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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Character Comparison: Prince Hans & George Wickham (LBD). Or: Why I Won’t Excuse Hans.

movies.yahoo.comhttp://charles-bingley.blogspot.com/2013/04/so-lets-talk-about-lizzie-bennet-diaries.html

Trigger warning: Discussion of emotional abuse.

Okay, so I know I covered Frozen last week. But this is something I’ve actually been thinking about for a year, and recent events in colleges nationwide, including my own alma mater, have spurred me to think about this, so bear with me.

One year before Frozen premiered, I started watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern vlog adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The show was a pioneer by engaging with its audience through social media platforms, and added new layers to the story through videos created by other characters. But the biggest, most talked about change the show made was in the handling of the relationship between Lydia Bennet and George Wickham through Lydia’s vlogs, The Lydia Bennet.

(Spoilers ahead!)

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Character Comparison: Princess Anna & Princess Tutu (Ahiru)

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(Note: I apologize for the late posting. Certain things came up, and this took longer than I expected. Hope you enjoy!)

It’s been almost a year since Disney’s Frozen came out in the US, and it has since taken the world by storm!

Sure, we get to the point when we think, “If I hear ‘Let It Go’ or ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’ one more time, I might just kill someone.”

But we have to admit it’s a well-crafted Disney film worthy of admiration. The characters are easy to fall in love with (or, in the case of Hans, fall in hate with), and often subvert our expectations of what we expect characters in a fairytale to do.

Another animated fairytale in which characters subvert expectations is the Japanese anime series Princess Tutu (which I swear is a lot better than the name suggests). I see quite a few parallels between the main characters, but in particular I find the female protagonists, Princess Anna and Ahiru (also known as Princess Tutu), very similar, both in temperament and in the values they represent. I think these similarities reveal a lot about the values of each story. 

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Character Comparisons: Ursula & Audrey II

  

Ursula the Sea Witch and the Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors were both villains featured on my “31 Days of Villains” Pinterest board that I completed throughout the month of October. Posting these two back-to-back got me thinking about certain similarities they shared.

First, a little history. In 1982, Little Shop of Horrors, a musical based on a 1960 B-movie, premiered Off-Off-Broadway, later transferring Off-Broadway for an award-winning and successful 5-year run (which my parents and grandparents actually saw, for the record).

The musical, for those who don’t know, concerned hapless florist Seymour Krelbourne who, upon finding a “strange and interesting plant,” finds his luck changing as the plant, named “Audrey II” after the lovely co-worker he has a crush on, gains fame for its peculiarity. The catch: It can only grow by feeding on blood. As the plant gets bigger (and starts talking), Seymour finds he can no longer feed it on his own, and is prompted by the plant to start killing people to keep it, and his fortunes, alive.

The plant is eventually revealed to have plans to spread, feast on blood, and take over the world. And, based on the ending of the original show, it does! *

Seven years later, Disney released The Little Mermaid, a film which jet-launched the company out of its animation slump and into the Disney Renaissance, which later lead to the establishment of the Disney Princess line. It won an Oscar for “Under the Sea,” the first of Disney wins in the Best Original Song category throughout the ’90s. (I think we all know the plot well enough that I don’t have to reiterate it here).

A trash-talking show about a bloodthirsty plant, and a quintessential, squeaky-clean Disney Princess film. What could these musicals possibly have in common?

Well, for one, their music teams.

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Which Witch is Most Wicked? The Recent Backstories of the Wicked Witch of the West

Ten years ago, I trekked into Manhattan with my family to see Wicked. Though Kristen Chenoweth had already left the show by that point, I still got to see Idina and much of the original cast perform in this magnificent show. To this day, despite all the musicals I’ve seen and performed in the meantime, Wicked is still my favorite musical.

And I still find the show’s interpretation of the title character fascinating. As someone who was so terrified of Margaret Hamilton’s interpretation as a child that she ran out of the room screaming (I don’t think I actually got through the whole of The Wizard of Oz until I was 6 or 7 for this reason), for a show to get me to love the iconic witch is pretty impressive.

Also in the ten years since there has been a sudden infusion of Wicked Witch fascination in the culture. Of course, ever since The Wizard of Oz began showing annually on television, the story has never been far from our collective consciousness, but with Disney’s big budget interpretation in Oz the Great and Powerful, and Once Upon a Time‘s dedication to the character in its last half-season, one must wonder – which backstory of the past 10 years is the most compelling? Which one can we easily see being true of the cackling green-skinned witch from 1939?

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