Thursday, January 30, 2014
You got me high, You got me low, You make me go go go out of control...
Always gotta like a Simpsons reference. Anyway... ah, the Harlequin novel. See, there used to be these things called bookstores before everything went online. Most of these stores were filled to the brim with two genres that weren't selling: science fiction books and romance books. One for the boys, one for the girls. Boys get the book covers with robots and aliens, and girls get the covers with a photogenic man and woman, usually outdoors, usually scantily clad, usually in the breeze, preferably on a Northeastern cliff with a nice house in the background. And then, inside the book, are tales. Tales that flirt with the edge of naughtiness, and fill young peoples' heads with truly impossible notions. Why, I'm surprised that modern civilized society still tolerates books at all! We need a king to take the throne and ban all printed material. No more putting ideas into heads. Too dangerous.
And so it is with Olive, who we find has gotten sucked into a non-descript Harlequin book titled "Love Stories." Poor Olive, forced to use the generic brand of Harlequin novel. No Louis L'Amour for her? Needless to say, the mindless entertainment has taken hold, and she's flipping through the pages faster than someone who's got one of them fancy readin' abilities, who can absorb whole books in minutes... and yet, something's missing. Also, Olive eats chocolates in almost the same voracious manner as I do!
And so, Popeye knocks on the door, and Olive says "Come in!" from afar in the living room. She can't even be bothered to answer her own door, she's so wrapped up in the story. Soon enough, Popeye, in all his realness, soon finds he just can't compete with the fantasy of Olive's romance book. Popeye's ebullient mood quickly gets a stake driven into its fragile heart, and Popeye slumps down onto the couch next to Olive, in what is nothing short of one of the Top 5 worst funks I've ever seen him in! And no Bluto in sight to fight with, either! But his portrait will suffice; Olive shows Bluto's picture to Popeye and says "Here's my new boyfriend." I know, I know... apparently, Bluto's some kind of Etch-a-Sketch. Really, the whole Popeye cartoon enterprise is kind of an Etch-a-Sketch. With each new short, the reset button is set, and Bluto forgets all about the spinach and the beatings. Ah, the price of immortality.
Am I really doing this? Might as well give the Act break like the old days. Desperate, Popeye fakes illness to get Olive's attention. Olive buys it hook, line and sinker. Would it be too non-PC of me to say that Olive's maternal instincts kick in? Okay, then I'll skip it. Needles to say, Olive gets so concerned, she breaks the fourth wall and asks the audience... wait for it... "Is there a doctor in the house?" There's not! She goes to the phone and summons an ambulance. As in a previous show, the ambulance men make that "Meep meep meep" sound as they walk. Which one was that, by the by? ...SPOILER ALERT: Hospitaliky. Another spoiler: that's not their only scene! They're also all over the hospital that Popeye gets taken to, as they transfer him from room to room in what for anyone else would be a Kafka-esque nightmare, but Popeye manages to keep his spirits up, safe in the knowledge that he's putting one over on all those smart, bearded doctors. Where's a good old fashioned death panel when you need one? Am I right, Tea Party? I mean, Popeye's committing fraud! He's engaging in a felony-level act of fraud! Somehow I feel like I should've made a reference to The Death of Mr. Lazarescu in the banner headline. I mean, why should I suffer alone? 2.5 hour epic, my ass.
Anyway, Act Two bleeds into Act Three, as Popeye goes to the big room with doors from Bimbo's Initiation. Olive brings the doctors some spinach to administer to Popeye and, much to my dismay, Popeye doesn't go into a frenzy and pound the crap out of everyone with a beard. He kinda did that while "unconscious," anyway, turning them into a veritable line of doctor dominoes. The doctors pronounce Popeye dead, and Olive starts sobbing. Wait a tic... spinach is now being used like Romeo's death potion? This may be a first and last! Anyway, Olive's crying. Time for Popeye to reveal the truth, with a big something-eating grin on his face. Needles to say, telling the truth isn't always rewarded, especially if it's about a falsehood that you yourself have perpetrated. Here's a similar, and perhaps more potent example. And here's another example that I really need to stop listening to in my car, but I'm too lazy to listen to another tape.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan