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S01.E03: But What Is So Headstrong as Youth?

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Anne is excited to begin school and make friends, but is unprepared for the bullying that occurs when she doesn’t fit in.

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On 3/27/2017 at 0:09 AM, OtterMommy said:
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Anne is excited to begin school and make friends, but is unprepared for the bullying that occurs when she doesn’t fit in.

Sounds like those Avonlea girls must raise even larger and more vicious rats than the girls in the Halifax orphanage.

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Ah, Gilbert Blythe.  I hadn't really been following the casting of this series, so I wasn't aware that they'd got the lead from Mike Mills' terrific film 20th Century Women for that role.  His first appearance has been reconfigured slightly here, partly I think to tone down the idea of him just teasing her for no reason and also to make the idea of his being potentially interested in her obvious from the start (also, now that I think about it, the characters have been aged up a few years in comparison to the novel, so that probably makes sense).  But he still gets whacked with a slate, so that should satisfy purists.

Dalila Bela got more to do as Diana this time around, and I enjoyed her mounting frustration at trying to make Anne popular with all her friends.

The group that extended the initial invitation to Marilla initially made me wary about getting too much into soapboxing, but when they turned out to be just as ready to shun Anne (and Marilla, by extension) as anybody else in town, that was a nice twist on expectations.

Edited by SeanC
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I really like how they introduced Gilbert. It gives us a better understanding of why he's considered superior to all the other boys in school beyond him being cute. It shows his kind heart in trying to protect her first off and his curiosity about her.

Also really like Marilla's journey in this episode, with Matthew once again having the voice of reason and compassion. The end of the episode, with Marilla and Anne hugging, was a lovely moment. I consider myself a purist but this episode captures the spirit of the book and I'm satisfied with that.

I also really like what was done with Diana - having her put in the middle. It gives her some great depth.

I was drifting the first half of the episode but the last 20 minutes were very strong.

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Loved Gilbert. I thought they did a better job of showing his immediate interest and curiosity in Anne. And you sort of get her motivation for whacking him with the slate.  When Anne ran into Marilla's arms I was admittedly teary eyed. 

I also liked the historical details-- putting the middle in the water to keep it cold, using the belt to carry books. Speaking of details, I keep noticing the details they put in with Matthew. In the first episode I noticed that he had dirt under his finger nails. Today I noticed his coat was dirty with mud. He's really believable as a farmer. 

I'm glad Marilla communicated to the Progressive Women about how Anne shouldn't be shamed for what she's seen. Certainly she can't have known or understood really what she was talking about with regards to the mouse. Poor thing. 

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On an historical note, one of the kids mentioned that Gilbert was back from the District of Alberta.  The District wasn't designated until 1882, and if Gilbert was traveling there, he'd have to have been taking the transcontinental railway, which wasn't capable of traveling that far until the mid-1880s, so this series isn't taking place in 1876 (the date that was retroactively assigned to the first book due to the sixth).

Edited by SeanC

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30 minutes ago, SeanC said:

On an historical note, one of the kids mentioned that Gilbert was back from the District of Alberta.  The District wasn't designated until 1882, and if Gilbert was traveling there, he'd have to have been taking the transcontinental railway, which wasn't capable of traveling that far until the mid-1880s, so this series isn't taking place in 1876 (the date that was retroactively assigned to the first book due to the sixth).

Would we be able to "kind of" guess the year based on the type of trains?  I know that there was NO national railway before the 1880s - I recall learning about its building in Grade 8 history (and learning about early Chinese immigration.  Not really MY (true) history, since my entire family was still back on the other side of the Pacific back then...no one came until the 1960s, save for a guy who was related to us by marriage (#doesntcount)).  So yeah, I'm assuming this version takes place some time in the 1880s.  It's kind of like the Meagan Follows Anne/Road to Avonlea universe.  I think the years were altered slightly too.

