thoughtsthatfester: On Emma’s clothes… So, I like fashion. A lot. I read a lot of fashion blogs. I…

Thursday, October 17th, 2013


On Emma’s clothes…

So, I like fashion. A lot. I read a lot of fashion blogs. I keep up with designers. I shop a lot. One of the things that keeps bringing me out of the world of Emma Approved is the clothing posts.

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This sounds like another area (along with the posts on the otherwise-in-world blog pointing to the out-of-world videos) where Emma Approved falls short of the standard for believability that some viewers would like it to meet.

I wrote a long post about this on my iPad this morning that the Tumblr iPad app silently ate (I hate how it does that). But the gist was this: With the transmedia being lazy about mixing in-world and out-of-world experiences, Pemberley Digital is continuing a trend that’s been in place at least since Domino: Making choices that benefit the show’s accessibility and appeal at the expense of believability, especially for the subset of fans who choose to invest heavily in the world.

The choice to make the videos The Office/Parks and Rec-style, with events being taped for a hypothetical future documentary, feels like a safe, conventional choice. It solves a lot of problems they wrestled with throughout LBD, and does it more elegantly than the approach they used for Sanditon.

What it doesn’t do is work well with the transmedia. When they use the in-world transmedia platforms to promote out-of-world elements, they’re basically putting the transmedia second, subordinating its believability to the desire to promote the videos.

I wonder how that makes Jay Bushman feel. He’s written about how important it was to him that LBD elevated the transmedia to a co-equal storytelling tool, rather than treating it like the poor relation. Some of my favorite moments in LBD where when the transmedia pushed into my world in a way that I hadn’t been expecting. I see that Jay isn’t on the masthead of the Emma Approved videos; Alexandra appears to moved up into the Transmedia Producer role. (Note: Not to take anything away from the work she’s doing. But I wonder if Jay’s absence is a factor in this.)

My understanding is that they have hopes of spinning EA out into some sort of video distribution beyond YouTube (something about trying to get a deal to distribute supplemental content on a cable network?) They have their eyes on a more-lucrative prize than pleasing the subset of fans who want to hold the show to a high standard of transmedia believability. They want lots of ad views. They want to sell clothes to young women — and not the kind of young women Emma is supposed to represent, but the larger pool of young women who are likely to be targeted by companies interested in promoting their products on a YouTube series.

I think there are exciting possibilities for believable storytelling that goes beyond what LBD did with transmedia. But it doesn’t look like Emma Approved is going to do it. 

The early story departures from canon seem consistent with that, too. They’re going for a broader version of the character, giving Emma room to change, making her unlikeable now as part of trying to tell a bigger, campier story. And to give them credit, it really does remind me of the first few weeks of LBD, when Lizzie was coming off the same way. I’m willing to give them time, and enjoy the show for what it is. But yeah, I wish it was willing to be more ambitious, and not just for the kind of success we’ve already seen elsewhere.

There was a moment about halfway through LBD, around Darcy Day, when my expectations for the show were at their peak. They’d done so many things that felt so new, and that worked so well, that I thought it was just going to keep amazing me all the way to the end. And then, probably inevitably, it didn’t. Story choices fell short of my expectations. Some jarring emotional notes brought me back to earth. I still loved it, but it was more the love you feel for someone because of your shared history, and because you remember what it was like in the first flush of infatuation, when the wonderful things were all you could see and you didn’t notice any flaws.

The flaws people are pointing out in EA are real. So are the good parts. Which I choose to focus on is more about me than about the people making the show, who are, I’m convinced, talented, thoughtful people whose hearts are in the right place.

I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do. I wish the transmedia elements were more believable, because I happen to find that stuff really compelling. Someone will do that; I think the possibilities are too rich not to be pursued. Just not by these people, apparently. Which is fine. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

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stefanhayden: here is the first post from the new site that is…

Friday, August 2nd, 2013


here is the first post from the new site that is here for Emma Approved.

Which is weird, right? The post has verbatim Austen from P&P (I think, though I haven’t confirmed that). But isn’t Emma supposed to exist in the LBD universe? In which case, Austen’s P&P should not exist.

Possible explanations:

  • The post itself is not in-universe. The Emma Approved WordPress blog is not part of the in-universe show, or the post was a placeholder meant not to be made public, or something else along those lines.
  • Emma Approved does not exist in the LBD universe. Hence no need to pine for Lizzie/Darcy cameos, and Austen’s P&P can exist (though presumably Austen’s Emma can’t).

Meta-observation: It’s nice to be be back in the meta-business. :-)

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Persuasion: The Next LBD?

Thursday, March 28th, 2013


Having just recently gotten into Austen (I’ve only read P&P, Persuasion, half of Emma, and Sandition), I don’t have a huge amount of knowledge about many of Austen’s works. Still, I do think that Persuasion would be an ideal candidate for a vlog-style adaptation in the spirit of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

This got obscenely long, so it’s under the cut.

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This mostly makes sense to me. I don’t necessarily agree with the people I’ve seen saying that Clueless precludes Pemberley Digital adapting Emma; Clueless came out 18 years ago, which at least in my mind is plenty long enough for another adaptation to be done. There were only 10 years between the BBC miniseries and the Joe Wright adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, after all, and those were necessarily a lot closer together as straight period adaptations than 200-years-later updates of Emma would be.

But I love Persuasion, and really like the way this post outlines how it could be updated. A reality series rather than a vlog sounds more expensive to produce, but not necessarily too expensive; a reality show would still be cheaper than conventional TV, and would solve a whole list of problems that Bernie Su & Co. spent the last year wrestling with. (Just how many times can someone pop by unexpectedly and sit down next to Lizzie just as she’s recording her vlog?)

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