By Jennifer Abella
Previously on “Emma Approved” … Emma’s latest mission: help Maddy Bates.
Episode 38 (Surprise, Surprise): Emma’s in panic mode. Jane’s coming to this charity benefit. The Coles’ ranch isn’t a lock. But the “lifestyle excellence gods” look upon her in the form of tall, handsome, flirtatious tycoon Frank Churchill. As they flirt, he remembers he met Maddy’s niece, “Jane … something” in London but she didn’t strike him as anything special. Hmmmm. His company, who does some work with Jane’s nonprofit, is all about renewable energy. Emma mentally checks “celebrity” and “cause” off her party to-do list.
Episode 39 (Benefiting the Greater Good): Deny it all you want, Emma, but someone is very dressed up today for her meeting with Frank. A a bit of smile smile, flirt flirt, how YOU doin’, she lets him pick where he’ll sit at the benefit; he asks where she’s sitting. She’ll be busy so he says he says he’ll take one for the team and just sit with the Bateses. Snarky Knightley grumps about the money, and Emma shoos him away. Wrong guy, Ems.
Episode 40 (Two for Two): The benefit was a smashing success. Frank helped them earn $150,000 for charity, and Maddy came out of it with tons of business cards. Alex wonders why people think Frank’s a big deal. Emma accuses him of being jealous, and he denies it. They “did not/did too” when they should be kissing, but whatever. Maddy stops by with her gross jams, and of course Alex is so sweet, because he samples it on camera. Emma is touched that Maddy calls her one of her “favorite girls,” even if the other girl is Jane. Maddy bustles off to follow up with her new contacts. And Emma’s perfect streak continues!
I just want to prepare for what’s coming next because it’s kind of big. Ready? Okay.
Episode 41 (Karma is a …): So Emma’s all excited, because she’s certain their next client is just around the corner. She’s not wrong, either. Like a bad penny guess who turns up but James “Sen. Jerkface” Elton! WHAT. Surprised? Just wait. James wants to hire Emma. No, not to find him a wife; he snidely says that’s obviously not her strong suit. (Ooh, burn.) He wants her to plan his engagement party. DOUBLE WHAT. Which is pretty much what she says. He raves about his lady’s beauty, brains, ambition and family connections. And she’s on the way to meet Emma. Emma fills in Alex, who’s just happy for the business. He says that if she refuses to plan the party, James’ll think she’s not over their last encounter. James calls Alex “Alec.” Ugh. They’re chatting when James’s fiancee arrives. Now. Here’s where it helps to have watched “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” Because his fiancee is none other than … Caroline Lee. TRIPLE WHAAAAAT. If you don’t recognize that name, “LBD” transformed Mr. Bingley into Bing Lee, ergo Caroline is his manipulative sister. This was a brilliant move by the producers: Bringing a favorite character from the “LBD” universe over to the show was a big surprise fans of both series. And Caroline makes for a great Mrs. Elton: simpering, cunning and arrogant. Now back to the show! Caroline of the incredibly shiny hair saunters in, and Emma — like the rest of us — is in total shock. I just can’t even…. (Seriously, if you haven’t watched “Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” go do so and come back in about 9 or 10 hours after you’re done.)
Episode 42 (No, No and No): Emma really does not want to plan the engagement do. Emma says Caroline Lee is too high maintenance and Alex is smart enough to stop himself from pointing out the obvious similarities between Emma and Caroline. Emma says she’s heard “mixed” feedback about the future Mrs. Elton (probably on Twitter, from every viewer telling her to RUNNNNNNNNNNN!) and worries about Harriet’s reaction if they take the job. So she breaks the news to Harriet, who takes it pretty well. Alex wants Emma to look at this job as an opportunity — for revenge? she asks — for redemption, he says, for the demise of her last perfect streak. And finally Em’s on board. Oh, this is gonna be fun.
Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Follow @nextjen on Twitter. And remember to like Jane Austen Summer Program on Facebook and follow @JASPhotline on Twitter.