Last night I’m laying on the couch vegging to whatever flashing photons and phonics emanate from our talking box. From behind me I hear Gabrielle walking my way.
“Hi, da-da,” she says.
Knowing that salutations always precede a request, I simply answered, “Hi Gabrielle,” and waited.
She appeared at the head of the coach, looking me in the eye. She tilted her head and, with almost perfect pronounciation, said, “Do you wanna watch the dogule movie, da-da?”
I jest not. That was about as fine a sentence as you could expect from a budding 20-month-old with the verbal skills of a baldheaded pop star (which, really, doesn’t speak well of balheaded pop stars, but bully for the 20-month old).
As Gabrielle looked at me so sweetly, she had in her hand the case for our VHS version of a certain Disney classic. We know it as “Lady and the Tramp.” To Gabby, it’s simply, the “dogule” movie. Dogule (pronounced “dog-oole”) is her name for the barking, furry animals which wander our front yard.
She has watched her dougle movie countless times. And by watched I mean moments of transfixtion immersed with periods of distraction. She’ll take in the Tramp for a few minutes, go read a book, crawl in her tunnel, then come back to catch in. Repeat. Rinse (for when she misses her potty and hits the floor).
Last night she wanted it on the tee-tee, but I couldn’t locate the tape. So instead it was the tale of Ariel and Sebastian, aka. The Little Mermaid. I told her it was the fish movie, since fish are No. 2 on her top 10 of favorite animals to get excited over. She setteled in and watched the first 10 minutes with me, then ran off to see what ma-ma was up to.
Being as how The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite movies (“Poor unfortunate souls … in pain … in need”), I settled in to watch it for the first time in many moons. I was first exposed to the story back in high school, when my band director needed
an excuse to take a couple days off to expose us to the deep layered compositions in the film. It’s been a favorite since, and I have several selections from the soundtrack in my imaginary iPod (ie. the one I keep in my head).
As I watched this classic last night, I was reminded yet again how creepy Disney can be. I forget that the sweet lil sea-shelled one is just 16 years old. That’s right. 16. And Triton doesn’t bat an eye when the prince goes after oceanic jail bait. That knowledge kinda takes the shine off this Disney fare, but then again, all Disney movies kinds of creep me out now. It’s almost as if the older the viewer, the darker the perspective on the movie. For example:
– In the Lady and the Tramp, the scene at the dog pound. They actually off a dog. In a DISNEY movie.
– In Peter Pan, Tinkerbell is hardcore. I always thought she was a happy little sprite, but oh no. Most rappers don’t have her killer instinct. She’s evil.
– In The Lion King, all the animals playfully join hands/paws/hoofs to sing “The Circle of Life,” which is a lot like Ronald McDonald holding hands with chickens, cows and potatoes and singing “Eat It.” Would you take to verse to explain how great it is to be a main course?
– In Bambi … Well, you know to what scene I refer. Yet another Disney mother bites the dust (they’re pretty rare, in fact).
I still like some Disney, of course, but you gotta admit – these flicks are much more pleasing when you’re too young to really get what’s going on.