POISONOUS PARENTS: Harv and Marj Wiener (Welcome to the Dollhouse)

Posted in POISONOUS PARENTS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2015 by youngnstrange

HarvandMarj

Principal: Now what exactly did you do, Dawn?

Marj: Dawn?

Dawn: (mumbling) I shot a spit ball…

Principal: Speak up, I can’t hear you.

Dawn: I shot a spit ball.

Marj: You shot a what?!

Harv: She shot a spit ball!

Principal:  A teacher was almost blinded. 

Dawn: I was fighting back.

Marj: (aggressive) Whoever told you to fight back?!

Principal: Dawn, are you having social problems?

Dawn: No.

Marj: Yes! She’s got no friends.

Dawn: I’ve got friends.

Marj: (aggressive) Who?!

Dawn: Ralphie….

Marj: Case closed. She’s a loner.

Willkommen im Tollhaus / Welcome to the Dollhouse

(Dawn Wiener; the soft spoken main protagonist of Welcome to the Dollhouse, played by Heather Matarazzo)

Ugh…God damn it, Marj….Who said being a loner was a bad thing?

Welcome to the Dollhouse is one of those films that’s pretty triggering to watch, especially if you’ve had the experiences that come along with being bullied in grade school. But that’s not the worst part…

Writer, producer, and director, Todd Solondz gives his audience a pretty painfully realistic depiction of what life can be like for a social outcast, preteen girl. It’s almost too painful…mainly because he beats us over the head with what he thinks is realistic. …Yet, it’s a Todd Solondz film. Things seem to be pretty bleak and bad in general–at least atmosphere & tone wise. …And by bad, I mean brutal. When you think about it…Dawn isn’t to blame for her surroundings, lack of friends, negligent family, and the heat she takes at school from her peers. In life not everyone will like us, but we don’t need to add fuel to the fire either by engaging in the same mudslinging tactics that the bullies use….which is exactly what Dawn did.

Yet, Dawn probably wasn’t aware of any other way to handle her tormenters. With no guidance, a mentor, or an older teen or adult to encourage her in someway, she was on her own to figure things out. In real life, that’s how it is for many of us. Not one person in Welcome to the Dollhouse had any compassion whatsoever for Dawn. Everyone, with the exception of a couple of people, came off as either a heartless asshole or just flat out didn’t care. To be fair though, she had every right to protect herself. No one deserves to be treated with such hate or neglect.

Ever.

Yet, Dawn gets a nuclear blast of rage and hate from her peers and an indifferent, nonchalant, neglectful attitude from her entire immediate family. It makes me wonder what was going through Solondz head when he wrote and directed Welcome To The Dollhouse, and it’s sequel, Palindromes.

Dawn dealt with the cards she was dealt at that particular point in time the events of Welcome to the Dollhouse took place. She was a sweet, soft spoken kid. All she was trying to do is find her place in the world. And it’s really tough and challenging to do that when you are constantly being shit on day in and day out.

One thing is definitely for certain:

Depression

Let’s face it:

Dawn was surrounded by assholes. …More than she could count. And I don’t use that term loosely. My guess is that many of you, whom have found your way to this blog entry, have seen Welcome to the Dollhouse and know exactly what I’m talking about. Those preteens & the teachers were just plain awful. Junior high school is bad enough with all of the growing up, hormones, & confused emotions flying around. But Dawn? She couldn’t catch a break. And every attempt at fighting back was met with opposition to the maximum.

 

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(Harvey & Marj Wiener; Dawn’s parents played by Angela Pietropinto & Bill Buell)

And these two? ‘Harv & Marj'; they saw Dawn as more of an inconvenience, than an actual priority….

…Or at least that’s how it seemed.

In truth, like many parents, Harv & Marj didn’t connect with Dawn as strongly as they did with her younger sister and older brother, Missy & Mark. It’s easy to say that Missy was the ‘favorite child;’ …and she was. ;-) Yet, it was made very clear that Harv and Marj did very little to get to know their oldest daughter. And when you don’t get to know your own children…well…. saying ‘there’s bound to be a communication barrier between both parties’ is quite an obvious understatement.

