Why “Clueless” is the Best Jane Austen Adaptation


Why “Clueless” is the Best Jane Austen Adaptation

“…read all of Northanger Abbey…as a commentary on fangirl culture” YES.

Things We Learned From Clueless


cluelesscover We were delighted and bemused to see several articles celebrating the 18th anniversary of the release of Clueless (which, as apparently some people don’t know, is really a fairly faithful adaptation of Emma, though set in 1990s Beverly Hills). We have loved Clueless from the first time we saw it, mostly delighted with its intelligence and humor and Amy Heckerling’s obvious affection for Emma. We don’t think she could have done such a masterful job of adapting the novel for a modern audience if she didn’t love it; or at least she respected the heck out of it, which is good enough for us.


We re-watched the film last night, and realized the film is not just amusing but educational. Herewith, Things We Learned From Clueless:

  • It does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty.
  • Tolerance is always a good lesson, even when it comes from nowhere.
  • When your allergies act up, take out your nose ring.
  • It’s one thing to spark up a doobie and get laced at parties, but it is another to be fried all day
  • Hamlet did not say, “To thine own self be true.” It was totally that Polonius guy.
  • Searching for a guy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.
  • Until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for the entertainment value.
  • Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good.
  • Ren and Stimpy are way existential.
  • When a boy comes over, you should always have something baking.
  • Getting off the freeway makes you understand how important love is.
  • Paul Rudd makes a totally awesome Mr. Knightley. Totally. Also, he’s kind of a Baldwin.

We heard that Amy Heckerling and Alicia Silverstone were thinking about a sequel. Can we offer a possible treatment, based upon another Austen novel?

It’s time for Bronson Alcott High School Class of 1996’s 20-year reunion. Cher and Josh got married, of course (it IS an adaptation of an Austen novel) and maybe have a kid or two, but got divorced, oh, eight years before. (A number we just pulled out of the air. *cough*) He is an environmental lawyer. She is a party planner.

Dionne and Murray also got married, and have some kids, and fight a lot. He tends to go off and do his own thing and leave her with the kids. Mr. Hall and the former Miss Geist are still around, and actually have become friendly with Josh. He stays with them so he can see his kid(s). He becomes interested in a younger woman.

Elton is trying to get in with Cher again, but she still thinks he’s kind of creepy. Travis Birkenstock is still broken-hearted over the death of Tai, but also develops an interest in Cher, who is kind to him, but doesn’t really share his romantic interest.

Well, you can probably tell where we’re going from here. Amy, darling, call us?


Elsewhere on the web, BuzzFeed has a tribute to Clueless, and Jezebel had a gif party! (Be aware, there is one shot of Stacey Dash on the page that is not work-safe.)

Emma Old and New


Alert Janeite Michelle W sent us a link to a post on the Republic of Pemberley with lots of photos of the filming of the upcoming BBC Emma adaptation in Chilham. Not only are the ladies wearing hats, they are quite fabulous hats! We are delighted by this glimpse of the upcoming series.

In other news, a gossip blog reported that Alicia Silverstone is planning a sequel to Clueless, about a high school reunion. We would be extremely suspicious about this project except that Amy Heckerling is reported to be collaborating with Alicia and also set to direct. And Cher better be married to Josh, or they better get back together (this one could be an updated adaptation of Persuasion instead of Emma).

Tuesday Open Thread: Hymenally Challenged Edition


Welcome to Tuesday Open Thread, where we post links and info that don’t quite make the cut for a full blog post but that we thought our readers would find interesting nonetheless.

Amber Says WhateverWe were very much amused by the press release for a new inspirational Regency romance. It starts out with the usual “Anything Jane Austen Is Like Printing Money On A Xerox Machine” marketing-speak, and then:

Many Christian readers, however, are disappointed by the racy slant that some modern authors bring into Jane Austen’s literary world. For example, recent spin-off movies and books, such as Bridgette Jones Diary, Clueless, and Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, feature young women who ignore the spiritual principles embraced by Austen herself.

Really? Those are the books/movies you choose to complain about? There’s a heck of a lot raunchier Austen-related stuff out there than BJD and Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, that’s for sure. And Clueless? Seriously, Clueless? The main character’s virginity is a major plot point! It engenders the two best lines in the movie!

