“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to our tape-delayed evening coverage of the Ladies’ Terrible Sisters, or ‘Bitchiness,’ competition. I hope Twitter hasn’t told you the outcome! Here we are in the third rotation of the individual all-around, and the rivalries are fierce! Let’s check in with a few of the top contenders.”
“Miss Caroline Bingley is the heavy favorite coming into this evening’s rotation, and she’s worked hard for the title of frontrunner. Her bold style and her role in Austen’s most-read novel certainly places her at the head of the pack, but for Miss Bingley, it’s not just a label. We’ve seen that she is especially strong in the ‘direct insult’ and ‘letter of malicious intent’ events.”
“I have seen Miss Bingley stumble occasionally; her periodic lack of subtlety has been known to reveal her true character to the observant viewer, including that famous interaction regarding Elizabeth Bennet’s dirty hem and fine eyes. She would do well to proceed carefully this evening if she wants to keep it under wraps and get the guy. Remember, being terrible without being obviously terrible is key to this sport.”
“Mrs. John Dashwood might be a surprise contender, what with the ‘well, they don’t really need MONEY to LIVE ON’ maneuver—we haven’t seen much of her, but her skilled manipulation of her husband shows skills that might easily take on this field. What Mrs. Dashwood lacks in name recognition, she makes up for in subtlety—just look at the way she talked John Dashwood out of providing for his half-sisters and their mother.”
“She’s so effortless. Just look at that—a picture of grace. And by grace I mean incredible selfishness.”
“You’re so right about that. Now, what you do think about Mary Crawford’s standing in the competition?”
“Mary is something of a dark horse here tonight. Her performance during Tom Bertram”s illness last year really put her on the map—viewers will remember the way she implied that perhaps Tom’s death and the distribution of his fortune might actually be a boon to his family and ‘friends’—but with the tough competition this year, I don’t think she’ll end up on the podium. She might be prettier and more socially adept than Miss Bingley, but I just don’t think she has the killer instinct.”
“So right. And here we have the underdogs of the group, the sister-pair Julia and Maria Bertram. What’s your take on their act tonight?”
“Ooh, Julia and Maria have really been struggling this week—they obviously passed the Trials stage, but I just don’t think they have the consistency to excel in this event. Athletes like Miss Bingley and Mrs. Dashwood make clear that this field isn’t just about mild cluelessness; it really has to be pointed and intentional, and oh, look at that display of compassion. That’s not going to help them at ALL.”
“They have got to be wondering what they’re doing here. I mean, rumor has it they’ve been laughed mirthlessly out of the athletes’ locker room and have resorted to sitting in the corner, eating their own hair.”
“Ooh, that’s not good. For them, I mean. It’s pretty good for everybody else.”
“Well, we’re only twenty seconds from the conclusion of this rotation, so let’s break for commercial. Stay tuned for further coverage of the Shrill Mothers competition later tonight; we guarantee you’ll need your earplugs. We’ll be back in just a minute; don’t touch that remote.”
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our coverage of the final round of Men’s Debauchery competition in these Olympic games. It’s been a harrowing week of faked backstories and false seductions, and I can’t imagine that tonight will be any different. What do you think lies in store?”
“Well, any talk of debauchery—and its better-known cousin, cross-country douchebaggery—must begin with George Wickham. Wickham has been the most dominating force in both sports for nearly a decade. After his promising debut of demanding his inheritance and then declining to join the clergy, back when he was the youngest guy in the game, we’ve seen victory after victory for him.”
“It’s true. Is there anybody more decorated in his field? I mean, his classic performance with regards to Georgiana Darcy says it all. Look at the way he convinced her to run away with him in the previous round of competition—she was a nice girl from a good family, and he got her all the way to the seaside! And she was only fifteen! Just an amazing performance from a debaucher at the height of his fitness and skill.”
“Let’s not forget about Wickham’s closest competitor, though. For my money, John Willoughby demonstrates a superior technique and perhaps a siren song for the classic moves of the old guard. Let’s take a look at the tape of that amazing, amazing scene on the hillside near the Dashwood cottage—there. Look at the way he uses the rain and Marianne’s natural drama-queen tendencies to turn a perfectly fit young lady into a damsel in distress! I’ll never forget the reaction of the crowd that day, and I think Willoughby represents a new era for showmanship in the sport.”
“It’s true that Willoughby appears to have been training hard for this competition, and in some ways may already have surpassed his rival. Wickham, after all, never consummated his dalliance with Miss Darcy; Willoughby managed to conceive a secret child and abandon her to the fates, and you know the judges can’t resist that kind of solid performance.”
“Tough luck for him, though, in the aftermath. Who knew Colonel Brandon would find out about the child, provide for her in every possible way, and expose Willoughby in the process? I just don’t think there’s any way he’ll end up on the podium after a misstep like that.”
“Well, we’re only thirty-eight seconds from finding out. Will either gentleman—and we use that term loosely—make it to Scotland and then abandon his teenage bride, alone and confused? Stay tuned and we’ll see you after the break.”
