Amanda begins her disastrous attempts to correct the damage she’s wrought on her favorite story, which only serves to disrupt things more. In short, things go to hell with amusing rapidity.
Amanda’s first brainstorm: transfer Bingley’s affections to Jane by telling him she is a lesbian. It’s a less than brilliant plan, but it almost works. Amanda has conveniently forgotten how persuadable Bingley is. As happens in the novel, Darcy easily dissuades Bingley from Jane Bennet. That wouldn’t be such a disaster if Amanda’s actions concerning a certain Mr. Collins hadn’t pushed Jane towards him. They end the episode married, which is just so wrong.
Mr. Collins is, as Amanda notes, far worse in person than on paper. Jane Austen’s sense of propriety clearly prevented her from mentioning Collins’ less than seemly habits. After first attempting to set up Collins and Charlotte Lucas, Amanda throws herself at him to keep him away from Jane. It makes sense to the audience, but to Jane it looks like betrayal. Because of this incident, when Bingley withdraws his affections, Jane will have no qualms about accepting Mr. Collins.
Amanda’s relationship with Darcy continues to develop. In the novel, Darcy’s relationship with Elizabeth is characterized by cold politeness. In Lost in Austen, Darcy scarcely hesitates to tell Amanda what he thinks of her. This less than gentlemanly side of him, it might be argued, is only brought out by Amanda’s openness. Still, while I am inclined to forgive a great many things in this miniseries, I can’t see Austen’s Darcy telling anyone that they repulse him. Well, maybe Wickham.
Speaking of, Wickham is one of my favorite characters in the miniseries. This version of Wickham is both completely compatible with the book version and, somehow, completely different. He is less of a common villain and more of a trickster. He enjoys causing mayhem and confusion. I laugh every time he decides the best way to get back at Amanda is to make her the daughter of a fishmonger. I’ve always thought that Amanda and Wickham have great chemistry. They’re both witty and both make trouble (although only one does it intentionally). Plus, as a modern woman, Amanda wouldn’t take any of Wickham’s crap. She sees right through him in ways the sheltered Bennet sisters cannot hope to.
To one up the bitchy Miss Bingley, Amanda has confessed that she has £27,000 a year. While today that is a decent salary, back in the early 1800s it would be extraordinary. It’s almost three times Darcy’s incredible income. It’s no shock that Mrs. Bennet less than subtly asks Amanda if she has any brothers who might share that wealth. Hey, she still has four daughters to marry off!
Bits and Pieces:
Paracetamol is called acetaminophen in the U.S. I understand that we have different slang, but why is the generic name of a common medication different? It makes no sense. I say we go with paracetamol all around, as acetaminophen is much harder to spell.
The American version of the DVD does not include Amanda’s rendition of “Downtown,” while, apparently, the British version does. Why? The world may never know...just kidding, it probably has to do with something boring like royalties.
I am choosing not to address how Amanda keeps her hair that straight without modern assistance nor how she manages to keep her color maintained despite being stuck in the Austenian netherworld.
Bingley: “You mean there really are ladies who...steer the punt from the Cambridge end?”
Amanda (v.o.): “Elizabeth, what can I say? You’re welcome to him. Miserable sod.”
Bingley: “Brava, Miss Price. And whenever life is gettin’ me down, I shall be sure to go downtown. Eh, Darcy?”
Darcy: “With alacrity.”
Mrs. Bennet: “Mary. She is *prodigiously* talented at music.”
Mrs. Bennet: “Mr. Collins must be given cause to bind himself to us, to love us, to love one of us in particular.”
Lydia: “Lord, let it be Kitty.”
Kitty: “Hurrah! We shall have cake.”
I find this line hilarious and I’m not totally sure why.
Amanda (v.o.): “Bingley, if you don’t wake up and propose to Jane and I end up married to Collins, I shall have to invent mains electricity and kill myself.”
Amanda: “Take my tip, Wickham. Don’t waste your time with this lot, especially Lydia, because I’m watching you. Every time you try to pull a stroke, I will be right behind you with a big neon sign saying, ‘Don’t trust this guy.’”
Wickham: “What is neon?”
Amanda: “Mr. Bingley, will you take a turn with me around the garden? I find myself fantastically interested to see a vole. Miss Bennet, Mr. Bingley and I are going to look for voles. Join us.”
To quote Xander Harris, “And on the day the words ‘flimsy excuse’ were redefined, we stood in awe and watched.”
Amanda: “I’ve cleaned my teeth with chalk, shaved my legs with some sort of potato peeler.”
Lydia: “He really is the most intractable man I’ve ever met. At Longbourn I said to him, “Mr. Darcy, I have a wager with my sisters that I can extract three whole words from you.” Says he, “You lose.” It’s enough to make one park a bloody jumbo.”
Bingley: “I’m in love. I’m invulnerable, like Ajax.”
Darcy: “Ajax cut his own throat in a fit of pique.”
Bingley: “Do not quibble, Darcy.”
Collins: “Miss Bingley, it is a triumph. I cannot conceive a more accomplished, elegant hostess.”
Caroline: “Not even Lady Catherine de Bourgh?”
Collins: “Oh, oh. I...”
Amanda: “This is the ball at Netherfield. Elizabeth’s not here. You’re throwing me out for kneeing Collins in the balls. It isn’t quite how I imagined it.”
four out of four misused colloquialisms