Battle of the Darcy’s

Mr. Darcy silhouette quote Pride and Prejudice Happy valentine's Day blog

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I wanted to take a look at one of the most romantic figures in all of literature…Mr. Darcy himself. I’m hard pressed to find anyone that matches up to this paragon of moral fiber. So instead of pitting people against him. I’ll pit him against himself and share some of my favorite Darcy’s with you.

Mr. Darcy silhouette quote Pride and Prejudice Happy valentine's Day blog
Graphic made by Mint Afternoon from ScoutMob

I admit, it was hard to rank them, if only because everyone who I’ve seen take on the role has brought something delightful and fully their own to the great visage of Mr. Darcy. And has only managed to cement my love of Darcy with each and every scene. From movies to television mini series to the You Tube phenomenon. Here are the Darcy’s I know and love. Let me introduce…

#1: Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy

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No one more embodies the qualities that I look for in a Darcy, than Mr. Colin Firth from the BBC mini series version of Pride and Prejudice. These days when I read the book over and over again, it is Firth’s face that I picture offering Elizabeth his hand in marriage. It’s Firth that saves poor Lydia’s reputation from the evil clutches of George Wickham and it is Firth that comes to Elizabeth again and asks if her heart has changed towards him. He is THE Darcy for me. So he deserves his place at the top! I dare you to defy this!

#2: Colin Firth as Mark Darcy

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Is it any wonder that when Helen Fielding wrote Bridget Jones’ Diary she was inspired by Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy as the hero of her story. BJD is a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (for those of you who didn’t know.) And in casting Fielding’s homage to the original Mr. Darcy, who better than the original Mr. Darcy. Enter Colin Firth…again! For all the reasons that he makes a truly great Darcy, not only in a period drama, but in modern times, I refer you back to point #1!

#3: Sir Lawrence Olivier as Mr. Darcy

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Next up is the classic, the incomparable (I know, I am in fact comparing him) Sir Lawrence Olivier. This 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice was actually my first introduction to the Jane Austen story. (I admit I never read the book when I was supposed to in high school.) One night this treasure came on TCM (my favorite channel in college) and I was enchanted. Starring Lawrence Olivier as Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet, it was the first time I gave Pride and Prejudice a real chance. And yes, you read that right, it wasn’t until college that I truly fell in love. And it was Sir Lawrence who did the wooing. This adaptation actually strays from the book in many places. Lady Catherine comes to like Elizabeth and even recommends her to Darcy. We never even see Georgiana Darcy. And the costumes are not representative of the correct time period. But it just goes to show that sometimes accuracy does not always entreat the deepest of loves. This film sparked my love of all things Austen, which is probably why Olivier holds so high a placement on this list. I won’t apologize for it. He belongs here. And I still have a copy of this movie on VHS to prove my love!

#4: Daniel Vincent Gordh as William Darcy

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As each adaptation is released and spun in a new direction, I find brand new ways to love this age old story. Enter The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. A You Tube web series that in fact inspired me to try my hand at telling my own stories through the use of a web series. Lizzie Bennet is a grad student in mass communication and starts a vlog. Charlotte Lu, her best friend, helps her shoot and edit the videos. William Darcy is the haughty owner of Pemberley Digital, a media company that Lizzie eventually visits as part of her study. Darcy doesn’t even get screen time till Episode 59. The viewer relies on Lizzie’s retelling and reenacting of events and is the better for it, because Ashley Clements’ Lizzie Bennet is definitely one of my all time favorites. Will Darcy is significantly more hipster than his predecessors, but the result is simply delightful.

#5: Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy

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While Macfadyen makes a very good Darcy, I have so many issues with this version of Pride and Prejudice. The line “Well then, your hands are cold” said by Elizabeth Bennet after Darcy confesses his love a second time, irks me to no end! And his declaration of “I love-I love-I love you”… BLECK! Even Mr. Bingley telling Jane Bennet that he’s “been an unmitigated and comprehensive ass” rubs me the wrong way. But Macfadyen makes so high an entry on my list, not based on the merit of the entire film, but on his performance as Darcy alone. There is a moment when he and Elizabeth are flirting about Lizzie’s proficiency at piano and he smiles at her…that smile alone earns him a high ranking! But the rest of his performance is sufficiently Darcy-esque. And it should be noted that I also really enjoy Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, it’s just the other liberties that grate.

#6:  Martin Henderson as Will Darcy

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I have such a soft spot for this Bollywood adaptation, Bride and Prejudice. The flourishing musical numbers alone sold me on it. But the way they weaved the story into the culture of India’s Bollywood is effortless and maintains the integrity of the original work. Martin Henderson’s Will Darcy is appropriately charming at times, but can also play a snobbish prig as well. His chemistry with Aishwayra Rai’s Lalita Bakshi is straight out of an Austen novel and it just works!

