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Emma Approved vs. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries


So, it's Friday and like always, if a person cannot have fun on a Friday, then when can we, right?! This leads into today's post in which I ramble about the two Austen-inspired web series, Emma Approved and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
If for some odd reason the pop culture phenomenon of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries somehow escaped showing up on any of your social media timelines, let me then introduce you to Emma Woodhouse. No, not the Emma you may think you know. This Emma is a contemporary woman, driven and set on documenting her greatness. On the Internet. Yes, you guessed it, she is the newest Austen heroine whose world the creators of LBD have invited us into. 


Emma is one of the most frustrating characters (who winks in this - a lot!) Jane probably ever wrote. She’s lovable and cute and fun but underneath that, she has a meddlesome personality that the wrong sort of person wouldn’t understand. This web video throws many of the normal relationships upside down while maintaining a semblance of familiarity that is easily recognizable. Emma is a now a matchmaker extraordinaire at her father’s company where Mr. Alex Knightley is in charge of the day-to-day business. Documenting her “greatness” is Emma's latest fad which is where the series begins. Through Skype calls and web conversations, we meet Emma.
 
This past summer, you may remember that I also admitted to finally watching the first ten episodes of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and needless to say, I sufficiently gushed about the webisodes. Since then, I’d not gone back to watch the rest and only recently did I gather all 100 episodes to put together and over two weekends, I actually got through them all. After that I watched all nine of the so-far Emma Approved episodes and it’s got me thinking: Which series do I like better?

From a production standpoint, “Emma” wins. We get different angles and new perspectives in Emma’s world as well as a warm albeit professional setting. The wardrobe is also “better” which makes perfect sense considering the differences in not just personalities but social classes between the Bennet sisters and the spoiled Emma Woodhouse. It’s clever how each character has been introduced (Annie a.k.a Mrs. Weston is a friend; Harriet as Emma’s loyal, hard-working assistant – seriously I do love this girl, she’s good for Emma’s ego which that girl does not need; Frank Churchill as a brother instead of son) though unlike Darcy, Knightley’s intro is very anti-climactic – something that makes perfect sense considering he’s a present part of Emma’s life.


This then leads me into the personable nature of each web series. Hands down, I think the LBD have that won in spades. Lizzie’s diaries were much more relatable and also had a simple, easy-to-like quality to them. If there was one thing that did surprise me, it was Darcy’s intro – after so much build-up, it seemed a tiny bit “flat,” however that didn’t stop me from grinning like a fool while viewing the pivotal episode (plus, come on, any girl who gushes over Doctor Who will not be able to resist Darcy’s bow-tie adorableness) and of course, I liked how his reintroduction into Lizzie’s life was filmed (way to tease us, LBD!) as well as Gigi’s appearance. Jane, Lydia, Charlotte, Bing and Fitz were also irresistible in their own way and I seriously loved Lizzie’s personality as well as the ending – naturally something we love makes us sad to see go, however this “tacked-on” ending was too cute. Emma Approved just doesn’t have that same sparkle.
 

For anyone who hasn’t seen either one of these yet or hasn’t tried Emma Approved because of feelings for LBD – so far, “Emma” is much cleaner. I’ve a feeling that perhaps it won’t stay that way however thus far, there has been very little objectionable content. To be fair, Emma hasn’t had a chance to prove herself to the fullest extent yet considering she hasn’t even met LBD halfway. Here’s hoping that Emma’s personality shifts and begins to work for the good rather than the meddlesome. Fortunately for us, the loyal YouTube followers, we have an inside scoop that with maturity she does indeed change – and get a happy ending of her own.

Take a peek at Emma Approved, episode one – “I am Emma Woodhouse.”

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Rissi
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18 comments:

  1. I'm really enjoying Emma Approved so far. I know a lot of people think Emma is annoying, but I've always rather liked her, and Emma is one of my favorite Austen novels. The way that the series is set up is a bit strange, though...she's supposedly filming a documentary-type thing of her life and business success, right? So I understand why she talks to the camera and hams it up, but it kind of bugs me that Mr. Knightley talks to the camera, too (or at least looks at it pretty often). I'm not sure why. Maybe because at the very beginning, didn't he pretty much poke fun at the "documentary" idea? And I always wonder if working for/with Emma is Mr. Knightley's only job or if he's just helping her as she gets started (I can't remember if this was mentioned earlier or not). If it is his only job, how does he make it? It doesn't seem like they exactly have a huge amount of clients so far. Emma could live off of her family money, but does he come from a wealthy family, too? (I guess in the book, he pretty much did since he and Emma were in the same social circle.) I know this doesn't matter because it's not real, but I still wonder about such details. :)

    Anyway, the casting is perfect (especially Harriet). And I love Mr. Knightley. :)

    Still, unless Emma Approved really picks up as it goes, I'm fairly sure I'll still love LBD better. I just feel so much more connected to those characters because the series itself is a lot more relatable, and because P&P is my favorite book so I feel like I know the characters. :) I was just thinking the other day that I need to watch LBD again!