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(Missy Wiener & Marj Wiener)

The first dinner table scene in Welcome to the Dollhouse brilliantly demonstrates the conspicuous double standard certain parents have for one of their children, versus the other. Marj adoringly looks at Missy as she suggests that Dawn be enrolled in a ‘reform school’ after Missy claims that Dawn was bothering her. …Well…Dawn was mouthing ‘fuck you’ over and over again, mimicking her tormentor, Brandon McCarthy from earlier that day in hopes that it would bother her younger sister.

Not a smart move on Dawn’s part…

Still, even if Dawn wasn’t doing anything, her mother–who technically didn’t actually see Dawn mouthing anything–assumed that Missy was telling the truth. Marj also assumes that Missy didn’t mean what she said. Instead of making both of them apologize to each other, Marj completely excuses Missy’s behavior, and makes Dawn apologize; the punishment not being able to leave the table until she apologizes and says she loves her sister. Dawn stubbornly refuses, and ends up sitting at the dinner table for hours afterward until her mother orders her to get to bed.

Regardless of Dawn’s own immature behavior, it’s Marj who shouldn’t have made an excuse for Missy manipulative behavior.

So…In that regard:

Good for Dawn for not budging.

At the same time, this was an opportunity for Dawn to take responsibility for her own behavior (in some form at least.)

I find many of the confrontational scenes between Dawn & her parents to be very relatable. The injustice dished out to Dawn, the phony behavior from Marj to keep up appearances of a perfect family, and the pressure cooker of a situation that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere–until the beginning of Palindromes 10 years later.

The chipping of Dawn’s spirit is enough to make one cringe many times over…

For example, Marj sets up a family meeting in the living room, asking Mark & Missy to back her up as she talks to Dawn about removing her club house in the backyard. Marj wants the extra room for her & Harv’s 20th anniversary party. Dawn, of course, refuses; knowing full well that’s the only safe haven & place she can truly call her own. Marj argues that Dawn’s getting too old to have a play house, yet many kids her age have tree houses. I understand that the parents need the space temporarily, but they don’t even remotely offer to rebuild a better club house for her afterwards. Nor do they care that her spirit is crushed because of it. She may be in junior high, but she’s still just a kid trying to be a kid. Parents shouldn’t be in such a big hurry for their children to grow up.

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(Dawn’s ‘Special People’s Club‘ house–RIP…Club House. You deserve to be resurrected into a much better sanctuary.)

Dawn spent most of her time inside the house during the anniversary party; spending a good chunk of time looking for her much older high school crush, Steve Rogers, the hunky Mark tutors for Computer Science class, and temporarily sings in his band. When Marj & Harv question Dawn–while she looks for Steve–about her whereabouts, Dawn responds flippantly and continues her search.

WelcomeToTheDollHouseHarvandMarj

(A perfect portrait of self-centered parents)

On a personal note: I knew a girl whom lived down the street from myself as a kid, who was berated on a constant basis by her mother. This girls mother had no filters; she even berating my childhood friend in front of my own mother and I. This little girl, like Dawn, was nice at heart but often lashed out at myself and others because the years of verbal abuse smashed her spirit down to a point where she couldn’t take any sort of criticism. So I do have an objective understanding of why Dawn sporadically acts out.

To make matters worse, during the viewing of their anniversary video, Harv & Marj laugh at Dawn getting pushed into the swimming pool by Missy. They make nice comments about their other children, but laugh a moment that was pretty humiliating for Dawn. Missy requests they watch it again. Whether they do or don’t is a mystery, but one thing is for certain: This is what I would call a ‘last straw moment’ for Dawn.

Later that night, Dawn takes the tape out of the VCR, takes it outside, and smashes it to pieces with a hammer. In that moment, I believe she was able to take back some control and power through this action. As destructive as it may have been, it doesn’t end there. Not giving Missy the note Marj told Dawn to give her about getting a ride from a friend after ballet practice was a huge mistake; as it lead to Missy’s kidnapping. Even when Dawn runs away to NYC for a day to find Missy, Harv & Marj hardly notice Dawn is gone.

