I’ve resisted watching this show for a while because I read the books and continue to love the 80’s miniseries. I knew that I had too many expectations so I decided that it was better for everyone if I just passed.
But I work at a library and a bunch of people have been checking-out Anne of Green Gables, sometimes for the very first time, and they ask me how I feel about the new show. I tell them how I feel about the book series and the 80’s version because that’s what I know and they’ve been telling me about the new show. Most of what they said revolved around how ‘dark’ it was and they hadn’t been expecting that.
So I felt like I should at least give episode one a try so that I could be a little bit more informed for the next person who asks.
Here we go…
I didn’t like episode one of Anne with an ‘E.’
To be honest, I didn’t mind that it was dark. Yes, those flashback scenes were created for the show but they could have happened in Anne’s past. If you read between the lines of the books you can certainly argue convincingly for those scenes of abuse to be included.
I do take issue with people saying that because something is darker that makes it feel more real. The 80’s version felt pretty real to me too.
My issue with the flashbacks: they slowed down the pacing really badly. I do understand that they’re doing a character study of Anne and they want to explain her actions and reactions (they also want to do a different show than the 80’s version). But this series is not really a character-driven series, it is a plot-driven one. So Anne’s flashbacks frequently prevented the plot from moving forward.
Getting a little more personal…
It also seems that Anne has “post traumatic stress disorder.” A stimulus occurs and then she has a flashback. Also, the times when her temper flares it seems as if she becomes a different person and doesn’t have control. These are symptoms typically associated with the disorder. My issue is that her chatter-boxing and active imagination seem to be considered symptoms of mental illness as well. And yet the fact that she’s vain doesn’t get any flashback attached to it (although I haven’t watched the rest of the show, so maybe she’ll have a flashback of her looks being bullied before she decides to slam that blackboard slate over Gilbert’s head). Anne’s flights of fancy, including but not limited to pretending to be Princess Cordelia, are a coping mechanism. In this show it is depicted as a problem rather than an endearing personality quirk. That is damaging.
I’ve had to fight that stigma my whole life. My active imagination is not the symptom of a mental illness and it isn’t something broken about me that needs to be fixed.
People coming up to me at work have described Anne as a “very disturbed,” “mentally ill,” and a “sad” character. No one did that before this show came out and it hurts me as a person as well as a longtime fan of the books and 80’s miniseries.
But what did you think of the show? Have you seen the whole season? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!