Gratuitous Rewinds: The Netherfield Ball

The 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries is packed with moments worthy of a gratuitous rewind for one reason or another.  But tonight we focus on a personal favorite (and the one I caught myself re-watching this afternoon as I did laundry):  The Netherfield Ball.  More specifically, the Lizzy and Darcy dance sequence

What makes this worthy of the Gratuitous Rewind?

1) It’s a ball.  Balls are fun and no one has them anymore, except on TV.

2) Fun clothes.  Yeah, I know this kinda goes with the entire show, but the duds in this scene are particularly schnazz-tastic.  I’m not saying I want to wear them myself (Lizzy B might be down with having the girls out on display for all England–me not so much), but I can appreciate great costumes as a spectator.

3) Line dancing.  For me, a person who can’t even handle the Electric Slide without looking like Mr. Collins going the wrong direction, I am always impressed by the fact that there are no collisions involved in that bizarre series of movements.  Despite the fact that I’d epic fail at this dancing, I would still support its comeback.

4) Banter.  Verbally picking at and harassing the hot-asshole who insulted you, and is apparently a life ruiner for your pals is inherently awesome.  Lizzy does so politely.  And does it without missing a beat in the aforementioned line dancing.  And Mr. D?  Maintains the cucumber-coolness, and while he doesn’t go on the offense, he lobs everything back at her without batting an eye.  Brilliant.

5) Mr. Darcy.  The man makes the entire flick one gigantic gratuitous re-wind, because Darcy is hot.  He is hot as the character in the book, and his hotness is only enhanced by way of Colin Firth.  And in this particular sequence, he takes it up another level because, really?  The guy’s smoldering for Lizzy even while she’s verbally skewering him.  Sure, it’s crappy line dancing, and sure she’s lambasting him–but he’ s still getting to dance with her and he is all about that.  What girl can’t (jealously) appreciate that?

It’s a scene that may not be as dramatic as some, but still manages to bring the kind of chemistry that makes you reach for the remote to go back and watching again and again, trying to pinpoint everything that makes stick in your head…..

Now, if you’ll excuse me….I have a DVD to back up……

Defining the Gratuitous Rewind Moment

Gratuitous Rewind Momentdefinition: A moment in a film, television program or other form of video or motion picture media that so captures the mind of a particular viewer that he/she rewinds and rewatches it over…and over….and over.  Gratuitously.  Generally applies to mushy, sappy, cute moments that make girly shipper-type viewers squee with joy, however the term can also apply to moments so odd or hilarious that viewers find themselves backing up to watch again and again.

The use of this term dates back to a college-dorm viewing of The X-Files episode “Post Modern Prometheus.”  A group of girls gathered around the TV kept re-winding and re-watching that little moment at the end where Mulder stands up, and extends a hand to Scully, pulling her up to dance to as the faux Cher “performed” “Walking In Memphis.”

Yes, I was one of those girls.  And so was Kristy.  And it was a defining moment.  As we finished watching the episode, there were a lot of “awe”s and “that’s so cute”s and as the credits wound up, we found ourselves glancing sheepishly at one another.  No one wanted to ask.  After all, it was rather pathetic.  A sad sign of the single-status of all the girls in the room that we were so taken with that one chivalrous moment.  That in the midst of an entire episode about the weird, strange and mysterious, each one of us was completely taken in by a less-than-three-minute exchange of a hot man pulling a woman up to dance with him in a totally surreal setting.  No, we didn’t want to admit that we were that hopelessly romantic and manipulated into the mainstream romantic schmalz.

We were trying to play it cool.

Finally, someone caved:  “Can we watch the one more time?”

Faces brightened instantly and the flood gates opened.  “YES!”  “Rewind it!”  “It’s so cute!”  So much for shame and embarrassment.

And one time?  Turned into another, and another, and another.  All in a row.  Each one yielding a little more giggling.  Until, amid the laughter, someone pointed out that we had “gratuitously rewound” that for a half hour and some of us had quizzes to study for.  So we stopped.  And from that moment forward, those “gratuitous rewind moments” were no longer something to be ashamed of wanting to see, but something to be noted, cataloged and pointed out to those friends who were simpatico enough to appreciate the particular subject and recognize the amusement to be had by reviewing it multiple times.

So, in the It’s My TV, It’s My Peanut Butter catalog of “Gratuitous Rewind Moments,”  the first entry is “Mulder getting Scully to dance at the ‘Post Modern Prometheus’.”  The first…..but not the last.