Ten Weeks Of Guilty Pleasures
All you need is (Jane) Austen!
July 20, 2013 - 7:00 am
Week One: Relaxing with the Regency
These last two weeks I’ve been trying to get over something weird that I picked up at a con, complicated by an asthma attack caused by stress.
You know those things you do when you’re feeling out of it and you want to boost your mood?
My very favorite thing is going for a walk, which is actually good for me, but which is impossible when I’m not taking in enough oxygen, or when it’s way too cold out, or when there’s too much smoke in the air.
For those days there are “guilty pleasures.” Particularly guilty pleasures that reduce my stress. So over the next ten weeks, I’m going to take some time off every weekend to enjoy one of my favorite “guilty pleasures.”
My number one guilty pleasure is the 1995 A & E mini-series of Pride and Prejudice.
First of all, Jane Austen has long been a favorite of mine, far before I found any of the dramatic representations of her work. In fact my (not so) secret shame is that I used to write Jane Austen Fanfic at Derbyshire Writers’ Guild before I was published. In fact one of the stories started there, with my friend Sofie Skapski, has been edited and published as A Touch Of Night – pride, prejudice, dragons and werewolves… oh my. (And that cover is slated to be replaced, because really, what we didn’t know about cover design back then could fill several specialty books.)
So why is Pride and Prejudice a guilty pleasure?
Because since 1995 I’ve watched it so many times that even my sons know the lines by heart (a facility that will stand them in good stead when they get married.) Because, the story is almost too girly for words and, in a way, the classical Cinderella story: Elizabethan Bennet the second of five daughter of an impoverished country squire, endowed with little more than her wit finds herself pursued by Mr. Darcy, who has ten thousand pounds a year and is as good as a lord!
Before this particular version of Pride And Prejudice was released, I enjoyed the BBC 1980 version which I watched with my mother the year I got married.
The BBC Pride and Prejudice is quite acceptable – but it fails in comparison to the sparkling dialogue and movement of the A&E version. And the actor playing Mr. Darcy has been blessed in our house with the cognomen R2DDarcy.
And, of course, no woman in possession of her full faculties approves of the movie version of Pride and Prejudice which bestowed on us an Elizabeth Bennet who would never need to tuck lace, (the manner of hiding a rather too ample bossom, which Jane Austen explicitly says Elizabeth used) and who walked barefoot in the mire, not to mention ending with the very Un-Austen line about everyone being fools in love. In fact, a group of us at Derbyshire Writers’ Guild declared an Austenite fatwah on anyone preferring the movie to one of the mini-series. A group of us will show up on your front lawn, carrying rock-hard muffins and bad tea! You’ve been warned.
For the full Pride and Prejudice guilty pleasure, I recommend the A & E mini-series, some fancy work to keep your hands occupied, and either your Austen-addicted best female friend or, if you should be so lucky (I am) your husband. Sit down. Turn on the TV and let your cares fly away as you immerse yourself in a timeless tale of love and misunderstanding which, like all good fairytales, ends happily ever after.