Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Have Just Met You, Now Let's Get Married

My favorite animated movie, hands down, would have to be Disney-Pixar's Up.  It's one of the sweetest stories ever, it's hilarious, the animation is stupendous, it's full of quotable lines and the characters are so very memorable.  Dug, the Talking Dog, ("but it's a TALKING DOG!") is probably my favorite character, and some of his lines are just plain hysterical.  Take this one for instance:

"I have just met you, and I love you."

Hmm.  You know, that line rings a bell with me somewhere.  It reminds me of several other Disney films, in fact. Cinderella, for instance, or Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Snow White... they're all stories about a prince and a princess (or a girl who eventually becomes a princess) who meet each other unexpectedly, gaze into each others' eyes, and fall in love just like that.  Bada-bing-bada-boom.

Wow.  That's incredibly romantic.  Amazingly so.  (You can decide for yourself whether I'm being sarcastic or not-- you'll know for sure by the time you reach the end of the post.)

And believe me, Disney isn't the only perpetrator of the whole love-at-first-sight thing.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a huge fan of musical theater, and a bordering-on-obsessive fan of the show based on Victor Hugo's classic Les Miserables.   Les Miz is not, strictly speaking, a romance story-- the main plot revolves around the life of a convict who was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread.  However, there is one major love triangle in the play, one that involves Marius Pontmercy, Cosette Fauchelevent, and Eponine Thenardier.  In brief, Eponine's in love with Marius, who has no idea that she's alive (well, okay, he knows she's alive, but it's an expression, y'all) and who falls in love with Cosette after bumping into her on a crowded street.

This is for Petie.  :D
You see what I mean about the hair, dear.
Yes, you read that right.  Bumping into her on a crowded street.  His first thrillingly romantic words to her? "I did not see you there... forgive me."  Her first thrillingly romantic words to him?  Well, they don't show up in that scene because she doesn't say anything.  Yep.  The first meeting of this star-struck (and I'm using that in the most literal sense) couple lasts about thirty seconds (if that!) and leaves them mooning and gooning their separate ways like a pair of... um... lovebirds.

When they finally do meet each other For Real, the ensuing song ("A Heart Full of Love") is quite romantic, but it leaves me feeling unaccountably giggly.  Marius sings, "...For shame, I do not even know your name! Dear mademoiselle, won't you say? Will you tell?"  Dude, if you're head-over-ears in love with her and THAT'S the first question you ask, you're doing something wrong.

Of course, Cosette and Marius do eventually end up together, and I may or may not have shed happy tears during the wedding scene, but all of that is beside the point.  Irrelevant.

And this one is for Anne Shirley-- take a look at those sleeves!
Then there's another of my recent musical-theater-discoveries, West Side Story.  Now, I have never been a fan of the Romeo and Juliet story (that is, until I saw the ballet, but that's another story for another time) and though I thoroughly enjoyed WSS and took some morbid pleasure in the tragically romantic ending, Maria and Tony bugged me to no end.  As a couple, that is.  Individually, they weren't so bad. But together?  This is how they met-- and please, if y'all would put on your Credibility Hats, it would make my explanation so much easier.

There was this dance, held at a gym in New York, which is irrelevant, and there were these feuding groups of Americans and Puerto Ricans, which IS relevant. There was this Puerto Rican girl named Maria who had never been to a dance before, which is irrelevant, and an Italian-American boy named Tony (or was he Polish-American? Irrelevant) who may or may not have been to a dance before, which is also irrelevant.  The Americans and the Puerto Ricans all attended the dance but refused to dance with each other, which is very relevant, and the long and short of it is that Tony and Maria bumped into each other during One Of Those Slow Dances, and by the time the music ended and the lights went up, they were kissing right there in the middle of the dance floor.  (And Maria's brother and Tony's best friend didn't exactly find this cute but that is irrelevant.)

Look! It's Rab Silsbee!
Oh, wait, wrong movie...
Actually, it's irrelevant that Bernardo and Riff didn't find it cute, but it's not at all irrelevant that *I* didn't find it cute, because that's my point in writing this post.  (This is where you decide that I am, in fact, not in favor of the whole love-at-first-glance deal.)  Here was a couple who literally knew nothing about each other yet decided that it was totally okay to "fall in love" and start kissing--I wish I were kidding, but I'm not--without even a proper introduction.  On what, may I ask, were they basing this so-called love?  On each other's character and integrity and personality?  Or on each other's looks?

