The strangest thing that I noticed about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is the way in which the adaptation is totally unsuited to the vlogging form. Most of the important plot elements either lose impact when they become retold stories, or don’t work at all and have to be shoehorned in in the form of “accidental” or “spontaneous” on-camera interruptions. There is something about the Pride and Prejudice narrative that doesn’t really work when narrated by a vlogger, and yet they did it anyway. This has a few repercussions, I think. Firstly, it makes most of the main significant narrative moments way less believable and way more weird—Darcy, for example, awkwardly confessing his love on camera. Secondly, it makes the story into one about a bunch of people who are totally ignoring the normal public/private boundaries of the internet—posting your Real And Private Thoughts about your family for the world to see is a deeply weird thing to do, and one that real vloggers don’t usually engage in. This series, instead of confronting that on any interesting level, just kind of ignores the fact that everyone’s private life is being played out for an audience, because it’s a necessity of the story.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a story happening off-camera, being told on-camera, but also sometimes happening (by necessity) on camera. This on-camera/off-camera duality, of course, isn’t present in Pride and Prejudice because Pride and Prejudice isn’t a vlog, and so The Lizzie Bennet Diaries becomes a strange kind of adaptation in which the form is incapable of containing its own story. This ends up creating content that must ignore form, and also ends up with form that eliminates content. (The former being every scene that happens on camera but “shouldn’t,” either because it’s accidental or because it’s something way too private to be aired on a public video blog; the latter being every important scene that we only experience through its recounting.) I think there’s a fundamental incompatibility here that they’re trying to circumvent.