The 2009 'Emma' Adaptation Understands Austen Is Critiquing Class

With their co-hosts out of action this week, Rob and Austin take a break from the team's ongoing deep dive into the BBC's 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in favor of something altogether different... a deep dive into the BBC's 2009 adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. They dig into the story's class satire, the startling chemistry between leads Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller, and their own romantic missteps. And they do all that in just one recording, making this a true Waypoint achievement.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I have a few notes running around in my head…

The Bates’ are what happens to families of women who don’t have a male heir and the women aren’t able to secure a marriage. And there is only one daughter and the mother. And they exist beyond utter poverty on the generosity of the local gentry (Emma and Knightley).

This was the fate that made Mrs Bennet insufferably obsessed with getting her daughters married. Even Lydia in a bad marriage is potentially better off that becoming a Mrs Bates.

I absolutely agree that Emma is blind to her true privilege. She knows she’s at an elevated rank, but she doesn’t realise the nuances of the ranks below hers. It’s a bit like a white woman insisting that she “doesn’t see race; I treat everyone the same”. It denies the brutal realities these women experience outside of her protection.

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As someone who’s living on a construction site, the drilling content towards the end was extremely relatable.

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You can’t filibuster your own podcast!

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Dragging this thread back from the dead to wonder if anyone has seen the new Emma? I just got out of the theater, I loved it. Hope Waypoint does a Waypoints on this one.