but her moralizing is horrid and anything but soothing. Mrs. Bennet is going to pieces and if they had a play with just the two of them I would love it. They would be a screwball comedy team for sure.

Mr. Bennet returns:

“Mrs. Bennet: You look miserable.

Kitty: Papa always looks miserable.”

So usually in this scene Mr. Bennet threatens Kitty with no trips, no going out, being grounded until 50 years of age, etc. But instead of Chanel Tilghman playing Kitty as whining and throwing a tantrum at how unfair it is-Tilghman just looks at her father and laughs it off. I really loved that as Mr. Bennet is so curmudgeonly throughout the play that I could see her not taking him serious, much better than her wailing.

Lydia returns with Wickham and he tells everyone about how wonderful and happy he is to be married. Wow, Crousore is a talented actor, I almost believed him. He is so smarmy and slimy I just want to punch him in the face, perfect! In my book you are not a good Wickham unless you make me want to sock you.

Lydia let’s it slip that Darcy was at the wedding, and Elizabeth is further puzzled. Who is Darcy? She was so sure who she knew his character, but now she does not know. She muses over what Lydia said…

“Elizabeth Bennet: [Singing] And he didn’t want it known…”

You know, that speaks really well of a person’s character when they do something extremely kind and don’t want it known. Darcy didn’t want to do this for Lydia he wanted to do it for Elizabeth and he never wanted her to know, he never wanted her to think he was trying to bribe her affections, or buy them back.

“Elizabeth Bennet: Is it too late to tell you…”

Aw, so heartbreakingly sad. So perfect!

Bingley returns and all pretend they don’t care but the do. I can see pieces of the other films in this, such as the hustle and bustle they have when Bingley is coming is like Pride and Prejudice (2005).

Mr. Bingley is so shy and tongue twisted, you once again see why Mr. Darcy wants to help him and protect him. He sings about how much he loves Jane and it is just so gosh darn adorable. Now if only you could just tell her that.

He and Darcy leave, but then Bingley gets his strength back and returns.

“Jane Bennet: Wonderful to see you again and so soon…after your last visit.”

Aw, they are so cute!!!

Come on Bingley!!! Just say it already!

And then he does! He finally sings all his feelings!! Yay! Aw, so cute!!!

After that happiness we have the horror. The carriage is coming…DUN, DUN, DUN! Lady Catherine!

She and Elizabeth have another song battle and every word that comes out of Lady Catherine is dripping with disdain. Elizabeth’s song is a verbal beatdown of Lady C. and it was perfect.

The interaction after this of Darcy and Elizabeth is one of my favorites, Darcy is practicing what to say to Elizabeth, and it is soooooo cute. It is the scene I have always wanted and ever realized it.

When he and Elizabeth have a chance to talk and he hears that her feelings have changed, oh the hope in his voice. I love it!!! My favorite part is they are seprated by a stream and Darcy moves to her…

But then he waits, letting Elizabeth make the final step-everything is in her court, he doesn’t want to push her, he doesn’t want to influence her, he wants her to decide based on her heart and feelings. And when she moves in they kiss! So cute and their song! So adorable! So romantic. He waits for her to take the “leap” to him ad then after they cross over together.

Soooo cute!!!!

And they take the leap over the stream together! Awwwwwwww! It was so adorable and gosh darn romantic and aw! Aw! I LOVE IT!

At the end we have a review of the couples as as it ends I’m sad it is over.

So I just LOVED it! I thought it was amazing and cute and adorable! The music was fantastic and I think you all should watch it if you haven’t, and if you have-it is definitely worth another rewatch. Go here to watch it.

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

For more Jane Austen stage productions, go to Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part I, The Regency

Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious (2015)

OH NO!

It’s Back!!!

The dreaded TV show I can’t stand:

Ugh-Austentatious (2015)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Yes, I really, really do not like this show or how they portray the characters. But I started it, so I’ve got to finish it.

So Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. In the last episode Marianne was trying to find a job, but kind of sucked, although she did manage to be a smoothie barista.

Elizabeth went on a date with a guy and was crazily obsessing over it:

Going mad!

And they held a Girl’s Night/Mouse Killing Night:

I know…I have no clue what the writer’s were thinking.

I just…This is dumb! This is a dumb show!! Who wrote this? Who??? What were they thinking???!! Argh! Why did I ever watch this??!! NOw I have to finish!!!

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHH!!!!!!