#7: Matthew Rhys as Mr. Darcy

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This Darcy is a newer entry for me. I never read the P.D. James novel, Death Comes to Pemberley (mystery novels are more my mother’s speed.) But I can never seem to pass on an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. So when Netflix suggested that I watch it, I did! And boy am I glad that my Netflix knows me so well (scarily well!) Matthew Rhys has everything one could want in a classic Darcy. This PBS Masterpiece mini series is a continuation of the story of P+P. Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam have a son and are living in marital bliss, until there’s a murder at Pemberley and the infamous George Wickham is a suspect. Darcy starts to question everything, including his devotion to his beloved Elizabeth. I have to tell you, this is a sexier Pemberley than Austen lovers are used to. There’s even some Darcy and Elizabeth make-up sexy times. Didn’t see that one coming! If you haven’t seen this movie…head to your nearest Netflix and do it!

#8: Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy

Sam Riley Mr Darcy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Blog

I already shared all my thoughts about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies earlier this week. (Click Here) But I’ll reiterate the merits of Sam Riley’s hardened, zombie-killing Darcy. He is prejudiced. He is prideful. He is a charming bad ass!! Look at that gif…oh the brooding!! He has what it takes to earn the Darcy title. He is only so far down on the list because all of his Darcy predecessors stole my heart first. Else, I’d say he definitely deserves higher placement. There just isn’t any room. Sorry, Sam!

#9: Elliot Cowan as Mr. Darcy

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Enter Elliot Cowan’s Mr. Darcy in the mini series, Lost in Austen. Cowan is also an excellent Darcy, but again…he suffers the number 9 spot because everyone else beat him to it. But excuse me…there is an homage to Colin Firth’s Darcy that cannot go unmentioned. When Amanda Price trades places with Elizabeth Bennet and finds herself smack in the middle of a story she has grown up knowing, watching and loving, she takes it upon herself to try and keep the characters true to their story lines. And even interjects some deliciousness here and there. Including this moment where Mr. Darcy emerges from the water (after Price told him he had to jump in and do this to appease her.) YUM!

#10: David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy

David Rintoul Mr. Darcy BBC mini series 80s gif

Ah! Poor David Rintoul. Here he is rounding out the end of my list. David is an excellent Darcy, as Darcy’s go. What he suffers from is a very slow paced, 1980’s version of Pride and Prejudice that I find much harder to watch then every other adaptation on this list. Rintoul has all the appropriate airs and looks darn good in a top hat and ascot, if I do say so myself. But this is not a version that I pop in on sick days. In fact, rewatching it for this list was mildly painful and I didn’t make it through the whole thing…just skipped to the good parts. If you don’t know what the good parts are, then you have homework to do and better get to it!

There you have it. My comprehensive list of Darcy’s. I’ve got a crush on all of them, but how about you?

Ladies, which Darcy floats your Valentine’s boat?

Men, is there a Miss Bennet that you prefer above all others? One of these days I’ll get around to ranking the Elizabeth Bennets of the small and silver screens.

In the meantime, don’t miss Friday’s #NerdySlumberParty. We are talking all about crushes! Which means Darcy will definitely have to be mentioned! 😉

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#AvengerinTraining – Iron Man Week

Introduction

I would consider myself a fairly fit person. I enjoy running and Soul Cycle and walking and when I’m vigilant, I eat marginally well. But then came the winter and I was discontent. Chilly weather caused my motivation to disappear. The running stopped. The Soul Cycle stopped. I still tried to walk and get at least my 10,000 steps a day. But I counteracted that by overeating fatty ‘comfort’ foods.

One day, I realized I had gained 20 pounds that I did not want on me (it may not sound like a lot of weight, but it sure felt like it.) Somehow I’d let the weight sneak up on me. And that wasn’t ok with me!! My sugar intake was at an all time high, due to eating a lot of macaroni and cheese and mint chocolate chip ice cream (my favorite comfort food!) And I am genetically at risk for diabetes, but I just didn’t seem to care. This was the heaviest I’d been in quite a while. All the previous progress I’d made in the fall was being wasted thanks to laziness and a complete lack of discipline.

One night, while watching Avengers (for the 19th time), I realized that if aliens did invade Earth or the zombie apocalypse finally happened or some other menacing force became reality, I’d be one of the first to go. And as I watched Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow kick serious ass on screen, I knew…that wasn’t gonna work for me!

So I embarked on a journey that would eventually become a transforming experience.

A lot of what I’ll share is not ground breaking. It’s not even new information. It’s constantly posted and reposted in many forms. You just have to tailor it to you. That’s what I did. I made something that would be fun, inspiring and made just for me!

Now, I prefer fantasy to reality sometimes…it’s true. But I know I’ll probably never be called on to fight for my life or to save another person’s. But if I ever was called upon, I wanted to be ready.

I delved into each of the 6 characters that make up the team known as The Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye and Captain America. I researched what each individual actor did to prepare for their roles, then I went about crafting a 6 week fitness plan that I thought would be fun and that I knew I could accomplish. Most of the workouts I found online that were based on the Avengers, were mainly geared towards men. The meal plans too. I’m not about to start eating 2300 calories a day. That just wouldn’t work for me. This plan is meant to be tailored to individuals, men or women. If you like it, keep it in the plan. If you don’t, take it out. (Keep in mind I am not a fitness or medical professional. Just a nerdy fangirl who wanted to make a change.)

