ea criticism

Yesterday, Bernie Su suddenly wanted to know what was bugging me about EA, prompted by this tweet. As my criticism usually involves passive-aggressive glitter text, I wasn’t the best person to ask, so I opened it up to my Twitter feed and the fandom at large.

This document is the result.

A couple of EA drama thoughts

Related to this and this.  

  1. While I realize Bernie Su asked for input and wanted to know what the criticisms have been, it does make me uncomfortable to criticize his artistic choices to his face.  As much as I don’t agree with some aspects of the adaptation and characterization, and as much as I think the quality of the writing is not as good as LBD, if this is his artistic vision it’s his artistic vision.  And it’s putting someone in a really difficult position to make them defend their artistic vision/abilities in the midst of an ongoing project.  (I also have faith that the PDig team is in fact looking to create a diverse cast, even if it doesn’t always happen, and even if I don’t necessarily have faith they’ll be able to deal with issues of race very well in-script.  Never mind other kinds of diversity.  looooooooooool)  So, I’m not going to touch any of that here.  
  2. I don’t necessarily mind that there are product placements, as long as they don’t get in the way of what else is going on.  I also don’t necessarily mind the show being on iTunes.  My problem here is the lack of transparency.  When people started to notice that Emma Approved was on iTunes, fans were confused and concerned.  We had no idea that this was even in the offing.  Many people were concerned that the Pemberley Digital team was planning to transition off of YouTube to iTunes and make us pay for the content – and maybe we wouldn’t have been so quick to jump to that conclusion if there hadn’t been the advertising/product placement, which led to EA reading as much more of a consumer product than LBD.  The thing is, I know that PDig is understaffed, but if there had been just *one little announcement* to let us know this was happening and that no one was planning to charge us to see EA, everyone would have been much happier.  
  3. Yeah, I don’t think anyone is super pissed about EA going on hiatus?  Anyone?  I think we, as people who have jobs and school and commitments, understand the value of taking breaks and not doing too much and getting burnt out.  Is there something going on that I don’t know about, because Bernie Su seems to think this is a thing people are upset about.  
  4. Also: as overworked as PDig peeps might be, I think we’ve determined that typos and errors are kiiiiiiiind of a dealbreaker for a lot of people in this fandom.  (hashtag, things that happen when you market your show to educated women who love Jane Austen and spend a lot of time writing about their feelings on the internet.)  
  5. Yes, Bernie Su is correct in his definition of the term “transmedia” and pointing out that EA is, in fact, doing it.  However, it seems to me that fans are really, really missing the interactive aspect.  You could argue that more fans need to get pinterest; I’m going to argue that Emma’s blog posts should be more engage-y, give people something to say to her on twitter that she can respond to (and also, maybe refer to “in my own office” or “as my assistant said the other day” or just generally included things that are interesting narratively rather than just a vague impression of things that are on Emma’s mind, because NO ONE READS THE BLOG POSTS ANYMORE).  And also, more interaction between characters who already have twitter wouldn’t be amiss.  
  6. Upshot: I think we would all prefer videos that come out less often, but a higher quality of writing, more interaction between the characters on social media, etc. 
  7. Re: the featurettes being online, I’m glad that was clarified and I wish the intention (to only release a couple of the 15 on the DVDs to kickstarter supporters only) had been made clearer in the beginning, which comes back to: transparency.  
  8. Not even touching the DVD delays, because things happen, but if people hadn’t already been so pissed about the LBD edition of P&P (foreward? fucking FOREWARD??? HOW DID SO MANY PEOPLE MISS THIS) and other things, we might have come into Emma Approved with a better taste in our mouths.  

Just my thoughts.  

imaginarycircus replied to your post: I literally do not understand anything happening…

Me neither. I think we need to apply chocolate and alcohol steadily.

They are a universal balm.

I think my problem at this point is that it doesn’t recognizably feel like an adaptation yet? Other than the character names and their relationships, I’m not sure what shape the story is taking yet–I’m not saying Emma Approved needs to or should be a chapter-for-chapter faithful telling, because that’s not going to happen for this format. But by the end of episode one of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries (I’m sure they’re going to get super frustrated by the comparison but one of the things that I fell hard for in the LBD was its strength as a modern adaptation), we were already on the path to the greater story through the introduction of Netherfield being sold and Mrs. Bennet’s overweening interest in it. Or, to go from another Emma adaptation, Clueless starts with an introduction to Cher’s life and jumps into her plan to improve her grades through hooking up her teachers and adopting Tai–and that’s a story where the Taylor/Weston wedding doesn’t really happen until the end, if you think of Miss Geist and Mr. Hall as being half of the Taylor/Weston story (Dionne and Murray being the other half). So if you’re starting with an upset to the story that doesn’t appear anywhere in the novel, that’s fine, I have no problem with that, but it has to DO something and so far all Annie’s calling off the wedding has done has made Emma look like a person without empathy or sweetness but blinded by the consuming need to reach her own goals. I understand changing up the story to provide a fresh take on the characters, but so far, throwing a wrench into the marriage that starts the novel has only served to make most of the characters unsympathetic and hard to root for. 

to me. I mean, I don’t believe even Austen is sacrosanct, but if you’re doing a wholesale adaptation that just takes the ideas of the characters and runs with it, go for it but it still has to be a story with recognizable bones and narrative that goes somewhere. Even if, at this point, all the videos are supposed to do is character and world building, that still has to contribute somewhat to the plot. 