Edited by PRgal

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Just now, PRgal said:

Would we be able to "kind of" guess the year based on the type of trains? 

The production design is unlikely to be that specific.

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I am a purist (I'll admit it) and even after three weeks I'm still not sure what to make of this show. It feels more like Anne than any of the later Sullivan specials. Annabeth McNulty is doing a bang up job, as is R.H. Thomson. I also think Geraldine James is doing good work as Marilla, but it is her character that feels the least like her book counter-part due to writing, so I'm struggling with that a little too. I know I'm really missing the humour. Everyone besides the Cuthbert household is so hugely mean to Anne. Now, L. M. Montgomery's insistance on writing her as a character who wins over everyone (who isn't a Pye) instantaneously is eye-rollingly far the other way, but I would like for Anne's life to be a little less awful. I need to laugh from time to time in this series too!

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This episode was a lot more coherent than the last one.  I thought back then, the teacher did not let the students enter and run around wild inside since they had to wait outside until the teacher rang the bell.  I suppose that could be chalked up to Mr. Phillips being a bad teacher.  The girls were really a bunch of turncoats.  Josie Pye was well cast, but Jane Andrews and Ruby Gillis being a part of her posse was a bit disappointing.  I did like Diana trying her best to smooth things over.  I thought they went a bit overboard with Anne describing Mr. and Mrs. Hammond's bedroom activities.  For one thing, Anne from the book avoided talking about her past because it was so painful.  That is one of the bigger changes in her personality.    Anne's description of "pet mouse" in the front pants pocket talk might make some parents question whether they want their younger children watching this series.  

I did like how they paralleled Anne's situation with Marilla's.  Though I also question whether in a small town like Avonlea, if Marilla would be so unfamiliar with ladies like Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Andrews.  For a "progressive" lady, Mrs. Andrews sure raised some pretty bad apples.  Hopefully Jane will turn out to be a friend of Anne's.  I'm starting to like this Rachel.

The situation with Gilbert was set up pretty well, so that aspect was good.  I also liked Anne trying to learn long division at home.  Anne coming home crying into Marilla's arms was much more affecting than anything in the previous episode.  I also liked Anne's walk to school when she was talking to the trees and putting flowers in her hat... with this actress, this cast and this cinematography, a more straightforward faithful adaptation would have been excellent.

Edited by Camera One
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I swear, this show is trying to drain me dry one tear at a time.

I don't mind that they're deviating from the books (if I wanted the book version I can just read them again). I like the addition of more historical details about life in that era. It's nice that they're not burning through the book plots too quickly. This is a gorgeously filmed world and I want to stay in it longer. But they have got to quit making me cry every episode. It gets to be a bit much. Haha.

There has been funny moments that made me laugh. Marilla makes the best "I want to laugh but I probably shouldn't" faces. I did laugh at calling it a "pet mouse". Anne is still apparently innocent enough to think you literally pet a mouse to make babies.

What was weird to me was that the girls seemed really into Anne's story until the part where she says sometimes she heard laughing and sometimes it sounds like Mr. Hammond is murdering Mrs. Hammond. How would those girls know what that means enough to know it's "dirty"? They had no problems with hearing about how Mr. Hammond got drunk and made Mrs. Hammond pet his mouse!

They definitely made Anne a lot more of an outcast than she was in the books. People are way meaner than they are in the books, too. No complaints from me on this front, though. I was the weird new kid once, so I can relate. This will make it all the more satisfying when she starts winning people over like we know she will.

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I am starting to enjoy this even though I was very against the remakes.  Anne in my heart will always be the Sullivan movie (first one and maybe #2)

What really got to me this time was that even though Anne misjudged what Prissy and Mr. Phillips were doing (heavy flirting vs actually copulating), what Prissy was doing was still a bit taboo - especially with her teacher.   I don't know why or how Mrs. Andrews can take the high road when Marilla came over to discuss the situation.  But I did love her comments that took Mrs. Andrews down a peg.