Cher: I am just not interested in doing it until I find the right person. You see how picky I am about my shoes, and they only go on my feet!


Tai: Why am I even listening to you to begin with? You’re a virgin who can’t drive.

LEAVE CHER ALONE! Go pick on Mr. Darcy Does His Wife and the upcoming Sacred Married Smut, if pick on something you must.

As always, feel free to post links or pimp your Austen-related project in comments. This is an open thread, so what’s new in your patch of Janeiteville?

Austen film events in Washington, D.C., New York City, Kansas City, and Denver


With the Complete Jane Austen gearing up on PBS, everyone seems to have Jane Austen films on their minds, and there are several events coming up dedicated to Austen film adaptations old and new.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is having a special event, “Jane Austen Goes to the Movies,” on Wednesday, January 30th at 7 p.m.

Jane Austen has become one of Hollywood’s top screenwriters, with both feature films and television mini-series to her credit. Independent scholar and lecturer, Virginia Newmyer, examines the dramatization of the novels, and whether 20th-century scenarios have improved on the renowned author. The discussion, illustrated with images, interprets the ways in which Jane Austen wove the enduring questions of power, money, and social class into her romantic comedies, and how the themes have been transferred to the screen. Several films and videos are considered, including: Sense and Sensibility (1995 feature film), Pride and Prejudice (1980 BBC mini-series, 1995 BBC/A&E mini-series), Mansfield Park (1993 feature film), Emma (1996 feature film), Clueless (1995 feature film), and Persuasion (1995 feature film). In addition, both Becoming Jane, the 2007 feature film as fictional as the novels, and The Jane Austen Book Club, very different from the book, are included.

Tickets for this event are $20, but if you call and mention that you are an AustenBlog reader, you can get them for the member price of $15! La!

Alert Janeite Jen K. sent us some information about upcoming events sponsored by JASNA’s Greater New York region, kicking off this week. First is a pre-broadcast screening of the new adaptation of Persuasion, this Tuesday, January 8, at 6:30 p.m. at Wollman Auditorium at the Cooper Union. The event is co-sponsored by Penguin Books.

JASNA New York also is co-sponsoring (with Borders) post-broadcast discussions for each of the six novel adaptations on the Mondays after broadcast at several locations in New York and Connecticut.

Another very exciting New York area event (though it’s not listed on JASNA New York’s website, but Jen posted details at The Republic of Pemberley) is a screening of the 1995 adaptation of Persuasion with a discussion featuring Ciarán Hinds, who of course played Captain Wentworth in the film, and possibly Corin Redgrave, who played Sir Walter Elliot, discussing the film with Foster Hirsch of the Brooklyn College Film Department and Rachel Brownstein of the CUNY English Department. The event will be at Brooklyn College on Monday, February 4, 2008 at 3:30 p.m. at the Gershwin Theater, Brooklyn College Campus.

All of these events are free and open to the public.

We previously mentioned “Jane-uary” at the Kansas City Public Library, and as part of that endeavor the library will have a film series called “The Reel Jane Austen” featuring some of the big-screen adaptations, nicely balancing the small-screen versions on PBS. The series will include P&P 1940 and 2005, S&S 1995, and Emma 1996. (No Persuasion 95? Quel dommage!)

In conjunction with Rocky Mountain Public Radio, Audrey Sprenger of the Denver Central Library will present a film and lecture series, Jane Austen, Literature’s Posthumous It Girl.

Created to supplement Masterpiece Theatre’s winter telecast of The Complete Jane Austen, this short cinematic and academic course will chronicle Austen’s slow but steady rise in popularity since the late 1800s, compare her to other It Girls like aviator Amelia Earhart and actresses Jean Seberg and Brigitte Bardot, critique Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, a Hollywood Teen Re-Make of Austen’s Emma and finally, explore Karen Joy Fowler’s The Jane Austen Book Club, a fictional take on why Austen’s work and persona still endures.

The Denver Central Library will have a free screening of the new adaptation of Persuasion on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 2 p.m. to kick off the series.