There’s a lot of potential with these actors and the world they’re creating but so far I just don’t get this story. Their Emma is not Austen’s Emma, certainly (I mean, novel Emma had a one track mind but she wasn’t like fuck all y'all this is about my master plan). Which is fine. But their Emma is also someone who doesn’t make any sense as a person to me.

Harriet and Annie, I like. I’ll say that.

I adore this series and i loved how this episode ended with the cliffhanger that they might/will be hiring Jane Fairfax, but what on earth was that conversation between Emma and Caroline? It came out of nowhere and after a successful party, everything should have ended there- so what if Caroline’s original intentions were to get a look at Emma?

Ultimately the job was done and done well- and while the inquiring about the wedding planning services made sense, that whole confrontation was really unprofessional and I didn’t expect it- and what is the equivalent in the novel? I don’t recall there ever being an open confrontation between Augusta and Emma in this way. It’s really very bizarre, imo.

Enjoyed the Alex/Emma and the Harriet/Emma, but seriously, I do not understand what that conversation with Caroline even was!

Today's EA Episode

I keep holding out hope (why? I don’t know) that EA is going to improve, but I think I’m ready to just be done. There were so many problematic things in this episode, but my biggest issue is with the characterization of Emma. Even if we ignore the fact that this is supposedly an adaptation, as a stand alone story the writing has major problems. This arc with Izzy hasn’t moved the story along, in fact it’s taken any sort of character development Emma had from the Elton arc and moved it ten paces backward. It’s just feeling so repetitive. I’m not sure why they’ve had to villanize John either. Sure, make changes from the book, but what purpose does it serve to make the Knightley marriage problematic if it’s only going to show how very wrong Emma was, yet again.

  1. neither-saint-nor-sinner said: Add in the fact that PD failed to overcome the burden of proving that Emma is, in fact, the better person. Rewatch the Maddy Bates arc and tell me I’m wrong. Tell me Emma wanted to help her for the right reasons.

100% agreed.  It felt like they didn’t even make an effort to prove this.  Even today, Emma says “You and I are not the same,” but could she really have disagreed with anything Caroline said comparing them (other than perhaps the idea that they have great fashion sense)?  Saying they’re different and making Caroline unnecessarily (and weirdly) mean don’t really make them different.  It’s like the EA writers and Emma both think that saying something forcefully and repeatedly enough makes it true.  I mean, I think Emma definitely believed this to a degree at the beginning of the series, but I’d hoped she (and the writers) would have grown up a bit since then.

Anonymous asked: I mean, if it really bothers you that much stop watching. From what you wrote it’s more than just Alex physically restraining Emma that you have a problem with, so why not stop…

“If “don’t like? don’t watch” works for you and makes you happy? I understand. I respect that. Would you consider returning that respect? That I am allowed to critique and explore a show I find highly flawed based on my favorite novel?”


The evolution to present day Emma Approved is that the writing team is actually smaller while the interactive team has grown and is now larger. There is more going on in EA non-video wise on a week by week basis so we’ve grown the team.

There is more going on in EA non-video wise on a week by week basis

There is more going on in EA non-video wise on a week by week basis

There is more going on in EA non-video wise on a week by week basis



Wellll, I have way less patience now for couching my criticisms in positivity and attempting not to be publicly snarky than I did when the whole LBD shiz was going down, so I’m not particularly surprised that this happened

Late night Emma Approved thoughts

It’s late here so excused me if this does not make any sense. 

I was trying to think of why i  did not like the show. There is nothing actively wrong with the show (except for the transmedia), but i still would feel really angry with the show after I watched the show. I think the reason is because Emma Approved is dull to the point that it makes me angry. It’s not saying anything new or different about Emma. All the characters feel like cardboard cutouts of real people. The show does not feel like it has any emotional weight. It’s like cotton candy in a web series form.  Whenever the show tries to have emotional moments it never works because show built on a cotton candy surface. 

The show is so inoffensive that it makes offensive in a way (if that makes sense). LBD felt like it was taking risks that made it exciting. But Emma feels tired even though the show has just begun. When you watch Emma Approved it’s fun but if you think about it too much you will see how depth-less the show really is.  The show will always be mediocre because it feels afraid to take risks with its story. 

clavisa replied to your post “Dear Emma Approved, IDEK how you do it. Every time I decide I like…”

Seems legit to me! I’ve also seen people use ea crit/ea criticism, it would be nice to have a designated backchannel tag for us cantankerous folk though.

(This is regrading using the tag “emma ad absurdum” as a general place where I put stuff about Emma Approved that I don’t want to put on the main EA tag.)

Yes it would definitely be great to have such a tag. I like “emma ad absurdum” because Latin (obvs), but also because the initials are EAA which is kind of a play on EA. Basically, the general cleverness of the tag name appeals to me. (You’re the one who came up with that name, right, clavisa? If so, look at you being all clever!)

Still, if there’s a general consensus for “ea crit” or somesuch, I could go for that to and reserve EAA for the game.