I do enjoy this version of Mrs. Lynde. 

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Mr. Phillips looks like a teenager trying to look older with the facial hair - a way to play up his creepiness?  #pondering

I'm unsure if whether the other moms invited Marilla to join their book club/sewing circle just so they could bully her - considering the attitude about them being "progressive."  It's probably a "polite" way of saying that they're "young and cool" while Marilla, who is probably more than half a generation older, is OLD.  However, they weren't prepared for the dark experiences Anne had prior to arriving in Avonlea and that freaked their "progressive, yet vanilla" sensibilities. 

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I am enjoying this show. 

I have always been a huge Anne fan, my books are all well worn.

i like the portral of Gilbert. I also like the way they have increased Jerry 's presence.

The bullying of Anne in thus episode was well done as was her reaction to it. You can tell her past experiences are effecting her reaction now.

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11 hours ago, PRgal said:

Mr. Phillips looks like a teenager trying to look older with the facial hair - a way to play up his creepiness?  #pondering

In reality most school house teachers were, in fact, teenagers. Or barely out of teen-dom. If memory serves, wasn't the age that they came out of the teacher's college something like 16?  I vaguely remember in Les Filles de Caleb (a French-Canadian novel about a Quebecois school teacher in roughly the same period as Anne) being around 16-18 years old and falling for one of her students, who was slightly younger at 15-16. Wasn't Anne similarly aged when she heads off to King's College? 

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16 hours ago, Bec said:

What was weird to me was that the girls seemed really into Anne's story until the part where she says sometimes she heard laughing and sometimes it sounds like Mr. Hammond is murdering Mrs. Hammond. How would those girls know what that means enough to know it's "dirty"? They had no problems with hearing about how Mr. Hammond got drunk and made Mrs. Hammond pet his mouse!

It was really confusing to me at what point the girls decided they didn't want her tarnishing them or sullying them.  It seemed like they all agreed at the same time.

I wonder if we will get a talk next week where Marilla talks to Anne about spreading unfounded rumors.  That was one of the "mistakes" she made which made the whole situation worse.

I liked Marilla giving Mrs. Andrews a piece of her mind.  It's really unclear and quite ambiguous what Mrs. Andrews and the other ladies heard... did Mrs. Andrews know her dear Prissy was in the supply room with the teacher?   Or were they all aflutter over the Mr/Mrs Hammond comments?

Edited by Camera One
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On 4/2/2017 at 6:28 PM, SeanC said:

On an historical note, one of the kids mentioned that Gilbert was back from the District of Alberta.  The District wasn't designated until 1882, and if Gilbert was traveling there, he'd have to have been taking the transcontinental railway, which wasn't capable of traveling that far until the mid-1880s, so this series isn't taking place in 1876 (the date that was retroactively assigned to the first book due to the sixth).

On the CBC website, it states this series is set in the "late 1890s".

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12 hours ago, Keener said:

In reality most school house teachers were, in fact, teenagers. Or barely out of teen-dom. If memory serves, wasn't the age that they came out of the teacher's college something like 16?  I vaguely remember in Les Filles de Caleb (a French-Canadian novel about a Quebecois school teacher in roughly the same period as Anne) being around 16-18 years old and falling for one of her students, who was slightly younger at 15-16. Wasn't Anne similarly aged when she heads off to King's College? 

That's true.  And true throughout (most of) North America - Laura Ingalls was around 16 too.  However, to (most of) us in the 21st century, Mr. Phillips looks RIDICULOUS with facial hair. 

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We're not supposed to respect Mr. Phillips in the books or any of the productions (except maybe the YTV/PBS one a little bit), so that was likely intentional

Edited by Camera One
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I thought some of the dialogue was a bit anachronistic in this ep. When Gilbert came upon Billy threatening Anne in the woods, he said, "How's it going?", and he also called Billy "buddy". That feels too modern for the time period - in fact, "How's it going?" makes me think of Bob and Doug McKenzie!

