Last night I discovered Lost in Austen on HuluPlus.
I’m probably the last one to the party and every one has already seen this sweet little show. That’s usually the case. I’m only on season 2 of Game of Thrones, in case you’re wondering, and I say to myself twice a week or so, “I should really watch Downton Abbey.”
Stop! Don’t leave! I promise I’ll watch it!
But anyway, Lost in Austen.
Amanda Price lives in London, has a typical job, has a typical life, has a boyfriend who maybe is not the best that she could do, has a mother who is maybe not the the most hopeful or helpful of women, and really just wants to lie on the couch night after night with a glass of wine and Pride and Prejudice.
And then one night, after having fended off a drunken proposal that was possibly the single least satisfactory proposal of marriage any lady could receive, whether she dreamed of assembly rooms and courtship or not, she opens up her bathroom and finds her favorite imaginary friend, Elizabeth Bennet, standing there smiling at her.
A few foibles later, Amanda finds herself in the Bennet house, with Elizabeth doing God knows what in Amanda’s own London flat.
Of course everyone who has ever loved romances or Austen or fancied herself a lady in the wrong century has to watch this show. It’s too much fun.
Imagine going to bed in 2013 and waking up in Jane Austen-land! The sunlight streaming through the wavy glass in the wood-framed windows! The scents of tea and toast wafting up the stairs and down the hall outside! Mrs. Bennet wailing downstairs over some imagined disaster!
Oh, right, Mrs. Bennet.
The thing I suppose I forget, when I am having one of my own Lost in Austen fantasies, is that Elizabeth Bennet and most of Austen’s other heroines had a really, really rubbish home life. Mrs. Bennet in particular was an absolute nightmare.
And she isn’t terribly fond of Amanda.
Watching Amanda, now Miss Price, stumble through the courtesies of the early nineteenth century is really cringe-worthy. I can’t help but think that if she’s read Pride and Prejudice so many times, she ought to be able to make a better attempt at mimicking the language and customs of the company she finds herself in.
I can’t help but think I would have done a better job.
But I suppose finding oneself suddenly deposited into the plot of a Jane Austen novel would throw anyone off their game.
But maybe she could have tried a little harder. Maybe pulled her hair back. Maybe not called Mrs. Bennet “a real ball-breaker.” I don’t know.
It wouldn’t have been as much fun then, I guess!
I’m anxious to find out what’s happening to Miss Elizabeth, too, on the other side of the wall in modern-day London. I found it really striking how strange her formal language sounded when she was shown in Amanda’s flat. You know, sometimes you read nothing but 19th-century authors for days or weeks or months on end and you start thinking in terms of that beautiful old style of speaking, and it doesn’t seem that odd at all.
Then you think, maybe you should talk like that aloud! To other people! Just as an experiment!
Don’t do that. Watch this and see why. It just… it just doesn’t work.
I’ve only watched one and a half episodes but I am definitely excited to watch the entire mini-series. Lost in Austen. Hulu. If you are one of the six other people on earth who haven’t seen this, go and watch it!