Anne With An “E,” Season 01, Episode 01 – Foster/Adoptive Family Review

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Anne with an “E”, Season 01, Episode 01
Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny

Synopsis:

From Netflix:
She’s the Anne Shirley you know and love, still spunky — but in a whole new light. Welcome home to the world of Green Gables.
Emmy-winning writer-producer Moira Walley-Beckett (“Breaking Bad”) puts a new twist on L.M. Montgomery’s timeless tales.

Episode Synopsis:
A bungled message brings spirited orphan Anne Shirley to Green Gables, where unmarried siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are waiting for a boy.

Grade:

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Transfiguring Adoption awarded this movie 2 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]


Transfiguring Adoption’s Thoughts:

**There may be spoilers**

Anne with an “E” is an Netflix original series that appears to be creating new slight twists on the old favorite and updating the tale enough to interest a new generation. The series was created for enjoyment by the general public with a TV-PG rating. It was drawn to Transfiguring Adoption’s attention that the foster and adoptive community was naturally curious about this series due to the fact that the main character, Anne, is an orphan.

As you read this review, you might be immediately curious about the Two Hoot score this episode received. Please visit the link above to see the description of our system. Within those descriptions you will see that a Three Hoot score is the baseline and a Two STILL describes a piece of media with merit. Transfiguring Adoption found that this piece of media requires that a caregiver understand very well where their child is at in their trauma journey.

Negatives:

  • Portrayals of Beatings and Maltreatment
    Throughout the episode, Anne has various flashbacks of abuse that occurred in a past foster home where she was worked hard like a slave. Anne was also beaten in her previous foster home and witnessed her foster father die from a heart attack as he beat her outside.
  • Negative Judgement from Caregivers
    Continuously throughout the episode Anne is made to feel that she is a disappointment, a thief, and worse to the adults around her.
  • Bringing Worst Fears To Life
    Transfiguring Adoption believes this to be the most significant concern for a caregiver to pay attention to when considering this series for inclusion with your children. While the episode does do a great job of bringing up issues related to foster/adoptive families, the series tends to take the worst fears of child in that situation and execute on those fears.*** Spoiler Alert ***
    At the end of this episode Marilla (adoptive mother) accuses Anne of stealing a broach. Anne is given an ultimatum – confess of the crime (which she did not commit) or return to the dreaded orphanage. Anne confesses/lies and is sent back to the orphanage anyways. Situations like this and others are already in the back of a child’s mind. Depending on how secure your child feels in your family, it might be hard for them to see their worst fear played out to completion. It might be difficult for a foster or adoptive parent to help their child understand after the show, “That happened to Anne, but it will never happen to you.” Why?! Some children simply will not trust the word of adults as adults in their pasts have done nothing but cause hurt and those seeds of fear that exist are more POWERFUL than mere words that state the contrary.
    Granted, this series was not created for our families to use for discussion, but it would have been better to have the adoptive mother and father to show that going back to the orphanage is NOT an option.

Positives:

  • Pertinent Foster/Adoption Situations
    The episode does seem to do a good job of bringing up issues that exist within a foster/adoptive situation.

    • Dealing with past abuse
    • Using imagination to escape reality
    • Self-harm
    • Prejudice of family and close friends

Overall, Transfiguring Adoption felt that this could possibly be a good discussion starter for your family. It is imperative that caregivers understand their child and know how much they can handle. It will also be important to be available for conversation about this episode for a few weeks after viewing it.

Transfiguring Adoption would say that this series does seem like a good piece of media for caregivers to watch and allow themselves to have time for self-reflection. It could also be a great center piece for a foster/adoptive parent support group as the show does bring up some significant issues that cross the path of caregivers.

Discussion Questions for Kids:

  1. Does Anne want to be adopted? Why?
  2. How do you know Anne feels disappointed?
  3. What would you tell Matthew and Marilla about how they handled the situation of getting a girl when they thought a boy was coming to live with them?
  4. Why did Anne pinch herself so much? Is that good for her body?
  5. Do you think it was hard for Anne to meet all the new people in Green Gables? Why or Why not?
  6. What would you tell Anne are the best and worst parts of having to make new friends or meet new people?
  7. Why did Anne lie to Marilla about the broach?
  8. What would you tell Marilla about her behavior – thinking Anne a thief?

Discussion Questions for Caregivers:

  1. Be honest. What disappointments have you had in the foster care/adoption journey?
  2. Matthew, while disappointed, is able to see good qualities in Anne.
    What are the good qualities you see in your child?
  3. Have you had to deal with prejudice from family or close friends concerning your child? How have you helped your child through this? How have YOU coped?
  4. Marilla believes the stereotype of the day that orphans are thieves. In the heat of the moment Marilla believes Anne has stolen her broach.
    What rash decisions have you made in the heat of the moment? Were you able to apologize to your child? How did you forgive yourself?

Purchase Here:

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Written by
Co-founder of Transfiguring Adoption. A husband and father of four adopted children. Darren is a dynamic graphic artist and social media manager. He is an avid fan of the Harry Potter series and a lover of coffee. Twitter: www.twitter.com/darren_fink LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/darrenfink Facebook: www.facebook.com/darrenfink Instagram: @darren_fink

What do you think?

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1 Comment

  1. Remember I was disappointed in the first episode as well. And I think it is pertinent to note the differences in demeanor of Matthew and Marilla as many foster/adoptive partnerships (heck PARENTS) carry similar partnerships, with one being more patient and in-tune with the child than the other. In episode 2 (spoiler), Marilla sees the error of her ways and this is a great discussion with a child that an adult SHOULD apologize if they wronged you, as they set the example of behavior to children. This isn’t my favorite version of the classic, and these books were written in a time when orphans were viewed very differently, but they can create wonderful discussion about success being based on hard work and determination rather than luck and circumstances.

    Reply

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