Also, when Anne was describing Mr and Mrs Hammond having "intimate relations", it seemed to me that the other girls all knew the actual facts about reproduction. I am not at all sure that young girls in that era actually knew anything about it. 

Marilla and the sewing circle ladies would certainly have been more than just nodding acquaintances. Everybody knew everybody else in Avonlea, and Marilla/Matthew had lived at Green Gables their whole lives.

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11 minutes ago, Capricasix said:

Also, when Anne was describing Mr and Mrs Hammond having "intimate relations", it seemed to me that the other girls all knew the actual facts about reproduction. I am not at all sure that young girls in that era actually knew anything about it. 

That would vary, but these kids are pretty much all presumably farm girls, so they'd probably have at least some familiarity with the mating habits of barnyard animals.

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I'm sorry but I hate the fact that writers/tv people assume everything from the past has to be tweaked for modern audiences. That's what makes a good book truly good, it can be read forever. I discovered Anne of Green Gables nearly 100 years after it was written and I absolutely loved it.

The source material did not need to be improved on. I felt like the writer had watched every coming of age Canadian drama ever and added it to Anne. What was with the Mean Girls scene where Anne was caught walking with Gilbert Blythe? And Anne starting rumors about Prissy Andrews and then getting confronted by her brother in the woods? What the hell am I watching?

And don't get me started on Marilla joining a feminist mothers club. I'm sorry but way to ruin a beautiful story. Whoever made this crap should stop trying to Degrassi my Anne of Green Gables.

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I have a different reaction to remakes. While I'd agree that most are poorly conceived, I'm not at all opposed to what I think is the general idea of a remake: To examine a well-known story thru a different lens and find new dimensions that were previously unexplored.

As a kid I loved this book called "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs." It took a story that everyone was familiar with and flipped it on its head, telling the story from the wolf's POV. It didn't diminish my affection for a childhood story, it just gave me a different way of looking at the world, and ultimately I think that's what a well done remake can do.

I'd much rather a remake try and flip my expectations in new and surprising ways, especially when the source material has been translated to screen multiple times. Don't get me wrong, I love tried-and-true faithful adaptations as well, but I'm not opposed to a reimagining just because it doesn't conform to my original understanding of the canon. Sometimes even a straight remake can fall woefully short. Like that Gus Van Sant shot-for-shot remake of Psycho. I'll take Bates Motel instead.

Besides, if I want the exact plot from the Anne books, I'd just go read the books again. 

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I am something of a purist.  These kids are farm kids, they have a much better understanding of reproduction IMHO.  I'm not so upset with the whole sexy time talk (although why wasn't Mr Phillips raked over the coals as an effing sleaze there was a real sinister vibe there!!!) what I am upset about it is the way Anne smashed that slate across Gilbert's face.  Anne has a temper but she is a good egg right? She isn't the type to cut a bitch if they have pissed her off. I have a younger brother and we routinely beat each other up (in the way that kids do with ZERO hospital visits calm down) and smacking a slate across the top of your head is not going to hurt that much.  Think of a hard cover book.  Yep, it is going to sting but nothing major.  However, smashing a slate across someone's face IS going to end up with split lip and with the force she used, it looked like a stitches job and even possibly a tooth break.  If you fought someone like this in school you would be in very deep shit.  Don't get me wrong, I love Anne of Green Gables.  I'm happy they remade it because it will introduce a whole bunch of kids to this great story, the same way I was introduced to LM Montgomery by the Sullivan series.  But Anne would not actually physically hurt anyone, even with her temper.  The desire to make this story too gritty and street adds too much of a Dickensian flavour to the work, LM Montgomery was more a Disney flavoured work.  Just saying...

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2 hours ago, planetofapes said:

what I am upset about it is the way Anne smashed that slate across Gilbert's face. 

