Today marks the day that Jane Austen truly rolls over in her grave. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is released to theaters, and of all the possible ways to adapt P&P, I can not think of one so brazenly without regard to the source material. I mean, okay fine, Jane Austen has been adapted too much. You have to make yours stand out, so you try and add an exciting twist to it. But…zombies? The actual fuck?
And based on the trailer the Bennet sisters are trained zombie hunters, which totally doesn’t go against the whole thing that their position in life makes them rather undesirable to potential suitors. If I were Darcy or Bingley, I’d be snapping up a trained zombie hunter faster than I could say “Netherfield.”
So I thought long and hard about it, and here are 10 things I’d rather see added to P&P.
Oh, and as a note, I’m just using shots from the 1995 BBC version, because that, in my mind, is P&P. Keira Knightley and her house full of literal pigs/women who eat with elbows on the table can sit this one out.
There’s been plenty of modern AUs, but period definitely pieces age better. So here’s the solution: same late-Georgian-era setting, just with the addition of memes.
And in this case, all the memes are belong to us! Upon inquiring after Lizzy’s sisters, Lady Catherine makes the pronouncement, “One does not simply put all their daughters out in society before the eldest are married.” When Mrs. Hurst kicks Mr. Collins away from the piano and sits, instead of Rondo Alla Turca, she plays the melody for “mmm whatcha say.” John Cena jumps into the frame anytime someone is trying to be introduced. And I’m quite certain that Mary is already the “ermagerd books” chick.
Also don’t forget about Scumbag Wickham and Good Guy Fitzwilliam:
You can get quite creative with it too:
Lizzy (to Lydia): Hoe don’t do it
Lydia runs off with Wickham
Lizzy: Oh my god.
Or whatever, have Kitty talk like the doge: “Wow. Very carriage. Much enormous.”
Plus don’t forget, 20 minutes into hearts and chill and he gives you this look:
Remember the excitement of the 2010 World Cup when these bad boys were introduced? Well since then, their use has been disturbingly limited. Fortunately, a P&P adaptation is just the place for it.
They could show up anywhere! Did you think Lizzy’s dance with Mr. Darcy was charged? Well just imagine the excitement when vuvuzela players join in with the violin.
“Aren’t you glad we came to meet you? We shall be such a merry party on the journey home,” Lydia states, whipping out her lepatata Mambu. And it brings a whole new meaning to the words, “In vain i have struggled; it will not do.” Agreed, Darcy.
This can have plot consequences too. Like, maybe Mr. Collins’s house has a really big gate, so Charlotte jumped at the option of marrying him to get away from the noise. Although frankly I think in that case, Lizzy would have accepted his offer too.
No…I don’t mean a modern AU. I mean everything is the same, it’s just that there’s now cellphones:
Plus, cellphones could contribute to the plot in helpful ways. Such as Jane texting Bingley that she was in London so Darcy couldn’t sabotage it. That would have been supes useful. Or maybe Wickham could blame Darcy’s unflattering tagging patterns as the way in which he was slighted. And come on, this guy would have totally insisted on a group selfie:
4. Product Placement
There’s ways to make your adaptation profitable other than cheap gasps and blood splatters. And product placement is a seamless way to do so. Sure, there’s times where it’s too obviously done and it pulls you out of the moment, but if done well, it enhances the experience.
For instance, Hill could have a crockpot. I’m all for anything that makes her life easier. Lady Catherine tells Mr. Collins that he must purchase an apothecary cabinet from nowhere but Pottery Barn. When Mr. Bingley comes to call on Jane at Longborn, Mrs. Bennet urges her to change into her Dolce & Gabbana dress.
“For what do we live, but to make pancakes from Bisquick for our neighbors, and dine with them in turn?”
“Oh Jane. Until I have your Beats By Dre, I never can have your happiness.”
It’s the perfect way to make money, while also protecting the integrity of the tale.
5. Jar Jar Binks
I always thought this character was massively unappreciated. And perhaps that’s because he was situated in three shitty movies that were driven by head-scratching politics, cardboard characters, and an over-reliance on jingling keys. You know where he’d fare much better? The world of Jane Austen.
Here, Jar Jar takes the place of Jane. And I think that particular role would really allow the nuances of his character to shine, given the number of intimate scenes with Lizzy, and the overall “goodness” of Jane. Observe:
Lizzy: I wish I had never spoken a word of this whole affair to Mr Darcy.
Jar Jar: Yousa tinken hesa gonna tell boot da tings wesa suffer? Mesa tinken no, not willy. Mesa tink it be okeyday.
Lizzy: I’m sure he will keep my confidence. That is not what distresses me.
Jar Jar: Oie boie, wassa then?
Lizzy: I don’t know. How he must be congratulating himself on his escape. How he must despise me now.
Jar Jar: Ex-squeeze me, but yousa no linken hesa. Yousa no fogotten the rude tings hesa do? Why yousa care if hesa no goen seein yousa again?
