I got an ask earlier today that I posted with essentially no response and deleted a couple minutes later cuz I’ve been in a really shitty mood all week and probably shouldn’t be talking to people on the internet/at all, but I’m gonna try this again with an actual answer. So here goes. The “question” was:
The Lydia Bennet!! isn’t bad by any stretch, but it can be pretty dourer. I get that the effort was to shade and complicate a character that has generally been thought of as silly and reckless since P&P was first published, but Lydia isn’t much fun as a character either.
First of all, you are absolutely entitled to your opinion. To like or dislike absolutely anything we do. When people like everything across the board, I get nervous. Anyone who knows me will tell you this. I get really upset when people like everything because then I assume they’re lying about EVERYTHING. So disagree. Dislike. By all means. The only thing you aren’t allowed to do is say that our actors aren’t acting their parts right because they are all amazing and I will hunt you down and punch you in the face. But you didn’t say that, so we’re okay.
The thing about video blogs is that they aren’t giving you an unbiased, third person POV the way a normal TV show or movie would do. There are so many things that go into figuring out what is revealed on both Lizzie and Lydia’s vlogs (and Maria’s, when that was happening). And I think that’s pretty clear when you look at Lydia’s videos compared to Lizzie’s. Lizzie’s are very structured (“My name is Lizzie Bennet and…” etc) because she has an editor, and is generally a more careful person. Lydia just kind of pops up a camera and lets it roll.
More than that, as I think MK pointed out recently, Lydia acts VERY differently around the different people in her life. She’s really over the top and purposeful with how she acts on Lizzie’s vlogs — putting on a show for both her sister and the audience. She was like that for a lot of the earlier videos she made herself, as well, but when Mary turned the tables on her in episode 5, a lot of that got stripped away. And yeah, it stayed stripped away for the most part, though I think the early episodes of this second “round” were a little more back to silly humorous Lydia, as was the Halloween one. But that air and disguise she keeps up around Lizzie and for Lizzie isn’t the same as who she is with Jane, Mary, or us. That means we’re going to get different content when it comes directly from her. Anything else would be untrue to the character.
The “effort” was never to “shade and complicate” a character from the book. At least, that was never my intention, and I think it’s fair to say that I’ve done the majority of the writing for Lydia at this point. This is who I see her as, and have since we started the show. I’m not sitting around thinking “how can we make this character more interesting — ooh! let’s make her sad and just win the viewers over with sympathy!” I have literally never done that. That’s a bullshit way to write. And quite frankly, Lydia still does a lot of shitty things, and will continue to do so, because that’s how people are. If you see her POV and empathize with it? Cool. If not? Cool. But it’s my job as a writer to see things from her eyes, and understand where she’s coming from, and I see her as this girl who gets shoved to the background a lot and is always looking for attention, looking for someone who will notice her and listen to her, whether she’s trying really hard for that to be Lizzie when she’s on Lizzie’s videos, or whether it’s 46,000 nameless “fans” when she’s making her own videos. She’s looking for something to fill an emptiness she hasn’t figured out how to get rid of on her own, and she’s at that point where she’s grasping for it ANYWHERE, even if that means publicizing her less-than-stellar moments on YouTube (not very different from how we sometimes tumble, or tweet, or whatever else, is it?).
Has it gotten a little heavy handed lately? It’s entirely possible. It’s REALLY hard to write two page episodes, and on top of that, this round was cut short by about five episodes because we started late. I would have liked to have paced it out better with some more lighthearted stuff in between, but when it came down to it, I had to choose between that, or keeping the story/emotional arc I’d planned out, and ultimately, I obviously chose the latter. I don’t mean to make excuses (though that’s exactly what I just did), but I definitely stand by the decision I had to make, because in the long run, story and character development (or in this case, I guess, unraveling) is more important than jokes. Disagree with me all you want, but I will stand firm on that.
But Lydia is still Lydia. She acts ridiculously and impulsively and doesn’t always think about other people’s feelings and says a lot of really silly things. The overt versions of that are, admittedly, mostly on Lizzie’s channel, but Lydia is a character, not a show. She’s still the same between TLB and LBD, you just see different parts. Again, similar to how our RL friends may not see the same things we share online, and vice versa. We’re the still the same. Still us. And if you think she’s never fun just because she’s serious sometimes….well, honestly, I think most of our viewers would disagree with you. And if you’re just annoyed because she used to be the comic relief, and now there’s more to her than that, I mean, not gonna apologize for it, by any means. She’s meant to play a certain part in Lizzie’s story, yes, but she’s also the star of her own life — as any character is — and no one is simply the comic relief in their own life. And I know I’m just making assumptions about what you might think here, but when your critique is simply “Lydia isn’t much fun as a character,” it’s a little hard to figure out where you’re coming from.
Anyway, like I said, I appreciate people disagreeing and disliking things about our show. It’s useful to learn and to see different sides and opinions. Honestly, though, if you’re going to, I’d recommend you make your own post on your own tumblr instead of sending me an anonymous criticizing ask. Not because I don’t want to see it or respond to it, because most likely, I still will - especially if you call me out and ask me to, but because if you put it on your own tumblr, everyone can join in the conversation. And also, if you have an opinion you’d like to express, you should be willing to stand behind it the same way you’re asking me to. That doesn’t really work with anonymity.
Welcoming any further thoughts on this topic. Aaaaand go!