Saturday, November 17, 2012

[Maris] And Joe Get It All Wrong

Today, [Maris] and I fell in love.  No, not with each other.  We've done that so many times, we've lost count.  This time, we fell for another man and his wife.  Well, they're not actually married, but they are very committed to pretending that they are.  Okay, so they're not a couple at all.  They're coworkers.  But so were we, once.  

Now, before those swinger-y ideas take root in your head, which will make them much more difficult to get rid of, I must tell you that it's not like that.  The amazing pair of people we met today both passed away many years agoAlso, to be fair, they were fictional characters, albeit expertly-written and brilliantly portrayedBut we couldn't help feeling that instant connection, that recognition in another of a part missing from ourselves.

The details of the encounter itself don't warrant much space, here - if for no other reason than that you will undoubtedly think this a mere movie review, and wander off.  We watched the 78-year old movie "The Thin Man," starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles.  He's a retired private detective; she's independently wealthy, and at least one of them (usually both) has a drink in hand from the first frame of the picture to the last.  We like that, but what we truly adore is their banter.  It's fast, it's wry and it's sharp as a knife.  

We had heard about this movie series, and about these characters, for years, and knew we would probably like them.  There's more to it than that.  We watch movies a lot, and we fall very easily for them and their stars.  This one resulted in a 2nd-degree epiphany for both of us.  

We've spent the past fifteen years identifying with the wrong fictional characters!

Okay, I don't think we were cognizant of it the whole time, but for many years we've seen ourselves as Statler and Waldorf, the grumpy, funny and ever-critical Muppets who sat in the balcony, heckling the cast and tearing the show to shreds on a weekly basis - and cracking themselves up.  When [Maris] and I are together, we do the same thing - probably to an unhealthy extent - ALL THE TIME.  We are relentless in our editorializing, contradiction, criticism and insults of everyone and everything we see and hear on television, and this amuses us to no endOur respect for movies is a bit better, but we often find ourselves giving perfectly fine films the old MST3K treatment.  The only real difference between our heckling of the world and that of Statler and Waldorf is that they're a little less mean.

We weren't completely wrong; we are very similar to those Muppets.  But meeting Nick and Nora has shown us a pair of actual humans - a married couple - who take that same vibe and make it fun.  It's less complaint-oriented.  It's much faster.  It's still critical, but the pokes are more at each other, rather than the world around them.  They also add alcohol to the mix, and the way they talk about that aspect of their lives is the stuff of genius.  I won't get into specific quotes - I honestly don't know how I'd choose - but their rapid-fire conversations, which probably seem unrealistically quick and clever to a lot of people, feel absolutely natural to [Maris] and me.  Plus, if you listen closely, there's a warmth in their sarcastic exchanges, something that's missing from Statler and Waldorf's barbs.

So we have new best friends.  They are us.  Quicker, certainly, but us nonetheless.  We just need to work a bit on our speed.  And maybe our warmth - at least when we're within earshot of our dreaded others.

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