Well, I ask you-- what can you learn about a person from looking at him or her for thirty seconds?  Not.  Very.  Much.  Except, perhaps, the fact that the person is or is not good-looking (which is a completely subjective thing, I might add).

Now, I'm no expert, but I say that that is not enough to base a romance upon.  I'm not a cynic.  I'm not saying that there is no such thing as love at first sight.  Well, okay, I am.  I'll rephrase that-- in the words of my dear blogging friend Alexandra, I believe in attraction at first sight in some (even many!) cases, but I do not think that it's possible or reasonable for any two people to really, truly fall in love based solely on outward appearances.

As my dear blogging friend Petie put it in her recent amazing post
"Listen, if you find a guy who loves the Lord with everything he has, loves you with unspeakable passion, and can blow you away not with his looks, but with his character and integrity, then the love you and he share will be far and above anything Hollywood can come up with."
And this, people, this is why I love Jane Austen's stories so very, very much.  (You knew I had to drag her in here somewhere, didn't you?  Didn't you?)  I am so much more pleased by a beautiful story like that of Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley (a slow process of learning from one's mistakes and coming to realize who truly matters to you) or that of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy (ditto) than I am by a silly tale of an unnamed guy who meets a girl by a wishing well and later saves her life by kissing her when he thinks she's dead. (Um, is it just me or is that a little bit creepy?)

I could go into another harangue about another couple whose romance does indeed begin with attraction at first sight but then develops into something much more beautiful, but I'll save that story for a post of its own.

(And for the record, I'm not bashing Disney-- in fact, their version of Beauty and the Beast has a message that's completely different from most of their trademark stories.  "Barely even friends, then somebody bends unexpectedly... bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong...")

But I am crrrrriticizing Marius and Cosette and Tony and Maria, even though crrrrrrriticizing isn't Chrrrrrristian.  Because I've become acquainted with far better stories than theirs, and if you don't believe me, go read Pride and Prejudice.  And you hereby have my permission to fall in love on the first page.

Because, you know, people and books are not at all the same thing.


Alexandra said...

Would you please stop stealing all my ideas before I post them? Thank you.


Actually, it wasn't...but it seems everyone is writing about romance right before I do. Hahahahahahaha. I'm loving it. :-D

How dare you bash my Tony and Maria. Hahahaha. Just kidding. And by the way, I was dyyyyyying laughing in the description. So totally true. Never mind the fact that I'm mush when I'm watching it. It's still true. :-D But hey, I can dream, can't I? Hehehehe.

Thank you for quoting me. Hehe. And yes, I totally agree. Attraction at first sight...totally. True love? No. :-D

And Marius...hahahaha. Ok, so my brothers and I have this paraphrase for that song that goes...

"I do not even know your name..."
"You dumb old fool! Go to school..."

Anyway. :-P It is terribly silly, but we always sing it that way. :-D

And I am soooooooooo glad you clarified about the Blakeneys, because otherwise I might have had to Severely Reprimand You, If Not Murder You, which I'd Hate to Do. So yeah. Plus you'd ruin my lovely post coming up, and then I'd be upset. So.

I am feeling unexplainably silly. :-D Probably because I've been reading Certain Books in prep for the Big Deep Post I'm in the middle of writing. So yeah.

Long story short...great post, m'dear.

Ashley said...

AH! Sir Percy!

Lovely post, truthful, witty, and charming, to the last.

Anonymous said...

Here I am, m'dear! Thank you so much for the picture that was just for me. =) Aww, I feel special!! And my dear Amy, I must commend you on this excellent, excellent post! Well done, Emma! =)

Okay, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has always thought the majority of Disney princess stories were just slightly creepy. I mean, this guy just walks up to this seemingly dead girl and kisses her? Hello? (And have you ever noticed that Prince Charming in Snow White hardly has any facial features?)

Haha, bravo, bravo! I agree with everything you said about Marius and Cosette. I, for one, still hold the opinion that Marius should have married Eponine, but the more I think about it, Eponine deserved someone way better than Marius, like Enjolras for instance! Who agrees that Eponine and Enjolras should have fallen in love and married?