I do not have the money or the time to dedicate to actually looking like an Avenger. (and I am not being paid by Marvel to do this either.) But I knew that I wanted to do more than I was at the time and I decided to use the inspiration I felt while watching the Avengers to help transform my lazy habits into constructive discipline.

Below is the complete breakdown of Week 1, including the things I turned to for inspiration, the weekly challenges I made for myself, my food shopping list, and the amazing classes I took all in my endeavor to get healthy and become an #AvengerinTraining

Photo by Cristina Fowler
Photo by Cristina Fowler

Week 1: Iron Man Week

Watercolor Art by Blule
Watercolor Art by Blule

The first Avenger on my the list was Iron Man. I decided to go in order of their introduction to the franchise. And who better to start it off, than the Iron Avenger himself. Robert Downey Jr., at 50 years old, is in the best shape of his life. Physically and in his career (as of 2014, RDJ tops Forbes’ list of highest paid actors in Hollywood). His onscreen alter-ego is Tony Stark who, after getting kidnapped by terrorists, witnesses the damage of what has become a destructive legacy at Stark Industries. While incarcerated in an Afghanistan prison, Tony discovers himself to be more than just the “genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist” that he always had been and starts down the road to becoming so much more.

To prepare for the role of Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr, “started training using the Wing Chun technique, made famous by Bruce Lee.” (MensFitness.com) He also cut way back on the cardio in favor of increased weight training. By the time filming for Iron Man began, RDJ had backed on 25 extra pounds of muscle. Check out his full training regiment over at MensFitness.com

Inspiration

Sometimes the hardest part is taking that initial first step out the door. Being inspired is a fleeting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Movies and music are two of my favorite things to partake in. So while preparing to take on this 6 week challenge, I thought a lot about what would keep me moving towards my goals.

Movies

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Obviously, Avengers and Age of Ultron are on the movie list for each of the Avengers as they serve as inspiration for all 6 characters. For Iron Man Week, if I needed a little extra oomph of energy or motivation I watched some or all of the above movies. Iron Man and Iron Man 3 are also obvious choices. Spiderman may seem like an unlikely choice (Peter is a poor college kid, Tony is a wealthy man), but I think there are a lot of themes that overlap between Iron Man and Spiderman. And Casino Royale has billionaire, playboy written all over it. Plus I LOVE James Bond!!

Music

This list is comprised of music from Iron Man and music that makes me think of Iron Man. Anything to get me in the mindset while on a run in the morning. Hope it pushes you like it pushed me!

Meals

I created a meal plan (you won’t hear the word diet in this blog series, I don’t believe in them) based on the foods that Robert Downey Jr ate while training. Again, I’m not being paid by Marvel and I don’t have unlimited time on my hands. So I had the master list of items that I used to stock my refrigerator and pantry and then I made meals out of them that I knew I would enjoy and would be easy to make on a daily basis. I did a lot more cooking this week than I had been doing and I liked it!!

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Weekly Workout Challenge

For Iron Man week I chose a plank challenge. Here’s the daily breakdown:

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Day 1: 2 sets of Kneeling Side Planks (60 hold second, rest in between)

Day 2: 2 sets of Kneeling Side Planks (60 second hold, rest in between)

Day 3: 3 sets of Incline Side Planks (30 second hold, rest in between)

Day 4: 2 sets of Front Elbow Planks (30 second hold, rest in between)

Day 5: 3 sets of Front Elbow Planks (30 second hold, rest in between)

Day 6: 2 sets of Full Front Planks (30 second hold, rest in between)

Day 7: 2 sets of Full Front Planks (60 second hold, rest in between)

When Iron Man week ended, I took the last day’s challenge activity and rolled it over into the next Avenger’s weekly workout schedule. So Day 7 of the above plan will be used for the rest of the 5 weeks of training.

Extra Credit

If you were to call me an overachiever, you might be right. Especially when it comes to doing things I love and enjoy. I’ll go the extra mile and I’ll run the whole way there. So when I came up with this idea for my time as an #AvengerinTraining I chose a couple different workout classes and gyms for each week that I thought might represent the Avenger of that particular week. For Iron Man week I did:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu @ Lifestyle MMA Academy

Photo from Lifestyle MMA Academy
Photo from Lifestyle MMA Academy

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not for the faint of heart or the shy wallflower. If you are squeamish about being up close and personal with complete strangers… this isn’t for you. If you find the prospect of hand to hand combat daunting… turn the other way. But if you want to be pulled out of your comfort zone and challenged beyond what you think you can do… find the closest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu studio and give it a try. Channel your inner Iron Man. And if you live in the New York City area, head to Lifestyle MMA Academy in Astoria. They will kick your butt. They sure kicked mine and, bonus, the first trial class is free. So you have no excuses!!

Power Pilates @ The Art of Fitness

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I’ve done pilates before, it’s one of my favorite ways to workout, but Power Pilates at The Art of Fitness will take your practice to a whole new level. And at just $10 a class, it’s a really great deal for a whole lot of workout!

Other options for Iron Man Week:

Rock Climbing

MMA

Stay tuned for the following Avengers: Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye and Captain America

And make sure to comment below with any questions, comments, etc!