This episode is called Drive Me Crazy and Amazon says the air date is DECEMBER 30TH 1899. 1899? Did we just time travel?

Time to go back…

This show does drive me crazy, like Norman Bates crazy.

We all go a little mad sometimes.

Is that too mean? I’m not trying to be a jerk but I hate this show. I can’t believe the episodes are only 22 mins, they feel so much longer. It feels like hours of my life is being sucked away in watching this.

Ugh! Really!

Anyways here we go-ready or not.

Pass on it!

We start off with a tired Marianne making a mess in the kitchen-food is everywhere but Elinor doesn’t care.

Crazy control freak Monk level of obsession Elinor does’t care about the messy hours-OMG she’s been abducted by aliens, joined a cult, is a zombie!!!! It has to be one of those things…or love. She could be in love as that is the extremely cliche way most TV will depict “love”.

Thats not right!

Yep, Edward is meeting with her-her dream man.

With her books

Collin approaches Elinor trying to reach Lizzie as he wants to date her. Elinor tries to dissuade him, but no dice. He’s after his prey.

In the lobby of their apartment I can’t help but see a GIANT sign that says no lifeguard on duty. Like what? Even if the apartment has a pool there is no way they would have that posted in the foyer unless there is a pool in the foyer. Like that is one of the weirdest randomest things in this show.

What the heck?

Lizzie goes to see Emma and is trying to avoid Darcy as he keeps calling and texting and emailing her about houses. Darcy is a total jerk in this, telling her what to do. Ugh I hate him.

I know what I said=BELIEVE ME you would understand if you watched this show. They make him utterly terrible!!!! I hate this!!!!!!

Elinor and Edward are traveling to the country to visit with an old lady who hasn’t filed her taxes for the last few years. Like the background is weird as it ranges from lush green to dry desert. Where are they? Behind them is green, but the sides are all arid and dry. I kinda tuned out what Elinor and Edward were saying as I couldn’t stop looking at the background. I don’t know. Does it really matter?

Darcy stalks Elizabeth down the street and calls her name. He’s a jerk and buys her a hotdog when she tries to explain that she is in the middle of closing a house. UGH!!!!!

Elinor and Edward are driving for a long time and talking. Elinor tells Edward how she decided on accounting because it was a safe choice- but then they get a flat and have to pull over.

They are in lush fields and trees, where are they? What happened to the dry and arid area?

This is ELINOR!! Don’t tell me the way they have been building Elinor’s character yeah right-she’d have five spare tires!

Darcy stops being quite so jerky and admits that the house he’s looking for is a gift for a certain woman who plays piano-not mom or girlfriend. Obviously Georgiana.

Flashback to Elinor and Edward-they have to walk to the city they passed-so where were they and where were they going if they were passing through another city?

Hmmm…

Elinor goes on and on about how nice Edward is-He shares a little about his company and that his family has a company in telecommunications, interesting choice.

Hmm…

Darcy and Elizabeth make some headway but are interrupted by Collin who sits right between them on the bench to try and ask Lizzie out. How did he find her? She’s not at home? Or at work? She’s in a random park! Creepy!!

Colin creepily hits on her and tries to feel her up, but Darcy interjects and walks off with Elizabeth. It stops Collin…for now.

Flash to E& E walking and talking and being boring. Bleh-IRS, Accountant, IRS, accountant, IRS, accountant, statistics, bills, blah blah blah blah blah.

Blah, blah

I need to mop my floors. Like that is legit more interesting to me than this.

Elizabeth meets with Emma at the smoothie shop and tells her about what happened. Darcy gets a kick out of Collin asking her out and can’t stop teasing her. Darcy drops that the house is a birthday gift for a girl next month so the house needs to be picked like NOW!

Darcy offers to pay the commission earlier, but Elizabeth gets offended and angry. She becomes extremely upset and shares her feelings with Emma. I don’t think what Darcy did was that bad, I think she’s overreacting.

I’m done

What’s Marianne been up to-she’s been out of the game this whole episode except the cereal eating.

Hmmm

Elizabeth keeps talking about Darcy and how he’s being rude or is he being nice? Meh!

Marianne enters and goes on break with Elinor coming in to share what happened and how great it was with Edward although their conversations are super boring.

Elinor does offer to make him her homemade lasagna. She then shares part of her power bar that she keeps in her purse! She-Miss Always Prepared has a power bar in her bag-she’d have more stuff in her car to fix the tire.

