Wednesday, June 30, 2010

As Retold by Sadako: Madeline

After the success of my recent Eloise post, I decided I would do a Madeline one. On y snark!

In an old house in Paris
All covered in vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.

They received quite a formal education
In learning how never to break formation.

In two straight lines they broke their bread
Brushed their teeth
Channeled Adrian Monk
And went to bed.

They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines
In rain or shine

Never once did they break routine in all their lives
To alter the schedule would give them hives.

They smiled at the good
And frowned at the bad.
And moral ambiguity made them very sad.

The cutest one was called Madeline.
She wasn't afraid of living in a vermin infested house

She befriended each and every mouse

To the tiger in the zoo, Madeline said, "Honh honh honh, silly bourgeois tigre!"

And of all the girls at school,
Madeline was always first
In the orphanage death pool.

In the middle of one night
Miss Clavel put on her light
And said, "Something is not right."

Little Madeline sat up in bed.
Surely she might be dying
To engage in unscheduled crying!

Dr. Cohn came and dialed: DANton-ten-six
"Nurse," he said, "I've figured out a way to rhyme appendix!"

Everybody had to cry
Not a single eye was dry
For to engage in nonconformity
Would have been quite a travesty.

Dr. Cohn took Madeline away in the night and
in two hours,
Madeline woke up in a room filled with flowers.

Ten days passed.
One day Miss Clavel said, "Isn't this a fine-
to visit Madeline?"

The girls nodded: it was time!
But oh, they sighed,
To appear in a book free of stilted rhyme!

In they walked and then said, "Ahh"
Candy, toys, and a dollhouse from Papa
But the biggest shock by far,
Was the mark of individuality: a stomach scar!

That night the girls broke their bread
Brushed their teeth
And went to bed.

All of a sudden Miss Clavel knew something was not right
Sensing a disaster, she ran fast and then faster
She asked,
"Please children, do, tell me what is troubling you?"

"Boohoo, we want to have our appendix out, too!"

Said Miss Clavel,
"I'm sorry, little girls
But I'm afraid I haven't another rhyme
For appendix this time."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Movies in a Minute: Little Shop of Horrors

Producer David Geffen: "We'd love to see what you can do with this movie musical, Frank. Just make it a little more family friendly than the original. Less botanical Faust, more the Great Venus Fly Trap Caper."

Director Frank Oz: "Wokka wokka!"

Seymour: "Hi Audrey. You look pretty today. What do you call that shade of eyeshadow?"

Audrey: "I walked into a wall, by Max Factor."

Mr. Mushnik: "Get out of here, urchins. Quit loitering!"

Ronette: "Man, I wasn't loitering, were you, Crystal?"

Crystal: "Not me, Ronette, how about you, Chiffon?"

Phil Spector: "The lack of royalties! Damn you, Geffen."

Mushnik: "That's it. We're closing up the plant store. I knew I should have gone into pawnbroking."

Seymour: "Wait--maybe if I put this strange and interesting new plant in the window, it'll attract customers."

Man: "Excuse me. I couldn't help noticing that strange and interesting new plant."

Seymour: "It's an Audrey II. It appeared after the total eclipse of the sun."

Man: "Well, goodbye. Wait, while I'm here, I'll take two dozen roses. I'll need them to woo Catherine O'Hara into starring in my next mockumentary. It's about an overweight Southern belle whose four year old is the toast of the kiddie pageant world."

Mushnik: "We're in business! Kids, I'm taking you out to dinner."

Audrey: "I can't. I've got a date. Orin said he's sending me to the moon tonight."

Seymour: "Are we still going out?"

Mushnik: "You're not going anywhere, Seymour. You're staying home to nurse that sick plant and develop your Bob Cratchit like martyrdom while I indulge myself."

Seymour: "Oh, Twoie. What is it you want? What is it you need? I think I know what you want...oh boy. I'll give you a few drops, if that'll appease..."

