On Love Letters (and Other Forms of Communication): You’ve Got Mail & Lizzie Bennet Diaries

As I mentioned at the end of my post last week, I am writing love letters to strangers as part of the 12 Days of Letter Writing for The World Needs More Love Letters. Love letters, in this sense, are not about romance, but simply about sending thoughtful, handwritten notes to people who need some kind words. It’s not always easy to do, but it reminds me of how important it is to tell family and friends what they mean to us – because if the words of strangers can help that much, how much more can we bolster the spirits of people we know?

Anyway, when trying to find words to help people in uncertain situations, there are two things that keep popping into my head: The 1998 film You’ve Got Mail, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (which I have discussed before on this blog).

 

The two works have quite a bit in common: two people who initially hate each other come to love each other – the guy, who seems like an entitled jerk, turns out to be a kind person, and the girl, wondering if she is too afraid to live the life she wants, faces massive life changes and takes the first steps towards doing it. All this with wonderfully witty, realistic dialogue and the Internet in play.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune… must be in want of a wife.”

They also both take a lot from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (whose birthday is today, btw). LBD is based directly on it, and in You’ve Got Mail, Joe Fox compares Kathleen Kelly to Elizabeth Bennet for her inability to see past her pride and prejudices towards him (see above). Really, I could do a whole blog post on those similarities alone (and I might, just warning you now).

But, in the vein of love letters, I’m going to talk about communication in both works.

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The Art of the Fan Musical: Supernatural and Starkid

 

So, I watched Supernatural‘s 200th episode last week.

For the record, I don’t really watch the show. However, I figured I had enough of a working knowledge from tumblr to be able to appreciate the anniversary musical episode.

I always find musical episodes on otherwise nonmusical shows interesting, even if I don’t know the show that well, because, unlike on stage, there has to be a reason the characters are bursting into song. Whether it be a feverish hallucination, a Chicago-style daydream, or even a demon who kills by getting emotionally supressed people to sing and dance their feelings. These musical episodes also often provide anthems for long-standing themes and relationships in the show (see: “Guy Love” from the Scrubs episode “My Musical”).

But, Supernatural‘s musical episode, entitled “Fan Fiction,” is unique in that the characters from the show don’t actually sing about their feelings. Actually, the main supernatural-hunting brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, balk at the idea of musical theater (though Sam apparently ran tech for Our Town and Oklahoma in high school). But because Supernatural has a book series in-universe that is based on the lives of the characters, with a fanbase not dissimilar to Supernatural‘s real life fans, they were able to create a meta musical commentary not just on the Supernatural universe, but on how its fans enjoy it.

In short, the musical episode was created in the style of a fan adaptation. And when I think of fan adaptations, I can’t help but compare to the marvellous works of Team Starkid.

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