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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

P&P Barbie

The summer’s biggest movie, Greta Gerwig’s delightful and touching Barbie, knows women well—really, really well. The proof? Mr. Darcy makes a cameo appearance.

Before seeing Barbie last week, I’d heard rumors of a shoutout to the iconic 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but I still convulsed with laughter when the much-anticipated moment arrived. Alas, because the whole audience joined me in noisy hilarity, it was hard to hear every word of the bit.

But no worries: The internet is filled with people entirely lacking in scruples about copyright, and so I quickly located the relevant thirty seconds: a parodic commercial for “Depression Barbie,” who wears sweatpants around the clock, doom-scrolls Instagram, binges on sugar, and is “going to watch the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice for the seventh time, till she falls asleep.” (Cut to a shot of a Barbie-sized TV screen playing a clip from the first proposal scene, with an oblivious Colin-Firth-as-Darcy insulting the Bennet family, to the chagrin of a grim-faced Jennifer-Ehle-as-Elizabeth.)

It would seem that I was not the only woman in America--indeed, possibly in the English-speaking world--to find this moment irresistibly relatable. Indeed, judging from the torrent of memes, tweets, and commentary, much of it of the “does-Greta-Gerwig-have-a-hidden-camera-in-my-TV-room?” variety, the only disagreement seems to be over whether your own personal depressive binge-watch is the 1995 Firth-Ehle P&P or the 2005 Keira Knightley-Matthew Macfadyen version.

But as Janeites know, that’s a major disagreement. They could make a whole movie just about that, and we'd all watch it--possibly in our sweatpants.

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