Lizzie Bennet is a normal young woman, pursuing a Master's degree in communications and desiring nothing more than to be her own person. This is in clear contrast to her mom, who just wants to get Lizzie and her two sisters married off to someone rich as soon as possible. She even got them all shirts saying "It's a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Lizzie doesn't buy it, and is going to explain exactly why to the whole internet in the form of video blogs.When the handsome and rich Bing Lee moves into town, with his infuriatingly snobby and even-richer friend William Darcy in tow, Lizzie's life is thrown into disarray as her entire family starts clamouring for his attention. Thankfully, armed with a camera, her friend Charlotte's editing expertise and a healthy dose of snark, Lizzie is ready to document this social catastrophe as it unfolds.If you haven't realized yet, this is a modernized Vlog Seriesadaptation of Pride and Prejudice, written by Bernie Su and produced in part by Hank Green. Though it's scarcely the only update of P&P, what was surprising was the exciting and devoted fan reaction: the show boasts close to 200,000 YouTube subscribers and its DVD release raised 500% of its goal on Kickstarter within just one week of its month-long fundraising drive. It can be found on YouTube or at its own website. Oh, and then it won an Emmy for "Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media - Original Interactive Program," which is pretty darn impressive.There is also a novelization of the series called The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, which consists of her written diary from the same time period. It serves partly as a novelization and partly as a companion piece to the videos, often expanding in greater details upon subjects that for practical reasons are only hinted at in the videos.It has started a trend of Setting Updates diaries appearing on Youtube, both professional and fan made. The Autobiography of Jane Eyre referenced the LBDs in its first episode and its authors cite it as their inspiration; likewise, a New Zealand group called "The Candle Wasters" have taken on the Bard himself, transplanting Much Ado About Nothing to a contemporary high school as "Nothing Much To Do." Meanwhile, it's been followed by its own Spinoffs: Welcome To Sanditon follows Gigi Darcy in her adventure to a beach resort Sanditon, beta-testing the "Domino" application, which records, auto-edits and auto-uploads video monologues and dialogues, and covering Austen's unfinished last novel Sandition. Another spinoff, Emma Approved, launched in October 2013, chronicling through Domino the adventures of Professional Shipper on DeckEmma Woodhouse. And they will soon be branching out of the world of Austen with Frankenstein, M.D., following the career of the bioethically-challenged VictoriaFrankenstein.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries provide examples of:
Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The books didn't portray Lydia particularly sympathetically and would have probably been criticized if they did. In this series, we get to see a heartbroken Lydia sobbing in Lizzie's arms in episode 87.
Adaptation Distillation: Kitty and Mary Bennet are cut from the sisterhood to better focus on the contrasts between the three more prominent sisters. It's later revealed that Kitty is actually a cat and Mary is a cousin that Lizzie "always forgets about".
Adorkable: Gigi, Mary, and Maria. Darcy and Bing also show flashes of this. Many think Mr. Collins is this too. And Lizzie herself.
Adult Fear: A large part of the story revolves around the Bennets' financial troubles and fears of losing their house. After Wickham announces he intends to release a tape of him having sex with Lydia, the sisters have to tell their father about what's been happening. Lizzie's account of it is heartbreaking. They somehow chose not to involve police and it's implied that they can't afford legal action and take it to the court.
Age Lift: The series' modern setting wouldn't fit with 15-year old Lydia or 16-year old Georgiana. Lydia's two older sisters are several years older than their book counterparts as well. Inverted with Charlotte, who was 27 in the book, but is Lizzie's age, 24 years old, in the adaptation.
Ambiguously Jewish: There's a passing reference to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet going to Uncle Phil's Hannukah party. Although they also celebrate Christmas...
Charlotte gives realistic but emotionally cold and uninterested performances.
And the one exception to all of this is when any of the above do impressions of each other, which are typically very good. Which you'd expect from, you know, sisters (or as-good-as, in Charlotte's case).
Mary's attempt at costume theatre is melodramatic, and she breaks character twice.
Darcy finds it too hard to imitate his sister, but is excellent as his best friend Fitz.
Episode 83, in which Darcy and Lizzie flirt cutely and he praises her work. It sits between Episode 82, in which Gigi reveals the truth about Wickham and herself, and Episode 84, which then reveals that Wickham intends to publish a sex tape of himself and Lydia.
Character Blog: Obviously the show is Lizzie's personal vlog. Butmon top of that, most characters have social media accounts, giving the story more dimension and allowing the audience to be privy to information we don't get to see in Lizzie's videos.
While the Wickham tape drama was going on, there was an actual website you could visit and subscribe to. The website still exists, but now only displays a message saying: "sorry, we are no longer able to offer this product."
Character Development: As they go through their trials and tribulations, Lizzie and Lydia in particular are growing more aware of the mistakes they've made and the potential problems in their judgement and attitudes towards others.
In the source material Lizzie is a pretty good judge of character, with the exception of Wickham and Darcy. In the vlog Lizzie is a lot more prone to being a a bad judge of character because of her personal biases. This forces more Character Development.
Jane as well, especially after she moves to L.A in episode 50.
Mr Bingley originally had two sisters. Obviously, just one is fine. Caroline also fufills the role of Anne de Bourgh (who is now Catherine's pet dog).
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner have been combined into Dr. Gardiner, Lizzie's Mass Communications professor, who arranges for her to shadow at Pemberley. Fitz and Gigi also seem to be partly fulfilling the Gardiner's roles.
After episode 87, Lydia's storyline and future prospects are closer to book-Kitty's, rather than book-Lydia's.
Chekhov's Gun: Gigi proudly describes Domino, Pemberley's latest prototype, as being able to auto-edit and auto-upload anything it captures. George Wickham downloads Domino without thinking in the 5th demo video, making himself traceable...
The only compliment Jane has in regards to Darcy is that he is "very tall."
Lizzie: Okay! For the record, when the nicest thing Jane Bennet has to say about you is "tall", you have personality problems.
Lizzie herself feels like Darcy is employing this trope on her. Evidently she's "decent enough" for him.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Both Caroline and Wickham are smart enough to discover the videos and then use them to their advantage, broadcasting their sides of the story and attempting to portray themselves in a positive light. Wickham briefly appeared to be the only character watching both Lizzie's videos and Lydia's videos as well.
Lizzie has this look when Lydia sneaks up behind her and wraps her hands around Lizzie's neck with very big, sharp scissors.
Lizzie in episode 60, after she inadvertently told Darcy about her videos.
In the first episode of the Maria Lu spin-off series, Charlotte Lu warns her younger sister not to do this in a vlog.
Demoted to Extra: Kitty Bennet, who was the fourth Bennet sister, has been adapted into an actual cat named Kitty, while Mary has been turned into a cousin seen mainly in Lydia's spin-off videos (although she has appeared in Lizzie's videos).
Episode 84: Darcy asks Lizzie out on a date but before she can answer she finds out that Lydia has been dating George Wickham and he has been advertising a sex tape of the two of them and Lizzie has to return home.
Drop-In Character: Initially, Jane and Lydia but they got great staples of the show in later episodes. Definitely the case for Mr. Collins, Caroline and Bing. Bing doesn't even know about the vlog he's appearing on until episode 81.
Early-Bird Cameo: In the Secret Diaries book, Lizzie mentions in her report from Vidcon that she attended a talk on multi-communication platforms from "a designer and app company called Pemberly Digital."
Early Installment Weirdness: the makeup is much more conspicuous in the first eight or so episodes, particularly the absolute first. It can be jarring to go back to them.
Fatal Flaw: Lizzie's pride and inability to change her mind once it's made up, especially against Darcy and Lydia, has caused misunderstandings and problems for many of the involved. Fortunately Character Development helps her to learn from those flaws.
Fiery Redhead: All three sisters are red-heads, but only Lydia fits the trope.
Fist Pump: According to Lizzie, Mrs Bennet kept pumping her fist at Ellen Gibson's wedding when she was enjoying her success as a matchmaker when her daughter Jane and Bing danced together song after song. Let's hope Lizzie meant it metaphorically.
Flower in Her Hair: Jane and Gigi get a pink flower for their costume theatre and it accurately captures their femininity. However, they don't seem to be wearing flowers in hair in real life.
Foreshadowing: "Keeping someone ignorant isn't protecting them. It can actually endanger them, you know?"
Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Lizzie would sometimes answer comments at the video, and she would ask her viewers to send her questions through Twitter, Facebook or Youtube, and those that were interesting for the story or characters got answered in-universe. In addition, the creative team was always eager to communicate with fans at the official page or various social networks.
Freudian Excuse: The Lydia vlogs heavily imply that Lydia acts out and is obnoxious at least in part because she feels jealous of Jane and Lizzie's bond and ignored by her parents. Interestingly, the writers seem to take this less seriously than the vast majority of the Lydia fanbase.
"I would never do that. I can't stand that jerk." Oh, Lydia.
Lizzie's "what if we missed our chance?" from Episode 91. The previous rhetorical questions refer to Bing and Jane as "they", but the wording of the last one implies that she's thinking about Darcy.
Genre Savvy: Darcy. When Gigi calls him on Domino (a device that can record calls and post them online) he immediately asks if she's calling him on the demo, and hangs up promptly.
Gilligan Cut: Becomes somewhat of a Running Gag in The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. quite often, Lizzie will end her diary entries with some statement about how [X] will never happen or [Y] should go off without a hitch — only for her to open the next diary entry describing how [X] did indeed happen or [Y] ran into unforeseen problems. She catches onto it after a while, at one point telling herself that she has to stop making such predictions in her diary when the universe is so determined to prove her wrong... but then she goes right back to doing it.
The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: A tame version exists between Lizzie and Lydia. For the most part, the get along and they are kept in check by Jane. Plus, it's obvious that they really care about each other. The Lizzie-Lydia feud finally erupted in episodes 73 and 74.
Charlotte: "Hey, everyone. Lizzie is having a bit of a crisis because her sister Jane actually likes the guy her mother wants her to marry. A guy who, it turns out, is actually pleasant, and nice, and funny, but that Lizzie had already made up her mind to hate. And Lizzie hates changing her mind."
Horrible Judge of Character: Lizzie thinks that a lot of other people fit this trope: "And yet another example of lively, outgoing people inexplicably being friends with Darcy!" The truth, of course, is that she fits the trope; Episode 61 basically revolves around nothing else, with both Charlotte and Darcy himself dropping in to debunk her assumptions on Darcy. In Lizzie's defense, episode 81 makes it clear that Darcy is unusually stiff when he's around her.
Iconic Outfit: Used in-universe for Costume Theater whenever someone is standing in for someone else.
Darcy's bowtie and newsie cap.
Lizzie's plaid shirt.
Jane is represented by a pink flower worn in someone's hair.
Lydia and her friend Denny. When Mary speculates about the two of them, Lydia retorts that he has a boyfriend.
Lizzie and Fitz. Lizzie tells the audience not to expect a romance between them because Fitz is gay.
Ironic Echo: In Episode 2, Lizzie uses the comment "Argh, Lydia's being a stupid whorey slut again!" as an hypothetical example of what she might say in a future videos. In Episode 87, Lydia says sincerely that "None of this would've happened if I wasn't acting like a stupid whorey slut again, right?"
When Lizzie was shooting her video blog entries, her sisters and other characters would occasionally come into her room. She once assured her sister Jane that she would edit it out later, but their conversation turned out useful for the entry, so Lizzie kept it. In later stories, Lizzie would state that she had the person's permission to post it online.
Later in the story, Darcy's company Pemberley Digital developed a story-telling application that automatically recorded and edited phone calls and conversations, with automatic up-load to the channel. That explains how some of the private moments got into Gigi Darcy's spin-off and viewers could see it. Darcy was Genre Savvy and when Gigi called him, he immediately asked whether she was using Domino demo, and ended the call when she said she did.
It's All About Me: Mr. Ricky Collins, when not being obsessed with Catherine de Bourgh.
Lizzie thinks she has one in episode 43. However, it is made clear at the same time that Lizzie didn't know Charlotte was unhappy with her taking most of the credit for the vlog, making the moment rather moving and redeeming.
Lizzie has a major one in episode 87.
