There's a scene in the new Little Women TV show that never should have been aired.

“Yes, hello, Triple 0? I’d like to report a crime against classic literature and storytelling.”

Was my reaction to viewing a recently released and highly anticipated mini-series, but since my complaints were not taken seriously (and I was informed it was in fact a crime to call 000 for something that was not  technically a life-threatening emergency… at least according to them) I will have to vent my thoughts here instead.

During the Christmas holidays the lovely team over at Stan dropped the new BBC version of Little Women, a re-imagining of the iconic 1869 Louisa May Alcott novel that I, along with many other generations of readers, have loved and devoured over time until the pages fell out of my book.

Listen: The Binge host Laura Brodnik explains the one every upsetting scene in the new Little Women.

Remaking a classic story is always a bit of a Hail Mary gamble, but this time around there were a lot of fans out there already prepared to have their Little Women loving hearts broken. Especially since the 1994 film version starring Winona Ryder as Jo March is pretty much regarded as the ultimate cinematic interpretation of the work.

And yet, I did try to put aside my book bias and watch the new mini-series with open eyes and there was actually a lot to like.

The entire thing is a pretty, pastel treat for the eyes and there’s a very gentle, almost lyrical way the whole story unfolds on screen, rendering the viewing experience almost like receiving a “warm hug on a very bad day” as one of my colleagues so eloquently put it.

The series also features quite an impressive cast, Emily Watson adds a new layer of depth to the sometimes one-dimensional Marmee March and Dame Angela Lansbury is completely sublime as Aunt March. Even celebrity offspring Maya Hawke (daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, in what I highly suspect was a bit of stunt casting) is able to hold her own in the leading role of Jo March.


But despite all the good intentions involved in revamping this classic for a new audience, there were also instances where they took the whole idea of “modernizing” the story a little too far.

In fact, there’s actually a scene where Meg and Jo are hanging out in the “retiring room” at a ball where Meg sits down on a toilet and talks to Jo while going about her business and you actually hear everything that’s going on in there.

It’s the Big Brother twist on Little Women absolutely no one in the whole wide world was asking for or wanted to see.

Now, I’m all for women not being depicted as robotic creatures on screen, or for being shamed for carrying out normal human bodily functions, but this was completely done in the wrong context.

Little Women was created in a time when, in accordance with society, nothing like that was depicted in literature. And by dropping scenes like that in (purely for shock value, I’m sure) you are effectively ripping apart how the story was meant to be told by disregarding the era in which it was created.

Listen: The Binge hosts Laura Brodnik and Brittany Stewart discuss the best and worst parts of the new Little Women. 

There’s a lot to love about this adaption, and I’m hoping in will introduce a new legion of fans to the iconic book and the much loved original movies.

But next time around, I’d like my Little Women served without a side of urination. Thank you very much.

You can watch he entire BBC version of Little Women on Stan now. 

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