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Series / Pride and Prejudice (1995)

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The six-episode 1995 television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.

Tropes used in the mini-series:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • The allegedly plain Charlotte is played here by the decidedly attractive Lucy Scott.
    • Colonel Fitzwilliam, described in the book as "not handsome," is played by Anthony Calf.
  • Adaptational Curves: Elizabeth is described as having a "light" figure. The mini-series has her played by the taller and curvy Jennifer Ehle.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: During the reveal of Darcy and Wickham's backstory, this version has Wickham receiving a lump sum of three thousand pounds instead of the parsonage that Darcy Senior had intended for him, but leaves out Darcy Junior's refusal to give the living to Wickham when he'd spent all his money and came begging for it. Thus, Darcy's belief that Wickham meant to elope with Georgiana partly from revenge comes rather out of nowhere.
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  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance: At the ball in Meryton, the musicians stop playing and everyone goes silent and stares when the Netherfield party enters the room, who stare silently back. Everyone goes back to what they were doing after Sir William goes over to greet them.
  • Bookends: The first time we see Darcy and Bingley, the former is essentially giving the latter his blessing to rent Netherfield. In the last episode, when Bingley finds out that Darcy kept him in the dark about Jane being in London and is understandably angry, Darcy apologises and Bingley, mollified and hesitant, asks if he has his blessing (to propose to Jane). When an amused Darcy asks if he needs his blessing: "No. But I should like to know I have it all the same."
  • Brick Joke: The first time Elizabeth and Darcy 'meet', he snubs her; when Mrs. Bennet later says that in the future Elizabeth shouldn't dance with him even if he should ask her, her daughter says (seemingly in jest) that she can safely promise she'll never do so. Later on in the story when Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance at the Netherfield ball, she accepts out of politeness and being put on the spot, but then has a mini rant to Charlotte that she swore never to dance with him.
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  • Cassandra Truth: Caroline tells Elizabeth at the Netherfield ball that Wickham treated Darcy "in an infamous manner" and that Darcy was blameless in the whole affair, but mixes it with enough disparaging comments at Wickham's descent that Elizabeth dismisses her words as snobbery. As it turns out, Caroline was right —and she's not even fully aware of how much Wickham has hurt the Darcys.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: At one point, Maria Lucas comments of Mary King, "She's not very pretty, is she?" To modern eyes the actress playing Mary is very pretty indeed, but she's red haired and freckled, two big no-nos in terms of Regency beauty.
  • Dreadful Musician: This adaptation takes the popular approach of making Mary Bennet a significantly worse musician, especially to the ears of those around her, than she believes herself to be. Her piano playing is technically solid, but she tends to play slow pieces ill-suited to the evening's merriment until one of her younger sisters browbeats her into playing something they can dance to (to which she invariably reacts with a scowl). And her singing... oh dear. Lucy Briers averts Hollywood Tone-Deaf by singing basically on key (except for the high notes, with which she very audibly struggles), but with a timbre that everyone in earshot - in and out of universe - finds grating. Even the horses and dogs outside are in agony.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The opening scenes, before the story proper even starts, tell us a fair bit about most of the main characters:
    • Darcy is rich and snobbish, but a good friend to Bingley;
    • Bingley is enthusiastic and easily led;
    • Elizabeth is independent and cheerful;
    • Mr. Bennet is sardonic and isn't that fond of his younger daughters, but clearly loves Elizabeth;
    • Lydia is self-absorbed and well used to getting her own way;
    • Kitty is emotional and never gets her own way;
    • Mrs. Bennet is 'nervous' and spoils Lydia;
    • Mary can't be having with her younger sisters and prefers reading;
    • Jane is calm and solicitous of her family.
  • Female Gaze: The miniseries treats viewers to a number of brief added scenes primarily focused on Colin Firth as Darcy in varying stages of attractive undress smoldering with unresolved sexual tension.
  • Flashback: As Darcy writes his letter to Elizabeth, a couple of flashbacks are seen, particularly one during Darcy and Wickham's childhoods and their time at Cambridge, where Darcy caught Wickham in a compromising position.
  • Foreshadowing: Mr. Bennet is clearly not taken in (or at least somewhat skeptical) of Wickham's tale of woe, and when Elizabeth defends him her father points out that Mr. Darcy may be less a scoundrel than simply a rich man used to getting his own way. This turns out to be close to the truth.
  • Funny Background Event: In episode 5 when Mr Collins is preaching at Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary about Lydia's disgrace, Kitty (who ran off to avoid him upon his arrival) peeks in the window, sees him still there talking, and takes herself off to hide again.
  • Held Gaze: At Pemberley, after Caroline Bingley thoughtlessly mentions Wickham and Elizabeth quickly moves to support and distract Georgiana before she can be further distressed by it, Elizabeth and Darcy share a long, silent look.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Modern audiences sometimes are confused that Jane Bennet is labeled as the family beauty, and prefer Elizabeth's appearance. However, Susanna Harker's fair complexion and Grecian profile were more fashionable during the Regency period.
  • Longing Look: Darcy can hardly take his eyes away from Elizabeth from the moment they first meet. Someone even edited all his longing glances together, and the video lasts nearly six minutes!
  • Meaningful Background Event: Mary can be seen trying to attract Mr. Collins's attention in various ways, including wearing a more revealing dress (for her, anyway) primping herself upon his arrival, and in general being more amiable than when she is with just her family.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Watching the miniseries repeatedly reveals a number of subtle and excellent touches from the actors, often in Facial Dialogue and Meaningful Looks.
    • Watch Wickham at the scene at Mrs Phillip's where he shares a flirty look with Elizabeth. You can just make out that Lydia is playing with his epaulettes (not a euphemism). There are lots of little hints of him and Lydia before they run off together, many of which are only seen after countless viewings.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Mr Collins shows up at Longbourn after Lydia's elopement, Kitty instantly declares she's not sitting with him and runs off to hide, only reappearing after Elizabeth manages to get rid of him.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: The iconic scene in which Mr Darcy arrives at Pemberly while Elizabeth and the Gardiners are visiting, walking up to the house half-dressed and still soaking wet from an impromptu swim in a nearby pond. By the standards of propriety of the day, this would be something akin to visiting your crush's house while he's supposed to be on vacation, only for him to step out of the bathroom fresh from the shower and dressed in nothing but a towel. The internal screaming on both sides is all but audible.
  • Shout-Out: When the courier arrives with the letter giving the first news of Lydia's elopement, Mrs Bennet's voice is heard demanding if they are all to be murdered in their beds.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: An aversion, highlighting one of the reasons for this trope. Benjamin Whitrow (Mr Bennet) was shown tucking into gooseberry fool. The scene took two days to shoot, and he had to eat so much that he could never bear to eat it again.

Alternative Title(s): Pride And Prejudice


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