Karma Houdini: Unlike the original novel, George Wickham doesn't seem to receive any comeuppance whatsoever for emotionally abusing Lydia, betraying her trust and nearly ruining her reputation for a quick buck. Lizzie worries that he'll be trying to pull this scam again on another innocent person in the future - although hopefully, thanks to the publicity of what nearly happened, people will be more suspicious of him.
Cases beginning with serious provocation or indifference towards her well-being: Darcy, her mother, the Team Swimmers, Mr.Collins.
Lydia does the same as a part of her Sibling Rivalry with Lizzie, but at least, she is very affectuous towards her. She does the same to Mary but wants to help her and they finally end up being friends.
Darcy's statements are demeaning to about 80% of the base. Those who haven't read the book have a hard time to see him being redeemed (unless they think Lizzie's exaggerating).
Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Collins may talk a good game, but it is quite fair to say that he has zero understanding of what the "point" of social media is.
Charlotte saying that people like the DIY look. "It makes the video feel more authentic if it's not too polished."
Lizzie and Charlotte:
Charlotte: "Could you get back on-script? No one cares about my aunt." Lizzie: "Yeah... We seem super-authentic now."
Mr. Collins: "I find [your vlog] inherently unique, perhaps it's the complex narrative you're telling."
Lydia winks at the camera in Episode 24 when she explains to Lizzie and Charlotte that she got into Vid Con because she "has friends in high places"...
Lizzie is aware that her viewers ship her and Darcy and she makes comments about not wanting any crazy fan fictions. Cue commentators claiming that one chick named Jane Austen wrote a fan fic in historical setting and that it's pretty good.
Love You and Everybody: Jane is super-sweet and nice to absolutely everybody. Darcy interprets her behaviour as someone who is not ready to commit.
Meta Twist: Episode 87, the biggest Drama Bomb of the series, does not play the cheery theme tune over the ending panel.
One episode 48, where Jane comes in with an embroidery for Lizzie, and when re-enacting a scene between Lizzy and Wickham, suddenly breaks down remembering how Bing never called to explain why he left town.
The Care Package episode. Fitz brings up how caring Darcy is by talking about how Darcy intervened between Jane and Bing, not realizing that Jane was the girl Darcy warned Bing about and that Lizzy is sending a care package partly because of the entire situation.
Episode 84. Lizzie is gleefully showing off her new phone and Darcy is on the verge of asking her out on a date when Lizzie learns from Charlotte that Wickham intends to publish a sex tape featuring himself and Lydia.
My Girl Is a Slut: Lizzie opinion of Lydia is that she's a "Whorey Slut". When she is called out about slut shaming her sister by fans she modifies this to say that there is nothing wrong with responsible women doing whatever they like in the bedroom she just wishes that Lydia would be that responsible.
My Greatest Failure: Lizzie has this reaction in Episode 84 that shows the depth of her remorse over the gulf that has opened between herself and Lydia.
Not So Different: Episode 55 revolves around this. Charlotte compares Lizzie to her mother (see the next trope down for her response), and Lizzie quite innocently compares herself to Mr. Collins ("I wonder where Charlotte learned her Politeness Judo?") and then, more subtly, to Darcy (taking note of the friends they both have, which by her calculations shouldn't be true).
Jane points out that Lizzie and Lydia are not so different, being incredibly stubborn and more willing to talk to the internet than to each other.
Lizzie's reaction to finding out Caroline Lee watches her vlog in episode 27.
Her expression when she lets slip about her blog to Darcy.
When she discovers that her "tour guide" in Pemberley Digital is really Gigi Darcy and that she not only knows about the videos, she watches and loves them.
Lizzie: Bye, Gigi...[to camera] otherwise known as Darcy's sister... who watches my videos. Why do I feel like I'm in major trouble right now?
Charlotte, when Lizzie gets an assignment to shadow Pemberly Digital and has trouble figuring out why that name is familiar.
One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In episode 85, Lydia thought Lizzie was expressing her disapproval about Lydia seeing George but Lizzie was really talking about the sex tape that George was going to post online.
One-Hour Work Week: Bing's very flexible med school schedule is lampshaded by Lizzie. An explanation is offered in Episode 92: He quit med school after realising he needs to live his own life for himself.