Lizzy: I don’t know. I can’t explain it. I know I shall probably never see him again. I cannot bear to think that he is alive in the world…and thinking ill of me.
Jar Jar: Yousa no worrysa. Mooie-mooie! I luv yous!
Lizzy: Oh Jar Jar, what would I do without you?
The only issue is that this slightly white-washes Mr. Darcy’s dickishness in trying to break up Jar Jar and Bingley, because I think we all might be able to understand that objection.
6. World of Warcraft
In this version, the only thing that changes is the existence of this MMO. Like, they don’t have the internet in general or anything…just WoW.
And while this might seem completely out of left-field (unlike those zombies, amirite?), I actually think it better explains Mr. Bennet’s impractical hands-off approach to securing a future for his daughters. He doesn’t have time to concern himself with such affairs…he’s going for that “Warmongering Gladiator” title, damnit!
Lizzy dabbles. She has a disc priest in a laid-back guild, though Mary is the main tank and can take it a bit too seriously. Darcy and the Bingleys are, of course, in one of the top raiding guilds on the server. Oh, and Wickham was kicked out for being a loot ninja.
“Could you expect me to rejoice at the inferiority of your gear? To congratulate myself on the hope of progression raiding with a guild that is so decidedly beneath my own?”
This is quality media here.
7. Rebecca Sugar-style musical interludes
There’s really no occasion when Rebecca Sugar’s music doesn’t heighten a narrative. And let’s face it: P&P was always sorely lacking in a catchy soundtrack. Fortunately, we can fix that in Pride and Prejudice and All the Feels.
Think of the endless possibilities! Wouldn’t the famous scene when Lizzy rejects Darcy be much better in song, when he hits her with:
Sorry I won’t conceal my struggles; is that what you want me to do?
Sorry I told you my scruples; that stopped my forming a design on you!
I’m sorry I’m not made of sugar, am I not sweet enough for you?
Is your pride hurt by my justified feelings? That must be such an inconvenience to you! (x)
And perhaps instead of Lizzy asking Jane’s advice on whether to tell their acquaintances about the true nature of Wickham’s character, she ponders it herself, while Mary is practicing piano:
Everybody tells me Wickham’s noble, I always believed it until now; Darcy wrote me that letter, surely the man is dangerous, what to believe? I don’t want you deceived… (Mary playing notes on the piano)
Surely there could not be one occasion, to expose him so cruelly to the world; and no one would believe me, plus I don’t have permission, why am I scared? I just want you prepared… (Mary plays more notes, and Lizzy joins in with “oooooohh” to the same melody)
What am I going to tell you? You’re better off not knowing his concept of fun; I don’t want you to worry, about what I just read, about the things that he’s done; you don’t to be a part if it, I don’t think I want that for you; you don’t need this…this point of view. Oooooohh (x)
All this, plus Mr. Bingley’s wonderful, “let me steer my carriage to your heart” will be available for mp3 download the day of its release.
I should think this one is quite self-explanatory.
Though be it known, in this version of P&P, unicycle races would replace that silly ol’ dancing. Just imagine Lizzy and Darcy getting passive aggressive with each other on top of one of these bad boys:
I rest my case.
9. Elvish eye vision.
No, this isn’t entirely based on one scene:
Her superior sight would totally save her the humiliation of creeping on Darcy at his house. That wasn’t an important moment in their relationship or anything.
Would this power come in handy any other time? Maybe Mr. Bennet would have successfully tracked down Lydia and Wickham? But he still would have had no way to bribe him so I doubt it’d really impact much in the story.
Oh wait, I got it! Lizzy is the only one with elvish vision, which is why Mr. Darcy calls her eyes “fine.” Nailed it.
10. Mary Kate and Ashley
Okay, okay, technically you could argue that this is more than one addition, but think about it: there’s more than one zombie in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I’m guessing. And MK&A’s brand is most definitely monolithic.
In this, Mary Kate and Ashley would be Lizzy’s inseparable besties, named “Melinda” and “Adaline.”
When Lizzy despairs “I shall never see him again” following Darcy’s abrupt departure after learning about Lydia and Wickham, Adaline says, “You know what your problem is? You want to have your cake and eat it too.” To which Melinda will be so clever as to point out that if you eat your cake and it’s in your stomach, that’s sort of the same as having it. No? Well shut up.
Think about the potential shopping montage when Mrs. Bennet tells Lydia that she shall have new clothes for her summer in Brighton!
They spice up every scene:
Lady Catherine: You are very dull this evening, Miss Bennet.
Adaline: You’re right. She’s totally silent.
Melinda: I know how we can fix this…let’s have a party!
Adaline: It’s going to be off the hook!
Then, in the last fifteen minutes of the film, the two girls will make a passionate case to the English government and correct the inheritance laws so that there is strict equal primogeniture. Problem solved!
So there you have it. 10 things that would be far better additions to this timeless tale than zombies. And I could keep going… Just narrowly missing the cut off was the critically acclaimed Pride and Prejudice and Parkour. Jane Austen would have been proud.