January 22, 2015

An Open Letter to the March Family Letters...


Dear March Family Letters,

I wanted to like you. I really did but I'm afraid we are going to have to part ways sooner rather than later - you feel free to lord it over Frankenstein M.D. that you made me drop you faster than Victoria did - because, to put it succinctly, you kind of suck. 


Now, let me to throw my bonafides on the table: I love Little Women, I love the movie, I have read the book over fifteen times, I even watched the animes (all 3 versions of it) and I have seen pretty much all the movie, riffs and other adaptations made of it (the March Sisters at Christmas, anyone?). 

I know MY Little Women.

But I'm starting to believe that maybe you don't, March Family Letters. 

See, the story of the March sisters is a simple one: a slice of life melodrama about four sisters who are very different from each other but love one another. That's it. Yet all characters have a spine, an inner motor that dictates their lives and their personalities. 

You don't seem to be grasping that. 

Meg isn't serious, she is lady like and put together (she would never ever be caught looking like the frightful mess she looks like in some of your 'letters'), she actually enjoys going to parties and being with her friends, the snobbier the affair the better because she does crave social status. 

Amy is gorgeous in a traditional sort of way (and she is blond, dammit!), she can be capricious, and she sure annoys Jo. But she's also mostly described as someone who is charming and polite who is both sensitive and practical in equal measures. 

Beth is shy with strangers, but actually has a lot of friends, she's not an island nor is she dependent on her sisters for everything, she in fact spends most of her time alone fending for herself. She's strong and thinks of others first, she would never refuse to be on a video for her mom, nor would she be snarky about it. 

And Jo, darling Jo whom I hate and love sometimes in equal measure- Jo is a tomboy, she is impulsive and has a bit of a mean streak, she is also smart and very creative and fiercely loyal even if she's pretty much a brick when it comes to other people's feelings. 

She wouldn't make a whole video raging because someone addressed a letter to her wrong. She would probably have enjoyed being called a dude. She calls herself "The man of the house" a few times in the book, you know? 

Now I am all for twists and turns and for turning stories on their head, as long as you acknowledge and respect the story you are telling. But you seem to be very badly miscast, March Family Letters. I could argue until I was blue in the face that Jo March needs to have a gorgeous head of hair to be Jo March, but I could have easily let that go if you had captured the spirt of her.

But nope, you seem to have casted these girls as if you were aiming for a parody or a satire, not for a retelling. They are over the top, and stiff and Jo's mouth seriously freaks me out (it's like it has a life of its own). 

There has to be certain chemistry and dynamic to the March family and I'm just not seeing it. You are going through the beats but not showing the true love and annoyances behind a family.

Because that's the thing that has endured about Amy, Beth, Jo and Meg through out the years: they feel like a real family, the make each other mad and they cheer each other on. And from the moment the book opens on that cold week before a Christmas without presents, you feel it: all the tension and the petty grievances of teenage girls and all the love of a family who has struggled together but that is better off for it. 

Until you find that core, you won't find who these girls are, and until you do, you won't work as a retelling of this beloved story. 

And you will be one audience member short, because I'm seriously done with you,

Alex.

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So, that's me and the March Family Letters, what about you? Is anyone else watching it? Have strong feelings about it? Let me know.

9 comments:

  1. I didn't even know about this show! What channel is it on?

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    1. It's on Youtue, if you click on the video it takes you can get to their channel.

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  2. UGH YES. I only made it three episodes in. Jo annoys me and Meg annoys me and Amy annoys me and Beth is barely present. You're so right about all of your points and I just don't *like* the way they've chosen to portray the characters. There are so many adaptation series out there now after Lizzie Bennet Diaries and some of them are just trying too hard to find their own voice. This one and the Anne of Green Gables one were too different and wrong.

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    1. I think this is definitely a case of reach exceeds grasp in the worse way, they are trying SO hard but doing it all wrong.

      It makes me sad because this is such a good, easy to connect to story.

      *sigh* we need more good webseries

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  3. I feel the same way BUT I'm going to try watching a few more episodes. Dude Jo's mouth is nightmare inducing!!!

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  4. I hadn't heard of this but don't think I'll be watching it anyway. Thanks for the heads up!

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    1. Yeah, it was released like on Christmas Day or something, I don't see it making a lot of waves yet. :P

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  5. :( I'm sorry to hear this one has been such a disappointment for you, Alex! I haven't started watching it, and in fact I still haven't finished Emma Approved, but now I'm not sure I want to. Not that I have ever read Little Women so it's not like these points would get to me like they have to you, but what I loved so much about Lizzie Bennett Diaries is they seemed to capture the essence of the characters and story pretty well and I would hope they could do that with all of their adaptations or else it's not worth it.

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