Parents as People: Lizzie admits that her mother has good intentions and is only trying to look out for her daughters, but is doing so in a very obnoxious and humiliating way that doesn't take her daughters' feelings and thoughts into consideration. Also her father, according to Lizzie, is loving and supportive but more often than not enjoys a good laugh on his daughters' accounts.
Due to budget and storytelling constraints, only a few members of the cast appear onscreen. Lizzie's extra sisters Mary and Kitty have been transformed into a cousin and an actual cat (respectively), and Bing's two sisters have been condensed into one.
In amusing behind-the-scenes facts: Lizzie's room is producer Jenni Powell's actual apartment, and the lead actresses costume themselves out of their personal wardrobes.
Ashley Clements: "At this point I own very, very little that has not been on the show. Basically if I wanted to wear something that I haven't worn as Lizzie, I could wear pajamas or a bridesmaid's dress."
Promoted to Love Interest: Inverted by Mr. Collins, who goes from proposing marriage to Elizabeth (and later, Charlotte) to offering Lizzie (and later, Charlotte) a job.
Charlotte Lucas becomes Charlotte Lu. Naturally, her sister Maria as well.
Mr Bingley has been re-imagined as Bing Lee. Caroline Bingley becomes Caroline Lee as a result.
Colonel Fitzwilliam is black in this version.
Rape Portrayed as Redemption: Lydia gets the support of her sisters that she always wanted, and sheds the "energetic, adorbs" persona for a more "mature, responsible" one, after George Wickham coerces her into making a sex tape that he then puts online.
Really Gets Around: Lydia (by reputation, as such exploits are unlikely to be captured in-vlog)... until the 84th episode of Lizzie's vlog, when it's revealed that George Wickham made a sex tape.
Red Herring: The videos concerning Lydia's trip to Las Vegas all drop heavy foreshadowing that she might have some sort of Accidental Marriage there, as in the source material. Even Lydia teases it in her first video of 2013. But it never happens. (The actual way it plays out is even more horrifying.)
Right Behind Me: After accidentally revealing her vlogs to Darcy, Lizzie panics over the thought that he could sue her for some of the things she said about him. As she was saying this, Darcy appears at the doorway behind her.
Romantic Rain: Spoofed. Viewers might have expected a certain guy, but it was Charlotte who appeared on Lizzie's doorstep to cheer her up rain or no rain. Charlotte remarks it barely drizzled
Lydia's list of why Lizzie is perpetually single, and Lizzie's confusion over whether it's real or not.
Whenever someone questions the veracity of Lizzie's recollections, Lizzie responds, "I forget nothing."
Setting Update: P&P in modern America, as a vlog. The Bennet sisters are now university students who are probably going need a man in possession of a good fortune to dig them out of the debts their family has. Mr Bingley is now a medical student with huge family money and Darcy is a media mogul's son and a hipster. Many plot points focus on women's career rather than on their love life and marriage prospects.
Part of Mrs. Bennet's "convoluted plan" is to stage one. It's supposed to rain and the jelly from a disgusting cake-thing would dissolve and it would stain Jane's dress...
Lydia stages one with George Wickham when she spills water on his T-shirt, leading to him going actually shirtless on-camera.
Ship Tease: Quite possibly the 2nd video of Maria's spinoff, for Mr Collins and Charlotte.
Shipper on Deck: Naturally, Gigi and Fitz for Lizzie and Darcy, judging by their tweets and Gigi's conversations with Lizzie. In episode 78, Gigi orchestrates the infamous awkward Pemberley scene by unceremoniously shoving Darcy into the room and sitting Lizzie and Darcy in front of the camera. Her tweets with Fitz show that they were both in on it. They were using Spy Speak.
Shirtless Scene: Episode 45 courtesy of George Wickham. Invoked by Lydia. She spilled water on his shirt and persuaded him to take it off. He gladly obliged.
In the Q&A, one of the names Lizzie suggested for the session was "Lizzie explains it all". This is perhaps inadvertently a shoutout to a website called Lissa Explains it All, which teaches children about HTML and which has been around for over 10 years. (The website may have originally been called "Lizzy Explains it All"), or the tv show Clarissa Explains It All.
Additionally in Episode 29, Lizzie advises Bing on movies. She declares the period drama a good call, but warns against the one with zombies.
