Every season, the Drama After Dark team gathers ‘round the (virtual) conference room table to watch the latest and greatest in British dramas. This month, we’re covering a period drama powerhouse that GBH recently brought back to GBH Passport: Pride and Prejudice, the 1995 smash hit that launched a thousand crushes on Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle alike. I’m here to recap the mini-series for both first-time viewers and superfans. Prepare to drown your feelings in the nearest available lake: it’s recap time.

Everything seems to be going great for JudgyPants, who’s enjoying a nice ramble, which can only mean that things are about to get unpleasant for ya girl as this episode progresses — after all, that’s where the DRAMA comes from!

A man dramatically throws a spray of glitter in the air in front of his face

Anyway, guess who’s coming to dinner? No, unfortunately, it’s not Sidney Poitier, nor indeed Doug the Pug: it’s a total stranger/Dad Bennet’s cousin, Phil Collins, who will inherit the Bennet house when Dad Bennet shuffles off this mortal coil.

Mom Bennet: Oh, great, THAT a-hole. Real excited to host HIM.
Dad Bennet: Yes, this whole situation is unfair, but before you get all het up, listen to what he says in the letter: “Dearest Cousin: I’m super-duper bummed about the feud between you and my now deceased father. Now that he’s dead, I’d love to reconnect. I recently became ordained and have the financial support of God’s gift to mankind/my not-so-secret crush, the Right Honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, i.e. GirlBoss, who set me up with a pretty sick little church where I can worship God/her. Anyway, being nice to you is the right thing to do, and I know I hold your kids’ future in my hand like a tiny bird, so I’m coming for a parley. Toodles, Phil.”
JudgyPants: Well he sounds weird as hell.
Mom Bennet: Did you miss the part about how he holds your fate in his hands like a tiny bird?
Dad Bennet: I sure did! He seems like a real doofus, I’m looking forward to it.

And with good reason, because he is indeed a weird-as-hell doofus. Exhibit A:

Dad Bennet: So, Phil, you’ve got a nice setup with GirlBoss, huh?
Phil Collins:

A woman nods and bites her lip

She’s invited me over for dinner TWICE, she’s SOOOOO kind, and we’re neighbors.
Dad Bennet, sarcastically: Wow, that sounds SO FUN huh, JudgyPants?
Mom Bennet, covering for her husband: You said she’s a widow, right? Does she have family?
Phil Collins, pompous: A daughter, who is just the best, but alas, frail AF. I just love when I get to give GirlBoss compliments on her kid!
Boring Stories Bennet:

A woman mists herself with a spray bottle

The rest of the Bennet Sisters:

A woman rolls her eyes

Dad Bennet, doing the regency equivalent of texting your coworker a joke mid-Zoom meeting to try and crack their composure: It’s lucky that you’re so good at complimenting people! Do you plan your compliments or just think of them on the fly?

A man purses his lips trying not to laugh

Phil Collins: Wow great question! I mostly come up with them on the day but I definitely workshop some in advance. Obviously I try to make them seem fresh though!

What a keeper! Unfortunately, Mom Bennet doesn’t think beggars can be choosers, and doesn’t hesitate to try and set Phil Collins up with one of the non-Marcia daughters, given the incipient situation with Doug The Pug. Phil Collins immediately zeros in on JudgyPants. Initially, this seemed like a missed opportunity for poor Boring Stories, the only one who actually seems to like him, but it’s probably for the best given that the resulting gravitational pull of their combined pomposity might lead to a literal black hole. Anyway, Mom Bennet sends all the girls and Phil Collins into town, and in case you were worried that he’d find it shabby after the wonders of GirlBoss’ estate, he’s perfectly happy to tell JudgyPants how good he is at fitting in anywhere.

A man says "I don't believe you."

Once in town, Baby Bennet spots their army friend Denny (no relation to the breakfast chain), and his friend, a handsome stranger, Wicker Man (Foreshadowing? In my recap names? It’s more likely than you think).

JudgyPants: So, Wicker Man, come here often?
Wicker Man: I intend to! I hope you ladies like a man in uniform because I just joined the regiment.
Bennet Sisters:

A hobbit looks excited with the caption "yes, please."