Edward notices that she has a blister and puts a band-aid on her foot. Cute, but all I can think is her feet probably smell.

Someone is running in the park? Oh it is Darcy and Collin just happened to find him?! What? HOw? Weird.

Collin is super super creepy-like psychopath horror film creepy. Watch out Lizzie-“we are meant to be together”-he wants to be like creepy Ted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and enslave you in his home or something.

Yay! That’s the end of the episode. Although that was a super creepy ending.

He’s watching her…

How many more will I have to watch until it is over???? Let me check…

Yay!!!! Only four more left!! Woohoo!!! I’ve been doing an episode a month but skipped September, October, and now we are in November-so if I catch up with those and the do one for December I should hopefully finish before the new year!!!

But then if I do that, what Austen TV show should I review every month? Hmm….? I guess I’ll have to think about it. All I an say is YAY!!!!! Almost done!!! Woohooo!!!

For more Austentatious, go to Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

For more Emma, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: And Only to Deceive

So this is something I started a while back. Sometimes you want more Austen books after you have read all her books. There are variations on her stories, but you don’t always want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read or watch?

Hmm…

That’s why I started this series. I will review books that have the things we love about the Austen novels, but in something fresher than a retelling.

And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily Mysteries #1) by Tasha Alexander

Lady Emily is a widow.

But she isn’t sad as she never loved her husband.

What?

Emily Ashton is an only daughter and all her life her mother has been plotting and planning and maneuvering, etc to get her daughter married off to a wealthy and eligible bachelor.

Emily chose Viscount Phillip Ashton for three reason:

  1. He seemed less chauvinistic than most men
  2. He appears to be someone she could live
  3. By marrying she would be free of her mother

Phillip was interested in pursuing her, was ecstatic at capturing his quarry, and not long after they married went on a big game hunt to Africa were he became sick and died.

Emily was actually happier after his death as:

  1. She didn’t really know her husband or spend time with him
  2. Was free of her mother
  3. Given freedom
  4. Has money
  5. Has large houses
  6. She had to absent from society for two years but that was okay as she didn’t really care for “society”.

Life was solitary but it wasn’t bad.

However, everything changed when her husband’s best friend came to visit after a year and a half. Mr. Colin Hargreaves came to speak to Emily about her Greek villa-all is in order, and she is free to go there anytime, just let him know and he will arrange the trip for her, Kallista.

Emily is completely surprised as her husband never said any such thing about villas and he never called her Kallista.

What?

Emily is baffled by this and even more when her butler let’s her know that he fired a footman who was digging in her late husband’s desk. She starts looking to see if anything is missing, although how would she know as she has never been in there really, and discovers a threatening note.

What the heck?

This is just the firsts in a series of instances that makes Emily realize she knew very little, if anything, about her husband. It turns out that he was an avid collector or Greek art and throughly knowledgeable of it and Greek history.

She also finds his journals and reads about his love for her (in incredibly sweet journal entries).

So cute!!

Emily’s interest is piqued and she begins reading Homer’s The Odyssey and researching into Greek art and mythology.

She discovers more things do not add up and that her husband was caught up in a fake antiquary ring. Could it be that he was duped, with all his knowledge and expertise? Or was he the ringleader?

Hmmm…

Emily cannot believe the later, as she reads her husband’s journals, she starts to fall in love with him, and remembers the wonderful and romantic gestures he would do, but took for granted at the time.

Emily isn’t sure who to trust, besides her old friend Ivy and new friend Lady Cécile du Lac. Colin Hagreaves spends a lot of time around her, and then she discovers that he has been watching her. Why? Could he be the ringleader?

Hmm…

Emily meets another friend of her late husband, Andrew Palmer. Andrew is fun, light, sarcastic, and likes to party and go out. He gives Emily a lot of attention and she enjoys it, as anyone who has been sent to the sidelines would. He is from noble stock, but no money. Could he be after her wealth, or is he really interested in her?

Colin and Andrew were both on the hunting trip with her husband, could one of them have killed him?

Hmmm

Then Emily gets a note about her husband being alive! Is he a criminal hiding out? Or was he betrayed by a friend and desperately in need?

Hmm…?

Emily sets off a plan to Africa, and will she be happy with what she finds? Or is she heading into a trap?

Hmm…

I really enjoyed this mystery as I liked that Emily was an independent woman with a strong personality and ideas about what she wanted, but at the same time she was still a woman of her times. I hate when people write historical fiction and the people are so much a product of our time. It makes zero sense.