Sadako: "If it weren't two decades too soon, we could just hand out razor blades at a Fall Out Boy concert and we'd be rolling in it."

Mushnik: "Business is better than ever!"

Seymour: "Audrey, will you help me upgrade the taste level of my clothing to used car salesman?"

Audrey: "I can't tonight. I've got a date with my boyfriend. He's a professional."

Mushnik: "What kind of professional wears a leather jacket and drives a motorcycle?"

Orin Scrivello: "I am your dentist..."

Crystal, Ronette, Chiffon: "Here he comes, girls, the leader of the plaque...He's a dentist and he'll never ever be any good..."

Geffen: "Do you think we could work in a He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss) ref, guys?"

Audrey II: "Feed me! FEED ME!"

Seymour: "Okay. Uh. I'll just run down to Schmendrick's and pick you up some nice fresh sirloins."

Audrey II: "Must be fresh. Must be human."

Edward Cullen: "That's just sick, man. You should really go vegan. So much better for your pores."

Seymour: "I don't know anyone who deserves to get chopped up and fed to a hungry plant!"

Audrey II: "Mm, sure you do."

Sadako: "Was there a Timothy Treadwell of the plant world?"

Seymour: "I'm...I'm here to kill you. Only I think I have to wrestle with myself about whether this is really worth it, and what it means to--"

David Geffen: "No. He's just going to die of gas poisoning. No pesky moral dilemma here that could run the risk of the audience not loving the protagonist! In our script, Orin Scrivello even stipulated in his will that he wanted to be devoured upon death, Armin Meiwes style."

Audrey II: "Feed me! FEED ME!"

Sadako: "God, it's worse than being Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner's assistants."

Seymour: "I love you, Audrey."

Mushnik: "A dentist's uniform in the trash? And then I catch you kissing his girlfriend? It begins to look like a motive!"

Seymour: "I guess I have to get more blood on my hands."

Frank Oz: "No, actually. Geffen rewrote the original stage version again, crossing out anything that would make your character look unsympathetic. Just stand there looking nebbishy while Audrey II does his thing. No guilt or moral ambiguity here!"

Mushnik: "Besides, I was planning on blackmailing you anyway. And I wouldn't take you out to dinner that one time. Hate me, audience, hate me as though I'm a botany inclined Miranda Priestly!"

Audrey II: "Mmm. But where was the cream filling?"

Seymour: "Creepy. Let's run away, Audrey."

Audrey II: "I call shotgun. Literally."

Seymour: "No! Time to destroy the vegetable for once and for all. Looks like we won and Audrey II was destroyed."

Audrey: "Let's move into the next available Levittown!"

Frank Oz: "And that was the end. Or...was it? Animated spin off series featuring a hip rappin' Audrey II, here we come!"

David Geffen: "And that's as close to a dark ending as I'm getting."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pop Culture Musings: Reality TV Stars

We live in interesting times. And by interesting times, I mean hella surreal ones. Living in the golden age of reality TV is both awesome and frightening. But I've decided to embrace it. Sure, instead of James Dean and Marilyn, we've got Kim Kardashian and Speidi. But these people are becoming the cornerstones of pop culture. So, let's explore. What does it mean to live in a world where we no longer have just plain stars, but reality TV stars?

Bethenny Frankel

Unlike most reality stars, Bethenny's relatively sleaze free. She seems to just work really, really hard. The woman is driven. She started off on The Apprentice before worming her way onto Real Housewives of New York (even with an initial lack of a husband, nobility, or J.P. Morgan funded alimony). Despite her handicap, she managed to come up the best news for calorie conscious alcoholics since the term drunkarexia was coined--of course, I'm talking about the Skinnygirl Margarita. Bethenny's even gotten herself a spin off show on Bravo.

