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“Anne with an E” has left me depressed

23 May

 

Warning! This post will contain more spoilers than River Song’s hair.

spoilers
Okay, we ready?

“Anne with an E” is a Netflix series based on “Anne of Green Gables.” I should say loosely based. Very loosely.

I won’t lie – I’m in the “The 1985 version is the best” camp. I had a massive crush on Jonathan Crombie. I thought Colleen Dewhurst was perfection as Marilla. Megan Follows will always be my Anne Shirley.

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Yet I can also admit, while I watched the series, I did bristle a bit that “Anne of Avonlea” took some creative licenses and changed a bit. But the spirit of Anne of Green Gables was in it, so I forgave it for being different than the books. I did not watch the third installment that they tried – because wow, way to jump the timeline to throw Gilbert off to war (in the books, it was Anne and Gil’s sons who went off to fight WWI).

But this new version? This “Anne with an E” version?

It’s just depressing.

Seriously. It’s depressing.

Anne with an E has PTSD from her abusive past. I’m not being facetious – several times, she gets so sucked into a flashback that she forgets where she is, stops what she’s doing. Then when someone reaches out to her, she’ll blink and go “Oh, sorry, let’s talk about flowers, shall we?”

Honestly, Anne with an E could use some major therapy. Again, that’s not being funny. Anne Shirley was a chatterbox – Anne with an E babbles manically. Anne with an E has flashbacks to when Mr. Hammond had a heart attack while beating her with his belt. Anne with an E talks about overhearing the Hammond’s sex life, laughing as she talks about how Mrs Hammond didn’t want to “pet his mouse” when he was drunk and often, it sounded like she was being murdered. Anne with an E runs in her skivvies through fields, nearly going over a cliff, because Rachel Lynde wounds her pride. Anne with an E is horribly bullied by the teens of Avonlea, being called trash and a dog, schoolboys barking at her when she walks by. Anne with an E literally gets sent away from Green Gables after the brooch incident, only to be found after several days of her avoiding going back to the asylum, choosing homelessness instead.  To make up for sending her away, Anne with an E is adopted by the Cuthberts.

Adopted. Anne with an E becomes Anne Shirley Cuthbert.

That is where I was a bit “Oh no good sir! NO!”

They made Gilbert an orphan too. So he and Anne can have something to bond over. Except Anne was a bit too perky that she now had a fellow orphan friend and Gilbert was all “OMG Anne, it’s not about YOU!” – which, in all fairness, he had the right to say. Then Gilbert closes up the family house and goes to the city to work on the docks, giving up school.

GIVING UP SCHOOL.

 

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Still from Netflix’s “Anne with an E”

 

 

The stuff and nonsense continues – Marilla joins a “progressive mother’s group”, where the ladies of Avonlea sit around talking about what a glorious word “feminism” is and hoping their daughters do more than just marry. But then, because Anne said that Prissy Andrews and the teacher must be having “intimate relations” after she and Diana spy on the teacher touching Prissy’s face, Marilla is shunned by the mother’s group. And is upset by this. Marilla, the pinnacle of strength and “I really don’t care what you think”, gutted by a mother’s group.

Really?

And Matthew almost loses the farm, has a near death experience, and the Cuthbert’s are now on the cusp of losing their farm, so they send Anne into the city to sell their worldly possessions.

Yes – they send the flighty 13 yr old that they can’t trust to keep a pie from burning to the city to barter their goods for money. It’s okay though, they send the farm hand who’s about the same age as Anne with her. He then gets mugged and beaten, the money he had taken away. Because why the hell not at this point?

At the end, as a cliffhanger for Season Two, Anne opens the door to find their new boarder – who is a sketchy dude we were allowed to see being sketchy, and possibly the one who mugged the farm hand boy. I don’t know, at that point, I was fast-forwarding through whole scenes because I just couldn’t take any more of it.

It was all so depressing. It was like “Okay, what bad thing can happen in this episode? Anne isn’t traumatized enough…oh, I know! Billy Andrews can angrily confront her alone in the woods so that the viewers aren’t sure if he’s going to physically or sexually assault her. But it’ll be fine, because Gilbert will rescue her. How’s that for a meet cute?” #truestory

Anne of Green Gables was a dreamy girl. Anne with an E is living one nightmare after another. Anne of Green Gables was full of optimism and innocence, even through trials. Anne with an E leaps from one tragedy to the next.

We all loved Anne of Green Gables because there was laughter and friendship, and kindred spirits. There were hardships, but it wasn’t a tsunami of troubles that Anne with an E deals with. Anne of Green Gables had hope. Anne with an E is waiting for the next wave to hit.

And to mess up the Anne/Gilbert storyline is a disgrace. Part of what made their story so good was that Gilbert liked her for her brain. He liked that she was his equal in academics. He appreciated her dreaminess. He liked that she didn’t fall for him just because he was cute. Anne and Gilbert were equals in ways that are still necessary to hear about today.

The funny thing is, I have almost no problem with the casting. Marilla and Matthew are well cast, Anne and Gilbert are decent even if they aren’t Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie.

We don’t need Anne of Green Gables to be darker, grittier, tougher – not when the other Netflix option for teens is “13 Reasons Why”.

