About:

Title: Fire Island
Released: 2022

Platforms: Hulu (U.S.), Disney+ (elsewhere)

Fellow scientists, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a Pride and Prejudice retelling must be in want of FYA’s Highly Scientific Analysis. Today’s subject to be examined is Fire Island:

Put on your safety goggles (all other clothing optional), step into the FYA Laboratory, and let’s get our science on!

(This review will contain spoilers, in the sense that there is plenty of discussion about the Pride and Prejudice-ness of it. Spoilers for a 209-year-old book herein.)

The Official FYA Fire Island Drinking Game

But first, a drinking game! Stock up on your drink of choice, although stay away from expensive booze if you’re only used to well.

Take a drink whenever:

  • Noah and Howie do their friendship sign.
  • Someone mentions monogamy.
  • Someone mentions OnlyFans.
  • Someone mentions the Meat Rack.
  • You catch a pop culture reference.
    • Make it a double if it’s meta.
  • You catch a political reference.
  • There’s an excuse for the characters to go shirtless and/or pantsless.
  • Someone from Charlie and Will’s house is an asshole.
  • Drug use is mentioned or shown.
    • If it’s in quick succession, just chug for the duration.

Take a shot whenever:

  • A new day starts.
  • Will eats a teeny tiny little ice cream cone.
  • There’s kissing between characters in the main cast.
  • THEY’RE ON A BOAT.

Finish your drink whenever:

  • There’s romance bullshit (“the rom-com stuff, like kissing in the rain and standing outside my window with a boombox or confessing things in a gazebo”).

For those familiar with Pride and Prejudice, take a sip whenever:

  • You make a connection to the source material.
    • Honestly, you could probably play with this rule alone.

Players and Prejudice

Joel Kim Booster as Noah

Elizabeth Bennet. As is the case with a lot of comedians, I have no idea whether I first discovered them through Twitter or a podcast, but Joel Kim Booster is a delight on both. He’s also the writer and executive producer of Fire Island, so he’s a certified quadruple threat.

Bowen Yang as Howie

Jane Bennet/Charlotte Lucas. Howie’s way more lowkey than Bowen’s usual SNL characters, so seeing him as a hopeless romantic is a fun change of pace!

Matt Rogers as Luke

Lydia Bennet. Matt cohosts the Las Culturistas podcast with Bowen, and I love when entertainment friends work together. As for Luke, feeling petty about being the hot one is extremely Lydia behaviour.

Tomás Matos as Keegan

Kitty Bennet. Keegan is THE WORLD IS YOUR RUNWAY personified, with a signature look of high heels and crop tops.

Torian Miller as Max

Mary Bennet. I know Luke and Keegan are deservedly getting a lot of attention, but I LOVE WET BLANKET MAX. Arguably the best Mary Bennet portrayal ever. Not that there’s a lot of competition, but STILL BEST.

Margaret Cho as Erin

Mrs. Bennet. Erin sees herself as the lesbian surrogate mom of the friend group, and financial woes mean she has to sell her house on Fire Island. Similar to Max and Mary Bennet, this character immediately claims top spot for Best Mrs. Bennet because 1) Margaret Fucking Cho, and 2) she’s not trying to sell off her daughters to rich men.

Conrad Ricamora as Will

Fitzwilliam Darcy. Conrad played the only non-terrible character on How to Get Away with Murder (at least during the seasons that I watched) and he’s mostly been in theatre productions since, so it’s awesome to see him on my screen again — especially as Darcy!

James Scully as Charlie

Charles Bingley. I can’t believe that this is Forty from You?!?!? I barely remember what he looked like then, but Charlie is an adorable puppy dog, and that is COMPLETELY NOT how I remember Forty. The range!

Nick Adams as Cooper

Caroline Bingley. Omg what a smug and condescending asshole. In other words — just like the rest of this cast — PERFECTION.

Zane Phillips as Dex

Mr. Wickham. This actor is ridiculously attractive and therefore SPOT-ON WICKHAM. Also, he looks like the third brother in a family with Dustin Milligan and Sam Claflin.

Peter Smith as Moses

Mr. Collins. This character is so brilliantly adapted, like, YES OF COURSE, that is exactly the type of awful he would be in this situation.

Plot and Prejudice

  • You know you’re in for a treat when the movie charms you before it even technically starts, with the harmonized vocals for the Searchlight Pictures title card.

  • Another victory for the short movies crowd: the runtime is 1 hour and 45 minutes!

  • Fire Island looks GORGEOUS. (Although hopefully this movie won’t encourage The Straights to swarm there like bachelorettes at gay clubs.)

  • Love the music and the pop covers, and also the occasional Regency-esque instrumentals!

  • For a movie set in a hedonistic getaway, it’s actually very chaste! Not, like, fun-for-the-whole-family chaste, but for all the talk about the characters getting laid, they don’t do that much of it.

  • There’s a trash take making the rounds about this movie not passing the Bechdel test, and it’s like lololollllll this is obviously about the experiences of gay Asian men? Not everything has to be about you all the time? Anyway, this film does a great job of depicting how differently Howie, Noah, and Will navigate the world, based on how well they fit into superficial societal expectations.

Parallels and Prejudice

  • I’m definitely no Pride and Prejudice purist (case in point: Bride and Prejudice is one of my favourite movies), but I love a clever retelling that puts a fresh spin on the source material, which this certainly is!

  • It’s a testament to the timelessness of Jane Austen — and the genius of Joel Kim Booster — that the major beats of her novel translate so well.

  • Swapping Regency-era social hierarchy for toxic beauty standards is INSPIRED, as is having the Bennets be the antithesis of “No fats, no femmes, no Asians”.

  • Even the updates to smaller details are SO GOOD.
    • Instead of getting married, the goals is to get laid.
    • The dance floor is still the dance floor — but now with grinding and Grindr-ing!
    • The characters take a turn about the pool like it’s a room, and I DIE.

  • There must be some unspoken rule that on-screen Pride and Prejudice MUST contain some sort of water scene. (Insert your own crass joke about wetness.)

  • The Charlotte Lucas speech has been updated from Age 27 to 30!

Howie: “I’m thirty and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve never been in a relationship. […] You’re the only person I know who understands how shitty it can be sometimes to feel unwanted like this.”

Partings and Prejudice

Given the creative team, the laugh-out-loud humour came as no surprise, although I didn’t anticipate that this movie almost made me cry?!?? It’s got so much heart, but also plenty of jokes to balance out the sweetness. I may have been predisposed to like Fire Island, but I actually LOVE IT. (And I can say that, because I’m not professing my love to a person I met five days ago.)

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Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she’s been overseeing all things FYA Book Club since 2013.