Following the modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice that became a classic 2001 romantic comedy ...
... and the sequel that landed its heroine in a Southeast Asian prison ...
It ... really strayed from the Jane Austen thing in a hurry
... Bridget Jones's Diary author Helen Fielding decided to take Bridget and Mark Darcy's relationship in a different direction in 2013's Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. Specifically, she killed half of them. It's not a quiet, dignified, British death, either: He gets blown up by a landmine in Sudan. It's like the fanfiction you write after one of your favorite characters disappoints you, except Austen's Mr. Darcy did nothing to deserve this. She literally blew up one of history's most beloved romantic heroes just because she could. Our contacts there are notoriously tight-lipped, but it's safe to assume Fielding is on some kind of MI6 watchlist.
It doesn't get better from there. Most of the book is about Bridget clumsily navigating the PTA, the film industry, and social media, which is fine and fun and notably things she could have easily done while happily married. But she's pressured by friends -- who are also, it must be noted, well into their 50s and don't seem to have changed at all from the confused, binge-drinking, men-obsessed singles they were in their 30s -- to get Botox and plunge back into the dating scene, where she illustrates just how little she, too, has grown over the previous 20 years. It's basically Bridget Jones's Diary: Senior Edition.
Naturally, the only man she can connect with (at least until the last pages, when she finally realizes her son's dreamboat teacher has been relentlessly pursuing her the whole time for some reason) hasn't even escaped his 20s. That's right: Bridget Jones became a cougar. Even worse, they meet on Twitter, where they exchange cringey tweets complete with roleplaying-style action out in the open where God and everybody can see.
It must be difficult to have a popular character whose relatability hinges so much on her insecurity and social incompetence and allow her to actually grow as a person, but is this the elderly Bridget Jones anyone wanted? Still demanding answers from the self-help section but now chasing after men half her age? It's no wonder, when it came time to make the next movie, that they skipped straight to Fielding's next idea ...
... which takes place before the events of Mad About the Boy with a distinctly alive Mark Darcy.
Manna, regrettably, has a Twitter.
Top image: Miramax Films