No, we need Anne and her dreaminess, her optimism, and her silly mishaps with friends. We need Gilbert to fall for that smart, quirky girl. We need Avonlea to be a place of regular folks, sometimes snippy (I’m looking at you, Pye clan), but mostly decent people.

“Anne with an E” does not deliver any of that, and that’s why, for me, it’s fallen so short.

 

 

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11 Responses to ““Anne with an E” has left me depressed”

  1. Sunny Lanning May 23, 2017 at 11:08 pm #

    Haha, that intro! Why is River Song’s hair so big? Because it’s full of secrets…!

  2. Sunny Lanning May 23, 2017 at 11:12 pm #

    And, what a trainwreck. Thank you for this review; I will whole-heartedly continue to skip seeing it. I loved the books too much to watch this.

  3. Widdershins May 23, 2017 at 11:48 pm #

    I haven’t read a single review that’s been positive about ‘Anne with an E’.

  4. JennyExplainsItAll.blogspot May 24, 2017 at 12:28 am #

    I agree with your review 100%! What a train wreck. I immediately pulled out my copies of the series (I am sad to say I lost all but the first three) and started reading them again, and they are as perfect as they ever were. And I’m searching for the 1985 PBS version to download to watch again, too. I’ve warned everyone I know NOT to watch ‘Anne with an E’, but it’s depressing to think someone who never read LM Montgomery’s wonderful stories will watch and think they’re seeing the real Anne of Green Gables!

  5. LisaDay May 24, 2017 at 10:26 am #

    I have no desire to watch the series either. How could it ever compete?

  6. Angel of Anthropology May 24, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    I just LOVE that you used River Song and her famous ‘Spoilers’ I can’t tell you just how much that made me happy.

    And further, to which I am sure to get a look (if not more), I don’t honestly remember Anne of Green Gables. I remember it’s existence and people being over the moon about it, but I remember Pride and Prejudice which I have never read nor watched (unless you count the zombie one) much more then Anne of Green Gables. Which of course I’ll need to change at some point. And to be clear, I only know character names from P&P. That’s the one thing it has on Anne.

    Now with that said I do really hate when things are changed so severely from source materials that it really creates a whole other story. Spin offs, and branching out is perfectly fine, that give the viewer/reader a choice on whether or not to follow those lines, but to change the original story and to change it so it’s horrible and has no resemblance to the source is so very hard to take in for people who are in love with the originals.

    For me at the moment it’s the new Mummy movie coming out with Tom Cruise. I do like the one with Brandan Frasier, and even the sequel to a point (but not the one after that) and so for them to make another movie that makes people think it could be a remake and watching those trailers of Cruise is nauseating. Even as a stand alone movie I have serious problems with it. They don’t seem to know much about Ancient Egypt. From what I can see the woman in question killed people to get where she was before they decided to mummify her alive. Yes, because no one in the history of Egypt ever killed to boost themselves up the ladder. I somewhat want to see it just to exercise my Ancient Egypt knowledge and to see if indeed it is suppose to be a remake or a new movie all together. And I am well aware that even the 1999 version take some liberties with the whole Ancient Egypt but at least they do it in a way that’s more believable…..

    And that was almost a blog post….sorry.

  7. Eileen May 25, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

    I was looking forward to seeing “Anne with an E”. I think I was the only person I knew who gave a flying fig. I”m so sad that they would try to modernize a sweet and pure story. Not pure in the biblical sense, but the lovely relationships Anne had, finding her “bosom friend” Diana and dreamy Gilbert.
    Thank you for your honest review of the series. You saved me from disappointment. Try watching “The Magicians” on Netflix to cleanse your palate.

  8. Renee Anne May 28, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    I think the only people that have anything positive to say about Anne with an E are people that have absolutely no context (haven’t read the original stories or even watched the original miniseries)….but even they are few and far between.

    Personally, I never got into the stories. I tried when I was maybe 13 or so but it didn’t stick. It’s on my list of things to read someday. However, I did love the original miniseries….and the TV show that followed (Avonlea, I think). I don’t know that I’m going to be okay with this new series, especially after having heard so many negative things about it (and not just from you).

  9. Rana May 30, 2017 at 7:04 am #

    I feel that she had two personalities and try to be witty.. it’s not her fault though. Maybe she had to play Anne that way. Also in how she express her imagination seems exaggerated and no sincerity, i couldn’t enjoy as much as i watched the Sullivan version. I might not fond of Anne if i watch this version first.

  10. LonelyNobody July 26, 2017 at 7:38 am #

    I absolutely loved watching ‘Anne with an E’. However, I was un aware that it was a book first! Now that I know this I will have to swap over to reading the books, which I am thoroughly looking forward to after reading this and the comments.

  11. Brooke Singleton August 24, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

    I just wanted to second your opinion on the scene in the woods with Billy Andrews… I watched it with four friends and we were all just quiet watching it and none of us said anything at the time, but later we were talking about the show and it all ended up coming out- NONE of us thought Billy was there to just beat her up. We ALL actually thought we were about to see a rape scene in this show. The show has many odd scenes, this was the one that stood out to me the most as being disturbing. I was looking online to see if anyone besides my friends and me got that impression from this scene. I really think that was what the show WAS implying.

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