Saturday, October 30, 2010

First Impressions

Today I confront a harsh reality.  A secret I thought I might take to the grave....and that is that I didn't like Bridget Jones's Diary when I saw it in the theater.  At least not the first time.

When BJD first came to a theater near me, I had not read the book.  I watched the trailer and thought that surely there was some wish fulfillment device that Bridget was using to make Colin Firth challenge Hugh Grant to a fight "outside." ("Outside.  Should I bring my dueling pistol or my sword?")  Up until the time I sat in the dark theater and heard the opening lines of "It all began on New Years Day," I had no idea that they would be playing on Pride and Prejudice.  I kept noticing things like how she worked at Pemberley Press, of course that she had made a bad first impression on a M. Darcy, as did he on her.  And it didn't take an Austen scholar to piece together that this Daniel Cleaver chap was a modern-day Wickham.  Poor everyone sitting around me.  I'm sure there were a lot of AHs and OHs coming out of my mouth.  However, by the end, I was mad as could be that they had modernized Elizabeth Bennet as someone who was incompetent at her job, a horrible public speaker, and a touch empty-headed in general.  Was this really a modern version of my most beloved female heroine in the history of literature?

I was taking a Masters class on Austen at the time.  Out of the 8 of us nerds in class, I was the only one who had seen the movie, though some had read the book.  Naturally, they wanted to know all about it, and my review consisted mainly of my anger about the P&P comparison and the fact that the hair-stylist clearly hated Renee Zellweger.  It's all too true, and the words are like thorns in my side now.

Fortunately, having not been prepared for the P&P elements in my first viewing, I was compelled to go back to the theater to do a more detailed analysis.  At which point, I fell in love.  And I've stayed in love ever since. 

Perhaps I'm Mark Darcy/Mr. Darcy, and perhaps I was a bit too proud at first.  Fortunately, now I love Bridget just as she is.  I only wish that I could rescue her baby sister or mother from a scandal or defend her honor in a fist fight to prove my love.  Maybe she'll just let me buy her a new diary and have a fresh start.

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