Bethenny's the kind of girl who's constantly thinking about how to be on top work-wise. I suspect that even when she's having sex she's wearing a Skinnygirl tank top, just in case the Bravo cameras show up for a post coital session. So who's Bethenny? She's the Tracy Flick of the reality world. Constantly thinking about work and about accumulating one more accolade. (Is that why part of me couldn't help hoping that this season Jill Zarin would embody Matthew Broderick in Election and knock her down a peg--if only by hurling a metaphorical diet Pepsi at her Skinnygirl car?)

Donald Trump

OK, granted, Donald Trump isn't just a reality star. He's (sort of) a real businessman. Of course, to me he'll always be the asshole Apprentice boss or a creepy Miss America judge (or a random guy in the lobby in Home Alone 2). So where does Donald fit in?

He's William Zabka. You know, Johnny of the Cobra Kai in Karate Kid, or the rich bully in Back to School. He's that obnoxious asshole who exists solely to let us channel our inner Karl Marx. Yes, his whole function is to walk on camera and let the audience think, "I may not be rich...but at least I'm not the Donald."

So let's cut Donald some slack. Those remarks he made at Rosie O'Donnell over her weight? Ogling fake D-cups on the Miss America contestants old enough to be his next girlfriend? All contractually obligated, friends. By karma.

Tyra Banks

Tyra is the girl who in her youth was hotness personified, but who's now getting a little older--and a lot more insecure. Her ass may be spreading and maybe gravity's given her a few more of what Bridget Jones gently termed wobbly bits.

But Tyra won't go gentle into that good night of Spanx and soft lighting. It was the pictures that got too high def, dammit, not her hips that got too huge for the frame. She'll attack each and every paparazzi member for daring to suggest that her cellulite makes her any less of a woman. She's still the same sexy woman she once was--right? Right, guys? Remember? When she walked for Yves Saint Laurent and the entire crowd enjoyed multiple orgasms?

For that, Tyra Banks is the Norma Desmond of the reality show world. Except instead of a scary recluse in a eerily lit mansion in Beverly Hills, she'll be a scary recluse in a fluorescent lit talk show relegated to one of the Lifetime/Oxygen wannabe channels, ranting and raving about weaves, cellulite, and constantly showing clips of her old runway shows to suburban moms jonesing for Oprah.

Ozzy and Sharon

Remember when the Osbournes first got a reality show and MTV realized they had a new operating model cheaper even than finding the next Jesse Camp? The Osbournes didn't exactly embody class, no. And yes, they spawned Kelly Osbourne's "singing" career (the nepotism--it burns).

But the Osbournes never put their kids in danger for the sake of sweeps week (I'm looking at you, Balloon Boy Famille and the Sunderlands). Plus, Papa Don't Preach was almost acceptable when you think about how Luann De Lesseps raped autotune and left it for dead with Money Can't Buy You Class. And you know, Jack Osbourne may have gotten a few walk on cameos but he never starred in any sex tapes. (Thank god, because you know they would have involved hobbits.)

For that, Ozzy and Sharon are the Ozzie and Harriet Nelson of the reality show world. And yes, a world in which a rock star I affectionately dubbed Guano Muncher represents the ultimate cheesy TV dad is an incredibly surreal one.

Heidi Montag

I almost feel sorry for Heidi Montag.

She's tried and failed at so many things. Fashion school. Reality TV feuds. Aspiring to Tori Spelling's level of stardom. What will she ultimately be known as? Through plastic surgery, becoming the 21st century's answer to the Bionic Woman.

For this, I've gotta compare her to Lupe Velez. Lupe was a Mexican actress who (according to Roz on Frasier) wanted to be well known in death. She planned a dramatic suicide, got dolled up in a sexy negligee, and took an OD of pills...and then got nauseous and drowned in the toilet. (OK, snopes says this is a UL, but it'll serve the point all the same.) Why is Heidi the Lupe Velez of the reality show world? Because her best laid plans of getting famous by actually working hard and doing things fell through. But she'll be famous for being a living trainwreck.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Movies in a Minute: The Karate Kid

Daniel: "Hi. I'm the wrong side of the tracks Jersey boy. I have underdog permanently stitched to the back of my shirt."

Ali: "Oh. My parents wear monogrammed track suits around the house. And my boyfriend's an entitled upper class asshole."

Sadako: "Can you say class conflict any louder?"

Johnny: "Stay away from my girl!"

Cobra Kai: "Yeah!"

Daniel: "Ow."

Mr. Miyagi: "You underdog. Look like you need friend. Mentor. Buddy. Miyagi help."

Cookie Monster: "Good syntax! Me approve."

Mr. Miyagi: "Bonsai tree?"

Daniel: "There's no way I can trim a bonsai tree. It's 1984--Japan isn't cool or accessible even to the most alienated outsider. Hentai hasn't entered our cultural lexicon."

Mr. Miyagi: "Close eyes. Trust. Concentrate. Think only tree."

Sadako: "Mr. Miyagi, they should hire you to teach brain surgery and rocket science for the blind."

Daniel: "Johnny's crew beat me senseless and I already used the I walked into a door excuse, Mr. Miyagi. What do I do?"

Mr. Miyagi: "Go Cobra Kai karate teacher. Talk him about wayward students."

Teacher: "Let's fight about it."

Mr. Miyagi: "Fight at tournament conveniently taking place two months from now in neutral location. Give Daniel-san two months prepare."

Teacher: "Works for me. I've got the next two months free to attend that Chuck Norris Fantasy Camp."


Daniel: "There's no way I can beat Johnny."

Sadako: "He's got screaming in monotonous unison with the rest of the dojo down pretty good, I'll grant you."

Mr. Miyagi: "Karate not about fight. Fight always last resort."

Edward Said: "Could you use a verb, or a definite article once in a while, please? I need a break from spinning in my grave."

Sadako: "Take a chill pill, Eddie. You're going to need it for the Orientalism displayed when I snark SATC Deux."

Daniel: "I don't know. I just don't think I have what it takes to win."

Sadako: "There's no way you can't win. You have a magical Asian man, a mystical bandanna heirloom and your opponent is a stock rich asshole. Middle America would riot in the streets Rodney King style if you lost."

Mr. Miyagi: "Daniel-san. I promise teach karate. And no conjugate verbs. That my part. Your part, you do, no questions or challenging of Miyagi's grammatical structure."

Daniel: "Karate training? I'm being your goddamned slave! And could you pick up Strunk and White, please?"

Mr. Miyagi: "Daniel-san! Show me sand floor! Show paint fence. Show wax on, wax off! And one more thing. Miyagi already memorize Elements of Style. Like best chapter on brevity."

Ali: "Daniel, what's wrong?"

Daniel: "We're from two different worlds, Ali. You're from Encino. I'm from Reseda. You shop at Fred Segal. I wear Oriental hand-me-downs. You're going to go on to star in such family friendly eighties fare as Adventures in Babysitting and the last two Back to the Future films. I'll be lucky to get a bit part in My Cousin Vinny."

Ali: *punches Johnny* "See? It's okay now."

Sadako: "Take that, psychological fall out from class conflict."

Mr. Miyagi: "It time. Fight now. Remember karate that Miyagi taught you, Daniel-san."

Official: "First match. Point to Daniel."

Ali: "You're the best, Daniel! You're the best!"

Sadako: "No, too subtle. How will we know how Daniel's doing relative to his competitors?"

Joe Esposito: "You're the best, around! Nothing's ever gonna keep you down, you're the BEST!"

Teacher: "Sweep the leg!"

Johnny: "W-what?"

Teacher: "Show no mercy! Now shove him when he's down so the audience will know they're supposed to hate you."

Officials: "We're going to allow this, in order to set the overall tone of social warfare."

Officials: "Winner, winner, chicken dinner!"

Daniel: "We won, Mr. Miyagi! On a hurt leg, no less! Best wounded underdog story ever!"

Sadako: "Till Nancy Kerrigan, anyway."