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.

File under: "well THAT was fast" — Phil Collins, who last episode proposed to our pal JudgyPants, has made a Monty Hall problem style switcheroo and proposed to another fair maid, and JudgyPant's BFF, Charlotte, who said YES. This brings up a few questions like “what?” and “why??” Don’t worry, JudgyPants is just as confused as the rest of us. She doesn’t hesitate to head over to the Lucas house to find out what the hell is going on. While Phil Collins prattles on about GirlBoss’ fireplace for the one millionth time, Charlotte spills the tea.

Charlotte: Ok, first of all it’s rude to act surprised when your friend gets engaged. What am I, chopped liver?
JudgyPants: OMG that wasn’t what I meant! If you like him, of course I’m happy for you!
Charlotte: LOL, we’re best friends, I know when you’re lying. Here’s the thing, pal, I’m not a sappy romantic like you, I just want to be provided for, and that goofus over there has a secure job.
Phil Collins, butting in:

An animated king hugs a miniature castle and says "I'm so happy."

JudgyPants keeps it together in the moment, but you better believe the second she gets behind a closed door with Marcia, she goes OFF. First of all, WTF Phil Collins? I turn you down and you immediately hook up with the nearest available woman? And second of all, WTF Charlotte? He’s the WORST!

Marcia: Ok, simmer down. People want different things out of life, and on paper, this isn’t a bad match.
JudgyPants: Ugh, not you too! You wouldn’t marry someone like that, right?
Marcia: No, but I’m not Charlotte!
JudgyPants: Well lucky for you, I don’t think you’ll have to.

It’s as if even this oblique reference to Doug the Pug summons word of the man himself. Alas, the news is not good: Regency Regina George has written to let Marcia know that the entire Regency Plastics crew has left town to head to London, and they’re probably not coming back. Oh, and also, she’s going to do her best to get Doug the Pug to fall in love with Grumpy Cat’s sister so they’ll all be one big happy family.

A man says "Wow that is cold. Also kinda hot."

Anyway, obviously Marcia is gutted, and, because she thinks the best of everyone, assumes that this is just Regency Regina George’s way of letting her down easy. Obviously, JudgyPants, and all the rest of us, know that that’s hogwash, but Marcia can’t be convinced.

Later, in town, JudgyPants escorts her two youngest sisters on a man finding mission. Yes, they’re out in these streets looking for soldiers, and they’re in luck, because Not Breakfast Denny, his unnamed buddy, and Wicker Man just happen to be out and about looking for the Bennets!

JudgyPants: So we missed you at the ball last episode.
Wicker Man: I missed you too… but urgent business, etc. Aw, hell, let’s be real, I decided it would be better for me to skip it given the whole situation with Grumpy Cat. Thought it might be prudent to avoid a “pistols at dawn” situation, ya know?
JudgyPants: Yeah, makes sense. Probably best not to fight in Doug the Pug’s house.
Wicker Man: Hey, I heard that your cousin Phil Collins got engaged? To Charlotte? Kind of surprising, I was sure he was into someone else!
JudgyPants: Hmmm, lucky for everyone it all worked out the way it did, huh? Anyway, want to come meet my parents?

A man says "I'm watching you." threateningly

Apparently, this meeting did not involve a discussion of non-traditional dairy production, and everyone seems pretty happy with how things are shaking out… especially Mom Bennet.

Mom Bennet: Forget about all the boys I've loved for you before — we stan Wicker Man.
Dad Bennet: Hmmm. He sure did enjoy talking about how he’d been wronged.
JudgyPants: Yes, but we’re talking about Grumpy Cat, whom we all agree is the worst.
Dad Bennet: Do we? He might just be a normal stuffed shirt.
Boring Stories Bennet: Again, platitudes.
Baby Bennet: Eye roll.
Mom Bennet: He IS hot though.

A man says "I have always loved a man in uniform."