So why would an Austen fan enjoy this? Well first of all, Lady Emily’s mother could be Mrs. Bennet. Both are soooo similar in the way they try to maneuver and manipulate their daughters into getting a good match. Both are driven by fear-Mrs. Bennet of Mr. Bennet’s death and no home or income; and Emily’s mother fears that her daughter will grow old single and childless. Emily and her mother; along with Elizabeth and Mrs. Bennet-do not have a very good relationship.

The book has these wonderful journal etries of Phillip’s love and his pursuit of her.  I LOVE how we see the total love he has for her. Those scenes were to me, very reminiscent of Captain Wentworth’s letter of love-both extremely romantic.

One theme throughout the book is how we can see one view of a person and think we know them, when in reality we know nothing as to who they really are. With Emily-she believed her husband was a hunter and hunted her, she never took the time to see more of who he was, We see the same thing in Jane Austen from Marianne seeing Willoughby do a few “romantic things” to believing he had a completely different character: to Emma believing from the stories about Frank and his few letters that he was noble and true; to Elizabeth and everyone disliking Mr. Darcy and loving Wickham. All saw one side of a person and believed they knew his true character only to in the end be wrong as there was much more to this men that what was seen at first sight.

Emily, Colin, and Andrew Palmer all remind me of several Austen triangles. Emily meets Colin and at first thinks him kind and interesting, but after he tries to warn her off her investigating she becomes angry and dislikes him. Instead she gives all her attention to Andrew Palmer, a pretty party boy who has name but no cash. He flatters, imbibes, resists tradition, has fun-but isn’t an honest or upstanding man. He paints a bad picture of Colin, something Emily should be wary of as she hardly knows Andrew, while Colin and Phillip were friends since boyhood. It reminded me of Elizabeth not liking Mr. Darcy, and believing Wickham’s view of Darcy instead of Bingley.

A pretty party boy with no money-we see this in Willoughby, Wickham, and Frank Churchill. All men care about the dollars and any way to get them-and all are sarcastic, critical, full of laughs-but laughing at other’s expense.

Plus, our main character loves Jane Austen:

“Finally I [Lady Emily] happened upon a bookstall that had a ragged secondhand copy of Pride and Prejudice, which I promptly bought. Phillip, engaged in some business of some kind, did not accompany me. Back at the hotel, I showed him my purchase and settled in for a nice read. The next morning at breakfast, he presented me with a beautifully wrapped parcel containing a first edition of the book.” -pg 141

Sounds like my kind of gift!

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

For more book reviews, go to Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

For those of you who might have missed the last post, Rational Creatures is an anthology of short stories on the different women of Jane Austen:

But just not the main heroines-there are a few other side characters like Miss Bates-and of course a couple of bad girls like Mary Crawford and Mrs. Clay. Each story gives us a look at these rational creatures.

So far we have reviewed Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility with Self-Composed by Christina Morland and Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston & Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice in Happiness in Marriage by Amy D’Orazio and Charlotte’s Comfort by Joana Starnes. And I loved them!!!!

This one is on Emma

Emma is the story of a girl who has been mistress of her house and doted on by her father. After her governess marries (a match she believes she put together) she becomes bored and intends on trying her hand at matchmaking. She pygmalions Harriet Smith as she plans to set her up with the new minister. Things do not go according to plan as her matches do not take hold and her “creation” takes a life of her own.

Oh Emma, some people hate her-others love her. With adaptaions, it has been a toss up for me. Half of them I have enjoyed, while the other half I haven’t liked how they portrayed Emma or Mr. Knightley. Emma is an interesting character and it can be hard really difficult to grasp who she is at the heart.

Then I saw that we had a Miss Bates storyline. That deeply interested me as I haven’t read anything from her point of view-and I was interested in how her constant chatter was going to be interpreted.

And then we have Harriet Smith. Were they going to make her silly, lonely, desperate, hopeful, or naive?

Well, I can’t wait!

Knightley Discourses by Anngela Schroeder

So all the other stories thus far in the anthology have all started at some point in Jane Austen’s tale and then taken the author’s own flavor, twists, and turns. This is the first that takes the story in a completely new direction, years after the original Emma story ended.

So the book starts off similar to Emma‘s beginning, except we have an Emma Knightley who is now 36 years old. She has been mistress of Donwell Abbey and Hartfield, until her father passed away a year ago, in which her sister Isabella and brother-in-law John took over the estate.

