Monday, September 9, 2019

Figuring Out My Nancy Drew

We are one month away from what could be the big Nancy Drew fan meltdown of 2019.  A new Nancy Drew television series starring Kennedy McMann will premiere on the CW network on October 9.  The series has already caused controversy and arguments between fans, and fans have not even seen it yet.  If the episode is faithful to the script that has been circulating online, then some fans will get quite upset because of the sex scenes.

The CW’s Nancy Drew Won’t Directly Adapt Any Books, But It Will Be Horny

Personally, I don't care whether Nancy Drew is horny or not.  In a perfect world, a Nancy Drew television series would be based upon the Grosset and Dunlap books, which means that she would not be horny.  Of course, I would prefer that.  However, we do not live in a perfect world, so there you go.

I want Nancy Drew to be strong and independent and motivated to solve mysteries.  You know, not like Nancy is portrayed in Nancy Drew Diaries #16 The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane.  Yes, I will keep linking to that one review.  If Nancy Drew has to be horny in order to be strong, independent, and motivated, then I can deal with it.

That aside, fans have already begun fighting among themselves due to varying opinions about this television series and how Nancy Drew will be portrayed.  The biggest problems arise when some fans make very strong statements including the phrase "not my Nancy Drew" or "not Nancy Drew."  Other fans have pointed out that the latter phrase is outright wrong, since a television series titled "Nancy Drew" is Nancy Drew by default, so the statement "not Nancy Drew" is inaccurate.  Using "not my Nancy Drew" also offends others, since one person's Nancy Drew may not be another person's Nancy Drew.

I find all of this to be rather interesting and have reflected upon it at length in recent months.

The inherent problem with filmed versions of books is that a filmed version cannot replicate what we see in our minds when we read the books.  Filmed versions will always fall short of expectation for that reason.

I am rather open-minded about various filmed versions of Nancy Drew, since I know that they cannot replicate my reading experience.  I do not like some versions very much or do not care about them, but they do not upset me.  I also keep quiet and don't tell other people when I don't particularly care for a certain version.  I don't want to spoil someone's joy or put negativity out there.  It just doesn't matter to me.

This got me to thinking:  Exactly which Nancy Drew books are my Nancy Drew?  To do this right, I must analyze both the cover art and the stories.  I will also use "not my Nancy Drew" repeatedly, so bear with me.  It's not a phrase that I like or have ever used, but it is appropriate in this discussion.  My use of "not my Nancy Drew" will offend some of you, which will make my point.  You've been warned.

Nancy Drew #1-34, original text with 25 chapters

Stories:  I did not read any of these books when young.  I like them, but I view them as a quaint older version.  Nancy doesn't act like Nancy should.  Not my Nancy Drew.

Cover Art:  I love the cover art, but again, this is older cover art.  Not my Nancy Drew.

Nancy Drew #1-34 revised text and #35-56

Stories:  I did read these books when young.  This should be my Nancy Drew.  Guess what?  It's not.  Many of the stories have not held up well, and I do not like them as much as I did when young.  Not my Nancy Drew.

Cover Art:  That stupid flip hairstyle.  Not my Nancy Drew.

Nancy Drew #57-78

Stories:  I don't like these books.  Not my Nancy Drew.

Cover art:  The cover art is good but looks a bit dated.  Not my Nancy Drew.

Nancy Drew #79-175

Stories:  Many of the stories are sabotage, but ignoring that aspect, these stories are quite good.  You know what?  This is my Nancy Drew.

Cover art:  I like the cover art for pretty much all titles.  Yes, this is my Nancy Drew.

Nancy Drew Files

Stories:  This Nancy Drew annoys me because of her relationship with Ned.  Not my Nancy Drew.

Cover art:  The cover art is fine, but this is not my Nancy Drew.

Nancy Drew Girl Detective

Stories:  I actually like this chick.  Aside from when Nancy is portrayed as too forgetful, I like this version.  This is my Nancy Drew.

Cover art:  Just take a look at the banner on my Facebook page.  I love the logo.  This is my Nancy Drew.

Nancy Drew Diaries

Stories:  Don't get me started.  Not my Nancy Drew.

Cover art:  The cover art is pretty, but Nancy is too young.  Not my Nancy Drew.

Regarding the different filmed versions of Nancy Drew, most of them are not my Nancy Drew.  In particular, Bonita Granville is not my Nancy Drew.  She's too silly.  The filmed versions that I like the very best are the 1995 television series starring Tracy Ryan and the 2002 television movie starring Maggie Lawson.  I tend to prefer the modern filmed versions over the vintage filmed versions.

Okay, so I figured it out.  I am a modern Nancy Drew girl.  I prefer the modern filmed versions, and I am quite fond of most of Simon and Schuster's Nancy Drew output from the 1980s to the present day, with the exception of the Nancy Drew Files and Nancy Drew Diaries series.  My Nancy Drew is a more modern version, which is why I am open-minded about new versions.  I just don't see a problem with Nancy Drew changing to fit modern society.

Even when the version has problems, I still get some pleasure out of it.  I also actually do enjoy reading the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  The books are seriously flawed, but I get a kick out of writing my reviews.  I am especially proud of my Heliotrope Lane review, which is why I keep linking to it.  Oops, I did it again.

Did my use of "not my Nancy Drew" offend you when I applied it to the original text books?  If so, then that's why fans of more modern versions get so upset when "not my Nancy Drew" is used.  I do not get offended by that phrase, but I wish people would quit using it due to the trouble it causes.

I would never use "not my Nancy Drew" aside from what I just did in this post because I have always thought of Nancy Drew as the composite of every Nancy Drew that has ever been.  My Nancy Drew is actually every single one of them combined.  Nancy Drew is the sum total of every version of Nancy Drew that has ever existed.  She is that brash girl from 1930, that poised young woman from 1965, and that quirky girl detective from 2003.  She is Pamela Sue Martin, Emma Roberts, Maggie Lawson, Sophia Lillis, Tracy Ryan, Bonita Granville, and soon to be Kennedy McMann.

Nancy Drew is so much more than the character from the original text books.  She has become part of our culture.  As Nancy Drew changes with the times, the essence of the character remains the same.  Nancy Drew transcends time and space.  She has existed since 1930 and will exist so long as published or filmed versions remain available.  She represents many different things to many people, but at her core is a confident young woman who likes to solve mysteries.

Long live Nancy Drew!


Pet said...

My favourite screen Nancy Drew is Bonita Granville, but my favourite Nancy Drew book series is Nancy Drew Girl Detective. So, if I had a 'my' Nancy Drew, it's very hard to say which version she is.

Albert Alioto said...

How true should adapters for movies or television be to the way a character was originally conceived and written? It is a difficult question. My answer would be that, while it is almost certainly impossible to be 100% faithful, things should be kept within reason. There are some lines that should not be crossed. I would say showing Nancy engaging in sex scenes would cross a line that should not be crossed. Before an adapter would do that, he or she should create his or her own detective. But then it would not be possible to exploit the popularity Nancy has achieved over ninety years.

NancyMysteryFan said...

My Nancy is a combination of original 25 chapter Nancy and Nancy Drew Files Nancy. Kind of a weird mix, but I like OG Nancy because she sometimes packs heat and drives a hotrod and Files Nancy is closer to my generation so she's more relatable. Although I agree that Files Nancy sometimes treats Ned like dirt. I also like the Bonita Granville version, and the Pamela Sue Martin show, and the Emma Roberts movie. I will not be watching the new show this fall because everything on the CW is stupid garbage. I will say that the actress they've got playing Nancy has got the perfect look for the part.

CvilleTed said...

Well said! And we share the same favorite “Nancy Drew”.

Sindy said...

Thank you Albert Alioto! I totally agree.

ADF said...

I'm pretty much in agreement with NancyMysteryFan; my "ideal" Nancy is primarily a mixture of Original Nancy and 80's Nancy. I prefer the headstrong stubbornness of Original Nancy and the young adult independence of the Files and Super Mysteries Nancy (actually, that Nancy might have acted a bit too much like an adult--she's really a 24-year-old in disguise, as are Frank and Joe. But that goes along with the times; the latchkey kids of that decade sought to grow up really quickly).

I'm hoping we can all at least agree that the planned CBS series starring a mid-30's NYPD homicide detective Nancy investigating Bess's murder was too far to be considered a "Nancy"? It's one thing to have the character be horny and quite another to have a series that is conceptually completely different from what the IP is actually supposed to be.

Jennifer White said...

I can deal with pretty much anything being done with Nancy Drew - within reason - but there is one line I do not want an adaptation to cross. Nancy Drew must be young, no more than around 25. I am completely against a Nancy Drew who is fully into her adult life like that proposed show planned to do. This has to do with my preference for books for teens and younger. I do not read books aimed at adults, so I do not want Nancy Drew to be crossed over into that realm.