The Mermaids, Singing
October 1, 2008 1 Comment
While watching Funny Girl, I kept wanting to apply the plot from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It doesn’t completely hold up, but is fun to consider.
- Red hair.
- The view from the bottom (Fanny’s Henry Street her own little ocean kingdom)
- The singing, usually about yearning or adorable shenanigans.
- Legs as the beauty ideal. Fanny is constantly referencing her skinny legs, while Ariel just wants legs and a pass to the castle.
- Major transformation: street-kid to confident celebrity, or mermaid to leggy bride.
- Nicky and Prince Eric both go for ruffled shirts.
Maybe it was the sense of ingenue that both films share, but it was very fun. Other thoughts:
- Fanny’s first dinner with Nicky is so full of first relationship flutters. I love her back and forth between the shock that this man, this hot guy likes her, and then her insistence on her own control/narrative of elegance/composure. She is both inexperienced and fairly sure of what she wants (though unwilling to thoroughly announce it).
- That divan. Wait, that dining room. I hate to be crass, but that private dining room is pretty much one giant vagina (at least, this is the thought I had when the doors open, which led me to thinking if all the infamous red rooms of bordellos are actually giant versions of engorged membranes).
- Back to the divan. There it is, giggly and very present. I love her reaction to it. I’m not sure I love how she succumbs (that we actually see her ultimately horizontal), but I love how it is the big scary hilarious unavoidable (she can’t stop sitting on it) elephant in the room. Also, I do kinda love that she is ultimately horizontal. She’s no seducee, she’s an interested newbie.
- Much enjoyed quote: “A stranger should be strange,” says Fanny’s mom at her party, surmising Nick as he happily gambles with the older ladies.
- Is one of the reason’s Streisand is so popular the same reason most people like Springsteen’s “Thunder Road”? In that song, there is the famous line “You ain’t a beauty, but hey, you’re alright.” Julia Roberts even identifies with that line (I read that in a Rolling Stone once). Do we love things that acknowledge our fear that we aren’t gorgeous, but are still indeed attractive in some other soul serving way? Do we love watching obviously gorgeous people talk about their insecurities, thus proving that our insecurities insure our own humble beauty?
- Oh! The costumes. Le sigh.
- Did you notice the strange refrigeration theme? In that first song she sings on roller skates she keeps talking about the Frigidaire man, and once rich, she shows off her in home icebox. Thoughts?
- I also kept thinking of Jennifer Aniston. So, Ariel and Anniston. Odd?
- Lobsters in Maryland? No, silly movies. It’s crabs.
- Speaking of lobsters, this brings us to Doris Day. Fanny could have a good long chat with Day’s character in The Thrill of it All!. They both have men that cannot handle their women in higher paying, more satisfied jobs. Except, fertility does solve Day’s problem, and mostly seems to complicate Fanny’s (though it’s more of a sidenote).
- Nicky is gross, full of weakness that I will allow myself but not anybody I want to marry. He is so frustrating at the end that I cannot believe her last song. The ending is bullshit. The dress is divine.
- Nicky is fairly dreamy at the start. But, he reminds me of two similarly dreamy men (upon initial acquaintance) that are wracked by immaturity and self-esteem probs. So, lesson learned.
This comes together to another theme that has been running around my head lately. A very dear friend of mine is recovering from a recent pregnancy loss. The pregnancy itself was unexpected, embraced, and then discovered to not be a successful pregnancy. This all happened in weeks, and the changes in her life and outlook (as you know the power of a few weeks), were immense. I am starting to think that all major things in our life are about creation–love, reproduction, work. These are the places where the stakes do not need our tampering to make them higher (versus the pettier intense narratives that I may create and obsess in my daily life). But when it comes to these things, time can stop, worlds can change. These things are the stuff of biography, of that certain juice where we perk up and say “I didn’t know it could be like this. I didn’t know this could be part of my life.” This could go either good or bad, but it where we become our own movie, and get to leave the television redundancy of the every day.
We make some good things,