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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pride and Prejudice - It's Not Just the Tight Pants

Despite Gina Ardito’s claim to being “just a typical suburban lady with a husband and two kids,” she is one of the co-founders of Dunes and Dreams, the Eastern Long Island chapter of RWA, and not only does she write romantic comedy, she writes historical romances under the pen name, Katherine Brandon!

Please welcome Gina Ardito to the Wet Noodle Posse!

This past week, my husband caught me in the bedroom, indulging my favorite vice: watching Pride & Prejudice. Again.

"What is it about this movie?" my poor clueless hubby demanded.

"It's Jane Austen," I replied smoothly. "The grandmother of my genre."


Okay, sure. Jane's terrific. But I don't watch Emma or Sense and Sensibility with the same rabid fan grrrl mentality I reserve for Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. In fact, I can only think of two other movies that engender the same ferocity in me: The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Count of Monte Cristo. In each case, I own more than one version on DVD--Leslie Howard, Anthony Andrews, and Richard E. Grant all took a turn as the Pimpie, Alan Badel and Jim Caviezel both played the Count, and of course, Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy.

"You know," my husband pointed out--not unkindly. "They're fiction."

Sure. Of course. I'm not delusional. But these three men are, for some reason I've yet to fathom, my idea of romance hero ideals. Mmmm...time to take stock and see if I can figure out why these three in particular, "do it" for me.

Maybe it's the tight pants?

Oh, please!

I'm not that shallow. ...Am I?

So what do they all have in common? Time period? No, not really. They're all English? If that was the only requirement, I'd have moved to the Empire thirty years ago in search of my Happily Ever After. But I found my guy in New York--in the 20th century. Okay, scratch that idea.

But then I started to think about their love relationships. And I hit on something striking. Each of them fell in love with a woman, who, he believed, betrayed him in some way.

Sure, Elizabeth Bennet's crime was more in her loyalty to her family than the so-called crimes of Marguerite in The Scarlet Pimpernel or Mercedes in The Count of Monte Cristo, the former having supposedly condemned an innocent family to the guillotine and the latter marrying the man who'd betrayed our hero.

Yet, in each case, the heroes remained steadfast in their hearts to these women, despite their belief in the ladies' guilt. Why? For honor? Maybe. Sir Percy was already married to Marguerite when he discovered her alleged perfidy. But neither Darcy nor Dantes shared that domestic arrangement and could have walked away at any time. But they not only stayed loyal to their hearts (even with thoughts of revenge burning in their breasts), they managed to learn the truth and find love at the end of their journeys.

And therein, for me, lies the key. These are heroes who remain constant, who face the hardships and still struggle to believe--even when love seems impossible. Because sometimes in life, the hardest thing to do is love someone you think did you wrong. But love forgives, love believes in second chances, and the truly love-worthy hero will be there waiting when the truth is revealed.

To learn more about Gina visit her website. And don’t forget Gina’s book, A Run For the Money, will be available August 24, 2009!

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At 6:45 AM, Blogger Leslie Ann Dennis said...

Oh, my.... Mistah Darcy.... I love him! And I agree with all your heroes today. I love Leslie Howard's Pimpernel the best (They seek him heyeah, they seek him thyeah, that demmned elusive pimpernel).. I remember Howard saying in his best "Fop" voice. LOL! What about Rhett Butler? Do you think he fits into this category too? Very interesting insight, Vicki. You're definitely onto something here. My DH doesn't understand my whole "Colin Firth" thing -- or as I call it, Mr Darcy Two Ways, since I will turn to jelly whenever I watch Pride and Prejudice *AND* Bridget Jones's Diary.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

LOL, Leslie. I love Colin Firth or Mr. Darcy two ways!

Gina, thanks so much for being here today. I love what you said about the truly worthy hero sticking around long enough for the truth to be revealed. I agree wholeheartedly. The men that are always there when you need them...yeah, those are the true heroes.

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Great point, Gina!
Thanks for guesting at WNP!

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Debora Dennis said...

Can't I vote for the tight pants too? Okay, in all seriousness, you're right, it's not just the tight pants - it's the redemption, the second chance - that draws me in and keeps me there.

Great thoughtful post!

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Your favs are my favs, too! I think you're dead on about why we love these heroes. It's something to love someone warts and all.

Thanks for guesting for us today!

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Shelby said...

I also would like to add this: isn't it every woman's dream to be loved through thick and thin? Oh, to be appreciated and respected the way Darcy inevitably ends up regarding Elizabeth, especially in a time when the simpering eyelash-batters, seen and not heard, were considered desirable! I could probably write a dissertation on all the nuances of P&P, and you've done a great job of stirring me into rumination (aka goofy daydreaming heheh) about the men in tight pants. Er, I mean, the classical heroes. Awesome, Gina!

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Cheryl Brooks said...

I had never read P&P until seeing the Colin Firth version, so he will always be Mr. Darcy for me, no matter how many times I read the book or watch other movies of it.
I think I enjoy reading English historicals mainly because we can all see that beneath that proper exterior lies a simmering passion, and it takes a special woman to bring it out. We all want to be THAT woman!

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Katie said...

I still reread the Comte de Monte-Cristo in French every year. Same goes for Le Petit Prince and several other novels.

For me, there is such magic in the book, the movie never 'gets' I don't watch the film.

But Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy... Well, I may have to watch him this afternoon. Maybe I'll have to get myself Bridget Jones Diary...

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Caroline said...

I think you've hit the proverbial nail on the head. I would not have recognized it for such but that is truly the glue that keeps us coming back.

True Love conquers ALL, forgives ALL. It is not pompous or jealous but is kind and caring.

But, like you point out, of course the hero can be devastated with his love’s betrayal, hurt over her dishonesty, angry at her shallowness, and confused with her ignorance at not responding to his love, but still, he loves on....

And, yes, like Shelby said...we all want to be his woman!


At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Sandy DeTaranto said...

Yeah, who doesn't swoon when Mr. Darcy comes up out of that pond and, much to his surprise, happens upon Elizabeth? *sigh*

Great blog. And you're spot on in your analysis of what makes a hero endearing.


At 1:15 PM, Blogger Marie Force said...

I'm about to commit romance writer sacrilege when I say that I have never read Austen nor have I seen the movies. *Duck and cover* Now that you've taken your shots, I'll say that I recently read an Austen sequel written by a friend of mine and enjoyed it enough to say, hey, maybe I should check out the movie since my efforts to read dear Jane have not worked out so well. Just. Can't. Do. It. *Ducking again*

So I will watch the P&P movie this summer, I promise, and let you know, Gina, if I am changed forever by it the way some of my writer friends have been!

Great analysis of the unifying qualities of all your favorite heroes.

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Oh, Marie, for shame! Please let us know when you've read the book or at least watched the movie so that we can all be friends again. :)

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Marie Force said...

Ouch, Theresa!! LOL, I take a LOT of abuse about my no-can-do-Jane issues. I will definitely watch the movie asap so we can be friends again!! I tried! I really tried!! I couldn't get past page 5.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Gina Ardito said...

Hi, Leslie! Thanks for stopping by! Actually, my *fave* Pimpie was Douglas Sills, who had the role on Broadway. (I saw the play four times just to drool over that fine man!) And while I don't have a DVD of his performance, I do have two copies of the soundtrack: the original Broadway cast and the revamped version. There is something so delicious about how the man says, "Sink me!"

Ah, the two Mr. there's a man who looks good wet. (Try Valmont for more luscious Colin Firth!)

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Gina Ardito said...

Theresa, it's my pleasure! Thanks for inviting me. Glad my post made sense to you. (Seriously, my head's in another world these days...)

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Gina Ardito said...

Thanks, Diane, Debora and Mo. Yep, we do love us some steadfast heroes. (The tight pants are just a bonus!)

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Gina Ardito said...

Yes, Shelby, I wholeheartedly agree that we all want that unconditional love, which is such a driving force in our stories.

Interestingly enough, Cheryl, I just started reading the Smart Bitches book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms, which goes into great detail about readers "bookmarking" themselves, i.e.: seeing themselves as the heroine.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Gina Ardito said...

Ooh, lucky Katie! I'd love to be able to read Comte in French. I do devour it in English on a regular basis. While the movie versions lose a lot in translation, there's enough of the original story intact to make the two hours enjoyable!

Yes, Caroline, you've taken my point and expounded upon it perfectly. Thanks for that!

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Gina Ardito said...

Sandy, there's nothing sexier than Colin Firth wet. (I think I even have a photo of him getting drenched in coffee, which takes care of two of my vices in one shot!)

And no, Marie, it's not sacrilege (though I highly recommend you try the BBC version and then attempt to dive into the book afterward.) We all have those authors or books we're ashamed to admit we couldn't get through (mine is GWTW--can't sit through the movie or the book.) Maybe we should create a support group wherein we challenge ourselves to struggle through that one classic that's always eluded us? :-)

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Hey Gina, thanks again for being here today. I can't wait to read A Run For the Money!!!

At 1:25 AM, Blogger Kate Diamond said...

I love P&P (the book). I only watch the BBC/A&E version with Colin Firth. He makes me tingly. Yum!


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