It’s been common for some time to pair Onion headlines with stills from popular films or television shows, but the idea of pairing stills from Jane Austen films with parody headlines about “area men” has a particular charm to it.
Much like the popular webcomic Manfeels Park, Austen-Onion mashups use viewers’ familiarity with iconic Austen adaptation scenes and story-lines to deliver their comic punch. One post juxtaposing the popular 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice has inspired a writer to do an entire series.
Since seeing that first Austen-onion post and a number of Buffy and Marvel mash-ups, Austen-inspired writer KC Kahler (her Pride and Prejudice adaptation takes place on the Appalachian trail) has been creating a detailed series and posting them online.
“Practically every ‘area man’ or ‘area woman’ headline I saw in The Onion’s archives called an Austen character to mind,” she tells Flavorwire. The juxtaposition works even better than other Onion mashups because Austen was a satirist, she thinks: “People often lose it in the pretty costumes and stately houses of a screen adaptation, but Jane Austen was a sharp social critic.”
Indeed, Austen and the Onion have a few shared hobbyhorses, including sketchy men who hit on women without their consent, romantic awkwardness and befuddlement, endless frustration with ones’ relatives, and the narcissism and blindness that affects the wealthy and less-wealthy alike. “She wrote about people relating to each other as family members, friends, and romantic interests,” says Kahler. “They worry about what everyone worries about: money, love, finding happiness.” Here are a few of our favorite mashups from Kahler’s blog.