Hair? What hair? I'm sorry, I was distracted by the dimples. (Yes, yes, yes, I know you can't really see them in that picture, but I KNOW they're there, so I just imagined what they looked like on his adorable face at that particular moment....) But yes, I see what you mean about his hair! =) Slightly wild for the role. But... I must say I can find it in my heart to forgive him for the hooligan-ish hairstyle because, well, he IS Michael Ball, after all. =) And somehow, some way, he makes wild hair look good.

Bahahahahaha!! The whole "relevant vs. irrelevant" thing was EPIC. You are so charmingly witty, m'dear.

Aww, thank you so very much for linking to my post!! =) You're the bestest!! However, could you do me a slightly small favor? Could you make the link to my actual post link to my new Wordpress blog instead of my Blogger one? Look, I'll even be nice and give you the link to the Wordpress post. =)

I think girls today (definitely including me!) can get so caught up in the "sweetness" or awwww-factor of a love story that we forget what kind of love we're fangirling over. Is it real, true love, or is it the unhealthy, shallowly-based "love at first glance" kind of thing?

Again, wonderful post, Amy! I look forward to reading everyone else's comments. =)

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Lovely post Mouse and I agree with most everything you said here!
The "I have just met you, and I love you." thing isn't realistic at all. You can't love someone at first sight and you certainly can't know someone by staring at each other across a crowded (or otherwise) room.

This is why I dislike the Romeo & Juliet (or WSS) story too. It's basically a story of two teenagers who find each other physically attractive (this because I hate the word "hot", bleh) and based on those physical feelings they leave their families and kill themselves. A pretty tragic story that borders on the ridiculous when sappy words such as "Parting is such sweet sorrow" are added to the mix. Now I do love Shakespeare's language but give me a Benedick & Beatrice story over a Romeo & Juliet story any day! :)

Perhaps this is why Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney film? I'd never really thought about it like that before. Hmmm...

I know there's a limited time to develop relationships and friendships in movies so a lot has to be sped up but the love at first sight thing though a charming idea is quite ridiculous.

The lack of love at first sight in my favorite JA novels is why I love Miss Austen so dearly! All of the heroes and heroines go through a time of learning the good and bad about each other's personalities. Most of the couples have lessons to learn, many learn from their mistakes together. Time is given for a couple to get to know each other in various situations (with family, in society, at work, under stress, in prosperity). They get to know and love the each other for who they really are. Charlotte Lucas was so wrong when she said " is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life" (although for her perhaps it was better!).

Lovely post Miss Amy! This subject can't be talked about enough I think. Girls these days get bombarded by media full of love-at-first-sight and often don't realize that love is a choice, friendship is the most important thing and marriage is a lifetime spent getting to know someone else. :)

Vellvin said...

I remember vaguely having started watching West Side Story and than we didn't finsih watching it.
I agree with you on the 'attraction at first sight,' but not the 'kissing at first sight' thing.

Rhoswen Faerie Wrose said...

Amen! You took the words right out of my mouth! And that coming from a huge (and I do mean huge) fairy tale freak! And on that end, let me say it is not just Disney. The whole love at first site thing really is in most of the original fairy their original versions.

On another note, Snow White in its original version did not have the creepy action of the prince kissing the dead Snow White. What really happened was the prince saw her in the glass coffin, and fell in love with her. (see what I mean?) But feeling such *deep* sorrow over her death, decided to take her back to his castle (glass coffin and all). Then, on the road, the cart the coffin was in hit a bump, causing the piece of apple to dislodge from Snow White's throat, bringing her back to life...which really shows she wasn't actually completely dead to begin with. Just a severely constricted throat (probably caused by the poison)with such a small amount of air she was probably close to dead, but not quite. And, of course, no one thought of that....that would ruin the story! :-P (though, Gail Carson Levine did!)

Melody said...

HAHAHAHA. Couldn't help thinking about certain *snorts* Gothic and Perilous satires while I was reading this post...

Oooh, ooh, you're mentioning Jane Austen! Aw, I'm so proud of you. With all your Les Miz and TSPing, sometimes I wonder. :P

Howevuh... haha, well I would say a thing or two about the "another couple", but I shan't for fear that Certain People will get mad at me (even though the same Certain People don't mind saying things about my Jane Austen thinking they can get away with it...)

Miss Dashwood said...