She has been so busy managing the estates, her father, marriage, children, etc. But now she is in a state of restlessness. One estate managed by her sister and brother-in-law, opens a lot of extra time. The children are managed by a nanny, her husband spending more time with his brother-in-law who has moved back.

She is feeling a little lost when she spots something that makes her remember the picnic on Box Hill all those years ago, and decides to go to visit Miss Bates. While she is visiting, she hears news from Jane (Fairfax) Churchill, all news that Jane already wrote her and read-until Miss Bates gets in a flurry over Jane’s acquaintance with the Winthrops.

Emma has locked on to this and after bugginginterrogating…asking others, she discovers that there was the possibility of something between a Mr. Winthrop and Miss Bates. With the Winthrops planning on visiting, Emma starts thinking…

Mr. Knightley tries to get Emma to promise to leave the two alone and she doesn’t plan to, but also doesn’t promise she won’t.

Emma and Knightley also have a cute scene when they talk about their marriage and about poor Jane Churchill who’s marriage is not happy at all-what with Frank Churchill doing his own thing, being away, and caring only about himself.

Slight pause on the story…I think it is AMAZING how the stories are written by two different authors, but the Frank Churchill storyline in Dangerous to Know, goes perfect with this one. Where that story ends is right where we pick up on Jane and Frank’s marriage.

Emma visits Mrs. Weston who drops a bomb on her. Mrs. Weston met Miss Winthrop, Mr. Winthrop’s brother, and she should be what Emma focuses her attention on-not matchmaking. Miss Winthrop is after Mr. Knightley.

Say what!

Yes, she was carrying on about how she and Mr. Knightley were engaged at one time and that if she hadn’t had to leave they’d have kids and ever grandchildren by now.

Forget you!

Emma feels okay and secure in her marriage, plus she’s much younger but then she meets Miss Winthrop, Miss Winthrop-always-gets-her-man-Sanchez. She’s a hunter and she’s after Mr. Knightley.

OMG! When I reached this part I was locked into this story. I had other things to do, but they were no longer important as I had to find out what happened next!

Argh, Miss Winthrop! She’s a maneater, we all know the type and an excellent villain. The perfect foil for Emma.

I loved this story. So far it has been my favorite as it captured the essence of Emma, presented the loved characters in a new, interesting, and adorable way (married Emma and Knightley are so cute). Plus women like Miss Withrop, they always get me going.

And I adored the friendship between Jane and Emma.

I HIGHLY recommend it, as I LOVED it!!!

I’d start early as you won’t want to stop.

You’ll notice that this is the one story I didn’t do a quote from, and that’s because I was reading so fast to finish it and find out what happened, I forgot to highlight.

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious (2015)

The Simple Things by J. Marie Croft

So first of all, reading Miss Bates in Jane Austen’s Emma always gave me a major headache. I loved her, felt for her, but the endless chatter made my brain hurt.

J. Marie Croft did a perfect, perfect, representation of her. You can tell she really studied Austen and the character and put her all into it.

But, while the character in Emma was annoying-Croft did an excellent job not making her chatter unbearable. She would go on when speaking to people, but didn’t continue this within her mind, or with her close friends.

Good job, this was not an easy feat.

We start the book off with Miss Bates turning down a Mr. Franklin as she doesn’t love him. Even though he could answer all their family money woes. She knows Mr. Franklin doesn’t want a wife, but a nanny/nursemaid/cook/cleaning woman/housekeeper/etc and is not interested in becoming a free servant.

“The sacred institution of matrimony is too often perverted, Patty. Perverted by men and women shackling themselves to a mate for whom they feel no special regard. No attachment. No affection. No ardent admiration. No that is not the life for me. I will not doom myself to a marriage of apathy, misery, or fear. I would rather live independently, if poor.”

As Mr. Franklin was the landlord, they have lost their home and will have to find another cottage. But Miss Bates refuses to be shackled to a man she does not love. This makes her think back to her first love.

Hmm…

This story was so cute and amazing in how it portrayed Miss Bates. We were able to see a new side of her-her touched by love, the care she had for her sister and best friend, her devotion as an aunt, I loved it. And how even through the suffering and the trials she goes through, she still remains an amazingly cheerful person.

“And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without good-will[sic].” –Emma, Jane Austen

Croft did an amazingly good job. An excellent read!

