Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Sometime later today, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a one-hundred+ (counting Q&A and spinoff series) episode webseries that I have actively followed since episode 6 will post its final video. On twitter, there are a large number of posts with #GoodbyeLizzie and other fans remarking how sad they are that it's over.

Here's the thing. It's not over. Somethings, like the Facebook posts between me, my cousin Megan, and my little sister Abigail that read in all caps how exciting the new episode of LBD is, yes, those things will be over.  But those things are such a small, small part of what LBD represents. Here are some of the bigger, more important things that LBD has represented for me.

1. The modernization of one of my favorite books
As I mentioned above, I've been watching the LBD since episode 6, which is roughly 3 weeks into the project and a little less than one full year ago. I was immediately sucked in by the adorable red head who was not ashamed to present life as she saw it, and I began to share her diaries with all of my friends. One friend of mine has never read Pride and Prejudice, and had no desire too. I told her she should still give LBD a shot. She did, and she loves LBD even more than I do, because for her, the whole story was new and coming to life before her eyes. Now she's excited to read P&P in a way she never would have been before.

2. The chance for conversations
Examples of ways LBD has helped me stay connected with people: first, one of my best friends has been studying abroad in Argentina for a year (July 2012-July 2013). She and I have been able to share LBD, even miles apart, and chat about it while she's away. second, both my little sister and my cousin (mentioned above) started college this year. I've been able to share LBD with them as well. When she left, I gave my little sister the LBD poster, so that "other students could see that she watched awesome shows like LBD". I've been in a number of situations where I would mention LBD and someone else would remark that they loved the show. That will keep happening. Every time I carry my LBD journal or wear my LBD t-shirt, I have the opportunity to discover new friends in other Lizzie-loving people. Every time I watch my DVD collection, I'll be able to share those memories with my friends and family who watched LBD with me.

3. A new appreciation for web culture
I started watching LBD at the suggestion of Felicia Day, who is already a wildly popular web personality. However, as I watched LBD and experienced it via tweets (and yes, I'm one of the people who got twitter just to follow LBD characters) and other media, I gained a huge appreciation for the power of the web and social media in our lives. I was watching a story that I knew was fictional unfold infront of me. I could tweet to characters, and they just might tweet back (didn't often happen, but sometimes!). Most of the actors and actresses in LBD are involved in other web projects, and I've watched those to support the actors and actresses I came to love through LBD. I'll keep watching those web series. In the past year, my YouTube subscriptions have gone way up. And I'm not even one of the crazy fans - there are some people out there with mad skills who are drawing fan art, creating forums for discussion, etc. All because of the internet.

4. a distinct value for the power of sisters
A huge majority of LBD fans beg, plead, and scream for the men of the show to appear (namely Bing Lee, George Wickham, and William Darcy). While I love both the casting choices for those roles, I didn't fall in love with Darcy, the way so many other fans did (sorry, Daniel Vincent Gordh). Maybe it's because I watched for so long before Darcy was revealed, and had gotten used to the costume theater Darcy (I know a lot of fans came in much later than I did). Sure, Darcy was great, but I didn't fall in love with him. I fell head over heels in love with Jane, Lizzie, Lydia, and their pseudo-sister Charlotte. These women, and the way they related to one another, often reminded me of how I relate to my own sisters and friends. How they related to Bing, and Darcy, and Wickham made me think about my own dating relationship, and what makes it special. The LBD characters live real lives, and that is what makes them so believable.

5. a huge appreciation for actors
 Ashley Clements, the talented actress who plays Lizzie, recently said that she thinks Daniel Gordh, the actor who plays Darcy, might need a bodyguard if they go to VidCon. Oh no, Ashley. While Daniel is a talented actor, it's you that I want to autograph my LBD poster. I don't expect any of the LBD actors to read this, it's so long, but here's the thing - the LBD actors, unlike any other show I've seen, are extremely transparent about their experiences. They talk about what the show has meant to them, for their personal lives and their careers. They're REAL PEOPLE. Here's an example - Ashley Clements live tweeted the Oscars. She was witty and funny - and she wasn't being Lizzie. She was being Ashley. I complimented her on twitter - and she Favorited the tweet! Daniel Gordh has does a ton of fan interviews, answering real questions about how he does his job. Mary Kate Wiles (Lydia) and Ashley Clements host a blog talking about their clothes! I feel like these actors are my friends, and I'll be supporting their careers as long as I can.

I love the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the same way I love Gilmore Girls. New episodes may stop airing, but the relevance and power will never go away. My friends and I are hoping to have an LBD slumber party when DVDs arrive - we have no intention of letting it "end". We'll share and reshare it over and over. :)