Good Afternoon Anglophiles…so, it was NOT a bad dream, after all. Helen Fielding really DID write, “Mad About The Boy” the third installment in the Bridget Jones saga, which begins five months after the death of…wait for it….(*SPOILER ALERT*)…Bridget’s beloved Mark Darcy! What??!! But, when we last left Bridget she was enjoying the elation of Darcy’s marriage proposal and about ready to reach for Brides magazine to start planning her special day. I thought part three was going to be about Bridget Jones’s baby! What happened to experiencing Bridget’s first year of marriage with Mr. Darcy and watching her bumble through her first pregnancy, full of insecurities over her burgeoning baby weight, while her husband is off on a business trip with the sexy Natasha?
Instead, as was revealed in excerpts published in last weekend’s Sunday Times Magazine, we have a 50-ish, widowed Bridget, still fighting her weight of course…thanks to too many bottles of wine and trips to McDonald’s, raising two children alone, and most likely suffering the hot flashes of menopause. Will Daniel Cleaver even be interested in wooing her without the dashing Mark Darcy challenging him to a duel every two minutes? (Yes, Cleaver is still in the picture…as the children’s Godfather no less!) And will we care? We’ll all have to wait till October 10th, when the book is due to be released…to find out the how and the WHY of Darcy’s death and Bridget’s life as a singleton widow, now romancing a 30-year old boy toy….yes, you heard me right. Unless, of course, Fielding has a last minute ‘Aha moment’, comes to her senses and decides to “stop the presses” to fix this erroneous mistake by adding a cliche “Dallas” moment when Pam wakes up to find that Bobby’s death was just a dream. That’s the ONLY way I can reconcile this momentary lapse of literary judgment. It’s like Lizzie without Darcy! It’s like Lady Mary without Matthew! Like the Phantom without Christine. What are these British writers about these days?
Although Fielding has denied that the Bridget Jones books were autobiographical, she is, coincidentally, around the same age as Bridget is in “Mad About The Boy” and is now, also, a single mom with two kids. (Hmm, has she subconsciously killed off her ex with this fit of artistic freedom?) She has, however, admitted to having the same Bridget Jones-type crush on Colin Firth, thanks to everyone’s favorite wet-shirt scene in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice, and which is why she named her dashing hero Darcy and why, when it came time to cast the movie, she felt no one could play that role except for Colin Firth himself! So you see, she’s a Firth-Fan too! So, why would she kill off the character that Firth would most certainly have to reprise in the film…thus passing up any future opportunities for her to #1:Visit Colin on the set of said movie therefore allowing for many ‘casual encounters’ with him at the craft services table, #2: Travel the multi-city press junket circuit with him ensuring bumping into him in the lounge bars of various far away hotels, #3: Walk the red carpet with him at the film’s premiere, (or at least behind him as wife, Livia, is never that far away…), #4: Plan films #4, 5 and 6 with him! Seems like a no-brainer to me. Did Colin displease her somehow? I mean, Colin, even with his Academy Award winning status, has still said he would be ‘game’ for another Bridget Jones installment. He even commented in one interview that director Peter Cattaneo was in talks to direct the 3rd film while he himself admitted that he was “reconciled to the inevitability” of reprising the role of Mark Darcy, clearly sounding, at the time, like he had NO idea his character would be killed off. So what gives, Helen?
Fans around the cyber-world have taken to social media to voice their shock and displeasure and wondering aloud if Helen Fielding was indeed high when she wrote this? Or at the very least, did she have a “Here’s how to really piss off your fans” pow-wow with “Love Never Dies” composer Andrew Lloyd Webber? (Don’t get me started about what he did to Christine…) One thing we know about the British is that they don’t get overly sentimental or attached to things like we soppy American’s do. And one thing is certain, on her book tour, Helen will be “fielding” an awful lot of questions on why she killed off Mr. Darcy, and will Colin Firth at least appear in the film in flashbacks? Maybe Bridget falls in love with the REAL Colin Firth and he loses his senses and leaves Livia for her?
In Hollywood movie making…anything can happen, including turning Mark Darcy’s death into a Bobby Ewing dream….it may be the only way they’ll get this Anglophile to the cinema!