If you’re just tuning in, things are getting a little bit crazy right now on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the YouTube adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice which has captured a fandom of its own and the imaginations of hundreds of thousands of viewers.
To give you the very-quick, hope-you-read-the-book-or-at-least-saw-Bridget-Jones-rendition, Lizzie has just been informed that her wilder sister Lydia, in the clutches of the
unbelievably gorgeous devious George Wickham, is about to be ruined via a get-rich-quick scheme that would have fried Jane Austen’s hair right off. Darcy, in his terse, lovable, mysterious manner, has arranged for Lizzie to speed back home to her family — including the sister whose reputation is about to be julienned in one of the truest ways you can do that to a person in 2013 — and, we are sure, is about to pull off a most dashing and gallant rescue, proving his character and worth to the doubting heroine. This is the world of P&P and LBD: an acerbic, witty fairy tale, originally tightly corseted and now unraveled for 2013 through the use of a charming female vlogger and a socially awkward, metrosexual man.
LBD also spawned an entire world of its own: scratch below the casual viewing level and you’ll find a level of interaction that boggles. The characters all have presences online as though they are real; their interactions, follows, @s, and more all line up with the release of each point of the story. You’ll even find extra content, like the pictures Georgina took while Darcy and Lizzie toured the city, or the Pemberley Digital Web site. Oh, yes, Pemberley is now a hip digital media company, and even has a YouTube channel demoing a juicy new buggy automatic video-uploading app that is sure to “accidentally” uncover some extra scenes down the line. Lydia Bennet has her own vlog where you can watch her relationship with Wickham unfold; Mary Bennet is an emo cousin, and Kitty Bennet is an actual cat. When Jane has her heart broken her Pinterest board erupts in sad pins; mysterious tweets from Bing add confusion about his decision to leave town; Jane, in this version a fashionista, Tumbls her favorite looks, and Charlotte’s Twitter reaveals, in real time, when Wickham’s dastardly plan goes live.
Fans have taken to this expansive digital playground, interacting with the fictional characters. Lydia pleads her case for her relationship with George; William confesses confusion (before he is aware of Lizzie’s videos) about the reason so many people are interested in him.
It’s a vast, immersive, entertaining, confusing world that shows us just how little we can trust that flickering line between fiction and real life: an experiment that could have clunked on the floor of the idea room. With 140,000 subscribers, that fear has long passed.
LeakyNews had an opportunity recently to sit with the four main ladies of the cast – Ashley Clements (Lizzie Bennet), Mary Kate Wiles (Lydia Bennet), Laura Spencer (Jane Bennet), and Julia Cho (Charlotte Lu) – in Los Angeles. What you’ve seen on Tumblr is true: these guys have become fast friends. They hang out before and after the interview, they finish each other’s sentences, they are sweet and happy and delightful, and they have a lot to say about the series, what has happened within it, and what has happend to them.
Click here to start, and we hope you enjoy!