Jan 16 2013 3:00pm

#LBD: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries









A wonderful, delightful distraction that is fast becoming my (and others') greatest obsession is the The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD), an online modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. In it, Lizzie is a young graduate student finishing her final year of school. In lieu of a senior thesis, she starts a vlog, or a video blog. She sits in her bedroom, with her best friend Charlotte Lu as her cameraman, and tells the story of her family and friends. Sometimes she and Charlotte act out parts of the story. With costumes! And props! And as time goes by, all the major characters make an appearance on the vlog.

Some arrivals are more anticipated than others.

Each episode is only five minutes or so long, but in those few minutes, the writers cram so much of what I love about the characters of Pride and Prejudice into a modern story of friends and family. And all their mistakes and failings are there to see, but updated. And therefore they say as much about our time as they do about the beloved characters themselves.

The cast of Lizzie Bennet DiariesDarcy is a hipster. Bing Lee is an earnest medical student. Jane is a sweet fashion merchandiser, always looking for the best in people. Lydia can’t wait to turn 21 so she can finally drink. Legally.

But Darcy is still shy and awkward. Lizzie is still slyly funny. Jane is still easily wounded. Lydia is effervescent. There is still Bing’s vulnerability, Charlotte’s ambition, Lydia’s insecurity.

Some of the changes the writers make show me things about the characters that I don’t always notice, despite rereading the book annually for a couple of decades. They are so true to the characters that I fell in love with, but yet it brings something new to the table.

Lizzie and DarcyThey bring a fresh take on the characters that I love in the same way some movie adaptation, such as Emma turned into a Beverly Hills teen in Clueless or the Taming of the Shrew into a suburban high school in 10 Things I Hate About You.

Above all, I love The Lizzie Bennett Diaries for the production itself. I’m not breathlessly waiting every Monday and Thursday for the episode to go live (at noon EST, in case you were wondering) for some intellectually fascinating revelation.

I’m waiting for the emotional hit of watching these people (they are real! I swear!) grope toward their HEA, and I want to be there to watch every fumbling moment, every heartbreak, every happiness. What keeps me coming back is the way this series hits all the emotional moments in just the right way. All those little glances and touches. The pause before a line. The writing and the acting is wonderfully understated. It is a lesson in the brilliant use of subtext to tell the story (I think it was the author Courtney Milan who said this on Twitter).

Jane and Bing Lee in Lizzie Bennet DiariesAnd that’s why twice a week I am glued to my computer dissecting every word spoken, and some unspoken, as once again Lizzie falls in love with Darcy. There are already over seventy episodes of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. If that’s not enough for you, Lydia has her own vlog.

So go ahead. Watch the first episode of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. You’ll be hooked. And then you’ll be like me, breathlessly waiting the next episode, hoping for a glimpse of Darcy or for Lizzie’s take on the latest happenings in Netherfield. And after you’ve watched, you can come dissect every word and every movement on Twitter with the hashtag #TheLBD.


Julia Broadbooks writes contemporary romance. She lives in the wilds of suburban Florida with her ever patient husband and bakes ridiculous amounts of sugary treats for her teens' friends. Find her on twitter @juliabroadbooks.

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cherie nicholls
1. cherie nicholls
Oh wow I'd never heard of tthis def going to check it out. P /&P is An all time favorite of mine,! Great post!
cherie nicholls
2. Jennifer O.
I've heard about this for awhile, but never knew much about it. Now I'm intrigued and will definitely check it out. Awesome post!

Julia Broadbooks
3. juliabroadbooks
Oh, yay! I'm so glad you guys are going to check it out. My daughters and I look forward to every episode and then devote hours to dissecting every word.
Julia Broadbooks
5. juliabroadbooks
You must! It's witty and romantic. And there's all sorts of discussion about it on twitter and tumblr.
Heather Waters
6. HeatherWaters
I first heard about this on Tumblr, I think, and checked out a couple episodes over the holidays--you're right, it's addictive! I think I'm a little less than halfway through all the aired episodes (haven't started Lydia's vlog yet, though) and am really enjoying it.

Can't wait to finally meet Darcy--that Bing Lee is as charming as advertised, so I have confidence in the Darcy casting too. If only Jane didn't annoy me so much.
Julia Broadbooks
7. juliabroadbooks
I wasn't sure about Jane at first, but she's really grown on me. I love Bing and I cannot lie - I love, love, love Darcy.

Here's a tumblr post of a GIF of the main characters from The LBD and the Firth and Kiera Knightly versions. Although, you may want to wait and be surprised when Darcy arrives.
cherie nicholls
8. HeatherF
I so love this series and have been known to wait at the computer for the next one to be released. I finally got my daughter interested enough to start watching and she finished all 81 episodes in 2 days time. Now she's as impatient as I am for the next one to come out.
cherie nicholls
9. Samantha M
love it, I love the series ever since I cam across it on episode 10, then when they took the week off, I went and rewatched every episode from the beginning for a second time.
10. aem2
I've been watching this since the beginning, and what I really love about it is that it's so immersive and cross-media. All the characters have Twitter accounts or tumblr pages, there are additional important websites, and it's a thrill to watch, say, one character who didn't previously know about the videos "watch" them and tweet their reaction.

You don't have to look at the additional stuff if you don't want to to get the story, but I find it really enhances the experience. You can catch up on the Twitter conversations on the main website.
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