Spinsterella

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bridget Jones

Somehow, over the past few years, ‘Bridget Jones’ has become accepted shorthand for describing a certain type of thirty-something single woman: needy, weight-obsessed, a bit thick, and desperate for a man.

This is wrong. Has everybody completely forgotten that Bridget Jones was originally a satire?

OK - Brief History Lesson in case you only know the fillums...

Back in the early nineties, a slew of ‘confessional’ columns spread like a rash throughout the weekend papers. Zoe Heller in the Sunday Times was the first one I remember, back when I was still at school. But there was also India Knight and Willaim Leith and Kathryn Flett (whose unbearably smug ‘Party Girl’ column got a whole lot more interesting when her husband left her) and, more recently, that insane Liz Jones woman.

Over the years the columns got more specialised, with Ruth Picardie and John Diamond talking about their terminal illnesses, and that girl in the Guardian Weekend who’s going blind.

But for the most part they were fluffy affairs written by single urban women. When Bridget Jones first appeared in the Indie, it lampooned all these confessional columns mercilessly, with its cigarette and alcohol counts and self-obsessed wittering about weight and men. It was also very funny. The book’s great too, managing to form a cohesive narrative without sacrificing too much of the satirical edge.

The film is a different kettle of fish though, and probably best viewed as a separate entity. Bridget’s casual conquests have been edited out, and the plot has been adapted to conform to the rom-com formula of Bad Boy and Good Guy fighting over Our Heroine. Yes, it’s unimaginative, and 'stars' charisma-vacuum Colin Firth and vom-inducing Hugh Grant, but it’s still pretty good.

(Come on! It’s great. The opening scene, where Bridget is sitting alone at home, drinking a bottle of wine in her pyjamas, singing drunkenly along to ‘All By Myself’ is hilarious and poignant (especially if you, ahem, recognise the scene).)

Anyhow.

I just wanted to get that off my chest.

(You may have noticed that I have failed to mention the follow-up book/film ‘The End* Of Reason’. Look. It’s my blog, and I am choosing to pretend that they never existed, OK?)

*Er, that'll be 'Edge', thank you Kirses

20 Comments:

  • Ruth Picardie was really good before she got sick. I'm not a fan of the I'm dying columns myself.
    As for Bridget Jones liked the column and the book and the fillum apart from Renee fuckin Zellweger

    By Blogger realdoc, at 6:08 PM  

  • erm you mean 'The Edge of Reason'.

    By Blogger Kirses, at 6:56 PM  

  • I found the book annoying but I think it was meant to be. The film as you say was a different entity.

    This is a vapid post but my word ver: is unmissable
    tfljoy
    Transport for London and joy in the same word? Is blogger fucking insane?

    By Blogger GreatSheElephant, at 7:02 PM  

  • comment, not post - the post wasn't vapid at all

    By Blogger GreatSheElephant, at 7:02 PM  

  • i loved the first bridget jones book. the second was a bit rubbish and the film totally sucked. but i did get the whole satire thing...i think...

    as for liz jones. look, love. the world hates you. your husband hates you. you have not a shred of talent. please, please STOP TELLING US ABOUT IT. please.

    By Blogger surly girl, at 7:44 PM  

  • Thanks for this. My 'mates' are really dismissive of Bridget.
    I loved the book because it seemed to have the ring of truth - I'll never forget the early morning phone calls from mum when she was so hungover she couldn't even focus.
    The 'fight' scene in the film was great- and even though I resented Ms Zellweger being cast - she did an excellent job.

    By Blogger KAZ, at 8:07 PM  

  • crap, i didn't even know there was a book. i've been busy doing my best to avoid ms. zellwiger.
    *trots off to library*

    listen...i'm still fanning myself briskly with a magazine over that bob swipe picture.
    just think how world-weary and raddled he probably looks NOW.
    *magazine begins to shred*
    i would so blow him.

