The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: If Jane Austen Had Had the Internet…

I have a small Jane Austen obsession. I trace it back to high school…where I may have been part-organizer of several Jane Austen movie marathons amongst friends. During which we repeatedly rewinded an re-watched the scene where Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy jumped into Pemberley’s lake.
Haha 🙂

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But, I am unapologetic about my love for all things Jane Austen. I mean, really, can’t I be a feminist and love Mr. Darcy too?

I can’t be too crazy though because Jane Austen is all the rage (and has been for quite some time) in popular culture, even 200 years after Pride and Prejudice’s publication. There are countless adaptations of her works for the big and small screen, novels that imagine alternate interpretations of Austen’s characters and plots, Jane Austen jewelry, cookbooks, handbooks, clothing, crochet patterns, and the list goes on and on.

I mean, all you have to do is search Pinterest for “Jane Austen” or “Mr. Darcy.” For example, look at this little gem I found:

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And now there is something amazing and awesome called “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.”

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Last Spring, while my brain was focused on finishing my Master’s thesis, Hank Green and Bernie Su had the ridiculously brilliant idea of bringing Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice into the 21st century. I don’t know how I missed out on the beginning of this really cool series of web-videos, but I did. Luckily, though, I came across it a few months ago by accident and was quickly all caught up on the 81 episodes that have been produced so far.

So, what is The Lizzie Bennet Diaries?

It is one of an increasingly prolific number of web-based series that are dominating the internet, and being made available on YouTube and other web video streaming sites.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries takes Jane Austen’s character Elizabeth Bennet out of 19th century England and transforms her into a 24 year old communications graduate student who video blogs about her life. Just like in Jane Austen’s novel, Lizzie interacts (on and off camera) with Pride and Prejudice’s other characters and the storyline of the videos follow (with some mostly minor differences) the plot of the novel.

What makes the series even better though is the interactive nature that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has taken on as the series has progressed. Now, most characters have Twitter accounts that they regularly update and whose posts flesh out more of the story. There’s also a Facebook page and a Tumblr account. Fan interaction is also appreciated.

There are some differences (as can be expected) in characters and the set up of locations and premises. But, these changes only serve to enhance the series.

Here’s a guide to some of the changes:

Characters (What’s the Same and What’s Different):

On camera:

  • Elizabeth Bennet — Elizabeth is Lizzie Bennet. As stated above, she’s a 24 year old grad student studying communications and living at home with her parents. In this adaptation, she only has 2 sisters: Jane and Lydia.
  • Fitzwilliam Darcy — For all intents and purposes, Mr. Darcy is still Mr. Darcy. Except now, he’s just William Darcy. He’s wealthy, he’s powerful, he’s proud, he’s shy, and he’s still in love with Elizabeth.
  • Charles Bingley — Mr. Bingley is now Bing Lee. Still an adorable lovey dovey guy, Bing is still easily led by Caroline and Darcy. Just like in the novel, he loves Jane but leaves her.
  • Jane Bennet — Still Jane Bennet. Still the oldest Bennet sister, very sweet and kind, very close to Lizzie. Still in love with Bingley (Bing Lee). Loves fashion.
  • Lydia Bennet — Lydia is Lydia, what can I say? Immature and boy crazy.
  • Charlotte Lucas — Lizzie’s best friend is now Charlotte Lu who not only is Lizzie’s partner in crime, but also her partner in filming her video blog posts. She is closer in age to Lizzie than in the novel where she’s 7 years older.
  • Caroline Bingley — Miss Bingley is now Caroline Lee. Somewhat nicer than in the novel, Caroline is great comic relief. But she’s still up to no good when it comes to her brother and Jane and Lizzie and Darcy.
  • Mr. Collins — Mr. Collins is now Ricky Collins, a childhood acquaintance of Lizzie and Charlotte, who ironically refers to himself as “Mr. Collins.” Though not a minister like in the novel, he still is under the spell of Ms. de Bourgh who runs the venture capital firm he works for.
  • George Wickham — Wickham is still Wickham. I think that pretty much sums it up.
  • Colonel Fitzwilliam — No longer Darcy’s cousin, Col. Fitzwilliam is now Fitz Williams, Darcy’s nice and fun friend who gets to know Lizzie.
  • Georgiana Darcy — Mr. Darcy’s little sister Georgiana is now Gigi Darcy. Gigi is very similar to the character in the novel, very kind and very accomplished. She is a fan of Lizzie’s videos.

Off camera:

**There are several characters that are mentioned throughout the series, but not seen onscreen. Some are later seen, most notably William Darcy, but others are not. Lizzie and Charlotte (or Lizzie and others) frequently act out impressions of these characters with the help of props.

  • Mrs. Bennet — Still Mrs. Bennet, still looking for husbands for her single daughters. Lizzie portrays her in the videos, with a Southern accent and large blue hat.
  • Mr. Bennet — Still Mr. Bennet, he is the long suffering husband of Mrs. Bennet and father of the Bennet girls. Charlotte usually portrays him in the videos.
  • Lady Catherine de Bourgh — Lady Catherine is now Ms. de Bourgh, the venture capitalist that Mr. Collins worships and works for. Lizzie impersonates her in some videos.

281967626640374414_PdkUvpoB_cSo, go forth and get your Jane Austen on — watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I promise you won’t regret it!

Here’s the first episode to get you started:

Important Links:

Watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube.

Visit The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Website.

Visit The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Tumblr.

Discover more of the story on Twitter by following the characters’ Twitter feeds.