Soary. :P

Heehee. GMTA, you know. I honestly had no idea you were planning a post on this topic... if I had known, I probably would have waited a while to post this. But hey, you can't have too many posts on a good subject, right? Right.

I'm mush while I watch WSS too, but the couple I realllly like is (are?) Bernardo and Anita. They're just so adorable together--and then of course they have such a tragic ending, which I didn't see coming, so that made it Worse.

HAHAHAHAHAHA about the AHFOL paraphrase! My sister and I always say that Marius and Cosette were suffering from a severe lack of communication...
"Cosette, I don't know what to say!"
"Then make no sound..."
"I am lost..."
"I thought I told you to make no sound."

Of course I clarified about the Blakeneys. They're the exception that proves the rule. Because I'm firmly of the belief that they *did* begin to fall in love right at the beginning, but didn't truly realize their love for each other until they each realized just how worthy the other one was. Sighhhhhh. And I also clarified because I didn't want to be murdered by you. Messy things, murders.

Heehee, "Ah! Sir Percy!"-- that says it all.

Yes! I HAVE noticed that Prince Charming has practically no facial features! Why, exactly, are we supposed to think him handsome or wonderful?

And YES. Yes, yes, yes. Bravo. Eponine deserved someone FAR better than Marius. I'm not quite sure that Enjolras would have been the one for her, especially since my sister seems to have already claimed him, but I do agree that Enjolras *is* better than Marius. :D

Heehee, I forgave the hooligan-ish hairstyle too. And I'm glad you liked the relevant vs. irrelevant thing. I was having waaaaaay too much fun with that. So sorry about the wrong link-- I completely forgot! I've fixed it now.

And I so totally agree-- for me, a story really doesn't have an awww-factor unless there's something THERE to awww over! (Emma, anyone? Anne of Green Gables?)

Miss Dashwood said...

Miss Laurie,
Ooh, yes, Beatrice and Benedick's relationship is so much sweeter than Romeo and Juliet!
(Ugh, and I hate the word "hot", too.)

And I love the point you made about learning the good and bad about each other--- Jane Austen is a master at that! Poor Charlotte Lucas, perhaps it was better for her not to know all her husband's defects right from the beginning, but *I* would much prefer to know all of my husband's faults (and have him know mine) beforehand so that we could grow and learn together!

It's a shame, really, that the media and our culture today have such a shallow and twisted perception of true love. I was being rather facetious in this post but your comment really reminded me how serious it all is!

I enjoyed WSS very much, but I can't say I endorsed everything in it-- and I wouldn't recommend it to younger viewers.

Rhoswen Faerie Wrose,
Thank you so much for your comment! That was so interesting about the original Snow White story... frankly, in general I do prefer the Disney versions though, because they tend to be much less gruesome than the original tales. But the original story does seem to be a lot more plausible!

GreenMedallion said...

You know, it's funny, I was thinking about this exact topic a couple of days ago, and the same thoughts about Jane Austen's work came to mind. I love that her romances don't rely on the old "love-at-first-sight" trick, which I personally dislike very much. ;) I think a movie that presents a romance that grows out of a friendship, rather than "love-at-first-sight" (or "love-WITH-first-sight" as I call it), is much more romantic.

Thanks for the wonderful post!


Abby said...

So, so true! Excellent post :) As ever, you seem to taken the thoughts right out of my head! I always feel so frustrated by 'love at first sight' romances - they're just so unrealistic and shallow! As someone who is rather romantic, I do like the idea of people having an instant connection, or something like that - 'attraction at first sight' is a much better way to put it :) Real love at first sight just simply doesn't exist, in my opinion. And as you said, that's one of the many reasons we love Jane Austen's stories, which are far more realistic and true to life. When it comes to stories such as that of Romeo and Juliet, I've never been very impressed, but Much Ado About Nothing has always been one of my favourites, purely for Beatrice and Benedick :) I always love stories where the couple start off hating each other, haha!


Alexandra said...

I suppose I could reply on an email...hehehe...but I just had to say that I laughed when you mentioned Bernado and Anita, because honestly while I love Tony and Maria (and Maria would be my first choice if I was offered a role in WSS), I am totally Anita. :-) Well, within the bounds of certain convictions and all. :-P But personality wise...completely and totally. Haha. Probably why I love singing "America" so much. :-D

And Melody...I Will Be Silent. Because I'm sure Mousie doesn't want another comment war. :-P

Stephanie said...

