Friday, April 07, 2006

Mystifying Things I've Seen at the Movies Lately

So, I usually save this space for self-promotion, and nothing else, believing that to use it for other things (1.) would inevitably turn into navel-gazing, and (2.) would take time away from doing more productive writing. However, there are a few things I need to address, and they seem distinctly blog-like, rather than performance or publication-oriented, so here goes...

The Mystery of the Will Rodgers Foundation PSA

Here in NYC (and likely the rest of the country, though I wouldn't know for sure) they're running a public service announcement in front of movies. Here's a bare-bones synopsis, adjusted for my weak memory.

A teenage girl walks through the halls at school, and Miss Piggy comes up to her, yelling "Jenny! Jenny!" wanting to remind her about some charity fashion show that she needs to help Miss Piggy with, after school. Jenny takes out a marker and writes a reminder to herself on her arm. Then she's in the library where Fozzie and Gonzo remind her that their science report is due tomorrow, and she needs to work on that. Jenny makes another note. Also I think Kermit asks her for something, but I forget (I told you, weak memory). Jenny then comes home where her mom is shocked to see that Jenny's arms are completely covered in writing. Then Teri Hatcher comes out and, with the Muppets, tells the audience that if you're a teen with stress you should visit the Will Rodgers institute website for tips on de-stressing your life.

Oh the questions this ad raises!

1.) Most importantly (and the source of most of the questions to follow): What do the Muppets have to do with teen stress? And what does teen stress have to do with the Will Rodgers institute? And Terri Hatcher? What of her?

2.) Why are the Muppets harassing this poor girl? Is this some dystopian universe where human children are slaves to muppets?

Sub question:

Why are the Muppets enrolled in a human school? I suppose the Muppets and humans have always lived together happily in mixed neighborhoods (see Sesame Street for an example of human/ puppet harmony). But it seems odd that a teacher would assign Jenny to work on a group project with Fozzie and Gonzo, as I had always assumed that both were high school graduates, based on their having been college students at the beginning of The Muppets Take Manhattan. At the very least, they must have gotten their GED's.

Plus, it's odd that Fozzie, one of the kindest of the Muppets would place all the responsibility for writing the project on this poor girl. If he is truly committed to her friendship and to education, he should contribute. (On the other hand, Gonzo cares only for his art.)

3.) Why does Jenny react to each new development by writing on her arms? Perhaps the true source of stress is that she lacks notebooks. If I were to try and make it through school without paper, I might need Teri Hatcher's intervention as well.

4.) And Teri Hatcher, what of her? Specifically, does she, or the Muppets, actually speak to today's teens? I mean, Teri Hatcher's best known for being on a show geared towards 30-to-45-year-old women and gay men, and before that, she was best known for turning Superman into a dramedy love interest. And the Muppets, much as I love them, appeal mainly to adults who remember The Muppet Show, and Gen-Xers who grew up with the movies. Today's puppets are too busy making obscene crank calls to hang out with teenagers.

5.) According to their website, The Will Rodgers Foundation is "a charitable foundation in the USA supporting research in asthma, tuberculosis and pulmonary diseases." What's with the sudden concern about teen stress? Did they just figure that curing actual diseases was too tough, and quietly decided to shift their focus to something relatively managable?

Thank God the PSA wasn't for something fatal, like cancer, or we'd never save any lives, due to widespread confusion.

The Mystery of the Slightly Risque British Underdog Comedy

Or, to be more succinct, when did "The Full Monty" stop being a movie and become a genre? I was never a particular fan of The Full Monty-- it seemed more "cute" than it did funny-- but at least its story was reasonably original: "unemployed steelworkers do full-frontal nude revue to raise money." Then came Calendar Girls: "middle-aged ladies raise money for hospital by posing nude for calendar." Then there was Mrs. Henderson Presents: "theater stays open, even during the war, thanks to live nude tableaux." Now I see the trailer for Kinky Boots, which could be described as "man saves shoe factory, with aid of transvestite, by making sexy footware."

Why do you have to keep telling me this story, England? I get it! English people can be naughty in a lovable, twee, take-the-whole-family sort of way! Now get back to being repressed, like you are on PBS. My heart can only take so much mild titillation.

Please, if anyone can help me solve these mysteries, let me know.

1 comment:

fusenumber8 said...

I can't help you. I sat through the same damnable trailers and commericals you did and I'm stumped. I will, however, link my blog to your questions because Muppets have a very tenuous but strong link to children's literature and I think your points are valid. Veeeeery valid.