    By Blogger First Nations, at 9:05 PM  

  • Thought the book terrific but have always taken the "I'm a brigdet jones" thing with a pinch of salt. Wonder if there's a bloke version?

    Actually, the only thing those columns ever remind me of is the Chris Morris spoof. I think it's here?

    http://www.compsoc.man.ac.uk/~cow/studio/geefe.html

    By Blogger the whales, at 11:24 PM  

  • ps, Chris Morris = "years ahead of the rest of us..."

    By Blogger the whales, at 11:30 PM  

  • Please. We all know that Bridget Jones is one of the most pathetic, emotionally challenged characters ever to have been created. The books are dreadful and written for teenagers who still live at home. Get over it!

    By Anonymous Smell my coffee, at 3:48 AM  

  • methinks that perhaps "Smell my coffee" doesn't really get the whole "satire" thing....

    By Blogger soph, at 8:37 AM  

  • Think you're right there Soph...

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 8:40 AM  

  • spin,
    You're really good when you have a go at it!
    rel

    By Blogger Remiman, at 9:26 AM  

  • Shames me, I know - but I *lurve* the movie, meself.

    In fact, I'd plump for Ms. Zellweger to play you in Spinster: The Motion Picture, Spin.

    (She'd have to slim down and wear a perm, obviously...)

    I hate *all* opinion pieces, btw (Apart from Barbara Ellen, obviously. I *so* would...)

    By Blogger Robert A. Swipe, at 11:22 AM  

  • as you quoted. . Somehow, over the past few years, ‘Bridget Jones’ has become accepted shorthand for describing a certain type of thirty-something single woman: needy, weight-obsessed, a bit thick, and desperate for a man.

    Oh wow how wrong can people be when they say and think the above . . .thirty-something single woman
    TODAY are independent of men. If there is one in their life they are part of their life not the be all and end all. Due to this it is easier today to give them the push when they are to much of an effort ( so where is the desperate for a man?). The older you get even easier to know what you want and what you WILL NOT PUT UP WITH.

    AN EX BOY-FRIEND WHEN I TOLD HIM IT WAS OVER HE WAS TOO MUCH OF AN EFFORT. . . the look on the poor boys face shock of my reason. ( He just so happened to forgot the lies he told, totally unreliable at turning up and to top it all found out that I was the mistress that he had another woman/living with i some what found a problem)

    When there is no man in their lives we certainly get on with it socially not like yester'yer woman who sat at home reading books, listening to music or waiting for one of their married friends or with partner to recommend a blind date. . .

    By Blogger erindoorz, at 10:44 AM  

  • I liked the Briget Jones strips and the book so much that I deliberately didbn't go to see the film. I was just outraged to the core of my being that they chose an American. Fuck the Iraq war, that piece of miscasting was the central issue of its day. And hearing how those puritans have deleted references to Briget's little flings makes me glad I've never seen the film version.

    By Blogger looby, at 11:55 PM  

  • When I used to phone my mother at work and her boss would answer he'd say "It's Bridget Jones on the phone..."

    Until I pointed out to him that BJ had a non-job, I had a profession; I owned a house, she rented a flat; I was elected a councillor (so was he), she knew fuck-all of the world around her.

    So I became "Margaret Thatcher" instead. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

    By Anonymous Gert, at 2:49 PM  

  • The first Bridget book was great, I remember it totally satirized my life at the time, when I was single and dating crazy people. The second book was crap and obviously written in about a month in great haste. The film is pretty crap. Basically I agree with you.

    By Blogger EmmaK, at 11:36 PM  

  • I loathe that Liz Jones and her stupidly named cats.

    There, I said it, I acn't say this at home as flat mate loves her because 'she says what she means'. This translates as rude to her poor bloke, self obsessed and clearly delusional.

    Love Colin Firth though. How could you not? *shakes head in disbelief*

    By Anonymous Button, at 12:02 PM  

  • Wow, thanks. I had no idea. I read the second one and enjoyed but I think I will seek out the first one now.

    By Blogger cinnamon gurl, at 9:11 PM  

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