Anyway, don’t think I forgot you’re on my crap list, daughter o' mine — you could have married Phil Collins, and even though we all like Wicker Man, he doesn’t have much of an income. And now Doug the Pug has left? This is not good, fam!
JudgyPants: Wait, what?
Marcia: Yeah, I heard from Regency Regina George again, and they’re definitely staying in town for the winter.
Dad Bennet: Well, cheer up, it does a body good to be jilted every once in a while. JudgyPants, don’t leave your sister hanging, get jilted by Wicker Man!
JudgyPants, kind of insensitively TBH: Now, now, we can’t all be jilted by our true love like Marcia was!
Mom Bennet: Ugh, quit joking around! I still can’t believe you clowns let Phil Collins marry the neighbor. She’s gonna get our house? Ridiculous!

Later that night, Marcia valiantly tries to tell JudgyPants that she’ll be fine, and that she's getting over her breakup with Doug the Pug, but none of us are really buying it. JudgyPants, not joking for once, tells her sister that she’s the best, and then proposes a frankly pretty good idea: why should Marcia not go get her man? They’ve got family in town, after all, who would surely be happy to have Marcia come stay. And it seems like Marcia might have taken the advice! Those very town relations, the Gardiners, have come to visit for the holiday (and, apparently, to hear Mom Bennet complain). At the obligatory local holiday gathering, JudgyPants introduces Wicker Man to her aunt.

Gardinerette: So, Wicker Man, I hear you’re from Derbyshire? I lived there for a while too!
Wicker Man: Get out of town! I grew up at Pemberly!
Gardinerette: Whaaaaat? That’s the nicest house in the country!
Wicker Man: Agree! You don’t know the Darcy family, do you?
Gardinerette: No, we never met!
Wicker Man: What a relief! I mean, what a shame!

Across the room, Baby Bennet is up to her usual tricks, i.e. yelling at Boring Stories Bennet to play dance music. JudgyPants finally gets to have her longed-for dance with Wicker Man, whilst Sir Bill does his usual thing of being the ultimate hype man for the sisters Bennet. TBH, we should all be so lucky as to have our own personal Sir Bill. Later, BFF Charlotte finally reveals some nerves vis-a-vis her impending nuptials with Phil Collins. This being before the age of planes, trains, and automobiles, or indeed, phones, she’s worried that she’ll be lonely living so far away from her friends and family.

BFF Charlotte: You'd better write, dude. And also, my dad’s coming to visit in a few months, please promise you’ll come along, too?
JudgyPants: Of course I will. But only if I get to see that fireplace Phil Collins won’t shut up about!
BFF Charlotte: LOL as if you could avoid seeing that fireplace even if you wanted to.
Charlotte’s sister, wandering over to join the convo: Say, who’s that ginger strumpet dancing with Wicker Man?
Gardinerette, also here now: She came to stay with her uncle here in town.
Char’s Sister: Well she’s not that pretty, is she?
Charlotte: LOL, who cares if she’s pretty, she’s rich! Just inherited quite the fortune.
Gardinerette: Oh, yeah, she’ll do just fine.

And, uh, yeah, she will: apparently, Wicker Man isn’t as into JudgyPants as we all thought, because he followed that ginger strumpet out of town, hoping to lock down her money! Thankfully, JudgyPants has a nice letter from Marcia to distract her. Here’s the update: Marcia dropped in on Regency Regina George who was just as pleasant and fun to be around as always.

A man aggressively sings "The worst."

She claimed to have totally missed the memo that Marica was in town, despite Marcia sending two (2) letters. JudgyPants thinks that's fishy, and so do I. Then, Regency Regina George apparently said she’d come to visit asap, and made Marcia wait around for weeks before showing up and being rude enough that even MARCIA figures out that Regency Regina George is a mean pill who doesn’t actually want to be friends with her. But don’t get your hopes up for Marcia’s ability to read a room: despite realizing that Regency Regina George is a snake who doesn’t like her, Marcia still believes RRG when she says that Doug the Pug knows Marcia’s in town but is just too busy hanging out with Grumpy Cat. Marcia’s conclusion?

A crying boy says "he hates me, oh god."

Time passes, and JudgyPants is about to head out to visit Charlotte when Wicker Man, sensing that she might be getting over him, appears.