For more by J. Marie Croft, go to “The Art of Sinking” from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more on Miss Bates, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

In Good Hands by Caitlin Williams

This story picks up after Emma tried to match Harriet up with Mr. Elton, and failed.

Then Emma thought Harriet was into Frank Churchill and tried pushing them together-but that failed.

Harriet tried to get with Mr. Knightley and that failed.

Harriet and Emma’s friendship broke up. And Mr. Knightley and Emma got engaged.

Poor Harriet Smith and to top it off-she has a horrible toothache. Emma arranges for her to go to London, and stay with the Knightleys, while she sees the dentist. Harriet is exuberant as she wants to get away from it all and her embarrassment over what has happened.

So embarressed

Harriet tells Isabella what happened-all of it from Mr. Martin to Mr. Elton to Mr. Knightley. Isabella feels for her and has her stay longer, as Harriet is a great help with the children. Harriet is trying to figure our what to do next (and how to keep from returning to her embarrassment) when Robert Martin comes walking in.

Harriet is embarrassed, tongue-tied, and a little scared at what to do or say.

“Now the pretty decorated timepiece felt like an enemy, a thief robbing her of the opportunity to say something meaningful to Robert Martin before he went.”

Will this be just more embarrassment to pile on, or a second chance?

You know I really like this choice. I like the view into Harriet, her resolution to improve herself, and that we get to see how the two get together. Plus Mr. Knightley sent him, Mr. Knightley is matchmaking. So adorable!

I loved how Harriet was written as well. She wasn’t desperate or dumb, but she was a pleasant, sweet girl, a pinch lonely and unexperienced.

For more by Caitlin Williams, go to “Death of a Bachelor” from The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more on Harriet Smith, go to Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

These stories were just as great at the others, especially the Emma one.

 So we have had seven stupendous and striking stories. Will the rest be just as good? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see! 🙂

For more reviews of Rational Creatures, go to Rational Creatures: Elizabeth & Charlotte

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne

For more Emma, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

For more Austen book reviews, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious (2015)

Only one I’ll be calling is:

Or:

But no, we aren’t talking about that. We are instead talking about:

We are instead discussing-Austentatious (2015)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Yes, I really, really do not like this show or how they portray the characters. But I started it, so I’ve got to finish it.

So Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. In the last episode Marianne was trying to find a job, but kind of sucked although she did manage to be a smoothie barista.

Elizabeth’s family were trying to take family pictures but she was having a hard time picking something out.

I can’t decide

And Knightley goes over his disaster dates:

So on to today’s episode. It starts off with Knightly seeing Emma trying to thread a needle to sew back on her shirt and is dressed in gross sweats and her hair is crazy. What?! That’s so not Emma. She’s miserable but never would have her hair and clothes be so bleh-yuck. Proof:

Knightley came to meet with Emma for lunch, but it slipped her mind. Knightley threads the needle and then sews the button on the shirt for her. Wow, a man who can sew.

Wow

Elizabeth comes in to share about her awesome date with Andrew with Emma. Maybe it’s “Wickham”? After she shares that she leaves. Wait, why didn’t she just call or text like a normal person. Why come bug her at work?

Elinor and Marianne are fighting about dirty dishes and Marianne not cleaning. They both see a mouse in the apartment and freak out. Again what does this have to do with Jane Austen!

Ugh!

Elizabeth interrupts Elinor at work to share about her awesome date and the guy not calling back in two days. Again why doesn’t she call or text. You see we just spent the last few episodes with Elinor harping on and on about Marianne not working, but look at this.

She then goes to Marianne’s job and shares her fears about him not calling and then again I ask why doesn’t she call or text instead of bothering her friends while they are working. Why doesn’t she meet up with them after work. Why isn’t she at work?

Or plot!

Marianne tries to make her feel better by sharing about this time she dates-And NO stop!!!

This is so He’s Just Not that Into You. Like get it together Liz, he’s not interested. Don’t be harassing him or stuck on him. He’s totally a loser, I can feel it.

She then goes and bothers Emma.

Not again!

OMG like what is this?!!!! I really don’t like this. This has like zero to do with Jane Austen. Like why even make a show based on the characters of Jane Austen when it has nothing to do with it at all. It’s amazing when you compare this to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and see how amazing that was with a modern adaptation that kept to the source material. Even Fall For You went on some other paths, but they kept the heart of the novels in there. What does any of this have to do with anything??!!

Ugh!

I am so bored….

