Emma Today…Or At Least the 1990’s

In my last post I went over some of the Period Adaptations of Emma. However, in the fandom we do not just settle for the same retelling over and over again! We need to modernize it!

Here are a few spins on the tale that Jane Austen herself could have never imagined.

Clueless (1995)

The mid-1990’s was a popular time for Emma. Both Kate Beckinsale and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Emmas came out in 1996 and one year before, Clueless came to the screen.

Clueless throws Austen’s Emma Woodhouse into a ninety’s High School and the outcome is Cher, a spoiled and incredibly wealthy Valley Girl played by the hilarious Alicia Silverstone. Harriet Smith becomes the clueless Tai (Brittany Murphy) and Mr. Knightley is now Cher’s ex-step-brother Josh.

What I Liked:

Alicia Silverstone as Cher as Emma

Cher is perfect. Yes she is spoiled and a little dense. But her fashion sense and the dialogues are wonderful. Her debate speech where she compares government immigration regulations to catering at her father’s birthday party is one of the most brilliant pieces of rhetoric ever spoken.

The Incredible Quotable-ness of this Movie

Clueless is full of hilarious one liners that I find myself quoting on a daily basis.

Like this:

Or this one:

And of course:


The perfect insult for any occasion.

What I Disliked:

As if there’s anything to dislike about this movie.

And to any one who says anything otherwise:

Okay Amber’s (pictured above) hair and clothes were pretty atrocious.

What Surprised Me:

Justin Walker as Christian as Frank Churchill


There is no Jane Fairfax in this adaptation of Emma. I suppose it would be difficult to work a secret engagement based on social levels into a California High School. So how do they explain why Christian is so close to Cher but not romantically interested in her?



Somehow I doubt Jane Austen saw that one coming and it makes for a hilarious spin on the tale.

Final Thoughts

The character of Emma Woodhouse has changed quite a bit in the creation of Cher as have many of the other characters. But this adaptation does not try to follow the book perfectly. It just wants to have fun. And it succeeds in doing that.

Emma Approved (2013-2014)

Emma Approved is a production of Pemberly Digital. The company that brought the world the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved are both new ways of telling stories-through a YouTube Series.

Emma Approved consists of 72 Episodes each around 5 minutes long. In them Emma Woodhouse is something of a professional matchmaker. She has cameras located around her office to film her life for her future documentary. He business partner is life-long friend Alex Knightley and she soon takes an assistant, Harriet Smith…see where this is going.

It is a really unique and fun way to experience Jane Austen’s Emma. Check out the first episode:

What I Liked:

The Clothes

During every single episode I was drooling over Emma’s outfits. DROOLING. Just check out a few of these outfits.

And if you want more, here’s Emma Approved Fashion Blog.

Alex Knightley

I liked this Mr. Knightley for the same reasons I liked Johnny Lee Miller…and not just because he’s cute.

Alex Knightley has the ability to lecture Emma without coming off as super condescending and mean.

Knightley and Emma’s Relationship

I really liked the dynamic they set up between Emma and Knightley in this adaptation. They run the business together. She handles the matchmaking side, he handles the paper work and other business-y stuff. She’s the big dreamer with all the ideas and he helps to real her in while still making her ideas a reality.

What I Disliked:

“This is Emma Approved”

So Emma Approved is not just the name of the series. It’s also Emma’s tagline for her business and videos. This means that in every episode she says This is Emma Approved at least once. And it gets annoying after awhile.

This is Emma Approved! That is Emma Approved! That is NOT Emma Approved!

The fact that I binged watched these episodes instead of one a week as they aired probably had something to do with it though.

What Surprised Me:

Mr. Martin Is A Real Character!

Instead of a farmer, Mr. Martin is the IT guy who fixes Harriet’s computer. And unlike any of the historical adaptations, where we only really see them talk once, we get to see him interact with Harriet. And they’re super adorable and I audibly went AWWWW every time they were together.

Final Thoughts:

Emma Approved is a lot of fun. However, you can’t watch is straight through, I mean if you did it’s something like six hours long. But it’s good to watch a few episodes now and then. It is by no means the best adaptation of Emma, but it is definitely a unique way of story-telling and worth watching.

The Emma Awards

Best Emma: Cher (Clueless)

Best Knightley: Alex Knightley (Emma Approved)

Best Adaptation: Clueless


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