Baby Bennet: Want to come to our Aunt’s house for dinner?
Wicker Man: Well I wasn’t technically invited... but I would love to!

Just then, Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug appear.

Doug the Pug: Oh YAY! We were just riding over to visit and see how you were doing, Marcia!

Marcia’s reply, and the resulting flirtation, are overshadowed by some very intense eye contact between Wicker Man and Grumpy Cat. Unfortunately, it’s of the non-sexual variety.

Grumpy Cat, even more than usual:

The grinch says "Hate, hate, hate... Double hate! Loathe entirely!"

JudgyPants, the only one who sees this interaction:

A man asks "Why are you the way that you are?"

Anyway, time for dinner at the aforementioned aunt’s house. Everyone’s behaving much like you’d expect: the younger Bennet’s are all atwitter over boys, Phil Collins is accidentally insulting the host by saying her (very nice) parlor reminds him of a tiny room at GirlBoss’ place, Marcia is smoothing over the situation to try and keep everyone happy, and JudgyPants is trying to ditch Phil Collins at every opportunity. Wicker Man, noticing that JudgyPants has succeeded in extricating herself from her annoying cousin, grabs his chance to hit on her. He’s cute and doesn’t seem to be obsessed with his boss, so she’s game.

Wicker Man: So… your sisters are a lot huh? I kid, I kid, they’re cute, and TBH everyone out here in the boonies is super nice. Doug the Pug et. al. aren’t joining the party tonight?
JudgyPants: Ugh, his horrible friends would think they’re too good to hang out with us, so no.
Wicker Man: Oh, so you know Grumpy Cat too? I’ve known him since we were kids, and yes, we hate each other.
JudgyPants: Wow, MOOD! Pretty much everyone out here agrees, btw, so I hope you won’t leave town just because he’s here.
Wicker Man: OhHO, if one of us is to leave, it shall be him! And I’ll tell you why: his dad was my godfather, and he took care of me when my own father, his steward, died. He wanted to give me a livelihood in the church, which I was SUPER excited about, but then that scoundrel Grumpy Cat refused to give me the income after his father died!
JudgyPants: Wow, this overshare is making me completely reevaluate my opinion of Grumpy Cat — I already didn’t like him, but I didn’t realize he was a full on snake! Someone should expose him!
Wicker Man: I mean yes, for sure, but I won’t do it because I loved his papa so very much.
JudgyPants: Well I, for one, would eat his heart in the marketplace, but go off I guess.
Wicker Man: Seriously, it’s fine — I’m easygoing, my job gives me ample leisure time, and I’m talking to you, right? So don’t feel sorry for me.
Baby Bennet, butting in: Wait, why would you pity this fool?
Wicker Man: Uh…. because I haven’t danced in ages!

And so he’s pulled off for a reel by the younger Bennet, where he proves to be a less than exemplary dance partner, distracted as he is by staring flirtatiously at JudgyPants. Later that night, Marcia Bennet completely refuses to believe this revelation about Grumpy Cat. Why would Doug the Pug stay friends with him, if it were true?

JudgyPants: Look, you and I both know that Doug the Pug is a bit of a pushover. And Wicker Man seemed very sincere!
Marcia Bennet: And YOU seem sincerely INTO HIM.
JudgyPants: I mean, can you blame me?! He’s in touch with his feelings AND knows how to have fun: the whole package!

Fortunately for those among us who love dramatics, Doug the Pug makes good on his promise from episode 1: there will be a ball at his place, and everyone is invited, even Phil Collins! JudgyPants tries to secure an evening NOT punctuated by a kick-ass drum solo by suggesting that it might not be PROPER for Phil Collins to attend, given his profession, but alas, no dice. He’s coming along, and insistent on dancing with everyone, but especially JudgyPants.

A woman says "I am suddenly overwhelmed with regret."

Later, Wicker Man stops by to visit JudgyPants, only to be aggressively third and fourth wheeled by Phil Collins and his description of GirlBoss’ house respectively. Thankfully, Marcia Bennet isn’t as much of a goodie two shoes as we assumed, and drags Phil Collins off to talk about doctrine with Boring Stories Bennet.