In Episode 5 of Lydia Bennet's vlog, she tells about babysitting for the Jacksons, who have three sons named Elijah, Dom and Billy. Elijah likes playing "orcs and little people".
Silent Credits: Used in Episode 87, when the usual upbeat theme music would have seemed utterly inappropriate after watching Lydia break down sobbing in Lizzie's arms.
Sound Effect Bleep : Hilariously used in episode 8, when Jane lets Lizzie know that she will have to chaperone Lydia.
(cut to chinchilla and kitty picture Lizzie had planned to show and a big beep sound)
Spin-Off: There have been three spin-offs, all run by the baby sisters of the show. They were all part of the same narrative and had different levels of drama and relevance to the backbone of the story, which are Lizzie's entries.
Lydia gets her own YouTube channel and creates her own video diaries featuring her and her cousin Mary and their bonding, and later George Wickham. It's confirmed that Lizzie doesn't always watch Lydia's video the moment she uploads them.
Charlotte's sister Maria's got one as well thanks to an intership at Mr Collins.
Gigi has one where she is demonstrating the Domino app — a story-telling application with auto-editing and auto-uploading feature. This is happening while Fitz and Darcy are trying to find George, and despite being told not to, Gigi keeps trying to get involved. It eventually becomes plot relevant when George accepts a Domino call, meaning he accepted the terms of service that allow Pemberley Digital to figure out where he is so Darcy can track him down and buy out his company holding the sex tape
Spot of Tea: Jane keeps bringing Lizzie tea when she's distressed. When she brings also scones, Lizzie lampshades the trope by asking whether they have turned British with a nod to the original novel.
Episode 59, when Lizzie angrily says that she never wants to see Darcy's face again and that it'll be too soon if she does. Ten seconds later, we see Darcy's torso in the doorway.
Gigi proudly describes in her Domino demonstration that the app can auto-edit and auto-upload anything it captures whenever she uses it. The second demo video shows that Darcy is not pleased that she's talking about personal matters on the demo.
Textile Work Is Feminine: Jane Bennet works in fashion industry, often with fabric. In her first appearance, she brings Lizzie a blouse which she fixed for her.
The audience had to wait for William Darcy to appear for 59 episode, despite the fact that he was mentioned nearly all the time throughout the web series. When he first showed up, they revealed his torso at the end of the episode as a teaser.
The fans were curious to see the ever embarrassing Mrs Bennet and compare her real personality to Lizzie's impersonation. Mrs Bennet walked in on Lizzie's filming in the last episode. Lizzie's imitation of her accent was accurate and the choice of generic outfit was spot on, but the viewers got to see only Mrs Bennet's back.
Viewers Are Morons: Or more like customers are morons. How else do you explain Collins & Collins's minute-long tutorial video on light switches?
Episode 42. Charlotte accepts a job from Mr Collins and she and Lizzie get into a rather heated argument over it.
Episode 58 through 64 are the real Drama Bomb, coinciding with the apex of the story. First we learn from Fitz that Darcy orchestrated Bing's breakup with Jane. In the next, Darcy himself breaks into the series. In 60, he sits down with Lizzie and delivers his Anguished Declaration of Love. In 61, having watched her video diaries, he apologizes for his actions and gives her a letter. As she relates in 62, this letter contains his motivation for breaking up Jane and Bing, and—because his actions actually make sense given the information he had available—Lizzie's opinion of him begins to change. Finally, 63 and 64 have Caroline return, get called out on lying, and be firmly planted as an antagonist in Charlotte and Lizzie's mind. No more false friends here.
Episode 82. Gigi reveals the truth about what went down between Wickham and herself. Wickham was using Gigi for Darcy's money.
Followed almost immediately by the revelation that Wickham is publishing a sex tape of himself and Lydia.
Episode 97: Darcy shows up at Lizzie's house.
Darcy: Excuse me, Lizzie.
Wham Line: Two almost right after each other: "I'm in love with you" is followed very closely by "...what videos?".
What Happened to the Mouse??: After Gigi tricks George into revealing his details we eventually learn that Darcy managed to buy the website and prevent the sex tape from being realeased - but it's never revealed what happens to George, or whether he was charged with anything.