JudgyPants, not one to pull her punches: So I hear you’re soon to be engaged?
Wicker Man: Ugh, you must hate me.
JudgyPants: Nah, I get it, a man’s gotta eat!
Wicker Man: Look, if things were different…
JudgyPants: Sure, but they’re not. Anyway, I hope you’ll be happy, truly.
Wicker Man: You took that well… I hope we can stay friends.

And with that, it’s time for JudgyPants to head off to visit BFF Charlotte, leaving her dad at home with exactly zero of the snarky and/or chill family members. He is, of course, delighted by that, and takes the opportunity to razz her about how excited she must be that she’s getting to visit Phil Collins and GirlBoss. Their relationship is pretty sweet, if you forget about the fact that due to his poor planning JudgyPants et. al. will be completely screwed when he dies. But enough groaning about Dad Bennet.

Three men exclaim "Road trip!"

As we approach, it becomes clear that GirlBoss really does have a nice estate. Sir Bill is thrilled for his daughter, but obviously still cognizant of the latent awkwardness stemming from the fact that JudgyPants could have had it all to herself. JudgyPants, for her part, still doesn’t care — she’s just excited to see BFF Charlotte! As usual, Phil Collins is excited to talk about the various architectural features of his house, and GirlBoss’ house, ad nauseum. Is it weird for BFF Charlotte that her husband is so obviously obsessed with his boss? Maybe, but she’s prepared to put up with it, because if Phil Collins is with GirlBoss, or hanging out in the garden, he’s not bothering her! It seems we all may have underestimated BFF Charlotte!

A woman says "You guys, I'm, like, really smart now. You don't even know."

JudgyPants is suitably impressed. She’s also delighted to clap eyes on GirlBoss’ kid, who looks boring and sickly, which JudgyPants, rather harshly, deems a good match for Grumpy Cat. And speaking of GirlBoss, the whole crew has been summoned to her house for a visit.

Phil Collins: And JudgyPants, don’t worry about your peasant outfit. GirlBoss understands that not everyone is fancy like her, and in fact prefers that the rest of us dress according to our station to reinforce that social boundary a bit more.
JudgyPants: Yayyyyy.

Inside, we finally clap eyes on GirlBoss, and let me tell you, she’s got swag. She’s also got a fantastic and absolutely gigantic painting in her drawing room (apologies; apparently Phil Collins’ obsession with GirlBoss’ house has rubbed off on your humble recapper). Pretty quickly she notices JudgyPants, and lulls everyone into a false sense of security with a nice compliment before clutching her metaphorical pearls at finding out that all of JudgyPants’ sisters are “out” i.e. available to be married despite the eldest still being single.

JudgyPants: I mean, sure, BabyBennet is quite young, but it’s not really fair for younger sisters to be stuck at home just because their older siblings are bad at dating.
GirlBoss: Wow, you sure are outspoken for a kid. How old are you anyway?
JudgyPants, jokingly: Come on, don’t make me confirm I’m an old maid in front of everyone!
GirlBoss: Oh, I’m gonna.
JudgyPants: I’m almost 21.
GirlBoss: Hmph. Well, I’m done talking to you — BFF Charlotte, did I tell you a boring story about my friend thanking me for her maid?

A few weeks later, the gals are enjoying an afternoon stroll in the admittedly beautiful countryside when Phil Collins runs over, all aflutter with news. Why is he so full of angst? Well, Grumpy Cat and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam just rolled up. Fun fact: Grumpy Cat’s IRL first name is also Fitzwilliam, which just goes to show that even Jane Austen sometimes runs out of character names. Anyway, there’s no time to waste, because the gentlemen are coming to visit imminently.

BFF Charlotte: Wow, that’s on you, dude: he would never come visit so quickly to see me.
JudgyPants: LOL, don’t me silly, you know we hate each other.

A woman smiles judgementally with the caption "oh my sweet summer child."

Just to prove how wrong JudgyPants is, Cousin Fitzwilliam’s greeting is essentially “wow, so great to finally meet you” which definitely means that Grumpy Cat has been talking CozFitz’s ear off re: JudgyPants.