Wicker Man: Wow, your cousin is… wholesome?
JudgyPants: That’s one word for him. Anyway, have you met Doug the Pug yet?
Wicker Man: No, but he invited all of us lads to his ball so I’m already a fan! He seems nice too.
JudgyPants: Super nice; it’s weird that he’s cool with having a snake BFF.
Wicker Man: He probably doesn’t know, Grumpy Cat is good at keeping things on the DL.
JudgyPants: Hmm, and what’s his sister like?
Wicker Man: Well she was a sweet kid, but now she thinks she’s super fancy, just like her brother. Also, want to hear some hot goss? GirlBoss’ daughter is set to inherit more than her mother’s wealth: she’ll also get stuck marrying Grumpy Cat.
JudgyPants: LOL; get WRECKED, Regency Regina George!

No time to make fun of snobby jerks; we have a ball to dress for!

Mom Bennet: Wow, JudgyPants, you look nice for once! I mean, not as nice as Marcia, but you’ll do. Now, be nice to Phil Collins, please. Remember: fate, hands, tiny bird, etc.!
Baby Bennet, running in in her underwear: JudgyPants, what do you think about this dress? Also, please don’t hoard Wicker Man to yourself all night.
JudgyPants: I can’t, even if I wanted to – I have to dance with our horrible cousin!
Baby Bennet: Ew!

And with that, still undressed, she runs out of the room and straight into Phil Collins, much to his horror and her amusement. Speaking of amusement, at the ball, JudgyPants and Marcia peel off to hang out with the ever-pleasant Doug the Pug while their sisters get up to shenanigans with their soldier friends. JudgyPants looks around, in vain, for Wicker Man, but to no avail: he’s had urgent business in town, but at least left a message with their mutual non-breakfast friend Denny. To make matters worse, she keeps accidentally catching the eye of Grumpy Cat, who’s really living up to his name tonight. Just as she’s finally having some fun talking with her BFF Charlotte, Phil Collins arrives to pull her off for a dance. This doesn’t do much for HER, annoyed as she is with his… whole deal, but Grumpy Cat sure seems to enjoy watching her cut a rug.

Later, JudgyPants tells BFF Charlotte the whole sordid tale of Grumpy Cat’s uncharitable crumminess to Wicker Man, when her nemesis himself arrives and asks her for a dance. Unfortunately, she can’t think of an out, and has to say yes, just as I foretold last week. BFF Charlotte thinks this is for the best: why slight a super wealthy guy just because you have a crush on a dashing woven effigy? Now the thing about balls is that the dances give one ample time to chat to your partner. As you might expect, the first half of this scene therefore goes like this:

Alternating images of a man staring at the painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" and a face in the painting, getting closer each time they alternate

However, JudgyPants isn’t throwing away her shot to be rude to Grumpy Cat about the Wicker Man situation.

JudgyPants: So, we made a new friend recently!
Grumpy Cat: Yeah, he’s good at making friends, not so good at keeping them.
JudgyPants: I heard YOU friend dumped him so aggressively he’ll never recover… financially or otherwise.
Sir Bill, weirdly butting in: You guys sure do dance well together! What can I say, I ship it! But not as much as I ship Doug the Pug and Marcia — can’t wait for their wedding!! Anyway, bye!
JudgyPants: So you don’t forgive people, right? Do you think stuff through carefully before you cut people off? You never make mistakes?
Grumpy Cat: Why are you asking me this?
JudgyPants: I’m trying to get a read on you, and I’ll be honest, I am FAILING. What is your deal?
Grumpy Cat: I hope you don’t make a call now; I think you might come away with the wrong idea.
JudgyPants: Yeah, but if we’re all very lucky, I’ll never have another opportunity to talk to you so…

A man says "Let's jump to conclusions."

Later, while everyone stops for a snack break, Regency Regina George decides to try and step to JudgyPants again.

