Green Gables would’ve been better off with a boy

November 20, 2020

“Anne with an E” is Netflix’s adaptation of “Anne of Green Gables,” though it seems the creators of the show did not read the book. “Anne with an E” centers around Anne (Amybeth McNulty), who is adopted by siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, and how she adapts to live in Avonlea, on Prince Edward Island, in 1896. She struggles to make friends at school, however always has her best friend Diana (Dalila Bela) and farm-boy Jerry (Aymeric Jett Montaz) by her side. 

The show is very heartwarming and tackles various issues, from racism to women’s education. The relationships formed on the show are beautiful: from the immediate love Matthew (R. H. Thomson) has for Anne, to the slow but strong bond between her and Marilla (Geraldine James), to her relationships with her classmates. Most of the characters in the show were very likable, and there were a lot of whom I wished got more on-screen time –– I am looking at Jerry and Gilbert (Lucas Jade Zumann) in particular. It is definitely a coming of age story that may not be as relevant today but tackles themes that are still relevant in society today. Even though the show is good, it has one major downside: Anne. 

Anne is the worst character ever written: She is dramatic and immature, but even worse, she is just a bad person. I do not understand why everyone thinks she’s so great—she’s a spoiled brat, which is ironic because she’s an orphan. At first I felt bad for her because all of her classmates were making fun of her and being very mean to her, but she ended up so annoying I couldn’t even feel bad for her any more. She makes drama out of everything. When something does not go her way, she yells and storms out. If she doesn’t get what she wants, she keeps begging and nagging for it. I get that she’s 13, but her behavior is more along the lines of someone in their “terrible twos.”  

Even though Anne is presented as the brightest in her class, literally everyone else is more mature than she is. Her best friend Diana does everything for her and is always there, yet Anne does not appreciate her at all. Anne even yells at Diana because she agrees that Anne messed up. When the new teacher comes, she HAS to make a good first impression on the teacher, making a huge deal out of it. In order to impress the teacher, she outs the stories of everyone’s life. She treats everyone who cares about her and is nice to her like trash. Jerry was nothing but nice to her, and she’s always rude to him. Cole (Cory Grüter-Andrew) was always on her side and defended her, but she betrays him just so the teacher likes her. She invades Mathew’s privacy by reading and responding to letters that were meant for him. She pisses me off so much that when she starts being dramatic, my finger magically goes to the fast-forward button. 

She became less annoying in the third season; however, she did not become a “better” person. She is still inconsiderate towards Matthew and Marilla, from talking about her birth parents, which very obviously upsets them, to threatening to “leave and never come back.” She’s 16; she should know better.  And then there is the whole thing with the article she wrote that ruined Josie’s life. I could probably write an entire article about how messed up that situation was, but in short, she wrote an article in the school newspaper (behind everyone’s back), which heavily implied that Josie (Miranda McKeon) had close relations with a boy (which was not acceptable, and ruined her reputation). This just showed that she is still a child who doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions. 

I thought she outgrew her self-centeredness, as well; however, when the relationship between Diana and Jerry is revealed, she still manages to make it about her, even though everything is a lot more complicated than that. She is mean to Gilbert (yet again) even though he is doing her a favor by going with her on her “journey.” Speaking of him, I cannot believe Gilbert has a crush on her; he is such a lovely character and genuinely a good person. The show would be so much more enjoyable if it were centered around him. In spite of all of this, season three was the best one, largely because it focused more on the side characters than the previous two (and they are really what kept me watching). If you still want to watch the show even after reading this, I would recommend starting with season three and just reading summaries of the first two: Spare your nerves.

The show was fairly good overall, but Anne really ruined it for me. There were multiple moments (I am looking at you, season two episode four) where I genuinely wanted to stop watching the show because she was so unbearable. I really do not understand the love people have for her. She is all the worst qualities of Anne from the book, with none of her lovable qualities. Overall, if you have nerves of steel and are looking for a show to watch, “Anne with an E” is the show for you; otherwise, stay away. There are enough nerve-wracking things going on in real life right now.   

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