B. asks: "Did you have any, you know, prior interest? In China?"
"Actually YES," I reply, "I've been interested in China ever since I saw Big Bird Goes to China, one of my favorite movies of all time. I watched that movie like twenty times, when I wasn't watching my other favorite movie The Wizard of Oz. OMG Snuffalupagus!"
I believe that Big Bird Goes to China was a television event rather than a traditional "film," but its quality exceeds the inherent limitations of its format. The performances are so strong, the narrative so engaging, that even were one to watch it on a Zune, it'd feel like IMAX. I feel I could drink milk off this child's skin, and it would be sweeter than normal milk and it wouldn't be weird that I wanted to do that instead of using a cup or a glass.
My childhood fascination with China originated in the following feelings: 50% Big Bird, 50% Sweet & Sour Chicken. Clearly as a pup I hadn't yet experienced the horrors of food poisoning, which're now so near & dear to me that I no longer eat meat from Chinese restaurants. Nor had I grown up and discovered that Big Bird isn't real, just like how Tinkerbell and democracy aren't real, either.
Furthermore, On Sunday I was thinking about how it's entirely possible that my formative desire to one day seek the bright lights of NYC was 50% Broadway, 50% Muppets Take Manhattan. Although I wasn't allowed to watch teevee, we had a VCR and often went to the movies with our Fig Newtons & juice boxes, and I'm 90% sure that most of my ideas about life come from kids movies. Thus today's special topic: "What I Learned [About How to Live my Life] from the Teevee: Family Film Edition."
The original mission of this segment, rambled on about in its first installment, (covering West Wing and The L Word) was somehow related to whatever I thought I was talking about when I "wrote" this paragraph of excellence:
I think the best television writers are also artists/educators, not just comedians/entertainers. Usually they're smarter than their shows imply [unless it is Alan Ball, Aaron Sorkin or Jim Henson, they have smart shows]. That's why TV writers're always dropping allusions to high art, to remind us of their literacy. Nietzsche must've done a triple-somersault in his grave, Mary Lou Retton style, when Jenny Schecter announced on The L Word that her story, "Thus Spoke Sara Schuster" had been published in The Best American Short Stories [Totally impossible, unless the guest editor was Ryan Seacrest or a chimpanzee.] Later, this became just one element of the glory which is Jenny's on-screen literary career, which is one of many reasons why I heart The L Word and it's strange little world of magic and make-believe.Um, okay. I also did a Second Istallment focusing on the educational merits of The Real World, My So-Called Life, and Queer as Folk.
Riese, Scout (L to R)
[Actually, there's much better combos of me/scout photos that exist to prove my point, but I don't feel like looking through my photos right now, 'cause I'm trying to be efficient, like a Chinese person, to get practice.]
The Best Solution to any serious problem is to read a book, 'cause then you'll get sucked into the story and save Fantasia, etc.
Being an Orphan and/or Stranded on a Desert Island is endless amounts of ass-kicking, treehouse-building, limb-climbing fun: Swiss Family Robinson, Apple Dumpling Gang
I spoke of Disneyworld, Swiss Family Robinson house, yes?
This is Where The Swiss Family Robinson once lived.
Decision to move to New York filled with big dreams about making it there & consequently everywhere, etc. The Muppets Take Manhattan
Any NYC Apartment search veteran does the math when the gang holes up in Grand Central's lockers (25 cents an hour, times 24 hours, times seven days ... midtown, shared bath, not too much crack ... best deal EVER!)
"Saying Goodbye," though I doubt it touched me then, makes me cry now -- the lyrics really hit home, like a good Ani DiFranco tune. JK! (I mean, that's true, for me, but not for most other grown women not existing in a 1996 time-warp like I am)
Then Kermie goes to the top of a super tall building, I think, right? And looks out over the city, tries to remember why he came. But he misses everyone a whole bunch. On youtube this sequence is in Portuguese, one of a handful of languages I'm not fluent in.
Kermit's first restaurant job -- the one he accepts, regretfully, while waiting to make it -- again, so relatable. We know his bright-eyed coworker, she's the typified young actress, struggling through school and smiling like a critterish little milkmaid (she's defo got a spot on Top 100 Critters) while she makes bacon for people with real jobs.
And the letter montage! When all the friends split up 'cause they're all out of cash, they need cheaper rents & resume-boosting jobs? And then they all write to Kermit, who's sitting in the diner probs thinking "Sheesh, it's not easy being green." While he's reading, we see each character in his actual environment which of course bears no resemblance whatsoever to their normal lives. E.g., a minimum-wage ticket-taking job at a movie theater becomes a "Hollywood position." 'Cause they should all just tell each other the truth: this isn't going how I planned it, either. Forgive me, I dream the impossible dream, when I close my eyes it's all very clear and when I open them I run into a wall. Literally, metaphorically, all of it.
Anyhow they all achieve their dreams obvs, just like I will, and also, so will all my friends.
A bowl cut (w/hoodie and/or t-shirt, sneakers, jeans) never goes out of style: E.T., Flight of the Navigator, The Neverending Story, etc
Developing Close Relationships with Stuffed Animals:
Toy Story, Indian in the Cupboard, Babes in Toyland