Chronicles of a true Firth fan

Book: A Sun reporter compares a `Diary' with `Pride.'

April 14, 2001|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Thursday 5 April

7:25 p.m. Ohmigod. Have to attend advance screening of "Bridget Jones's Diary." Refused to read the book when it first came out. Seemed v. v. silly and demeaning, and Bridget sounded like an annoying, desperate nutbag. But Colin Firth (to DIE for) is in it. Was SO swoonworthy in BBC's "Pride and Prejudice" and should make "Bridget" not entirely a waste of time.

9:30 p.m. My life is complete. Film was most excellent - v. v. funny even though Renee Zellweger was v. v. annoying (as expected of nutbag Bridget). Love that dry Brit wit, Hugh Grant is a magnificent rogue and, oh, that Colin Firth ... I swear he has perfected the art of playing a dashing Darcy.

Friday 6 April

Noon. People say BJD is a modern "Pride and Prejudice," and it seems about right: Hugh's publishing whiz Daniel Cleaver possesses the smarm-charm of Elizabeth Bennet's initial love interest Mr. Wickham, Bridget's Mum runs off with a man just like Elizabeth's sister Lydia does. And Colin Firth plays a marvelous Mr. Darcy all over again!

He's terribly adroit at conveying tormented passion without saying one word. Although, in BJD, Darcy is a wealthy, hardworking lawyer, unlike P&P's Mr. Darcy who was just born insanely rich and passes time shooting fowl, quietly performing good deeds for sport, and secretly desiring Elizabeth Bennet. (Not that that's a bad thing.)

That Bridget, however, seems a lot more like Fanny Price in "Mansfield Park" than P&P's Elizabeth Bennet. Lizzy, at least, was a strong, intelligent woman. Bridget's more like Fanny, Austen's least likable heroine and a wimpy girl to boot.

Note to self: Rent BBC series and read P&P again. Also, pick up copy of BJD.

Sunday 8 April

Am reading P&P and enjoying it v. v. much. Remarkable similarities to BJD, which am also endeavoring to read at the same time. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham both went to Cambridge University, so did Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy. Natasha, the wenchy barrister determined to snag Mark Darcy for herself in BJD, is a carbon copy of the conniving Ms. Bingley, who tries to scheme her way into becoming Lady Darcy.

And Mr. Darcy makes his first appearance in P&P at a ball, where he sulks and refuses to dance. In BJD, Bridget first lays eyes on Mark Darcy at a party where he's looking all haughty and keeping to himself. She even notes: "It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party.

Read so intently that did not leave the apartment for whole evening and had week-old brownies for dinner. Must alter behavior or will end up like Bridget.

Note to self: Look into buying scale.

Monday 9 April

Noon. BJD is getting old. Read till 2 a.m. and Bridget is getting v. v. grating. If she does not improve, I fear I shall have to start smoking again to cope with her shrill whining. She worries about her weight, her smoking, her eating, and suffers an exasperating lack of self-esteem. (Just say "NO" to Daniel Cleaver, woman!) P&P's strong-willed and level-headed Lizzy would never have felt so sorry for herself at being so v. v. unattached.

In fact, even though Lizzy is of marriageable age and her mother is pressing her to wed, she has enough self-worth to resist Mr. Darcy when he first proposes, retorting: "I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry." Now, that's girl power.

Read in the BJD information kit that Andrew Davies, who wrote the P&P script, helped with author Helen Fielding and writer Richard Curtis with the BJD script.

Also saw somewhere that BJD author Helen Fielding had a crush on Colin Firth. I have no doubt - in the book, Bridget pitches a story about Colin Firth when she becomes a news reporter. And then she ponders the Darcy-Elizabeth relationship: "I would hate to see Darcy and Elizabeth in bed, smoking a cigarette afterward. That would be unnatural and wrong and I would quickly lose interest."

I know what she means. I'm beginning to lose interest in the BJD versions of Darcy and Lizzy. BJD offers TOO MUCH INFORMATION about what they both would probably be like in modern times.

5:30 p.m. Discover there are many Web sites devoted to Colin Firth. Momentarily feel guilty for looking them up at work. But I am doing it for a story, after all.

Tuesday 10 April

There really are an amazing number of Colin Firth Web sites out there.

Wednesday 11 April

Holed myself up indoors all day to watch the 1995 BBC P&P miniseries. It was so v. v. brilliant and definitely far superior to BJD. In fact, BJD seems rather silly and foppish in comparison - even as a modern homage.

Smoked four cigarettes. v. v. bad. I fear I am Bridget, after all.

Thursday 12 April

10 p.m. Finally finished reading BJD. Loathed how forced some of the similarities were. Mark Darcy traipsing all the way to Portugal and devoting weeks to finding Bridget's Mum? Puh-lease. I would've said, "Forget Mum, dear Darcy. What about your high-paying, tres glam barrister job?" Looking back, BJD seems a bit of a let-down.

Midnight Do more v. v. essential Colin Firth research on the computer.

Friday 13 April

9 a.m. BJD opens in theaters today, and I don't understand how anyone could deign to see it. It's so v. inferior to P&P. Although, it was a little enjoyable and funny. And it did have the Firth factor.

9:30 a.m. Spot Hugh Grant on "Live with Regis and Kelly" accompanied by hysterical Darcy-Cleaver fight scene from movie.

Note to self: MUST see BJD again this weekend.

SEMBLANCE & SIMILARITIES

"Bridget Jones's Diary" has been widely acknowledged as a modern-day homage to Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice." But just how similar are the two in characters and plot? Take a look

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