Need A Laugh? Watch “Pittsburgh Dad”

We all need an escape from time to time. And sometimes all we need is a really good laugh. The kind of laugh that leaves you gasping for air, slapping whatever surface is near you, and thinking of one-liners for days.

Now, of course, this “best kind of laugh” is often attached to a joke or funny scenario that you identify with. That’s why some people find certain things funny while others don’t.

For me, my new “go to laugh generator” is the YouTube short film series “Pittsburgh Dad” which is one of those things that I identify so much with that it is simply hysterical.

I grew up less than a mile from the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line, my Mum is from Pennsylvania, most of my family lives there, and PA has really helped define me more than my home state of Ohio has. I root for the Steelers, not the Browns, and I would pick the forested beauty of the Alleghenies over the flat expanses of Ohio any day.

Because I’ve straddled the Ohio-PA border for my entire life and because Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania culture and customs aren’t really that different (remember my cookie table explanation?), so many of the themes, anecdotes, jokes, and countless other nuances that appear in episodes of Pittsburgh Dad are immediately recognizable to me.

Since its debut in October 2011, Pittsburgh Dad has become something of an internet sensation, particularly in the Pittsburgh area. An ever-growing series of of 1-3 minute short films, Pittsburgh Dad is the creation of Pittsburgh-area natives Chris Preksta and Curt Wooten. The character is an exaggeration of Wooten’s own father and talks and complains about typical Dad stuff in a thick Pittsburghese accent. (For more information on Pittsburghese, check out this website.)

The premise of Pittsburgh Dad is simple. Preksta directs while Wooten stars as the title character — the only character to ever appear on camera. There are other characters, but they always remain off-screen.

Every Tuesday Curt Wooten transforms himself into Pittsburgh Dad, complete with Dad glasses, facial hair, and wardrobe.

Pittsburgh Dad appeals to me mostly because of my regional connection to it and my understanding of the Pittsburghese dialect in which the character talks. While I don’t use all the vocabulary or pronunciations that Pittsburgh Dad does, I do use/understand a lot of his words. For example, I call my mother Mum, not Mom. Water comes out of a spicket, not a faucet. You need to wear Tennies (tennis shoes/sneakers) into the woods or weeds so you don’t get pricked by a jagger bush (thorn bush).

But, you don’t have to be a Pittsburgh-area native to understand or enjoy Pittsburgh Dad. The Pittsburgh jokes aside, Pittsburgh Dad is just a funny reflection of real life — of the behavior that we all exhibit, about things we did as kids and things our parents did too.

You just have to watch to see….

Pittsburgh Dad premieres new episodes on YouTube every Tuesday. Currently, there are over 60 videos to watch including dozens of original episodes, outtakes and deleted scenes, and behind the scenes discussions.

Here are some of my many, many favorites:

“Going to Church”

“Family Dinner”

“Going to Gram’s”

“Dad Yelling on the Answering Machine”

“Slumber Party”

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Disclaimer: Pittsburgh Dad is exclusively the property of Chris Preksta and Curt Wooten.

Thank God It’s Friday: A Few Things I’ve Learned/Rediscovered This Week

So, I know I already posted once tonight. But, to be honest, I started that post a couple days ago and never got a chance to finish it until tonight.

It’s been a long and very busy week, but I’ve had some time to have some fun, learn/rediscover some things, and to appreciate the beauty around us.

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Appreciating Fall Weather

Today was one of those days here in Ohio that you wanted to jump in your car, roll your windows down, open the moon roof all the way, blast some great music and go for a drive in the country. I did this on my way to campus today. A wonderful 72 degrees, not a cloud in the sky.

I realized how much I missed fall weather and the leaves changing colors. There’s a calmness and beauty that the summer heat obscures and the Spring coolness doesn’t always display to its best advantage.

If I had had the time (and the extra money) I would have indulged in one of my favorite things, which combines my love of driving in the country on fall days with my love of shopping: driving the back way to the Grove City Premium Outlets.

For locals, I highly suggest you do this sometime. And the route is easy. Depending on where you live, get yourself (most likely via Interstate 80 and Route 376) to Route 208 in Pulaski, Pennsylvania. Take 208 through New Wilmington and Volant to Grove City. The drive is great, beautiful, and worth the few extra minutes.

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The Girl With Curly Hair Learns to…Curl Her Hair…With a Sock…

Yeah, you read that right. I want to curl my hair, but I already have curly hair. My picture on this blog is deceiving. I really have the most unruly, curly hair on the planet and I try to straighten it as much as possible because I don’t really like it.

It usually looks like this:

But, I saw this video on Youtube the other night about creating “sock bun curls” and, as I already had my hair straightened and love those soft curls, had to give it a try.

Here’s the video:

It worked okay, but I’m going to try it again another night when I’ve done some better preparation – aka, not decide to try it at midnight and forget to dampen my hair as directed.

Let me know if it works for you!

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Rest In Peace Steve Jobs

Finally, I leave you with a quote that, sadly, I rediscovered this week due to the untimely death of Steve Jobs. His brilliance has brought our generation and the world technological advances that have forever changed our lives. His philosophy about life, however, has forever changed our souls.

The quote comes from an Apple television commercial broadcast in the late 1990s. The slogan “Think Different” can and did mean many things, but one thing is clear from both the quote and the commercial itself: thinking differently, however you do it, can change your destiny and help you change the world.

Here’s the original commercial:

Here’s the written quote:

Have a great weekend! 🙂