Sunday, March 19, 2006

Belated Shrek

From J's earliest babyhood parents of all stripe have been telling me that my love for J is entirely questionable if she has not watched Shrek, that her childhood would be remarkably empty for the want of that experience, that I would regret my decision to my dying day if she grew up to be the one kid in the known universe who had not watched Shrek. Now that she is getting ready for kindergarten, I figured it was time to introduce her to the cultural icon of her generation. We watched Shrek this afternoon at the long last.

If the message of the movie was to look beyond superficial beauty and love the person inside, it was lost on both of us. The ending was deflating for me in that the beautiful princess had to turn into a fulltime ogre to become Mrs Shrek.

Its wonderful that Shrek remained an ogre but wouldn't the lesson be more convincingly taught if Fiona turned forever beautiful and still loved the ogre. My take away at the end of the ninety minute plus hoopla was that ugly people belong together and if you're too beautiful for your significant other, you need to kiss them and reach their level of unattractiveness. You cannot be beautiful outside and love someone that is not - not in real life, not in a fairy tale and not even in a deconstructed fairlytale Hollywood style. Physical compatibilty is key to loving and living happily ever after.

J was confused because the spell did not break like it was supposed to. The first kiss of true love did not make both Mr. and Mrs. Shrek beautiful. She was not able to reconcile between the princess and the ogre-ess and figured that the princess died when she kissed the ogre. How horrifying ! She wondered how the nice princess come to such a sad end.

I wished adults would leave fairy tales alone and find other vehicles in literature to make their crude adult jokes. Despoiling fairy tales to entertain grownups leaves children without a childhood memory to fondly revisit as an adult. It is yet another example of excessive consumption and inconsideration for our progeny.

In any case, J is now Shrek-aware and therefore ready to take on the social and cultural challenges of kindergarten.

J must have been mulling the fate of the princess when post-parandial enlightenment struck her. She declares "I figured out how the princess turned ugly" I was curious to know. "They marinated her in gold and that's what turned her ugly. It's not a good idea to marinate people in gold. It makes them ugly." she explained to me. This was her understanding of the fireworks that followed the Shrek-Fiona kiss. Who knew watching me marinate chicken in soy-sauce would lead to this one day ?

What would I do without J to decrypt Hollywood for me ?

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