Absolutely drrrrrenched in sarcasm. Only a little?? I said drrrrrenched and I meant drrrenched!
Any way, BRAVO! I loved this, and I was laughing the whole time. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Great post! Totally agree with everything you say!

I don't believe in love at first sight, either - attraction at first sight, definitely. And all that nonsense about heroines who find their perfect hero, fall in love, and are married within the space of, oh, say three hours... nasty. Don't get me wrong, I love Jane Austen and romances (well, to a point, lol), but it's really not true. You can't "fall" in love - it's a choice. Your thoughts, words, actions - all choices you make on your own. (But that's a blog post for another time. : P)

And I thought the whole Marius/Cosette thing was a leeeeettle unbelievable, too. Listening to the soundtrack the other day (10th anniversary!), I was like, "Are you for REAL, Marius?! SERIOUSLY! In love, and yet you don't even know her name?!" Go get some counseling.

And I love that quote from that blog post! I'm going to have to read it now... : D


Hayden said...

Can you hear my applause?

First...for loving Up. then, for getting annoyed at Maria and Tony (I have tried to like West Side Story. Really. But apart from about three or four awesome songs {America, anyone?} I just didn't care for it). And I never liked Romeo and Juliet, either. As has been said, why read about those two when you've got Benedick and Beatrice??? :)

And Beauty and the Beast is awesome. I feel like I should have some sort of loyalty award for keeping the same favorite movie since I was 3 :) I love B&B. (and have a whole page dedicated to it on my blog...*sheepish smile*

Mairi G. said...

OK, I definitely understand you probably don't read all your comments and so will probably not read mine. But no matter. Let me say this: your blog is excellent, I love it, I agree with you on everything (or so I believe...maybe not), and I also adore "Up", one of the sweetest (not to mention saddest) stories ever...I only read that part because I thought, "Awww, I love 'Up', too! And I really really super want to tell her that!" so here I am. :) I ♥ the blog (and if I met you I would probably love you too, lol), keep it up (please?) for my sake. :P

Mairi G. said...

And I've got to add (sorry): I don't believe in love at first sight, either. It's. RIDICULOUS. And can I ask you a simple question (not so simple to me, but maybe to you)? (I know, you never said I could, but here goes...) How in the world do you get so many comments? With luck I get one from my mom!

Miss Dashwood said...

Mairi G.,
Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! On the contrary, I do read each and every one of my comments, and that right merrily. :D I don't always manage to reply, but rest assured that I ALWAYS read each and every one. Your comment was so sweet-- I'm so glad you enjoy my nonsense. :D And SO glad you love "Up" too! Isn't it the bestest? And yep, right with ya on the love at first sight thing. Slow-blossoming romance is much more realistic.
How do I get so many comments? Um, I have chatty friends. Heehee. Seriously, it does seem that a lot of talkative people read this blog-- which is awesome because I'm a talkative person too, and I do my share of filling their comment boxes. :D

Miss Elliot said...

To start: I had a whole long comment written, but it was DESTROYED...the blogger ate it. Bother everything.
I read this post last night but I have returned. To haunt you. With comments.
Heehee, it's funny that in movies, the whole 'love at first sight' thingy (bleh.) doesn't bother me. (Because there's nowhere else on earth that I would rather be...) But in real life, it would creep me out. Unless, of course, the stalker dude was like Marius.
Moving on-
Heehee, your relevant/irrelevant wars are making me giggle.
YOU KNOW WHO RAB SILSBEE IS??? *big cyber-hugs, squeeing, and that sort of thing*
Now I really want to watch WSS!
(I am a Rab fangirl, and I didn't know it until now. Especially when he eats bread. Yep.)
HAAAA, 'another couple'. Yeah, well, he kinda rescues her brother, and she...well, she's pretty. Um um...
Go Sir Percy!!!
(Why is it that, even in a post that is about something totally different, Sir Percy makes people squee? Just curious. ;-))
*sighs over picture of Sir Percy and Marguerite*
Wow, yes, Petie's post is good. I don't think we've actually seen that many love-at-first-sight movies. I mean, my family.
Haha, I just finished watching North and South, and so I'm laughing over the contrast. In the case of N&S, it's more like GET THAT WOMAN OUT OF HERE! at first sight, haha. Anyway, great post, Miss Dashwood!!