‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ brings ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to social media

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“Pride and Prejudice” just celebrated its 200th birthday but is no closer to being outdated than the day it was created. A new, online adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is making sure that this classic novel remains strong and familiar as it begins its third century of life.

Developed by Hank Green and Bernie Su, “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” takes on a multimedia platform, crossing into the realms of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr, Pinterest, personal websites and especially Vloging for a total web experience. The interactive nature of the retelling is captivating audiences, who have become immersed in the modernized and innovative story taking place in live time.

The premise of this retelling focuses on Lizzie Bennet, a headstrong grad student studying mass communications, who takes up video blogging as a part of her thesis project.

While some characters like Lizzie’s sisters, Jane and Lydia, best friend Charlotte Lu and cat Kitty Bennet make appearances on her Vlog, most of what we see of other characters is performed through costume theater through Lizzie’s eyes.

Lizzie shows off the ridiculous shirt her mother gave her as a present and not so subtle hint. (Courtesy The Lizzie Bennet Diaries)

Ashley Lloyd first heard about the series from her sister and, being an Austen nut, she had to check it out. Since then, she has become addicted to the series and believes the utilization of all the media sites is a key element to her high level of involvement.

“While waiting for another video you see the characters tweet each other back and forth and post pictures of them doing stuff together,” Lloyd said. “This adds an even deeper element to the story by making you feel that the characters are still alive, even when they’re off camera, and it helps progress the story between episodes.”

With updates about the characters’ lives showing up on her Twitter and Facebook, Lloyd knows right when something is happening.

“For several of the characters, Twitter is the only source we really have into their lives and minds,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd said she is also impressed by how different this adaption is from others and yet still able to hold true to the plot and feel of the story, especially since it takes so much more to shock society than it did in the 1800s.

“You know what’s going to happen, but you don’t know how,” Lloyd said. “So, I’m continually interested to know how they’re going to work in certain parts like Darcy’s letter, Pemberley and Lydia’s mistake.”

Mariah Johnson began watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries a few weeks ago and is impressed by the care and detail that has gone into the production.

“The writers have created tiny yet deliberate details that could almost be overlooked by a novice to the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ story but are so important to avid fans,” Johnson said.

Some of these details are as simple as touches between characters, the usage of classic pride and prejudice cleverly assimilated into modern dialogue or subtle hints to a character’s true nature.

“The creators don’t just allude to anything, they create it,” Johnson said, “It’s how they bring in new elements to the story.”

Another aspect of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries that Johnson said she enjoys seeing is the more complete back story for some of what she feels are weaker plot points in “Pride and Prejudice.”

“It was always a little hard for me to grasp why Lydia wanted to run away with Wickham, who was essentially her sister’s ex,” Johnson said. “However, in the ‘Lizzie Bennet Diaries,’ you see how Lydia is fighting with her sister and how the rift that was created between her and Lizzie is a key factor behind her rebellion.”

While Johnson is a relatively new fan, Ana Nicolay has been a fan since the beginning. Nicolay is also the creator the popular fan page, Socially Awkward Darcy. While originally created to share Mr. Darcy memes, it is now the meeting ground for the fandom to come together and share their thoughts and ideas as “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” progresses throughout the year.

“I knew I’d run out of memes to post, so I went out in search of all types of content,” Nicolay said. “Now, I interact intensely with the fandom and make it my business to keep them informed of everything that happens on the various social networks.”

Interested individuals can check out “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” through the official website.

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