CozFitz, genuinely nice: All the great things I’ve heard about you weren’t exaggerated!
JudgyPants, still not getting it: LOL, I bet; Grumpy Cat probably talked a lot of crap about me, huh?
CozFitz, assuming she’s joking: Sure, sure. Anyway, hope you’ll hang out with us while we’re here visiting my Aunt; I could do with some interesting conversation.
Grumpy Cat:

A man pops up from behind a grassy hill to stare

CozFitz: Grumpy Cat hates it here, he’s gonna clam up at dinner. And no one will sing or play piano — you do though, right?
JudgyPants: Oh, sure, but I’m no virtuoso! Don’t get excited.
CozFitz: Seriously, anything is better than just moping around.
JudgyPants: Hey speaking of moping, why is your cousin staring at me?
Grumpy Cat, finally approaching: I hope this email finds your family well in these unprecedented times.
JudgyPants: Uh. Yes? My sister’s been in town, haven’t you seen her?
Grumpy Cat: No, I haven’t. Well, bye.

A man covers his face in shame over a lower third that calls him a human disaster

JudgyPants, to CozFitz: See, we’re not friends or anything.
CozFitz: LOL. Oh, honey.
JudgyPants: See, he holds a grudge for life; it is what it is!
Grumpy Cat:

Slow zoom on a sad looking man, captioned "hello darkness my old friend" with musical notes

Oh, were you hoping for even more awkward interactions between these two? You’re in luck. They stare at each other outside. They stare at each other at GirlBoss’ house. There’s quite a lot of staring in general. At GirlBoss’ house, JudgyPants agrees to play the piano at the urging of CozFitz who so far seems like the only character I’d actually like to spend any time with.

GirlBoss: You know you’re really pretty average at piano — if you want to get GOOD, you should come over here and practice. Lest you think this is a Colonel Brandon situation, I’m not hitting on you, I just like to seem benevolent and assuring everyone that I could have been an exceptional musician if I’d learned.

Grumpy Cat, not content to stare at JudgyPants from afar, wanders over.

JudgyPants, weirdly flirty: So, you’re here to intimidate me? It won’t work.
Grumpy Cat: LOL, I know you enjoy joking around.
JudgyPants: CozFitz, don’t listen to this clown.
CozFitz, out loud: Yeah, Grumpy Cat, you’re a clown!
CozFitz, internally:

A man proclaims "adorbs and pleasing to my eyes. I ship it!" before dramatically throwing a coffee cup on the ground

JudgyPants: Don’t provoke me, or I’ll tattle on you for how you acted back in my hometown!
Grumpy Cat, eyes a-twinkle: You don’t scare me!
CozFitz: What could he possibly have done? I mean, to be fair, he’s not great with strangers.
JudgyPants: I met him at a ball, and even though there were very few men he only danced four times! Scandal!
CozFitz: Yeah, sounds about right!
Grumpy Cat:

A man proudly says "I'm weird. I'm a weirdo."

JudgyPants: Maybe we should ask him why, Fitzy old boy — he is after all super duper privileged, he should be able to behave better.
Grumpy Cat: I’m shy, ok!
JudgyPants: Yeah, and I’m a mediocre pianist, but you know what they say about getting to Carnegie Hall…

A man says "we talking about practice, man."

Grumpy Cat: Yeah, seems like neither one of us really likes performing for randos.
GirlBoss, from the other room: What are you talking about? Come in here, I’m bored!

Later, JudgyPants writes a letter wherein she appears to be very insightful about everyone except GrumpyCat: GirlBoss’ daughter doesn’t have much going for her, and Grumpy Cat doesn’t seem into it, but GirlBoss is dead set on having him marry her kid. Before she can finish the letter, who should appear but Grumpy Cat himself, looking even more awkward and tortured than usual.

