Today, the final episode of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries aired, and I’m not really sure what to think. Last month, when it was announced that the show would end at 100 episodes, I started going to through pre-withdrawal. But now that it’s here, I feel like I was sufficiently emotionally prepared? Huh. Anyway, put on your favorite Jane Bennet hairstyle (I’m rocking the milkmaid braids), because here’s episode 100:
First, let’s assess this final chapter. My friend Leah, with whom I always discuss the episodes immediately after they air (it’s super annoying when one of both of us can’t watch them right at 9PST, because LECTURES or something equally lame), responded thusly:
So that last episode was super boring and lame and just ugh… I just want MOREEEE.
Surprisingly, I disagree! I have not exactly been a cheerleader for the past few episodes (more on this in a second), but I thought this was a really cute way to close out the series. You see a healthier, albeit quieter version of Lydia teasing Lizzie and giving the sense that even though she’ll never go back to being Old Lydia, she’s evolving into a new and improved version of herself. Since Lydia's wellbeing was all ever I cared about in this series, this pleases me greatly.
Charlotte gets some closure, too, starting to run the show at Collins and Collins while Mr. Collins moves to Canada to be with his “fiancée.” Even the elusive Mrs. Bennet make a surprise cameo at the end. For me, this was a perfect way to close out the series.
Admittedly, part of the reason this worked for me is that I was ready for the series to be over. It seems strange to seek the end of a series for which I’ve been such a rabid swimfan, but the frame wasn’t really working for me anymore. I got hooked on LBD back in April because, um, Pride and Prejudice, OBVIOUSLY, but I fell in love with the series because of the way it revolutionized story-telling. For the same reason I’m really, really stoked about the new season of Arrested Development, LBD made me squee with fan-girl delight every time there was a new twitter interaction or Jane pinned something sad on pinterest. It transformed the entire way I thought about how stories can and should play out, and most of my eagerness about seeing new episodes had more to do with wanting to see how a plot point would be interpreted in this format than investment in the story itself.
Over the last few episodes, though, I’ve been thinking more and more about the limitations of the style, which has somewhat removed me from my attachment to the series. For instance, I always found this Lizzie to be fairly annoying, which has nothing to do with Ashley Clements’ performance and everything to do with Lizzie being the kind of character who would serialize her personal life on the internet. Without the drama of her sisters' lives to distract me, I was once again reminded of how irritating she is. And even though I am probably the only person on the planet to think this, the Lizzie/Darcy kissing scenes made me feel super gross and dirty and voyeuristic. I know the rest of you have a folder of kissing gifs saved from episode 98, but now I’m reevaluating every kissing scene in a book or a movie that I’ve ever swooned over. I feel like I need to go watch Rear Window now to gain some perspective on my habits as a consumer of media.
All this is to say, I’m kind of glad we’ve reached the end of LBD because I feel like the creators have done all that they can with the current construct. It’s time for us all to move on, and I’m excited to see where Pemberley Digital takes us next. Sanditon is such a weird choice that I can’t wait to see what Bernie Su and Hank Green have planned, and I really want to know what other books are slated to get the LBD treatment. Personally, I don’t care what they choose* as long as they continue to do creative and interesting things with the transmedia format. Hell, I’d probably be on board with Wuthering High: Cathy’s Burn Book.
What would you like to see? And do you think I have lost my mind to be heralding the end of this beloved series?
*Except Mansfield Park. For the love of God, anything but Mansfield Park.
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