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.
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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.
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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.