Feb 1 2013 1:00pm

The Magic of a Touch: Lizzie and Darcy’s Unfolding Romance in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Darcy and Lizzie in The Lizzie Bennet DiariesOne of the beautiful things about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries—and of course Pride and Prejudice—is the deliciously slow development of the relationship. One of the things they did right in the adaptation was to hold on to that slow, reluctant fall into love.

Which for the viewers means more all of those romantic moments, when every touch and glance is filled with meaning. And in my opinion in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, no moments are more romantic than those with Darcy and Lizzie. The first appearances of Darcy are stories told about him or—even better!—costume theater portrayal of him by one of the other characters. Way back in episode 15, “Lizzie Bennet is in Denial,” Charlotte and Jane act out a scene at Carter’s bar where Darcy delivers the much loved line about Lizzie’s fine eyes. In episode 31, “Convertible Carpool,” Lizzie tells us at 3:16 that Darcy “stares at me constantly. It’s like I’m a traffic accident and he just can’t look away.” In episode 33, “Nope He Doesn’t Like Me,” Jane takes another hilarious turn at portraying Darcy who tells Lizzie that he wouldn’t dare hate her (at 3:11).

When Darcy finally (finally!!) comes on screen for real in Episode 60, “Are You Kidding Me?,” his long awaited appearance was everything I had hoped for. Darcy is awkward and rude when he makes his proposal. Lizzie is angry and sarcastic as she rejects him. And then in the next episode 62, “Yeah, I Know,” Darcy delivers the letter to Lizzie. After he hands it to her, I can almost feel his reluctance to leave her. Oh, the angst!

Lizzie and Darcy in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, LBDBy episode 78, “The Lizzie Trap,” Lizzie has had plenty of time to think over the content of that letter. When Darcy surprises her weeks later, Lizzie has had time for her anger to fade. Darcy does indeed stare at her as though he can’t look away. Without her anger to shield her, Lizzie feels the full force of their awkward encounter and tries to hurry off immediately. Darcy offers to drive her to meet her friend, but is disappointed when he’s rebuffed. It’s very clear that his feelings haven’t changed. But the moment I love is at the end when Lizzie is saying good-bye. The pair stand in front of the camera so that only their torsos are visible. And Lizzie reaches out and touches his wrist oh, so briefly. Darcy’s hand flexes as though he’s tempted to grab her hand and hold on but knows he can’t. That single touch carries so much weight. In a culture where our media is saturated by sexuality, I adore how this shows how much weight a single touch can carry and how meaningful the smallest of gestures can be. In that moment it’s clear how much she’s softened to Darcy.

LBD's Lizzie and DarcyEpisode 80, “Hyper-Mediation in New Media,” Darcy shows off his understanding of Lizzie’s work and reveals that he has a sense of humor when he gets his first shot at costume theater, all while getting to explain himself to Lizzie. When Lizzie asks him if Bing still cares for Jane (4:15), Darcy pulls of his costume hat and looks her right in the eye and says, “Why don’t you ask him yourself?” He holds her gaze for several long seconds. I know. I’ve counted. You know what he’s really saying is, “Ask me if I still care.” And the answer to that is yes.

One of my favorite LBD moments isn’t in any of the videos. Instead it’s one of a series of pictures that Gigi tweeted at the start of the day she and her brother showed Lizzie the city of San Francisco (top pic in this post). Darcy is looking off into the distance, but Lizzie is looking right at him, trying to figure out just who he really is.

Darcy is smart and handsome and wealthy. All the things Mrs. Bennet requires in a prospective son-in-law. While those are all lovely qualities in a man, they aren’t what impress Lizzie. In episode 83, he shows why he’s the perfect match for Lizzie. He makes her laugh. He is hilariously silly now that he’s relaxed a bit in her company. Any couple who can laugh like that belong together!

But of course the LBD creators are cruel and promptly rip the happy couple apart. Darcy is there with Lizzie when she gets the news about Lydia’s trouble. Lizzie is totally undone. Her voice shakes. She can’t decide what to do. She’s unlike the Lizzie we’ve seen in the past, quick and decisive even when upset. He is, of course, wonderful. He handles everything—car to the airport, a flight, shipping her belongings back home to her. But more than that, he comforts her. He tells her things aren’t her fault. At 2:47, he does the best thing of all. He runs his hand over her shoulder and says, “Let me help you.”

Here Lizzie faces one of her darker moments—possibly the darkest ever—and this very good man just wants to help in any way he can. He had stopped by to ask her out on what might have become their first ever date. Before he even gets a reply, Lizzie’s whole world falls apart.

And he does what he can to make it less awful.


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.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I'm slowly catching up on LBD (just watched 38 last night, I believe) and I cannot WAIT to get to Darcy's first appearance. A friend of mine is dying for me to be caught up so we can finally discuss, and now, after this post, I'm even more eager to see all the great moments between Lizzie and Darcy.
Julia Broadbooks
2. juliabroadbooks
What surprsied me was how great I was with all the waiting. I started watching way back in the single digits and the show does such a great job of making him present even when he's not onscreen.

And Darcy? He's sooo perfect.
Heather Waters
3. HeatherWaters
@juliabroadbooks -- I love love that pic of him in SF with his glasses! Too cute.
Alexandra W
5. parasolprotectorate
Literally just finished the latest episodes of the LBD and Lydia's vlogs just now after starting only a week or so ago. Love it! Tomorrow can't come soon enough.
Julia Broadbooks
6. juliabroadbooks
Only four and half more hours! I can't wait to see how they're going to untangle the story, but at this point every episode puts us that much closer to the end. What am I going to do when it's over???
Lucy D
7. Lucy D
Yesterday I had a "God please kill me" headache and just couldn't think about reading. Saw this post and it peaked my interest. At first I thought it was a new TV show and was confused when you're talking about episode 82. I found their website and I have to say this is so clever. I loved it! It got late but I had to get to ep. 60 and see Darcy.

Thanks for sharing! I would have missed this little treasure.
Julia Broadbooks
8. juliabroadbooks
I'm so glad you found it! I've been watching it forever and, while it's been popular, no one I knew was watching. It's so much fun to have people to share it with now.
Heather Waters
9. HeatherWaters
So there was a lot of good TV last night and I spent an hour watching LBD so I could see Darcy's first appearance, and it did not disappoint (they have great chemistry!). Last episode I saw had him giving Lizzie his letter--can't wait to see what happens next!
Julia Broadbooks
10. juliabroadbooks
Oh, that was a great episode! Her reactions when she reads the letter - and then she turns the camera off. I loved that.
Jennifer Proffitt
11. JenniferProffitt
I loved that moment at Pemberly when Lizzie is getting up during the video and touches his shoulder. It was at that point that I knew we would be seeing the relationship take on a new role—from enemies to friends and then, of course, to lovers!
Julia Broadbooks
12. juliabroadbooks
I replayed that moment several (hundred) times. I love how they didn't skimp on any of that slow shift of the relationship.
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