Welcome to the seventh night of the Jane Austen Winter Olympics. These Games have already seen some tremendous moments. Who could forget the Short Track Speed Ice Contradancing, with Mr. Elton cutting off Miss Smith in the semifinals, and Mr. Knightley dramatic rescue bringing them both into the finals, before his triumphant gold-medal skate with Miss Woodhouse? Or Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s death-defying tricks and precise execution bringing home the gold in Women’s Conversational Half-Pipe? But I think it’s fair to say that NO event at these Games has received as much as attention as the Mothers’ Snowboard Cross. Four strong contenders on a course that’s already claimed a lot of matchmakers. Here’s Mrs. Fitzpatrick and Dick Button with the call. Mrs. Fitzpatick?
Thanks, Bob. Yes, we do have a very strong field in these finals. In the red jersey you see Lady Catherine de Bourgh of Rosings Park. She’s a strong competitor, known for letting her temper get the better of her. Look for her to take the early lead in this race. Next to her in the blue jersey is Mrs. Bennet of Longbourne. I think it’s fair to say she wants this race as much as anyone here, and has trained so hard for it ever since her daughter Jane turned 15. She may want it too much, though. She just needs to lay down a nice smooth run, and keep her mouth shut. Bit of a tall order for her, eh Dick?
Indeed, Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Now a bit of a dark horse here is Lady Lucas of Lucas Lodge in the black jersey. We don’t know much about this competitor, except that she’s bold and may make a sudden move on the turns, so keep an eye out for her. And rounding out the field in the yellow jersey is Mrs. Gardiner of Longbourne. Now correct me if I’m wrong here, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, but isn’t Mrs. Gardiner originally from Gracechurch Street? Yet she’s competing here for Longbourne?
Yes, that’s right, Dick. Mrs. Gardiner’s own daughters are too young for her to compete for them, so she took Longbourne citizenship recently. A bit of luck for the Bennet girls: Mrs. Gardiner is a strong and wily competitor. She runs a very strategic race. And look for her to capitalize on the others’ mistakes. Bob?
Well, there you have it. Four mothers, all racing for the ultimate prize, an Olympic gold medal of a husband. We’ll be back after this.
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And now we’re back with the Mothers’ Snowboard Cross . . . and they’re on-course! This is for the gold!
Mrs. Bennet faltering in the rhythm section right of the bat, Dick, yet she manages to hold on. Will nothing shut that woman up? And . . . yes, Lady Catherine settles into an early lead with a nice line around the first turn. Her daughter’s weak and unattractive, so she needs to stay out front to avoid any sudden passes by the others. So it’s Lady Catherine in front, followed by Lady Lucas, then Mrs. Gardiner, and Mrs. Bennet bringing up the rear. I think she may have taken herself out of it, Dick!
Longbourne will have to rely on Mrs. Gardiner for now . . . Oh! Sudden burst of speed out of Lady Lucas on that jump—she almost collides with Lady Catherine, but they both stay on the course. And, yes, Mrs. Bennet’s having real trouble in the back—she caught an edge on that turn and went over. It’s all down to Mrs. Gardiner now . . . And, yes, she passes Lady Lucas easily on that turn, nice inside pass there, looks like Lady Lucas lost the pace a bit in her near collision . . . And now the racers can see the bottom of the course! Just a few big jumps and they’re through . . . Lady Catherine still holding her lead. . . OH, and a stunning upset! Lady Catherine flips off Miss Elizabeth in mid-air and misses her landing! Mrs. Gardiner sails in for a smooth gold medal! Here comes Lady Lucas for the silver, and LOOK, HERE COMES MRS. BENNET over the final jump! WHAT an unbelievable comeback!!! Will Lady Catherine get up in time? . . . NO, and it’s a photo finish between Lady Lucas and Mrs. Bennet for the silver! We’ll have to wait for the replay on that. And Lady Catherine is still down—looks like she may really be hurt, we’ll hear from the doctors later, but WHAT an amazing race! So it’s Mrs. Gardiner with the gold, and, yes, she’s choosing Mr. Darcy for Miss Elizabeth, and Mrs. Bennet sneaks past Lady Lucas for the silver . . . looks like she’ll pick up Mr. Bingley for Miss Bennet, no surprise there, and Lady Lucas with the bronze takes Mr. Collins for Miss Lucas. Lady Catherine took herself out of it, so no husband for Miss de Bourgh. Mrs. Fitzpatrick, your final thoughts on the race?
Well, Dick, I’m really impressed with the way Mrs. Bennet recovered from her early mistakes to snag a silver medal for her daughter. And Mrs. Gardiner’s handling of the course was superb overall. It can be so easy to let the other racers push you around, and she really avoided all that. She’s a class act, through and through. Overall an excellent day for the Longbourne family. And I think we’ll see both Longbourne ladies back on the circuit—there are plenty of Bennet daughters to go around! As for Lady Catherine, what can I say? She just did not respect the course and the other racers, and she’s paid for that. We’ll have to wait another four years to see whether Miss de Bourgh will ever get a husband. Bob?