A 13-year-old girl with fiery red braids, almost as fiery as her temper and imagination, sits impatiently on the 1890’s steam train with her eyes focused on the prairie of Prince Edwards Island in eastern Canada.
Flashbacks of her dark orphan childhood lurk behind the bright blues of her eyes as she journeys toward the possibility of finally having a family to call her own.
This is where we meet Anne Shirley, soon-to-be Anne Shirley Cuthbert and Anne of Green Gables, in “Anne With an E” in the pilot episode. Now, after three seasons, two of which are on Netflix and the third of which just finished airing in Canada on Nov. 24, this may be one of the last times we get to see her.
Just a day after the finale aired in Canada on Nov. 25, Netflix and the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) announced the cancellation of this show based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book series “Anne of Green Gables.”
In a joint statement, the networks said, “We’ve been thrilled to bring the quintessentially Canadian story of ‘Anne With an E’ to viewers around the world. We’re thankful to producers Moira Walley-Beckett and Miranda de Pencier and to the talented cast and crew for their incredible work in sharing Anne’s story with a new generation. We hope fans of the show love this final season as much as we do, and that it brings a satisfying conclusion to Anne’s journey.”
After this news broke out, so did the hashtags #RenewAnneWithAnE and #SaveAnneWithAnE on Twitter.
Anne Shirley Cuthbert, Amybeth McNulty, herself even had words to share with the fandom:
It has now been a week since the news broke and Twitter is not backing off just yet. People are still tweeting about it every day, and articles are being published about it, such as this one by TV Fanatic writer Yana Grebenyuk.
As someone who started watching the show literally the night before hearing about its end, I have many disheartening feelings about it.
I’ve heard about the show for months and I finally worked up the emotional courage to give it a go. Then, not even a week later, I was halfway through what is the final season.
I’m sad. I never thought I would become so emotionally attached to this show. I thought it would be something unrelatable. How could I, a 21-year-old girl in the 21st century, relate to a 13-year-old orphan from the 19th century? Well, I’ve just finished season three, and I’ve probably never felt so strongly about keeping a show on air.
Without further ado, here are 10 reasons to #RenewAnneWithAnE:
(All of the following reasons are based on the first two seasons to avoid spoiling people who haven’t had a chance to watch season three yet)
One of the first things I noticed about this show, and one of the reasons why I fell in love with it, is the friendship between Anne and Diana. When they are introduced to each other in the beginning of season one, Anne holds herself back in fear of being rejected from yet another person. However, Diana sees right through this and gladly accepts Anne fully for who she is. After “pinky swearing” to be best friends forever, their joyful friendship carries the story forward and drives the spunky adventures that make this show so beloved by all generations.
Not only are Anne and Diana friends, but they have a group of friends filled with girls that all support each other as the show goes on. Also, Diana’s Aunt Josephine adds to the feminism of the show with all of her fun one-liners and deep heart-to-hearts she has with Anne. Even the mothers in this 19th century world call themselves “The Progressive Mothers” and wish to see their daughters go to college before settling down as a wife.
The first season doesn’t deal a lot with racism, but in season two, when Gilbert meets Sebastian on a ship to Trinidad, the characters become introduced to struggles other people face on a day-to-day basis. From having a doctor refuse service to him, not being allowed on a train, to seeing them forced to live in The Bog (the slums in the area), the characters not only see what Sebastian goes through, but they demand justice for him.
4.Questions beauty standards
In the first few episodes, Anne is consistently doused with harsh comments about her looks, from being called “an ugly little thing” to having boys in her school bark at her and call her a “filthy dog.” And, at first, she agrees with them and prays to God to make her pretty. However, as the show continues, and she gets a short haircut in season two after a bad run-in with black hair dye, she starts to embrace what makes her different. She owns who she is. These imperfections and her confidence to do what’s right makes the popular boy Gilbert start falling for her.
5.Deals with death
Yes, Anne’s an orphan so she deals with the fact that both her parents died when she was only three months old. But, one of the biggest times the show dealt with death was when Gilbert’s father died of illness in season one. The audience had to witness as Gilbert transitioned to being an orphan like Anne and how he dealt with the responsibilities thrust upon him. He fell into a depression and ran away to travel the world like his father always wanted for him until he eventually returned home to a community that supported him.
SIDENOTE: Is it weird that he left to travel the world when he was just barely a teenager, but Anne isn’t even allowed to ride a train by herself? Asking for a friend.
6.Teaches us to accept ourselves
After Anne has been constantly teased about her red hair, she decides it’s time to give herself the “raven hair” she’s always dreamt of. However, this goes awry leaving her with green frizzy hair that her adopted mother cuts off. Much to her dismay, in front of Gilbert, she’s left with a pixie cut and called the “new boy” at school. But as she goes to a party at Aunt Josephine’s house, she gets many compliments on it and starts to embrace the short hairdo. Her confidence grows in this small face of adversity, and eventually so does her hair. This is a good lesson to embrace who we are and to find the silver lining in every situation.
7.Love is love
At Aunt Josephine’s party, it is also revealed that Josephine was romantically involved with her “best friend” Gertrude since they were children. This eventually inspires Cole to come out as gay to Anne, and she embraces both Aunt Josephine and Cole with open arms. I had been waiting for Cole to come out, and seeing him finally accept who he is and trust Anne with it was beautiful and definitely brought a tear (or two… or three!) to my eye.
8.Never limit yourself
One of my favorite little moments from the series is when Anne is sitting with Cole in their hideaway in the forest and they’re talking about what they want to be when they grow up. Cole feels destined to be an artist and asks Anne, “Are you going to be a writer?” Anne responds with, “Maybe. Maybe I’ll be a lot of things.” I love that. That shows that we don’t have to be just one thing in life. We can be anything we want and we can be more than one thing at once.
A favorite character of mine definitely has to be Miss Muriel Stacy, Anne’s teacher. When we first meet her, she’s wearing trousers and riding a motorbike that she fixed herself. We find out that she’s a widow and she’s just fine being unmarried in life and only misses the companionship of her late husband. She teaches Anne to be herself and to not worry about societal norms and to chase adventure in life even if it’s not suitable for a woman in that time. I love her, and she kicks butt. That is all.
10.People love and relate to this show
The final reason why this show should be saved is because people love and relate to it. After the news of the cancellation, #RenewAnneWithAnE was trending number one worldwide on Twitter. This is a show that almost seamlessly weaves the darkness and harsh realities of life with the day-to-day magic found all around us. It connects people together in a way unlike other shows today. And, if there’s a market for it working so hard to save it, then it should stay on air.
Featured Image: Amybeth McNulty as Anne Shirley Cuthbert in “Anne with an E.” Photo courtesy Netflix and the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC)