My rage, it has no bounds


bernie su said:

It’s also why we didn’t have Gigi actively try to get George to download the app. If Gigi’s the one that catches George than that takes away from Darcy.

I cannot tell you how much rage this gives me.


The fact that anyone thinks that, in this day and age, just boggles my mind—let alone that someone thinks that who claims to have thought about the challenge of adopting Pride and Prejudice for a modern audience where women play a more active role in their lives and do things other than want husbands.

In fact, it highlights so much of why this show has gone off the rails. The Pemberley arc did more to ruin my enjoyment of Darcy, and my appreciation of him as a character, than just about anything in this show so far.

And now you’re telling me that you had to make him condescend to Gigi, and you had to set up this whole thing where Gigi basically has no agency at all and spends her time sitting at home and sobbing, just because you didn’t want to “take away from Darcy”?

Let me explain what took away from Darcy.

What you did: You set up a fully grown woman as someone who was being treated as a child by your main character. AND YOU NEVER RECTIFIED IT. Instead, you ended the arc by REINFORCING it, by making Gigi desperate to have her brother tell her that it was okay, and having her brother say it was. As if SHE was the one who needed to apologize.

Furthermore, the justification doesn’t even make sense. You’re telling me that somehow, Darcy gets more credit because Gigi did something on accident? How is it that this choice makes Darcy a more active participant? Here is another possibility: Darcy could have gone to Gigi directly and said, “I need your help,” and Gigi could have offered it.


How hard is it to figure this out? Nobody thought that because Fitz was down there with Darcy, helping him out—and clearly he was—that this “took away” from Darcy. So why THE FUCK would it “take away” from Darcy to have Gigi play that active a role?


You know what takes away from Darcy?

Having him wander around Orange County making piteous noises for a week and a half.

You know what takes away from Darcy?

Having George’s stupidity and an accident end up solving the problem, instead of Darcy himself.

The Pemberley arc was poorly written, ill-conceived, and honestly, the show would have been better off without it.

And I say this as someone who was super-excited about the arc when it first went up, as someone who adores Gigi and was really happy to see more Fitz, and who definitely wanted to see Gigi-Darcy onscreen reaction.

The Pemberley arc was a complete clusterfuck, and if you think that Gigi could not have been an active participant because it would “take away from Darcy,” you need to start thinking about how it is that you’re going to integrate women as active players in their own lives.

It doesn’t take away from men to have competent women in their lives. It adds to them.

Unbounded rage seems to me like an odd response to Bernie Su’s comment. I could understand you feeling that way if he’d said, “We didn’t want to have Gigi be responsible for tricking Wickham, because doing so would have given agency to a female character, and we wanted that agency to be reserved for Darcy because he is male.” But that’s not what he said.

When I read your earlier AU version of how Gigi could have brought down Wickham actively and intentionally, rather than accidentally, I at first really liked it, because it was fun, and awesome. But after thinking about it I realized that the creators of the show probably went the way they did for exactly the reason Bernie explained in this post: Because the discovery of Wickham was a key moment in Darcy’s narrative arc, the part of the story when he gets to save the day, and having him be the unwitting beneficiary of a Gigi plan to trick Wickham would have undercut his (Darcy’s) agency in a way that would have been problematic for the larger story. Not because Darcy is male, and there is a sexist imperative at work to reserve all such agency for men. But because Darcy is the main character in this part of the story, and Gigi is a subordinate one. Because they’re telling a version of the story that tries to evoke Austen, and to make someone other than Darcy responsible for Wickham’s discovery would have undercut that.

I realize that one could make a case that for Austen to have structured the story the way she did was itself a reflection of sexism, and that some (at least) of the social forces that pushed her in that direction no longer operate today, such that LBD had more leeway than she did to give that agency to someone besides Darcy. I think that’s a perfectly valid argument. But while LBD could have made a version of LBD that addressed and refuted the sexism of Austen’s time by making that choice, that’s not the same as saying they were required to make it. And to respond to Bernie’s post with unbounded rage sounds to me like you’re saying the LBD creators were in some sense required to enhance Gigi’s agency at the expense of Darcy’s.

Re-reading your post, maybe your argument is that enhanced agency for Gigi did not have to come at the expense of Darcy, that agency is not a zero-sum game in that sense. Which is an interesting idea, if that’s what you’re arguing, and I’d be interested in learning more about that. But I think it’s pretty clear from Bernie Su’s comments that that’s not they way the LBD creators viewed it; that they felt that having Gigi more active in Wickham’s discovery would have diminished Darcy’s role. That seems to me like a pretty understandable thing for them to think. I don’t see why it would make someone super angry.

I’ve really loved reading your (and others’, but especially your) criticisms of LBD’s choices. I wish you’d been on the writing team for the show, because I think the show that would have resulted would have been better, more satisfying, and more interesting. It would have done a better job of dealing head-on with the problematic nature of sexism both in Austen’s time and our own. I would have watched and enjoyed that show. I’m sure I would have learned a lot from it.

But I also watched and enjoyed this show. I don’t dispute your right to view it from a different perspective, and I’m grateful to you for sharing that perspective. But in this particular case, at least in terms of your anger, it’s a perspective I’m having trouble understanding.

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