Let’s just turn the TV off…

No we can’t do that? We have to finish? Fiiiiiiine, but I’m not happy…

So…Emma wants to help her friend and she ropes in Mr. Knightley to give them a man’s perspective. Knightley isn’t into it, but dude just tell her the guy’s not interested and leave, Problem solved.

Ugh!

Of course they probably won’t listen to you, so oh well. But at least you can say you tried.

Elinor gets home and finds things a super mess. Mold? Rat poop? Not quite sure. Oh she complains to the exterminator it must be mouse poop. Marianne wants to get a cat to get rid of the mouse. But Elinor says no. But Elinor, cats are awesome.

So the girls meet up on Elinor and Marianne’s apartment to have a girls night/mouse killing party.

Did I just write those words. Have I said I really don’t like this show. And it has only been like seven mins. It feels like hours. Ugh.

And speaking of mouse killing, the girls live upstairs, how did the mouse get up there? They should check with their neighbors, maybe it is a pet.

Oh?

So Emma, Elizabeth and Grant are sitting on the floor in a circle sharing. Why, when there are couches. I don’t know any 30+ people who do that unless they are playing with their children. I mean there is nothing wrong with it, but it looks really weird.

What’s the heck?

Elizabeth met Andrew at an open house and went to dinner. Knightly is being a total sarcastic dude, and good job writers, Very realistic.

Elizabeth flashes back and shares about her wonderful dinner.

Elinor finds trash in the couch. Okay I can believe under a couch or on the table but who throws trash-like banana peels and stuff in their couch that isn’t a four year old child. Like really?

And why do they have to make her dumb and like a five year old. She wasn’t like that in the book!

Omg this so boring.

Elizabeth is just going on about him smiling and staring at her mouth and really? Who wrote this? I’m over it I just want to be done. It is so boring and who says that-“he was staring at my mouth.” Like if some guy is staring at my mouth while having dinner, I would think I had food on my face not that he was intensely trying to imagine kissing me.

I feel like this is the bad discount version of Jane Austen. Like when you go to the Dollar Tree or 99 cent store and there is the discount version that is good, and then the discount, discount version with the weird name and logo and when you eat it it tastes like sawdust and you never forget and never buy it again. This is that.

Like Jane Austen has wonderful romantic scenes that gripped your heart and tension. Elizabeth watching Darcy during the card game in torment, Captain Wentworth’s letter, etc.; and here we have “staring at my mouth”. Woohoo!

Wow, real romantic!

They ask Knightley’s opinion and he’s like I don;t know I don’t know him. Mr. Knightley tries to give them a reality check, but they aren’t having it.

Mr. Knightley thinks it was just he wanted dinner while the girls are all he loves her! Knightley gives the girls the guy version. He says staring at mouth-probably had food in teeth (see-told ya!). Thinks looking at her smiling because farting or secretly getting the game scores on his phone.

Marianne leaves the girls night to go on a date, a date with “Willoughby?

Let’s get this train back on track!

So in this episode Emma is sarcastically calling Grant Mr. Knightley and all I can think is thank goodness because calling him Grant was dumb. George or Mr. Knightley-either one I will accept-but no Grant.

For the thousandth time

Mr. Knightley is back on roasting the date, telling Elizabeth “her date” probably touched her hand to keep her from sharing his dessert. Him saying he would call her, was probably just a brush off to get her to leave.

Ouch

Elinor says to stop freaking out and call him. I guess that is where the title comes from.

Phew!

Liz is going to call, but Grant stops her as he finds him “in a relationship”? How? On what? Facebook, Instagram? And how could he find him, I mean Andrew is a super popular name, Elizabeth never said his last name. Lazy writing, LAZY!

Grant is a total dude, happy to have won over the girls-he called it, but on the end he gives the cupcake to Lizzie and they all eat the “mouse cheese”. When they go to get crackers they find the mouse in there. They all run out and the exterminator comes in to kill it. As they wait in the hall they run into Collin and it turns out to be his mouse-(I point you to my earlier comment about the mouse probably being a pet)-little Lizzie. CREEPY!

And finally the episode is over and once again had zero to do with anything Jane Austen than the names and I once again question what were the writers thinking. I mean seriously! FOLLOW the PLOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t decide

And this is only episode 5.

Nooo

It’s never ending, never ending. I’ve fallen into the Twilight Zone. And I can’t get out.

For more Austentatious, go to Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to The Smart One and the Pretty One

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

For more Emma, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!