The giant co-ed sleepover party at the Bingley house is over.
Don't have a meltdown. The sleepover turned out to be a bust! I'm glad it's over! There was no kissing, no Truth or Dare, no Pin the Tail on the Darcy, no putting Caroline Bingley's hand in a bowl of water while she slept and then posting a video of her wetting herself on YouTube, and NOBODY dancing the waltz on a bear skin rug wearing nothin' but a lampshade and three strategically placed doilies from the dinner table.
The beautiful-and-kind Jane Bennet has gotten better—well, enough better to evacuate the worst party house of all time. Jane's also bringing back her sister, Frizzy Lizzy, the charismatic, clever Bennet sister who Darcy wants to waltz on a bearskin rug with, minus doilies.
Teen Novel Rule #18: Our protag and her love interest should miss the first opportunity to make out. This creates tension. Sex tension! *flicks bra strap*
If you're still reading this, it means you're impervious to my cha cha cha bra flick and are not convulsing on the floor. How dare you! (Do I need a new trick?)
When Lizzy and Jane get home, Mr. Bennet tells all the girls that his cousin, Mr. Collins, is coming for dinner. And guess what! Nobody cares. Except Mrs. Bennet, who's angry because when Mr. Bennet dies, his property will go to Collins instead of the Bennet ladies because it says so in some ancient ass document.
Have you noticed that whenever a character mentions a location, he/she says "at [name of location]"? For example, the Bennet house is called "Longbourn," and Mr. Collins is going to be "at Longbourn" for dinner. This makes it sound like going to every location is a major event, like being "at prom," or "at Taco Bell." If this were a teen novel, Lydia Bennet would probably tell her parents that she was "at bedroom" when she was really "at basement" making out with a soldier. Then she'd get pregnant and have to tell her baby that it was conceived "at backseat," which could really bum the little sucker out.
It turns out that Mr. Collins is a first class numbskull. He can only do two things: brag about being buds with an old lady and her sick daughter OR apologize. Dinner goes something like this:
Mr. Bennet: Welcome to at Longbourn!
Mr. Collins: I've longed to be at Longbourn. I'm sorry!
Mrs. Bennet: Here is some food.
Mr. Collins: It's so good, yum. At Longbourn is almost as fun as at Rosings, where I hang out with an old rich lady because I'm a really big deal. Hey, y'all can cook!
Mrs. Bennet: We don't cook. We have a cook.
Mr. Collins: JESUS, I am sooooooooo sorry I assumed you cook!
Mrs. Bennet: S'okay.
Mr. Collins: No, it's not. I really—
Lizzy: —I'm going to barf up a pickaxe and slap you around with it.
Mr. Collins: I'M SO SORRY YOU'RE FEELING ILL.
Boring, nervous, apologetic, and a booger, Mr. Collins turns out to be the ultimate anti-Darcy. He also reveals to Ma and Pa Bennet that he feels guilty about inheriting the Bennet estate, and plans to marry one of their daughters so that he can share his inheritance with a Bennet—you know, keep it in the family. After learning that the bleach blond sex bomb Jane Bennet is already in love with some guy who's not her dad's cousin, Collins fixates on Frizzy Lizzy as his future bride.
Teen Novel Rule #19: Our protag should have to make a choice between a practical, easy, or logical option and something that she's passionate about. Austen's right on track here. It would be nice if the practical option weren't also creepily incestuous, but overall, Austen's getting the hang of things.
No, wait! Austen broke a rule. Turns out the old lady that Collins is buds with is named Lady Catherine, which brings us to...
Teen Novel Rule #20: Unless there's going to be a fun plot line about mistaken identity, all characters should have DIFFERENT names. Lady Catherine and Catherine Bennet?! Emily Winter, the British actress, is so confused!
It's the little things that Austen is horrible at. I bet she could recite the whole dictionary while rollerskating over hot coals, but couldn't microwave a Hot Pocket if her lunch depended on it.
Anyway, Mr. Bennet is annoyed with the pompous and dumb Mr. Collins, so he does what any good dad would do: forces his daughters to hang out with Collins instead. Lydia, Not Old Lady Catherine, Lizzy, and Jane all go with Mr. Collins for a walk to at Meryton, where the soldiers stay.
On their walk, the group bumps into Bingley and Darcy—and Darcy and Collins are both visibly flustered. Obviously, this is because they're both fixin' to get in Frizzy Lizzy's bloomers or whatever, but Lizzy doesn't quite know what's going on.
The four sisters and Collins stop by Mrs. Phillips place. She's the Bennet girls' aunt, and she seems nice enough. She's super impressed with Mr. Collins, and invites everyone over for dinner for the following night.
The girls accept, and Collins apologizes.
- Blogging P&P Part 5 scorecard: Rules broken: 1, Rules adhered to: 2, Undecided: 0
- CORRECTION! Austen is really doing well on Rule #1: Never let your male protagonist pick the cheerleader. When I started this book, I was want, yes—WAS WANT—for a fakey fakey stereotypical cheerleader type, and you Sparklers are totally right: Caroline Bingley is exactly this character, and she has the hots for Darcy! Perf. We are now changing this from an "undecided" to a "win" for Austen.
- REFUSAL TO CORRECT! You guys are in some kind of internet tizzy over Rule #14: All characters should have names. Okay, I admit I may have missed Caroline's name when first mentioned in chapter 7, BUT she was totally in previous chapters and had no name. This is just weird, like when you borrow a washcloth at a friend's house and it smells like soup. Know what I mean? Well, Austen needs to name her characters earlier.
Get rowdy in the comments!
AND click here for the complete list of Teen Novel Rules!