Regency Regina George: LOL so I heard you’re into that Wicker Man guy — you know his dad was just a lowly steward, right? Anyway, real talk, he was really crummy to Grumpy Cat, so be careful there.
JudgyPants: Look, I’m gonna need details, pal.
Regency Regina George: Oh, who remembers things like that? Anyway, it wasn’t Grumpy Cat’s fault, but you can’t expect much of a steward’s son anyway!
JudgyPants: Well that’s classist, and you’re a jerk. Bye.
Marcia Bennet, sidling up having witnessed that exchange: Dude, I know she’s kind of the worst, but I also talked to Doug the Pug about it — he doesn’t know the whole story, but he also had some red flags vis-a-vis Wicker Man.
JudgyPants: Yeah, but he doesn’t actually know Wicker Man, so everything he’s saying is coming through his "I'm BFF with Grumpy Cat" filter!

Before the sisters can really get into it, Doug the Pug suggests that someone play for everyone, and before he can say “Live from Netherfield it’s Saturday Night” Boring Stories Bennet has scooped Regency Regina George’s spot at the piano. Reader, she is… not good. Also not good? Phil Collins has decided to introduce himself to Grumpy Cat, which is both a Regency social faux pas AND a bad idea given Grumpy Cat’s entire personality. It goes just about as well as you’d expect, i.e. BAD. The hits keep on coming: Dad Bennet has to awkwardly remove Boring Stories from the piano bench. Phil Collins does a weird little speech about how if he could sing, he would, because it’s a nice innocent activity for ladies, and then finally, Doug the Pug’s other sister takes over. Very quickly, it becomes clear that the rest of the Bennet family is also not party ready. Mom Bennet loudly talks about how much we like Phil Collins (FALSE), how she’s sure he’ll want to marry JudgyPants (YIKES), and how she’s sure Marcia is about to marry Doug the Pug which will allow the rest of the girls to meet other rich men (PRESUMPTUOUS and GRASPING). Baby Bennet steals one of the soldier’s swords and goes running around the dining room, holding it aloft. JudgyPants tries to melt into the floor and disappear, but alas: it didn’t work for Grumpy Cat, and it sure as heck won’t work for her.

The next day, Mom Bennet and Phil Collins corner JudgyPants. She knows exactly what’s coming, and tries to use younger sister Kitty as a human shield, but Mom Bennet isn't having any of it.

JudgyPants: Mom, don’t go, let’s all have a conversation together!
Phil Collins: You’re so modest, which I just love. Anyway, you know what I’m here to talk to you about, right? I’ve been into you since I got here! But just so you know I’m serious, please enjoy this TED Talk on why I want to get married in the first place.
JudgyPants: Oh, you don’t…
Phil Collins: No, I’m gonna. Clergy should marry to be a good example. It’ll make me happy. And also, and I cannot stress this enough, GirlBoss told me I should. And then she basically described you: vaguely part of the gentry, but not too fancy. You’re a lot of fun but I bet you’ll calm down a bit in deference to her, and then you’ll be perfect. And obviously I want to marry one of you Bennets due to the whole “I inherit all of your stuff when your dad dies” thing. Anyway, let’s do this thing!
JudgyPants: Don’t get ahead of yourself: thanks for all the compliments, but no, I won’t marry you.
Phil Collins: Oh, you’re playing hard to get!
JudgyPants: Nope! We would be a horrible match! I don’t want it!
Phil Collins: But I might be your only hope! You’re definitely playing hard to get, how cute!
JudgyPants: No means no, ya clown!

In the other room, the Bennet parents get into it. Mom Bennet wants Dad Bennet to make JudgyPants marry Phil Collins, and Dad Bennet doesn’t give a flying fart. However, he asks JudgyPants to join the chat.

Dad Bennet: Ok, so; Phil Collins proposed? And you said no? You don’t feel that you can have a Groovy Kind of Love?
JudgyPants: Correct on all counts; I do NOT feel it In The Air Tonight.
Dad Bennet: Ok well here’s the situation — Mom says that if you don’t marry him, she’ll never see you again, but if you DO marry him, I won’t see you again.

And that’s mom outplayed. Outside, BFF Charlotte has arrived for a visit, and, assessing the situation, resolves to invite Phil Collins over to her family’s house for dinner to defuse tensions. Mom Bennet is beside herself, but don’t worry, everything turns out fine in the end. Will another surprise relative turn up next episode? Will we ever find out what happened with Wicker Man? Only one way to find out, and that’s to watch episode 3!

Episode 1 Recap: Girls Just Wanna Have Funds