By now you've probably heard that come early May, Netflix is going to be shining the next adaptation of childhood classic #AnneOfGreenGables in your nostalgia-craving eyeballs, because if anything is getting people a'clickin' these days, it's the billions of old school classics currently getting the reboot treatment. But what makes the infamously feisty Anne so ripe for revival?
Originally penned in 1908, Lucy M. Montgomery's tale of a red-headed orphan's trails and tribulations at Green Gables was something of a game changer for the time. Placing an orphaned female at the helm who not only championed intelligence, but rejected gender conformity and the religious beliefs of her adoptive household, was an extremely progressive move and one that was clearly embraced, given how many copies have sold around the globe — upward of 50 million!
Over the years there have been countless adaptations of this classic tale, so it's fair to say that Netflix's upcoming 8-part series is somewhat predictable. Personally, no matter how great Amybeth McNulty will be in the titular role (and she must be pretty good, she beat 1,800 other girls for the part), nothing will ever quite match the brilliance of Megan Follows who starred as Anne in the '80s TV specials, which — I'm not ashamed to admit — I own on DVD and VHS. And that's what the rest of this article will be about: urging you to spend a 4-hour chunk of your life feasting upon the old series, not only so you have narrative comparisons when the #Netflix series hits, but because its messages are depressingly relevant today.
Despite the story being almost 110 years old, 2017 still needs headstrong, female characters to remind young women today that they don't have to subscribe to the cookie-cutter gender codes society and too many politicians continue to cement. And, seeing as Anne did a pretty good job of rebelling against that misogynistic BS back in the day — there's no reason why ladies today can't make like Anne and smash those sexist slates where the sun don't shine.
6 Reasons Why You Should All Hail 'Anne Of Green Gables'
1. She Lived By The 'You Do You, Babe' Motto
Being sneered at left, right and center for constantly having ambition, creativity and an endless thirst for knowledge must become a bit of a ballache after a while, but the Debbie Downers in Anne's vicinity were never allowed to rain on her parade. Why do you insist on calling yourself Anne with an "e," child? Because it looks nicer. Why must you walk on the ridgepole of a roof, child? Because Josie dared me to. Why do you spend your days daydreaming? Because I've had a pretty shit life and I'm passionate about prose. Why aren't you married? Because I'm too busy building a career, thanks. Why do you do this, why do you do that, why why why why why. SHUT UP.
However, no matter how controversial or weird Anne's actions were perceived to be, she stuck to her guns — not once did she try to repress her identity (apart from one hilarious incident with green hair dye, but we'll get to that later) — and carried on the only way she knew how: by being herself. And that is a flippin' fantastic life motto for anyone.
2. She Won't Have Any Of That 'Carrots' Shit, Thanks
You pretty much learn from the get-go that Anne Shirley is not a girl to be messed with — especially when it comes to her hair; her fiery temper matched the hue of her head and oh boy, did she let those who commented on it know they'd stepped over the line.
Remember when busybody Mrs. Lynde first clocked Anne's face and spat about her lid being "as red as carrots," so Anne called her fat, ugly and a sour old gossip? Yeah, that was pretty awks. And then when Gilbert Blythe pulled her braids and called her carrots again, she went red-faced with rage and smashed her slate over his head? That a) served him right for touching her without permission, idiot, and b) made the population of Avonlea crystal clear within a matter of days that you do not, under any circumstances, relate this chick's 'do to rabbit fodder, thank you very much.
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3. She Always Remained Demure AF
Imagine the scene: You're paying homage to Lord Tennyson's Arthurian poem "Lady of Shalott" by popping on a lovely dress, lying in a little wooden boat and pretending to be dead as your friends push you from the shore. You get a little further down the river and the boat springs a leak but your pals are gone, so your only hope is clinging to a bridge's undercarriage and praying to all things holy that someone finds you before your body withers into a huge prune. And who comes along first? That guy from school you kind of have a major crush on but you're still pretending you hate him. You look absolutely deranged, you're completely drenched, got mascara everywhere and peed yourself twice, you're probably stinking of salmon or whatever, and he pulls up in his non-leaking boat and asks how things are going. Bet that prune option is looking pretty dandy now, eh?
Well, not for Anne Shirley, Ms. Composure Champ over here managed to stay chill AF throughout the whole experience. She kept her head high, explained that she was simply "fishing for lake trout," slid into his boat and skipped off home. And the ridiculousness of her reaction only made Mr. Gilbert Blythe want her more. What?! Anne = Kween.
4. She Called Her Best Friend A 'Bosom Buddy'
If you were to go around today calling your BFF your Bosom Buddy, people would either think that you're sleeping together or that you've conducted some sort of tit-related research, looked at multiple options and concluded that this friend is your identical tit-twin. And while I'm all for finding some boobies that would be the same as mine — just to make chats with their owner, see if they behave differently, etc. — it's an extremely niche phrase to be bashing about on the daily, y'anno?
5. She Suffered Many A Fashion Faux Pas
As Anne unfortunately discovered, you only have to buy crappy hair dye off a road-side peddler once to know that it's probably going to end up being the mother of all shit plans. It results in tears, in you having to chop all your freshly dyed swamp hair off, and in you having to live with grow-out regrets for the foreseeable future. However, when it came to party dresses, Anne's fashion faux pas happened a little too frequently to be simply dismissed as a rookie one-off. The two most offensive eyesores are pictured above and prompt the kind of nauseating reflex only a dress with arms you can camp under can do. Blather on to me about era-accuracy all you like, but they are truly, undeniably terrible.
However, the fact that Anne loved both dresses (despite Marilla's raised eyebrows) is what makes her style so fantastic and relatable — because we've all been there. We've all had that "wtf was I thinking?!" moment and surely, should a fictional character ever have the benefit of hindsight, she'd be thinking the same thing right now.
6. She Had An Infectious Effect On Everyone
Last but not least, the most brilliant thing about Anne with an "e" was the effect she had on everyone she met. For so many characters — Marilla, Matthew and Gilbert especially — she was a breath of fresh air. She presented a challenge, a different outlook and perspective, and most importantly, constant entertainment. Who couldn't love a flame-topped, bright, young thing with a heart of gold and flair for dramatics?
How much do you love Anne of Green Gables?