The Latest PBS "Emma"
After I busy work-week, I finally wrestled the TV away from my 6 year old and insisted it was my turn---I invited her to watch "my show". Reluctantly, she settled on the couch next to me, but much to my amazement, she never peeped for the next two hours---watching "Emma" on PBS.
Now this is child who can quote song and verse from High School Musical One, Two and Three, a child who will find the latest version of I Carly, or the Wizards of Waverly Place, and yes, sometimes even Hannah Montana, before she can find her shoes. I was shocked. But sat she did, all the way through, seemingly fascinated.
Now the latest version of Jane Austen's Emma has been advertised as "more approachable"---as if it wasn't. And it was widely hoped that the lovely young actress and actor who play the leads were "more relatable" than those of the past. I guess if a 6 year old found something particularly view-worthy about this show, then PBS has far exceeded anyone's expectation in creating a version with mass market appeal (but IMO, no updating to the story-line has EVER been needed---it has always had mass-market appeal).
So is this version more contemporary? What I notice is one lively Emma, who makes a lot of faces at everyone (not a Regency attribute, I believe), but she certainly is engaging. I think I like her a little more than other Emmas, because she is so incredibly naive and clueless---a lot like the well-cast Alecia Silverstone in "Clueless". Emma in this PBS version is portrayed as interfering, class-conscious while ignoring the realities of life, and ego-centric, but she has a certain charm that makes everyone, even the viewers, tolerate her. I do not share the opinion of some reviewers that she was "as clueless as a block of wood." Not on all accounts. She argues far too well with Mr. Knightly.
In PBS' latest installment, Emma is still a heroine, well-dressed and clever enough not to be at all dull. She's been that way for 195 years. No modernization needed. To prove my point, she captured the interest of a 6 year old, who asked me if we could read the book. I leapt from the couch yelling, yes! Move over Troy and Gabriella. Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightly have arrived.
PBS, you get an A from me for "Emma".
What do you think? How does the latest PBS installment of "Emma" stack up? Does it make the grade?