rt Kara Endres
Tag Archives: Jane Austen
I highlighted From Mansfield with Love when it first premiered, and wanted to check back in regarding my impressions of it now that it’s aired a dozen episodes. First off, the practical aspects of it as far as adapting Austen’s 18th-century story to a 21st-century world were, and continue to be, very cleverly done – reworking Fanny Price as a housekeeper/maid-of-all-work at a large hotel just makes so much sense and allows so many aspects of the story to fall into place organically and not feel forced. Frankie Price has worked as a housekeeper at Mansfield Hotel for years under a dictatorial manager, with only the support of her best friend Edmund to comfort her. Her brother Will sends her a camera and asks her to makes vlogs to document her life for him.
Now that it’s aired twelve episodes, I’m a little disappointed in the series on the whole. It seems sweet but uninspired (perhaps not entirely unlike the original novel, ha!) There are a few moments and scenes peppered here and there that are just wonderful, and interestingly, they’re mostly the moments that deviate entirely from the novel, when Frankie and Edmund hilariously riff off each other about imaginary scenarios or contemporary fantasy or literary worlds or the line of suitors presumably lining up outside Frankie’s door. There’s a sparkly, very endearing chemistry in those moments that’s kept me tuning in the series. On the whole, however, while the leads are engaging, the writing and dialogue are alternately quite exposition-heavy (i.e. episode 12 detailing exhaustively the details of the Crawford family), or just flat, consumed with domestic and daily details that don’t move plot or relationship forward. I do enjoy the series, but I recommend a light viewing schedule, feeling free to skip episodes or jump around within it to find the most interesting parts.
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
-J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Brian Jacques. Jane Austen. J.R.R. Tolkein. Roald Dahl. C.S. Lewis. Alistair MacLean. Louis L’Amour. Rainbow Rowell.
That’s my short list of authors who gave me that jolt of pure, unadulterated joy that obliterates the rest of the world, makes you feel you’ve found a spiritual/mental soulmate, and makes you want to track them down and knock down their door or call them up and have long conversations about everything and nothing and find out their opinion about the world and politics in that one corner of the world and how they like their tea.
The creators of University Ever After are debuting A Midsemester’s Night’s Dream in late October. I didn’t like University Ever After, which was muddled and a little dull with far too many characters, so I’m a little hesitant going into it, but I do think that college is a perfect setting for the madcap events, general insomnia, and obsession with romance that characterize the story, so on that level I’m excited.
And, Foot in the Door Theatre is debuting From Mansfield with Love on December 3! There’s not much info yet – “from Mansfield With Love is a contemporary adaptation of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, and is produced by UK – based company Foot in the Door Theatre.”
8 Favorite Web Series (Or, 8 Favorite Romantic Literary Adaptions): Nothing Much to Do, The Classic Alice, and more
Webseries adaptations of beloved literary classics have been absolutely the sunshine of my life the past few months – like many people, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries is what initially pulled me in to the genre, then Kissing in the Rain made me happy, and it’s all history from there. Of the thousands of webseries on Youtube, my favorite are hands-down the literary adaptations, which have been seeing a huge boom in both creation and attention recently. They are five-minute interlocking episodes of romance, banter, combative chemistry, friendship, sisterhood, and a reworking of classic and loved characters into modern and immensely identifiable characters. Nothing not to love.
Now, note that while I whole-heartedly recommend the top four, the other four are fun but flawed. I’m waiting with great expectation for future ones to debut to knock these down or off the list.
I am not going to include The Lizzie Bennett Diaries because it goes without saying it’s my overall favorite (though NMTD is so close) and because I wrote it up here and am tired of talking about it.
1. Nothing Much to Do. God. I’m obsessed with this. Created by four New Zealand girls and performed by a large-ish cast of New Zealanders and one British boy, this is deliriously gripping and romantic for a webseries. It’s a loose modernized adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing in which Beatrice and Benedict are high school students who were good friends when they were much younger but drifted apart when Benedict acted like an idiot, and the two have hated each other ever since. When he comes back into town, the two immediately get off on a combative foot, to the dismay of all their mutual friends, who decide to convince each that the other is in love with them.
There’s a lot more characters than in most webseries. There’s also a delightful looseness and flexibility to the filming – there are several group scenes and scenes in differnet locations, including ones set at a party, at the high school, and outdoors after a football match, which is really fun and makes the world feel more real. Also, there’s almost no monologues at all – nearly every episode has at least two people dialoguing and interacting with each other onscreen.
The only good episode of this webseries so far – but it’s a whammer. Joy.
Caffeinated Links: Grand Central Station House Installation, Whole Foods’ Mock “Healthy” Food, Emma Approved
This is amazing. Target builds life-size house installation in Grand Central Station to promote its Threshold home decor. RT
The Onion delivers as always. “Noting with evident resentment how he just breezes through life, local sources told reporters Monday that Howard Preston, 33, seemingly coasts by solely on his good looks, tireless work ethic, and extensive real estate law expertise.” RT
The Daily Beast on the minor difference between pseudo science and pseudo religion, and Whole Foods’ lack of verified food science. “Well, no—there isn’t really much difference, if the promulgation of pseudoscience in the public sphere is, strictly speaking, the only issue at play. By the total lack of outrage over Whole Foods’ existence, and by the total saturation of outrage over the Creation Museum, it’s clear that strict scientific accuracy in the public sphere isn’t quite as important to many of us as we might believe. Just ask all those scientists in the aisles of my local Whole Foods.” RT
The latest episode of Emma Approved, the webseries loosely based on Austen’s Emma, is unusually adorable. RT
A recurring character arc has been announced for Doctor Who, with Samuel Anderson playing a teacher at Clara’s school who gets sucked up in TARDIS business. RT
“In the provincial world of Austen’s novels, small-mindedness is among the greatest of personal and social follies, for which an expansive library serves as a counterbalance. Darcy’s fetching library serves as metaphor for a variety of qualities in a marriage partner today which might counteract contemporary excesses and limitations: broad-mindedness in an age of identity politics and narrow partisanship, integrity in an era of brutal pragmatism, strong work ethic in a culture of shortcuts, steadiness in a swirl of passing fancies. While countless other qualities might substitute for those represented by Darcy’s library, these attracted me to my husband and have deepened my love for him more over the years. Not to mention the fact that he built me my own library, and its shelves are overflowing.”