Please send help. I’ve fallen, headfirst, into the Hannibal fandom.
So much so that I felt an overwhelming urge last week to rewatch the 2007 rom-com The Jane Austen Book Club, starring our tortured Hannibal hero, Hugh Dancy. Because Hugh is doing WORK on that show. It’s a visceral, virtuoso performance that deserves and will get its own post. I don’t trust the Emmys to get anything right ever, but I will still make empty threats about quitting TV all together if he’s not recognized by every award-bestowing body for playing Will Graham.
But let’s discuss Grigg right now.
The Jane Austen Book Club is based on the Karen Joy Fowler novel of the same name, and it’s precious. Sylvia’s (Amy Brenneman) husband has just left her, and her friends organize an all-Jane book club to help her escape FROM and bring her back TO the real world. Other members of the JA book club are den mother Bernadette (Kathy Baker, who should be in all the things); severe but fragile Prudie (Emily Blunt); Sylvia’s headstrong daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace); and independent Jocelyn (Maria Bello), who invites along a serious cutie-patootie she meets in an elevator to set Sylvia up for a May-December comeback fling. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Grigg Harris.
There’s so much to love about Grigg – and that stupid pom-pom hat is pretty high on the list – that I couldn’t let his perfection go uncelebrated. I mean, why even HAVE a blog if I can’t use it to swoon over characters in obscure, low-grossing, 6-year-old rom-coms? Grigg is just the best, and I’ll prove it.
Grigg Harris actually LIKES women. Yet, remains completely baffled by them.
As it should be.
Grigg is clearly into Jocelyn when they first meet, and would have accompanied her to a tractor pull if she’d invited him. But once he joins the book club, Grigg is so disarmingly IN IT. He’s open and sincere and actually (hallelujah) INTERESTED in the lives of his new friends, these women. He likes being around them, though they still hold the power to mystify him. He has sisters, who raised him to be the kind of man they thought he should be AND simultaneously ruined him for the crasser aspects of modern life. Grigg Harris doesn’t meet his boys at the bar after book club to laugh at those old broads and congratulate himself for coming up with such a foolproof scheme to get into Jocelyn’s pants. And now I am imagining the evil alternate universe version of this movie wherein Dane Cook does just that. There’s a fart noise in the title.
Grigg Harris is an unapologetic geek.
He is undeterred when Jocelyn dismisses the science fiction that he loves so much. Grigg knows that it has value, both to his own personal narrative AND to the culture at large. And he tells her so. Geek pride, you guys. Do not recede into the woodwork. Stand your ground.
Jocelyn and Grigg’s flirtation and confusion is symbolized by that willingness to take something into your life without letting preconceptions get in the way. Austen is new to Grigg, and he’s excited to see what Jane’s got for him, without mentally tagging those novels as “girly” or “old-fashioned.” But Jocelyn waves off Grigg’s recommendation of the books of Ursula Le Guin, because she doesn’t “like” sci-fi. It’s not for her. It’s silly, it’s trite. She’s never even tried it. (Get it? GRIGG is sci-fi! Sneaky filmmakers.) Then she does and they make out, which proves that giving someone a really kick-ass book recommendation is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
But also just a total fanboy.
He’s not embarrassed about going solo to the Buffy convention or having an R2D2 ringtone or comparing Mansfield Park to Empire.
Just when you’re sure he’s safely in the Friend Zone…
Just because Grigg’s not the kind of dude who’ll paw at you endlessly when you’re trying to have a polite conversation doesn’t mean he can’t make his intentions very clear when he has to.
Those sisters of his. We should send them flowers.
Grigg Harris read Jane Austen.
As if Grigg wasn’t lovely enough before, he has now been elevated by reading all six Jane Austen novels. Doing this categorically makes you a better person.
A boy who can discuss whether or not Marianne Dashwood settled for Colonel Brandon before taking you in a manly fashion on the couch you helped him buy? Sometimes I want to scream at Jocelyn for taking so long to realize that she was LIVING THE DREAM.
Grigg Harris is a software millionaire (probably), but gives no fucks about money and has a shitty car and rides a bike everywhere.
This man has no earthly idea how much money he has, but it’s probably a shit ton. This could not matter less to Grigg. He bought the first couch he saw. (“It’s a difficult color.” “I like things that are difficult.”) He bought the first HOUSE he saw. His car runs on grease. He gets adorably excited about the reusable cup coffee refill deal at Starbucks. He’s not cheap, he just remains un-jaded. He’d rather spend money on tricking out his living room as a haunted house for the Northanger Abbey discussion (swoon), old comic books, and – thank you, Jesus – bike shorts.
My head canon is that Grigg anonymously donates enough money to completely fund the library where Sylvia works, but never tells anyone, not even Jocelyn. The book club continues to buy a table at the fundraiser and toast the secret benefactor every year. Accepted? Accepted.
I’m running out of words to describe the faultless Grigg Harris, so let’s just…
Thank you for helping me appreciate Grigg Harris, who is a little Darcy, a little Tilney, a little Wentworth, and even a little Edmund Bertram. If Jane were writing our lives, there’d be a lot more of him around.