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    1. I don't think I'd say Emma is annoying (although, heavens! That winking at first was enough to drive me bonkers) however Austen's Emma is a bit meddlesome - and still, I adore her! :)

      As for Knightley, I think they have the actor look at the camera so much because it's a web series (a doc-style "movie") and as such, they probably want the audience to "bond" with the characters. Beyond that, it *is* different than Darcy's intro to the LBD series. That's for sure - poor guy didn't know what he was stepping into. ;) Alex's job (I think) is in charge of some of the Highbury companies that Emma's father runs. However I know he doesn't just help Emma in her shenanigans, he does have CEO-like responsibilities and I'm assuming, he'd independently wealthy also - considering Austen's Knightley was!

      Harriet is adorbs; she's probably my fave. And as he should be, Knightley is the voice of reason.

      Just finished LBD and ended up loving it - that ending was priceless! Darcy and Lizzie couldn't have been given a sweeter conclusion, either. As for Emma, it'll take a while for it to grow on me - as you say, LBD was lovely in that it had a way of relating to us even though it was recounting classic lit in a new way. Here's hoping Emma Approved picks up. :)

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  2. I keep meaning to try these. I wish they were on Hulu.

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    1. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries were supposed to be released to DVD, Juju, however they haven't. Yet. Here's hoping that changes. I wish these were easier to access also - YouTube *is* easy, however I don't like being forced to be on-line to watch a 5-minute vid. ;)

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  3. i've enjoyed watching Emma approved! Its really fun! I started watching LBD, and I think knowing that there were 100 episodes to watch made me feel overwhelmed…
    <3
    lilly
    Wildflowersinbloom.com

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    1. If you like 'Emma,' you should give LBD another chance, Lilly. They're so much more fun in my opinion - plus Lizzie never ceases to make me giggle over her impersonations!

      (Although, sadly LBD is not NEARLY as clean as Emma Approved.)

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  4. I hadn't heard of Emma Approved, though I did enjoy The Lizzie Bennet Diaries with some reservations--it was way too crude and suggestive and . . . yeah. Is Emma Approved any cleaner?

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    1. I remember you commenting on the content in LBD, Hannah - it's sad really because I love Lizzie in that web series. As for Emma Approved, yes, it is MUCH cleaner. So far. The last episode (episode 9) had a couple uses of profanity, and I think one other episode had a minor use of language but beyond that, it's been just fine (certainly nothing like Lydia's dialogue in LBD). Hoping it stays that way, however I am skeptical. :)

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    2. Oh, wonderful! Thanks, Rissi :) Maybe I'll try it out! This is exciting. . . .

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    3. Yay! Hope you like if/when you see it, Hannah. Aside from a few profanities, it's been good so far - however the last episode did bring in a few immoral innuendos... still though, I think Lydia's dialogue is worse.

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  5. The LBD definitely were easier to like in the beginning, I agree. And Emma is more annoying and selfish in this adaptation then she was in other 'period' adaptations I've seen. There always was a hint of vulnerability about her, which I haven't seen so far in Emma Approved.

    I do however really like Knightley and I love how he's a part of the series from the beginning. You will get to see many things both from his and from Emma's point-of-view, I think.

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    1. Right...!? I was so much more invested in the LBD series, Birdie. I mean, Emma Approved *is* cute, but... it's just not as personable. I think Gwyneth's Emma was the most vulnerable, Romola's the most "fresh-faced, innocent" and Kate's the most overly confident. Or that is my quick assessment of the main three actresses who've played the role. For those who find this Emma annoying, I've got hopes she'll change because, well, that's the original story. The failure she'll eventually encounter with Harriet will (no doubt) start to chip away at that hidden vulnerability.

      Glad you like Knightley - it's only right that he be part of the series from the beginning. He was a constant in Emma's life and I suspect he'll again be pivotal in bringing Emma around. :)

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  6. I just love the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Emma Approved is much different, but it's really great too. I just love how Lizzie's videos were much more personable and it felt much more comfortable. Like she was actually talking to you and wanting to be your friend. Still both are great!

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    1. Ditto, Joanna! That's what I loved so much about LBD. How personable they were. Lizzie had a fabulous charismatic personality and those impersonations she does!? So hilarious. ;)

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  7. Okay, I was wrong, Emma Approved took evil to the next level in these youtube version with episode 11; I stopped watching. It was worse than Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

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    1. Sorry you were disappointed, Livia. :/ Guess that's just what modern entertainment does - it disappoints. *sigh*

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  8. Oh, I just saw this post now! :P

    I loved LBD and I'm loving Emma Approved. :D I can't say which I liked better...not as of the moment. However, I do admit to fangirling every time Alex Knightley comes into the scene. He's just...perfect, in my opinion. I'm excited to see the other characters as well...and now that Mr. Elton has made an appearance, I think the subtle arrogance is just fitting to his character. I can't wait for the story to unfold! :D

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    1. Glad you spotted it, Alyssa. :)

      I'm behind an episode or two right now - but I've seen people "buzzing" about meeting Elton, so I'm curious. Glad we're getting to meet a new character. Alex is cool and as his original character would dictate, he's very lovingly patient with Emma. Glad you like both equally so far - "Emma Approved" is growing on me. :)

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