Monday, January 04, 2010

being pressured into discovering one's true team

It has probably escaped almost nobody's attention that "Twilight" in all its forms has gripped the girls of North America with a firm, expensive grasp. I myself read all the Twilight novels last year, on the theory that in a few years Iris uber Alles would be reading them and so I should stay on the jump and know what the phenomenon was all about [I found the books weirdly absorbing for something so repetitive(how many hundreds of pages about dry humping can one woman write??), and I commend the author for her creative revision of the vampire and werewolf mythologies].

Fourth grader Iris uber Alles brought up Twilight with me some time ago. She shared that a friend of hers was very ostentatiously reading the books "but she doesn't understand them, I don't think." I told her that I thought the books were fun but highly repetitive and that they probably wouldn't make so much sense to a pre-adolescent, who wouldn't quite understand why a tortured teen would act like hormonally-driven Bella. Iris decided to wait a couple of years before getting into the whole Twilight thing.

Then the "New Moon" movie came out. Suddenly the fourth grade joined the higher grades, which had already been Twilight-obsessed (when I read the books, I was unable to get them from my private library or from the school library, as the private library had abstained from buying them and the school library's were always checked out. My friend and hairdresser loaned me the first one, and I bought copies of the others, which I donated to our school library after reading. The librarians were grateful indeed to get more copies). Evidently Twilight is now the primary topic, and all the fourth graders were reportedly taken to the movie, which they to a child loved.

Iris felt left out and felt a lot of peer pressure to see this movie. "My reputation will be ruined if I don't see it." But neither of her parents wanted to take her. I let it slide, hoping someone would invite her if they went back to see it again or that she'd forget about it. Then I unfolded a piece of paper I found in the kitchen and discovered a list she'd composed and left lying around the house, a list of arguments for her being allowed to see the film. I realized this was a much bigger deal than I'd thought, and I decided to get Iris to that damn movie.

First I devised a fun and painless plan. We would invite a friend of Iris's who also hadn't seen the movie, and I would take the girls to a particular theatre which has lovely tables and couches just outside the entrance to the screening rooms, near the popcorn vendor. I would stay there, on a couch or at a table, with an engrossing book and my laptop, while the girls enjoyed a modicum of independence and saw the film by themselves (the Sober Husband argued a bit that I should be right by the girls, which I countered by saying that we were overprotective parents and that I'd be right nearby and that if anyone bothered Iris, she could say, "My mother and attorney is here if you would like to speak to her"). This ran into a snag when the invited friend (who attends a different elementary school, a Catholic school, where it appears the nuns and priests have kept that damn vampire nonsense out for the most part) reported back that after some investigation, her father had decided she wasn't allowed to see that film and could we go to "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" instead on that same night?

Seldom defeated entirely, I created a new plan which was also pain-free. I suggested strongly to the Sober Husband that he take Iris to the film on his last night of holiday vacation, so Iris could return to the fourth grade no longer a Twilight ignoramus, able to hold her head up high and proclaim some opinions. He recoiled on the grounds that he needed to get some sleep before returning to work, but I shot that down, pointing out that an early showing would work just dandy with his REM cycle. Iris booked the tickets on the spot using the Sober Husband's iPhone. That night they set out, the Sober Husband having no idea what he was in for. I instructed him tongue-in-cheek upon his departure, "When you come back, you need to tell me whether you are on Team Edward or Team Jacob." [This inspired Iris to inform us quite gravely which team each of her friends is on. They really do take their teams seriously, these girls].

When they came back, Iris was buzzing. She couldn't stand still, and "Yeah. It was great."

"Was it better than 'Avatar'?"

Pause. "They were about the same. Both good!"

"Which team are you on?"

(very emphatically) "Team Jacob!!"

"Who is your favorite vampire?"

"The Volturi!"

"But those are the bad guys."

"They're Italian and cool! They have style!" [Iris uber Alles vacationed in Italy as a toddler, and it was a formative experience].

The Sober Husband said, "Can I whisper something in your ear?" He had no opportunity until much later after I'd had a long talk with Iris about what was good about the movie (Taylor Lautner), what was not good (Bella "is just depressed and doesn't do anything, she doesn't have a personality") and my question, "How much do the vampires sparkle?" answered ("A lot. It's like they're suns, with rays coming out of them"). Finally the Sober Husband said to me vehemently, "That was the worst movie I ever sat through. It was PAINFUL."

"Why do you think I wanted you to go? Why did you think I wanted to sit in the lobby?"


hughman said...

so let me get this straight - she thought the twilight movie was as good as avatar? in 3-D?? i am flummoxed. those werewolves better do things banned in several countries.

snowqueen said...

Sober Husband clearly never had to site through Rug Rats in Paris which was by far the absolute worst kids movie I EVER had to watch.

Nicely done though, if I might say so :-)

Alison said...

New Moon is definitely the dullest film I've sat through in a long, long time. Coulda been a lot shorter if Edward didn't have to move in slow motion all the time ... Difference here is that my daughter (11) thought it sucked too. She has declared herself for Team Alice (does this mean I can expect her to start dating girls in a few years ?)

Silliyak said...

Well played and ditto on the "Rugrats in Paris". And this was with/for a niece!

the Drunken Housewife said...

I have seen "Rugrats in paris" but on video, allowing me to tune out and play Warcraft while the children sat riveted... so it was painless.

I am impressed by a Team Alice girl. That is clearly a young woman who is willing to go outside the defined categories (and quite possibly, but not definitively, lead to a nice, sparkly daughter-in-law in the future).

Amy said...

"gripped the girls of North America with a firm, expensive grasp"

This is why I read you :D

Leslie said...

Clearly your husband did not appreciate werewolf abs. Looking at the werewolves is the best part of that movie.

I know several "Team Alice" teens. She is pretty wonderful and the films highlight her character admirably.

Finally, it is clear you are doing an excellent job with Iris if she immediately saw the ridiculousness of Bella. She is, in every way, my definition of a pathetic, literary woman. This is true at least in books 1-3.
It bugs me that she only becomes strong once "magic" in book 4.

Dread Pirate Davi said...

I am a shameless fan, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

I will say this: Catherine Hardwick RUINED the first movie. I mean, destroyed it. It was the worst film adaptation of a book since Eragon. The film adaptation for New Moon definitely made up for that atrocity.

I don't understand the concept of these "teams". We all know she ends up with Edward at the end. It would be like watching reruns of the 2009 World Series and still hoping and praying that the Phillies will win.

Missy said...

What a brilliant plan! You both rock!

A former friend's kid met Taylor L. at acting classes--he was apparently quite the nice kid--so I'd sign on for Team Jacob based on that alone.

It's wise of you to help Iris Uber Alles with the peer issues. There are plenty of times you have to make your kid different; seeing a movie is not going to be one of them.

(I speed read the entire series in Dec. 08 before wrapping them for our younger daughter's Christmas present, and I remember only three scenes; the best one being the American tourists being attacked by the Volturi. Bella and Edward put me to sleep.

pie_ho said...

Dry humping, or finding different ways to make Bella bleed. Love Iris' take on Bella! I couldn't get past the 1st book, and will wait for the 2nd movie on video just because I want to be up on pop culture. But otherwise, I'm on Team True Blood.