Hee! I'm pretty sure that was a production choice to get the most effective visual, but I get your point. I, too, was expecting a bit of blood and/or bruising the next day. The gif shown in the recap showed the expected reaction by everyone in the classroom and that lines up with LM Montgomery's story. It WAS received with shock and horror by everyone. Most probably because it was a female student who did it, not the act itself (back then teachers might wack an inattentive student's head with a book or a ruler). I think Anne's gender was an important part of that incident. Even though LMM didn't focus on that, she was clear there were double standards.

I agree with you on that particular choice by the show runners. I suppose the lack of injury to Gilbert was their way of Disney-fying. ;-)

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On 4/9/2017 at 7:55 PM, Capricasix said:

I thought some of the dialogue was a bit anachronistic in this ep. When Gilbert came upon Billy threatening Anne in the woods, he said, "How's it going?", and he also called Billy "buddy". That feels too modern for the time period - in fact, "How's it going?" makes me think of Bob and Doug McKenzie!

I can't remember what it was now, and it wasn't any of those phrases, but there was something else someone said in this episode that also gave me pause, such that I immediately googled it to try to figure out if that turn of phrase were in common use at this time. And now of course I can't remember what it was (and did not succeed in determining if it were anachronistic or not). But there have been a few moments that made me do a double-take. Then again, I'm often surprised to find certain idioms are older than I expect so who knows.

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I finally got around to watching most of this episode in order to be able to delete things off my DVR. I may have cursed aloud at the overly heroic introduction of Gilbert Blythe and his explicit recognition of it (mentioning dragons, seriously?). Since the story is only tangentially related to what happens in the book I suppose he might as well protect Anne from a threatening Billy Andrews as anything else but the tone is just terrifying.

L M Montgomery does such an exquisite job of describing the small-mindedness of Avonlea society with its petty dramas. The conflicts here all seem very very substantial. Diana telling Anne about the girls' clique made it sound as if food sharing was a cruel means of making sure that everyone was controlled as opposed to a pleasant communal activity.

One of the things that makes this version of the story unenjoyable for me is that there are too many people with no defined character other than incredibly unsympathetic antagonist. We have no insight into what makes Josie Pye different from Mrs Bell and Mrs Andrews or Mr Phillips -- they all seem to exist only to torment Anne from different quarters.

Maybe everyone needed to be so horrible in order to make Gilbert's calling Anne "Carrots" seem like a noble act in comparison. Hitting Gilbert with her slate and refusing to stand at the front of the class to be punished are made to seem like not entirely unreasonable reactions to being bullied and abused instead of a dramatic emotional overreaction. That and making Anne not speak to Gilbert because the other girls bullied her about it (instead of as a result of feeling insulted over the "Carrots" thing and its aftermath) in my opinion positions Anne as low and feral as opposed to showing her using her strength and pride in a misguided way.

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On 4/3/2017 at 4:44 AM, Bec said:

Anne is still apparently innocent enough to think you literally pet a mouse to make babies.

Diana must have felt guilty because she (Diana) was the one who prompted Anne to tell about the "pet mouse" and Diana must not have known that it would get Anne into trouble, and Diana did not foresee how it would affect Prissy and the Andrew family, so Diana was deeply involved in that blunder. 

Another part was when Rachel Lynde became upset about Marilla attending the "Progressive Mothers" meeting then it seems obvious that Rachel had her superiority complex over Marilla because Rachel had 10 children while Marilla had none, so then Marilla was being a mother too which took Rachel down a notch from her pedestal.

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I have recently started watching this show and just finished this episode.  I love it.  Anne is charming, funny, smart and kind and I like that about her. The actress does an amazing job with the emotions.  

I had a hard time warming up to this version of Matthew, but I like him now.   

I have only ever watched the Megan Follows version, and she has always been Anne to me, but this is a fun alternative version. 

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I like Diana in this version, as the one in the 1985 version was too much of a nonentity.  That said, I find it hard to believe this version of Diana could be so patient and loyal to Anne.  

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