When I was two the Puppy Chow commercial (Puppy Chow for a full year, ’till he’s full grown) would send me into fits of uncontrollable hysterics. When I was thirty, I burst into tears simply telling the story of Dumbo to someone who had not seen the movie. I am still absurdly emotional when it comes to movies and television, I’ll cry watching the Sham-Wow infomercial if I’m in the mood — but don’t even get me started on this commercial, I have to leave the room when this one comes on…
…seriously, why don’t you just hit me in the face with a frying pan? I’m pretty sure it would be less traumatic.
Grace has inherited my entertainment-induced-emotional-instability.
It started with Dumbo. When she was one, I showed her Dumbo for the first time and for the next month we had to watch the movie on a continuous loop because Dumbo could not end — if Dumbo ended, so did Grace’s world and she collapsed into a puddle of ginormous crocodile tears. At least she made it to the end of the movie, I still can’t make it past the “Baby Mine” scene.
Next was the closing song from It’s A Big, Big World. I had to re-set the DVR to avoid that show altogether, because if I got distracted and even a note of that song began to play — it was all over.
We had to stop watching that show completely for more than a year.
And when I say that Grace “loses it” — I mean she is unconsolable. After awhile, with Dumbo and with subsequent movies that moved her to tears (Harry & the Hendersons, Lady & the Tramp, and every other movie we own), she learns to talk herself through the rough spots. It’s actually pretty hilarious to watch, she’ll stand one foot away from the screen and, with a quivering voice and tears welling in her eyes she say something appropriate like, “it’s o.k., it’s a happy song, he’s not sad, he’s happy, he’s going home to his family, he’s happy, he’s happy, he’s happy….”
Eventually she’s able to watch all the movies with emotional detachment, but the first few times are always rough.
Which brings us to tonight. It’s almost 11:00 pm, I’m sitting at the foot of Grace’s bed because I had the bright idea to show her The Muppets Take Manhattan after dinner.
Oh. My. GOD.
It was a lame move on my part, this is unquestionably the most compelling of the original Muppet Movie Trilogy. First, all of the gang leaves Kermit alone in NY to sell the big show while singing “Saying Goodbye.” That Miss Piggy and Kermit are torn apart by such harsh economic circumstances is painful enough, but to then watch Piggy get her purse stolen, and then Kermit be hit by a cab — well, it was traumatic. Then, to cap it all off, the movie ends with the gang being reunited (which is good) for opening night on Broadway and Kermit and Piggy being married, on stage, in what is perhaps the most beautiful wedding in cinematic history — attended by all the Muppets and Sesame Street characters. Kermit and Piggy are swept away on a crescent moon and the movie ends.
We’re still recovering.
The movie ended at 9:00pm, we immediately had to run it to Grace’s bedroom to restart it (yes, my child sleeps with movies on — also hereditary, don’t start with me). But restarting it wasn’t enough, because everybody just leaves again, Kermit and Piggy are separated again, we’re not to the point of self-soothing yet. Tammy’s mad at me because Grace is a snot-faced, puffy-eyed, basket-case and my back hurts from sitting on the edge of the bed for the last 90 minutes as we wind our way through “round 2” of the movie, with my gentle narration reassuring Grace that Piggy will come back, as will Gonzo, Fozzie, Scooter, and Rowlf and Kermit will recover just fine after a day in the hospital (and that this is why she should always hold my hand in the parking lot). I’m hoping that she’ll be able to watch “round 3” on her own.
Hence the new rule: No new movies before bedtime.