Privileged: Novel vs. TV Series, Which Is Worse?
The CW is not known for character-driven programming. Their last book to TV adaptation was Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl has one thing Privileged doesn't-rich girls that you want to watch. On the pages of the novel, Rose and Sage Baker are fully realized. They are horrible enough to talk protagonist Megan Smith into skinny-dipping in order to expose her naked to all of their friends. They use the way she looks against her until she begins to hide her real personality. When we first meet them on the television pilot, they're just indifferent. Megan tries to motivate them to study and they ignore her. It's not until the episode is almost over that we see any of the depths of meanness of the controlling twin Sage. The TV Sage briefly manages to get Megan fired and invites Megan's estranged younger sister to a charity event.
The twins aren't the only ones that have not benefited from a switch from page to the small screen. In the novel, Megan is the kind of protagonist you can relate to. She's smart but not taking herself too serious. Onscreen she's more slapstick than heartfelt. Megan's back-story also undergoes dramatic changes. On Privileged, Megan is a native to Palm Beach and has an estranged boyfriend-stealing sister and alcoholic father. The biggest problem with the sister storyline is that this was originally how Megan managed to connect to the less secure twin Rose. They bonded over having older sisters that they felt they couldn't live up to. Since the twins aren't so mean, now, I'm sure they'll find an even more obvious way for the girls to bond.
The show has managed to extend its longevity by getting rid of certain things that weren't crucial to begin with. Megan's sweet but boring boyfriend is gone and replaced with two slightly more interesting suitors. The competition between the poor boy and the rich kid isn't new but neither is anything else on this show. Television is becoming overrun with rich kids and luxury lifestyles. A plus to making the Baker twins slightly younger means it could be awhile before Megan has to leave Palm Beach. Privileged is still relying too much on old teen drama formulas for it too feel original, but at least the novel provides plenty of good and bad material to draw from.
Story by Lauren Attaway
Starpulse contributing writer
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