The cross class divide is a story as old as humanity itself. The question, then begs, when a writer uses this very basic story as the skeleton of their narrative, is there enough to flesh out the story or is the writer relying on stereotypes?
In the short lives series Malibu Shores (1996), Zack Morrison (Tony Lucca) from the wrong sides of the tracks meets rich girl Chloe Walker (Keri Russell), it seems like a match made in heaven. But only to them, that is. Everyone else around them thinks that this relationship is a bad idea. Then Zack’s school is destroyed in an earthquake and he, along with the rest of his classmates, are forced to transfer to Chloe’s high school. The forced mingling between the two groups does not go over well.
Producer Aaron Spelling tried to replicate the success of his mega hit Beverly Hills 90210 with Malibu Shores. 90210, this show is not. It lasted only one season and was cancelled due to poor ratings. While I give the creative team an A for effort, this show, unfortunately, was not very good.
If you are of a certain age, then this post is for you.
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, a new generation of television shows were on the air. They spoke to the then young generation and set the standard for future teenage programs.
The first show I am going to discuss is Felicity (1998-2002).
Upon the eve of her high school graduation, Felicity Porter (Keri Russell), has one goal. To catch the eye of her crush, Ben (Scott Speedman). Feeling listless and unsure of her future, Felicity knows only one thing: Ben. Following him to the University of New York, she hopes that being in close quarters with Ben will force him to finally see her. But she does not know that a rash, youthful decision to follow a cute boy across the country will open her world to new opportunities.
I remember when this show premiered. It was different than many of the shows that were around at the time. Felicity was young and hopeful, but also smart and determined. She represented many women of my generation who were daring to strike out on their own for the first time, even if her initial reasons were Ben.
Adolescence is hard. But if you have friends, it’s just a little easier.
Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) is a 15 year wannabe filmmaker. Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) is the girl next door and Dawson’s best friend. Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) is the bad boy. Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) is the new girl in town.
This show was the voice of a generation and at the time, was must see TV. Wednesday night at 8, everything stopped when Dawson’s Creek was on. Dawson was the every-man, going through the average teenage tsuris and dreaming of a career in Hollywood. Even now, the theme song brings on fond memories.
The third show I am going to talk about is Gilmore Girls (2000-2007).
In fictional Stars Hollow, Connecticut, single mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) had her daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel) when she was a teenager. Now that Rory is growing up, their relationship is changing. They are a quirky mother and daughter duo who are both trying to get by the best way they can. Add in a semi rocky relationship with Lorelai’s traditional, wealthy parents, Richard and Emily (Edward Hermann and Kelly Bishop) and this show was again must see TV.
What drew audiences in was the quirky, yet somehow normal relationship between Lorelai and Rory. What kept them coming back was how they were able to relate to the characters.
I recommend all three and by the way, writing this post makes me feel old.
This weekend, I was part of a group shown a preview of the upcoming movie Austenland.
Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is a 30 something single American woman obsessed with Jane Austen and more specifically, the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries. On a whim, she spends her life savings on a Jane Austen theme park run by Mrs. Waddlesbrook (Jane Seymour), hoping to meet the perfect English gentleman. Joining her is Miss Elizabeth Charming (Jennifer Coolidge) and Lady Amelia Heartwright (Georgia King).
The gentleman are actors, paid to give participants the full Austen experience. Henry Nobley (JJ Feild), Martin (Bret McKenzie), Colonel Andrews (James Callis) and Captain George East (Ricky Whittle).
This movie is based on a book, which I have not read, but some of my friends have said the book is good.
As a rom-com based on Austen’s novels, it certainly appeals to the Janeite in me. Anyone who knews me to a certain degree or has read this blog knows that I am a very open and proud Janeite. But this movie creates stereotypes that are far from reality. As one of my friends put it, the first 15 minutes are extremely unrealistic. As much as I adore and appreciate the 1995 P&P miniseries, I do not have a life-size Colin Firth Mr. Darcy cutout in my home.
The bright spots in this movie are Jennifer Coolidge who has the funniest lines and JJ Feild who looks good (and I mean looks really, really good) in regency era clothes.
That being said, this movie is not good. It panders to the Janeite fandom community and to women in general, reducing what could have been a very good, very smart and very funny homage to Miss Austen into a predictable and stale rom com. The ending, even as predictable as it is, is too predictable. I’m glad I saw it before it comes to theaters, it is not worth going to the movies for.