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Today I Learned – Madame Bovary Edition

Today I Learned (TIL) is my play on Reddit’s highly entertaining and informative forum.

Today I learned how Madame Bovary has made quite a few cameos in TV and movieland. Most likely because Emma Bovary’s frustration as a bored housewife mirrors the angst and dissatisfaction with life that many fictional women suffer in their own stories. However, just like Emma — it’s not always easy to feel completely sorry for some of these characters. Let’s take a look at some of these ladies.

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1. The Sopranos – Sentimental Education – Season 5, Episode 6

Carmela Soprano, who is separated from mob boss, Tony, after years of frustration as a neglected housewife, begins seeing her son’s guidance counselor. He recommends that Carmela read Madame Bovary for the book’s exploration of “bourgeois loneliness”. Sentimental Education is actually the title of one of Gustave Flaubert’s books.

* * *

2. Veggie Tales – Madame Blueberry Movie

The popular animated series has fun playing on Emma Bovary’s obsession with things as a distraction from her boredom. “She’ll be happy, she thinks, if she just has more stuff!”

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3. Desperate Housewives – Anything You Can Do – Season 1, Episode 7

Madame Bovary is up for discussion at a book club meeting in Bree’s home. However, while Emma Bovary’s experiences should speak to the women since it parallels Gabrielle’s own marriage, the women are too absorbed in their own affairs to pay much attention to the book. WARNING: The clip below contains spoilers!

4. Sex and the City

I don’t know if Carrie Bradshaw ever read Madame Bovary (my bet is yes), but Emma Bovary is the original poster girl for the Sex and the City lifestyle. Shopping as a ticket to social status, shopping as a coping mechanism, shopping to feel good. Carrie’s favourite shoe designer, Manolo Blahnik designed a cover for Madame Bovary in 2006. He said: Madame Bovary is particularly attractive to me because it is a very dramatic story, with this woman’s incredible desire, and a compulsion to dress all the time … she spent everything she had on wonderful, beautiful textiles and dresses. It is something that a modern woman can understand.

manolo

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5. Little Children (2006)

In the movie Little Children, Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson are two parents in unhappy marriages who become friends and eventually have an affair. The clip below is from a book club meeting where Kate Winslet’s character shares her thoughts on Madame Bovary. It’s a wonderful clip and there is also a spoiler-filled version (sorry it’s a bit choppy) if you would like a deeper look into the scene and discussion.

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7 comments on “Today I Learned – Madame Bovary Edition

  1. Naomi
    April 11, 2014

    I love that last clip. I remember loving it when I saw the movie, even though I hadn’t read the book. The only problem is (now that I have read the book), I can see what Kate Winslet is saying, but is it hunger in Emma’s case, or is it just greed? Part of me is letting part 2 sneak into the way I feel about Emma in part 1. I can’t help it. Anyone who ignores their child most of the time when they have so much time on their hands (therefore, has no good reason to ignore the child) is not okay with me. I know, I have to save that for part 2. 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      April 11, 2014

      I haven’t seen Little Children, but I have always wanted to watch it because I love Kate Winslet (Patrick Wilson ain’t half bad, either). I think I wondered the same as you why Emma didn’t seem interested in having children. Maybe because she was too self-absorbed? I’m not that far into Part 2, but I am also bothered by her lack of interest in her baby while she just idles at home feeling sorry for herself.

      Like

  2. Cecilia
    April 11, 2014

    Interesting! I was thinking too that there have been so many stories out there on the bored and frustrated housewife. I’d love to see those clips but I’ll wait until I’ve gone further into the book. Thanks for sharing these clips!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      April 11, 2014

      I hope you enjoy them. The Little Children clip with Kate Winslet has the most insight into the book.

      Like

  3. Cedar Station
    April 11, 2014

    I love this! I didn’t realize it had been spoofed so many times. I think Madame Blueberry might be my favorite.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      April 15, 2014

      Madame Blueberry is pretty awesome! I might have to watch it …. with my kids, of course!

      Like

  4. Pingback: A Selection of Great Blog Posts April 2014 | Consumed by Ink

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