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Monday, August 25, 2014

Top Funny Moments in Austen Adaptations | guest post from Maggie!

I love to have a fair amount of the funny bits mixed into my events. Clearly.
So a post dedicated to looking at the best funny bits is a-okay by me. (And you already know I love a good list.) Maggie from An American in France has decided to share with us her favorite funny moments in the many traditional Austen film adaptations, and frankly, these make me want to marathon some Austen films something fierce!
Click through for many a chuckle and glorious, glorious gifs!

Five Funny Moments in Austen Adaptations by Maggie Nambot (An American in France)

"I dearly love a laugh." - Elizabeth Bennet


Like Lizzie Bennet, I, too, love to laugh! And one of the reasons I love Jane Austen is because her novels are dramatic, romantic, suspenseful, and comical. Sometimes the film adaptations don't do justice to Austen's characters or plot lines, but I believe one thing that carries over really well from the page to the screen is Austen's sense of humor. Since last year's Austen in August event (I really wanted to participate this year!), I have been keeping a list of all the moments in Jane Austen films that have made me laugh out loud. And today, I want to share Five of My Favorite Funniest Moments in Austen Adaptations with you!

[note: I did not include any modern adaptations of Austen novels, simply because there are too many funny moments to narrow down ;)]

Morbid Poetry (Persuasion, 2007)


Anne Elliot: And yet, I'm sure in time they will grow more alike. Captain Benwick will gain high spirits and cheerfulness and she will...
Captain Wentworth: Relish for morbid poetry.

Persuasion is one of Austen’s most serious novels (the other being Mansfield Park), in the sense that it isn’t a comedy in any way. Even Anne Elliot’s ridiculous sisters and father, who could normally make me laugh if they were in any other Austen novel, just make me feel pity and sadness (and annoyance on Mrs. Mary Musgrove’s part). BUT, Captain Wentworth has a hidden sense of humor, and in this unexpected yet intimate escape from the rain scene, we get to see a bit of it, and the way he delivers his line makes me smile every time.

"Capital, capital!" (Pride and Prejudice, 1995)


Sir William Lucas: *feeling awkward, but not quite sure why* Well, well, good, good! Capital, capital!

Pride and Prejudice is so awkward…even Sir William Lucas has to find a way to escape the awkwardness (mostly Darcy’s awkwardness). My friends and I love to say “capital, capital” now during any silence, be it awkward or not ;)

Emma Woodhouse vs. Jane Fairfax (Emma, 1996)






Emma’s one-sided rivalry with Jane Fairfax is just hilarious, especially in this scene when she plays the piano, even though she doesn’t want to, only so that she won’t be outdone by Miss Fairfax. I should probably include a George Knightley vs. Frank Churchill blurb in here as well, since Knightley's snarky remarks (there's my Emma Approved reference) are just as humorous.


Edward and Elinor Proposal Scene (Sense and Sensibility, 1995)

Ok, I know this is a very sweet proposal and all, but this scene never fails to make me laugh out loud. Elinor Dashwood, calm and sensible, is always in control of her emotions, except for when she finds out that Edward Ferrars, the love of her life who she had assumed was married, is actually completely unattached. I love when Elinor bursts into hysterics and Marianne, Margaret, and Mrs. Dashwood get up and flee the room like a flock of birds. Whenever I watch this movie I always rewind this scene once or twice so I can get all the laughs out and be able to cry during the actual proposal ;) Watch the video to enjoy the scene in its entirety.

Sassy Mr. Palmer (Sense and Sensibility, 1995)


Sarcastic Hugh Laurie making fun of the ridiculous people around him (mainly his wife). It’s just like House but in Regency Era clothing. Mr. Palmer is just one of the funny characters in Sense and Sensibility. I could probably make an entire top ten list of funny Sense and Sensibility moments, but Mr. Palmer’s sarcastic mumblings are the best.

There you have it! Five of my favorite funny moments from Jane Austen films. Do you laugh out loud like I do during Sense and Sensibility or do you prefer the awkward moments in Pride and Prejudice? I'd love to know! Share your own favorite funny moments in the comments below :)

Click the button or HERE to return to the Austen in August main page!


  1. I usually laugh when Isabella does her suck up routine in Northanger Abbey and Marianne's thing about Col. Brandon being old b/c of his clothes choices and Lydia and Kitty fighting in the inn when they go to pick up Lizzy and Maria Lucas. Oh the list is long. Austen's witty works sure hold a lot of humor.

    1. I laugh at half of the things Marianne says and does. She's so overly dramatic, how can you not? I could have added TONS more to this list, believe me! I tried to put in a mixture of well-known and lesser known funny moments :) - Maggie @ An American in France

  2. Great choices. Now I'll have to go and rewatch all of them so I can decide my favourites.

    1. Whatever gives you a reason to watch an Austen movie ;) - Maggie @ An American in France

  3. The morbid poetry exchange is one of my favorite in any Austen movie adaptation. <3<3<3 You've seen her pining for him but don't understand how they could have had a love affair until that moment. I am literally going to rewatch it now. Compulsion!! <3

    1. I'm so glad someone feels the same way about that scene as I do! <3 - Maggie @ An American in France

  4. Sassy Mr. Palmer is amazing. He's just so droll. :D

    It's not from any particular adaptation, but just generally in P&P I like the scene following Mr. Collins' proposal, where Mr. Bennet breaks it to Lizzie that she'll have to be a stranger to one of her parents from that day forth. Mr. Bennet gets some great lines!

    Oh, and in the 1980 mini-series of P&P there's a little exchange about Mary coughing, and the line "One coughs when one must, does not one?" is uttered. Not directly from Austen, but it's very amusing just the same! I still find myself saying it in real life sometimes when someone (or I) happens to have a coughing fit.

  5. Yes! Great list, and I completely agree. So much of Austen's humor is dry wit, sacrasm, and cunning interjections. It means that if you're paying attention, you're rewarded! :D

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