Monday, 25 April 2011

Selling Out to Hollywood

I read one of those self-help books the other day, and I’m beginning to realize why I’m not getting very rich.  (For one thing, I’m not writing self-help books.)  It is patently obvious that nobody is going to get wealthy writing humour for newspapers unless they roll up the paper and whack somebody over the head with it during the course of a bank robbery.

So I’ve decided to switch media here and become a screenwriter.  I’m a natural.  I can sit in those funny collapsible canvas chairs just as well as the next guy, and besides, I know hundreds of unbelievable plots; I follow BC politics.

So here goes: for my first screamplay <sic> I’m going to do something made for TV; specifically one of those romance-suspense-action-thriller-northern-southern-civil war epic-type things, maybe a miniseries.  It would have everything – sex, violence, sex, betrayal, sex, revenge, sex - and maybe even some dialogue.  It would star a ravishing but thoroughly spoiled female lead, maybe called Sapphire.  Here’s a preview:

Sapphire flings herself up the sweeping staircase, catching bottom of skirt on knob of banister.
Sapphire (yanking at fabric):  Go away, Rot!  Just go away!
Rot:  I’m going, I’m going.  But one last thing, Sapphire honey, I’ve got to know.  How do you manage to go to the bathroom with that bloody hoola- hoop attached to your skirt?
Sapphire (rolling downstairs on her side):  Don’t go, Rot!  Please don’t go.
Rot (doffing hat):  Frankly Sapphire, I don’t give a hoot.
(From outside, several barn owls hoot.)

I predict a blockbuster.  But just in case, I have a second one planned.  It’s a 1960s historical spy flick, based on the true-to-life adventures of very bad people who might possibly be Russian.

First Spy (possibly named Boris):  Gee comrade, do you theenk perhaps we are raising peeples suspicions speeeking English with Russian accent?
Second Spy (also named Boris):  Especially seence it is very BAD Russian accent, comrade?”

Okay, so it needs a bit of work, and maybe some more sex.  I’m thinking of calling it Czech-mate. And if we bring it forward to modern times, the possibilities are endless.  What about a ‘Spy of the Month’ reality series?  Boris could live in an LA frat house with nine other comrades named Boris, and the survivor…
Or I could go back to writing for newspapers.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Blame it on Barbie

Here it is, the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Barbie, and I’m uncomfortable.  Coincidentally, it is also the fiftieth anniversary of me, and I’ve got to ask: is Barbie having more fun than I am?  Am I missing something by not being blond?

Okay, okay, so this smacks of insecurity.  But who wouldn’t be insecure, being brunette these days?  Did the Prince go looking for a dark-haired Sleeping Beauty?  Did Charming find a gorgeous black-haired scullery maid at the end of the glass slipper?  Face it, scullery types:  if you’re brunette, you’re going to have to find your own prince.

I blame it on Barbie.  Three quatrillion blond Barbies with bunny bodies since March, 1959, and no brunette bimbo in sight.   It’s enough to make you go for botox.

So what is it about us dark-haired babes?  Why are we constantly being portrayed as witches?  Not just in Salem – even today.  In Westerns, you can tell the bad guys from the good guys by their black hats.  In Disney, you can tell the bad girls by their black hair.

Witchy women, evil women – all of them brunette, you can bet your peroxide.  It’s a fact; a witchy brunette nearly butchered 101 darling Dalmations for their spotted fur.  And in the Wizard of OZ, Glinda the good witch was blondie-blond.  The nasty old Witch of the West was as brunette as they come. 

That’s us – nasty.  And no wonder, the way we are always portrayed.

What can you expect, when the best role model we-of-dark-tresses had as young kids was Natasha Fatale (“Whatever you think, Darlink”) of Boris and Natasha fame on Bullwinkle.  Good Ole Bullwinkle.  I used to imagine he had a raging animal crush on the sexy, dark-haired Natasha. – and who wouldn’t?  Sexy and savvy.  She was my role model.  It’s taken me years to kick the “Darlink” habit and start pronouncing Gs.

Things got better when Morticia came along.  Now, she was a classy role model.  Granted, my parents got a bit upset when I dyed my confirmation dress black and started writing poetry about graveyards. But more than one male (prince or frog) has mentioned to me that Caroline Jones was the object of many adolescent daydreams.

Well, at least they call us sexy.  In fact, “sultry” was the word Commander Riker used in a Next Generation episode on the holodeck.  “Give me sultry,” he said, and when a blonde vision popped up in the New Orleans jazz bar, “No, she’s got to be brunette.”  Thank you, Commander Riker!

So far we can chalk up nasty, sexy, sultry and bad.  Clever but cruel.  Usually foreign and sneaky.  Throw in green eyes, and you’ve got the classic Evil Woman.

Evil, evil, evil.

So be a little careful before you start to criticize this column.  I might put a hex on you.