Baby, It’s Cold Inside

[snow job]
Have you seen this video of Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt?  It purports to involve a seduction.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a duet written in 1944 and has all the sexual baggage you might assume from that era.  Especially when interpreted in ours.  The “mouse” (as written in the score) or “prey” (as some might interpret the situation today) wants to go home but the “wolf” (then) or “predator” (now) tries to get the mouse to stay.  And it’s pretty obvious why the wolf is a concern troll about the weather outside.

You can have a lot of fun at your next holiday party by asking whether this song is about a coy mouse that really wants to play or a predator that is about to commit date rape.

But that’s not what is at issue here.  Let’s assume that any singer who performs the song is not trying to enable or justify bad behavior.  After all, we humans don’t always say exactly what’s on our minds (did he really just write that?) since we are really social animals constantly trying to balance our own desires with what we think the herd expects from us (oh my God, he did just write that!).  So when you can corral feminists like Miss Piggy to sing this tune (albeit as the wolf), it’s safe to claim that for many, even the highly sensitive, the song’s charms are about examining us humans as odd creatures whose words – despite being literal – cannot always be taken literally.

Which brings us to the hammy performance above (Lady Gaga, not Miss Piggy).  It’s cute to reverse the traditional gender roles and place Lady Gaga in the role of the wolf.  This gives the song a bit of an update.  If we went further and made Lady Gaga’s duet partner the très féminin Miss Piggy (remember, this is a “Muppet Holiday Spectacular”), you’d update things even more.  And convince the righteous religious that Hollywood really is pushing the idea of inter-species matrimony.  (Another light topic for your next holiday party.)

Playing it safe, however, the producers hired Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the role of the mouse.  To be fair, he isn’t known as a singer, but I’ll give Gordon-Levitt (and the producers) a pass here.  To make the song work, it’s more important for us to believe that Lady Gaga wants to make beautiful music with him rather than actually have Lady Gaga make beautiful music with him.  I can even make allowances for Gordon-Levitt singing the line “my father will be pacing the floor” – which should have been rewritten to have any hope of dramatic credibility.  (Mothers will worry regardless.)

So what is the problem with the video?  It’s that our divine Miss Gaga is racing through the song.  Trying to swing, rather than sway, Gordon-Levitt.  In short (she’s only 5 feet 1 inch), Lady Gaga isn’t seducing like a man.  More like a teenaged boy.

Some things, like ketchup and the DMV, simply can’t be rushed.

Yes, I know this is a broadcast television holiday special tied to the Muppets.  Sure, the viewers represent a wide demographic but isn’t it possible to talk to two audiences at the same time?  Gentle subtlety is, after all, the point of the song.  Besides, since the children are already hearing the lyric “say, what’s in this drink?” we might as well hint that no one is trying to poison anyone to death.

Which is a more appropriate topic for the Brothers Grimm anyway.

So let’s recouple the andante back with the pantie.  Uptempo is not the rhythm of seduction.  Here’s an example of one slow wolf, who could easily swing with the groove of Ray Charles, demonstrating this exact point.  Enjoy the cochlear cleansing:

The Lorax needs to speak for Dr. Suess about this film remake

How Dr. Seuss goes green in Hollywood

The Lorax needs to speak for Dr. Suess about this film remake

The Lorax spoke for the trees but who will speak for the arts?


The Lorax, the movie – did it need to be made?
Was the studio poor?
Did it need to be paid?

Are the Once-lers behind it, this money-grab ruse?
Recycle for Earth
But don’t redo Seuss!

A more traditional “Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss” can be found here.  If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing over on the right side of the page or follow me on Twitter. Thank you for reading and commenting!

The Oscars: Tonight’s Best Bets

[prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future]

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Oscar. The only bald man in Hollywood chased by actresses.

I was going to predict a winner for the Superbowl but the Vegas spread was just too close to be confident about the winner.  This year’s Oscars are a bit different, several of the categories are a practical lock so you can look like a Hollywood big shot fairly simply.  So let’s get right down to it:

1)  Best Animated Feature: TOY STORY 3.  While this is not a major category for the Academy, the pick is so obvious I included it just to make sure Continue Reading

Before Video Killed the Radio Star

King George VI giving 'the King's Speech" on Sep 3, 1939.

King George VI giving "the King's Speech" to his country on the eve of World War II.

[a spoiler-free review of THE KING’S SPEECH starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush]
The King's SpeechIn 2006, THE QUEEN appeared in movie theaters, telling the story of the Royal Family’s reaction to Princess Diana’s death.  Nominated for six Oscars, it won one:  Helen Mirren’s extraordinary performance as Queen Elizabeth II.  Ultimately, the movie comments on how personal family matters intersect with the duties of government in the age of modern communications.

This year sees another film, THE KING’S SPEECH, which is equally extraordinary and deals with similar themes.  The King in the title refers to Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, played to perfection by Colin Firth (who may just garner an Oscar himself for this performance).  And just as THE QUEEN deals with the new rules of society writ by modern technology (the rise of the modern 24 hour news cycle), THE KING’S SPEECH shows the Continue Reading