Anne: But What Is So Headstrong as Youth?   Books Included 
May 13, 2017 7:25 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

I have to agree with sardonyx's comment in the Anne of Japan thread - Avonlea with two teachers? Why would the writers insert that, when it's such an important future plot point that Anne and Gilbert are both up for the Avonlea school job and he bows out so that she can remain close to Green Gables?

As for the 'mouse' plotline... Sigh. It just seems so unnecessarily adult. I mean, I'm not a parent, but, this must have been a weird episode for family viewing.

New-Gilbert is ok (though his first lines were so jarringly anachronistic) but it's tough competition when the one-true-Gilbert is tragically dead.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:51 AM on May 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Wow. I'm no prude, but I'm not quite sure Anne of David Fincher's Nightmares was really what I was expecting for this series. I don't mind a bit of edginess, but I always thought the mysterious tragedy of Anne's background being left to the reader (and Marilla) to fill in with a bit of common sense and imagination was quite enough horror for a children's story. I question the necessity of the whole "Prissy Andrews and the teacher's pet mouse" affair, especially since Anne's other recollections are shown in such vivid detail, what with the beatings and verbal abuse. I especially wonder why the scene in the woods with Prissy's brother needed to be so tinged with the unspoken threat of sexual violence. I mean, this is Anne of Green Gables, ffs. I'm not sure I'll actually finish this.
posted by xyzzy at 12:50 PM on May 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I was surprised that the whole "mouse" scandal wrapped up with everyone knowing that Anne made comments about Prissy's relationship with the teacher and no one - at least no responsible action-taking adult - coming to the realization that the schoolteacher is a creepy lech.
posted by bunderful at 1:58 PM on May 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have such a different opinion about this. After this episode, I feel like this series isn't about Anne as much as it's about Lucy Maud Montgomery. She was a visionary who was constrained by the social expectations of her time, and the Anne series was really quite progressive within those constraints. If LMM was alive today, I think this is the story she would write. So I'm really enjoying it as an "inspired by" and not a faithful retelling of the books because I feel like it's a portrayal of everything LMM put between the lines.

I wouldn't show this to my Kid as an introduction to Anne Shirley, and I don't even know if Anne would even have the same impact. This is an adult adaptation, and, as an adult, it deepens my appreciation for the books because some of the implications went over my head when I read the books as a child (I read the whole series every two years).
posted by Ruki at 3:45 PM on May 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

This is one of the episodes where I disliked the adaptation the most but couldn't quite put my finger on why, so I went and read the entire first five books of Anne of Green Gables just so I could go back and be mad at the show more. So, EXTRA FRESH BOOK ANGST for you.

One of the many, many reasons this doesn't work is because Anne in particular is kind of almost asexual for a really long time and it's an important plot point in the later books - that she doesn't really think about boys in a romantic-sexual sense, doesn't even understand the whole thing, and thinks it's kind of a nuisance, until she's about 18 or so. So to have Anne of Green Gables being Sexually Precocious Orphan just feels like it's there for shock value. It's not done so that it can later be integrated with story, it's just 'haha look how terrible her life has been and how the mere exposure to the edges of it will shock Avonlea". And that's just...not Montgomery at all. There are places where she writes around sexual assault or trauma - most particularly in the later books - and those would be fair places to fill it in - but this is not one of them.

Secondly, was that supposed to be Charlie Sloane, Gilbert's chief "rival" for Anne's affections, in the woods, or Billy Andrews? If Billy Andrews, known for being so painfully shy that Jane Andrews had to speak for him later in the series, what the hell? If Charlie, also what the hell?

But most egregious of all - Anne did not have any trouble integrating into the school classroom and it was a really huge and important and amazing point of the books and HOW DARE YOU SERIES I SWEAR. She hated her teacher and loved her peers, and it was a sweet and glorious thing with only vaguely catty mean-girl stuff. There are pages and pages and pages of happy girl schooldays, because they were delighted by her even if they did think she was strange, and to swap this healing, loving, female companionship out for "we don't eat with filthy trash" is SO OFFENSIVE TO MINE EYES it is actually maddening.
posted by corb at 1:59 PM on May 17, 2017 [8 favorites]

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