JudgyPants: Well, you’re in luck. It’s just me here today.
Grumpy Cat: Oh, sorry to interrupt your alone time.
JudgyPants: Nah, no biggie, I was just writing a letter to Marcia in London. Speaking of which, how are Doug the Pug and Co.? I hear they’ll be staying in town.
Grumpy Cat: They’re fine, and yes, they intend to stay in London most of the time.
JudgyPants: Well, if he’s gonna be like that he should sell his place in the country so someone who actually wants to use it can move in.
Grumpy Cat: Ok? Um. Well this house is nice? I guess GirlBoss renovated when Phil Collins moved in.
JudgyPants: Sounds about right; I’m sure he loved that.
Grumpy Cat: And Phil Collins lucked out with your friend there.
JudgyPants: Hard agree, and I guess it’s technically a good situation for her too.
Grumpy Cat: I bet she’s happy to be so close to family.
JudgyPants: Dude, it’s a day’s journey away!
Grumpy Cat: Yeah, that’s not too bad, right?
JudgyPants: I guess not everyone wants to be tooooo close to family.
Grumpy Cat: Well, yeah, like I bet you’d want to be a bit of a distance from yours, right?

There’s an awkward silence while JudgyPants processes the fact that Grumpy Cat might know her better than she thought, and then he heads out, leaving a baffled JudgyPants in his wake. Later, CozFitz runs into JudgyPants while she’s out for a walk.

JudgyPants: Hey, do you know Doug the Pug and his sisters?
CozFitz: Yeah, he’s fine — I know Grumpy Cat loves the guy.
JudgyPants: He really does go out of his way to take care of Doug the Pug, if that’s what you mean.
CozFitz: You’re not wrong. The other day he was telling me that he recently stopped Doug the Pug from making a big matrimonial mistake.
JudgyPants: Uh… did he explain his thought process?
CozFitz: Apparently there was something up with the lady in question?
JudgyPants: WTF? That meddling jerk; why did he do that? Well, maybe the couple weren’t in love.
CozFitz: Maybe, but it’s more impressive to break up people who like each other I guess. Anyway, you look awfully pale all of a sudden, you ok?
JudgyPants: Nope! Let’s head back, I’ve got a headache.

That “headache” also helps JudgyPants get out of dinner with GirlBoss. BFF Charlotte offers to hang back, but JudgyPants, needing some solitude, waves her off. Alas, the longed for solitude is not to be, because Grumpy Cat is back.

Grumpy Cat: Sorry, I hope you’re feeling better.
JudgyPants: Whatever. Sit down, I guess?
Grumpy Cat: NO, I need to PACE. Um. Ok so here’s the thing: I’m in love with you. Is it ideal? No! My family won’t approve and frankly I don’t either, but there it is.

A woman says "why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!"

It would be a terrible idea for us to be married, but like legit pretty much since our first encounter I’ve come to realize I just think you’re neat! Please, I’m dying out here, please make our ship canon and marry me.

A man says "Not this ship, sister."

I think I’m supposed to be grateful for your interest, but I’m not. I have never wanted you to like me, and clearly you don’t want to like me either. I hope you get over it soon.
Grumpy Cat: So you’re turning me down? Just like that?
JudgyPants: Dude! You insulted me, told me you don’t want to like me in the first place, and, maybe worst of all, you broke my sister’s heart.
Grumpy Cat: Yeah I did, and I’d do it again!
JudgyPants: You also did my pal Wicker Man SO dirty — anyone who heard the story would feel bad for him! You basically made him poor AND you think that’s no big deal?
Grumpy Cat: Well, I guess that explains why I don’t like me… but also, let’s not pretend that if I hadn’t mentioned why I was hesitant to be in a relationship with you and injured your pride, you’d be more willing to hear me out. And you know what, I’m not sorry about what I said earlier — your family SUCKS and it’s normal to not want to spend time with them!
JudgyPants: You’re wrong. You being rude only made it so I didn’t have to worry about hurting your feelings in my refusal. Nothing you could do would make me say yes. I’ve known from the start that you’re the last person I’d ever want to marry. Kindly get wrecked.

And, thus wrecked, Grumpy Cat skedaddles. Whew, folks: that could not have gone worse for our pal Grumpy Cat! Is he going to run back to GirlBoss’ house to sulk in a pint of ice cream? And who’s gonna propose to JudgyPants next episode — GirlBoss?? Only one way to find out: stream episode 4!

Episode 1 Recap: Girls Just Wanna Have Funds
Episode 2 Recap: Wrecking Ball