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Monday, January 10, 2005
I just watched Clueless again yesterday while I did some mending. I think I have probably seen it about 5 or 6 times now, and each time I notice more of the Emma parallels. It is still a good movie - sure, the fashions and music are out of date, but they only would have been contemporary for the summer it came out anyway.
Cher/Emma is a young woman of means with no mother and a doting yet somewhat absent father. She likes to arrange things to her precise specifications, and sees no reason to stop with herself or things directly related and branches out to arranging others lives with no compunction. Due to her status/wealth/charm, she is gets away with it most of the time. I always get the idea that while Emma/Cher is a meddling meddler who meddles that she is usually coming from a pretty decent place. It may benefit her personally, but it will also be good for others. A meddling do-gooder. Amy Heckerling did a great job of mapping the story on to a modern setting. Here are some of the character parallels:

Cher - Emma
Josh - Mr. Knightly - I know a lot of people are skeeved by the step-brother thing. It doesn't bother me for the following reasons: Josh only lived with them a very short time when they were both children, and Jane Austen had her heroines marrying thier cousins all of the time. It was fairly common then, so I just wave my hands and say 'whatever'.
Daddy - Daddy. Dan Hedaya kills me in this movie. I love when Christian comes over to pick up Cher and he says, "Be good to my little girl. I have a .45 and a shovel, and I don't think anyone would miss you." (aprox)
Dionne - ?(could be Mrs. Weston as a good friend who knows Cher/Emma and is happily in a relationship of her own..)
Elton - Mr. Elton - officious ass whom Cher/Emma (in her oblivious way) is trying to fix up with a friend when in fact Mr./Elton has the hots for Cher/Emma.
Amber - Mrs. Elton?? She is an obnoxious pain in the ass like Mrs. Elton, but not connected exclusively to Elton...unsure.
Tai - Harriet Smith - Tai is a transfer student, Harriet is an undistinguished student with uncertain parentage. In both cases Cher/Emma take a social risk to befriend and "help." Of course, her help turns out being a big mess which is sort of the point.
Travis (stoner/skateboarder) - George Martin (Farmer). Tai/Harriet is attracted to this character, but Cher/Emma thinks he isn't good enough for her, and that with Cher/Emma's help she will do "far better."
Christian - Frank Churchill - the too good to be true man that Cher/Emma is convinced she must be in love with. It turns out in both instances that this character is unavailable.
homosexuality - Jane Fairfax - the reasons why the above is not available to Cher/Emma.
Lucy (the maid) - Miss Bates - at first I thought there wasn't a Miss Bates parellel, but then I remember Cher gets into a pointless fight with Lucy when Cher's world is turning to shit, which is just about the same time that Emma issues a devastatingly cutting remark to Miss Bates. Everyone turns on Emma, and her bad time gets worse. In both instances it is in front of Josh/Mr. Knightly, and it is also the only instance I can think of where there is the same sort of upper/lower social dynamic.

There are some really obvious parallels to plot points too - the whole thing is not an exact copy of Emma, but the scenes are there, particualry where the Tai/Harriet character is concerned. I'm thinking mainly of

*the portrait Emma paints/picture Cher takes of Harriet/Tai that Elton asks for.
*The bandage that Tai/Harriet keeps because it was on Elton's finger (so gross!)
*When Christian/Frank Churchill rescues Tai/Harriet from the mall rats/gypsies
*When Josh/Mr. Knightly rescues Tai/Harriet from embarrassment at the dance. (and consequently how happy this makes Cher/Emma)
*Tai/Harriet falling for Josh/Mr. Knightly and Cher/Emma being devastated, since she only just realized how she felt about him. (in Looooove)
more later, I have to make dinner.
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