By Deborah Yaffe, Jul 2 2018 01:00PM
We journalists like to joke that once you have three examples of something – avocado toast! Suburban sex-toy parties! -- you can write a story declaring said phenomenon to be “a trend.” Thus it is that I feel completely justified in declaring that second-order Jane Austen spinoffs -- adaptations of Austen adaptations – officially constitute a trend.
Herewith the crucial three data points:
1. Last month, the Hallmark Channel subjected us to Marrying Mr. Darcy, the limp sequel to Unleashing Mr. Darcy, its execrable 2016 filmed version of a novel setting Pride and Prejudice in the contemporary dog-show world.
2. This fall, an off-Broadway theater plans to premier Clueless: The Musical, featuring classic ‘90s pop songs with parodic lyrics written by Amy Heckerling, the auteur behind the beloved 1995 movie that updated Emma to high school in Beverly Hills.
3. Perhaps inspired by the success, if such it can be called, of dog-show Darcy, Hallmark has announced plans for a Christmas movie entitled Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, “a Yuletide-themed, gender-swapping update of the classic Jane Austen novel,” according to Entertainment Weekly.
This movie too is based on Austen fanfic – a book of the same title by Melissa de la Cruz, whose Amazon listing reveals her to be the hard-working author of dozens of novels on subjects ranging from bikini-clad au pairs to time-traveling witches to Alexander Hamilton’s love life. I haven’t read any of her stuff, but P&P&M is on my Kindle as of today. (I always prefer to read the book before seeing the movie. And you know I'll see the movie.)
Et voilà – three examples, and thus a trend.
Now that I think about it, I may even be a bit late in my trend-spotting. After all, it’s been nearly four years since the BBC brought us a filmed version of Death Comes to Pemberley, P.D. James’ murder-mystery-themed Pride and Prejudice sequel. Yes, the book was terrible and the movie only marginally better – but that’s not enough to stop a speeding trend in its tracks.
With the possible exception of the Clueless musical, I would sweep all these projects into the circular file of the universe if I had the power. (Also, I think you were too kind about the BBC version of DCTP. I thought it was even worse than the book--and the book was bad enough. Sorry, P.D. James fans.)
But i greatly enjoyed your post about Persuasion on Sarah Emsley's blog. It's as thoughtful and careful an analysis of The Letter as one could wish for.
The dog-show Darcy movies definitely belong on the trash-heap of history, but I'm reserving judgment on Mistletoe P&P. I admit that it will possibly -- no, probably -- be terrible, but hope springs eternal. It's Christmas, for Pete's sake! (Or at least it will be by the time the movie airs. . .)
And I'm so glad you liked my Persuasion post. Close reading always makes me appreciate Austen's genius even more.