Dawn was far from an angel, given her sporadically rude behavior throughout the film. Yet, no child deserves to have their spirit shit on by the individuals surrounding them. And when a parent does it? Well…that must make them a real special kind of asshole.

(I’d like to think this is Dawn, after smashing the video tape, saying “I have no more fucks to give…”)

The only person that seemed to have anything remotely close to sympathy for Dawn was her brother, Mark. He takes a less emotional approach though, but does inform Dawn when she asks him questions:

Dawn: Is high school better than junior high?

Mark: All of junior high school sucks. High school’s better; it’s closer to college. They’ll call you names, but not as much to your face. 

Duh

(Mark Wiener, Dawn’s brother)

In Welcome to the Dollhouse’s sequel, Palindromes we come to find that Dawn apparently had committed suicide ten years after the events of Welcome to the Dollhouse, and had become pregnant before doing so. Personally, I call bullshit on that. Dawn had much too stubborn of a nature to kill herself. She may have been beaten down verbally, and possibly physically…but she would never take her own life. She would have risen above all that crap.

I’m willing to bet the suicide ruling was a cover up by her family.

Even Heather Matarazzo seems to agree with myself on that point:

Dawn’s Letter

Much of Welcome to the Dollhouse feels satirical, with many elements of truth. The anniversary song that goes “Harv & Marj are the greatest couple the world has ever known….” is utterly ridiculous of course…But it highlights the phony behavior that Harv & Marj display.

All in all, Dawn’s parents may have loved her on some humdrum level, but they didn’t make her a priority–nor were they very attentive or compassionate parents. And they certainly didn’t encourage her to cultivate her musical talents as a pianist. No. They apparently had more important things to do.

I mean…shit…even Dawn’s coffin is a reflection of how her parents felt about her:

Bare.

Austere.

Trust me. If it were Missy who bit the dust that coffin would be made of pink platinum and adorned with flowers.

DawnCoffin

(Dawn’s coffin during her funeral in Palindromes (2004))

Just goes to show that if you don’t respect, love, or value your children: You may lose them.

For Dawn’s sake, I hope she was reincarnated into a family who show her nothing but love, compassion, & kindness.

Sam Simon: A Voice For The Voiceless

Posted in Kind Thoughts For The Day on March 12, 2015 by youngnstrange

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We lost a loving soul this week.

Sam Simon was co-creator of The Simpsons, an animal rights activist, director, producer, radio show host of the Sam Simon Show among many many wonderful things.

I didn’t know Sam Simon very well. I recently became acquainted with him over the last month from speaking to him on his radio show, the Sam Simon Show he co-hosted with Ari Solomon, Mikko Alanne, his girlfriend, Kate Porter, and actress &, ex-wife, & close friend, Jennifer Tilly. I spoke with him over the phone during his last three shows, sharing animal stories about Alaska.

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Jennifer Tilly’s twitter picture of the Sam Simon Show co-hosts.

(From the left) Jennifer Tilly, Kate Porter, Sam Simon, Ari Solomon, & Mikko Alanne

I first started listening to the Sam Simon Show last October.

In that time, I was able to learn about Sam and what he’s done for so many animals and people around the world. I became very intrigued by his work. Sam has helped rescue many animals from captivity, be that from circuses, cages, zoos, etc. He’s bought zoos and circuses, freeing the animals into sanctuaries so they can taste freedom for the first time. Sam was a huge supporter of animal rights organizations, like Mercy For Animals, PETA, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. He rescued dogs from animal shelters from being euthanized and retrained them to help the deaf and veterans. He set up mobile veterinary clinics that went around the Los Angeles area, helping to spay and neuter animals for low income families. He created the Feeding Families program that provided over 200 families per day struggling from economic hardship–especially those that might not have been able to feed their children or pets–with free nutritious vegan meals. He was also a huge supporter of the Save The Children foundation. He spent the last few years of his life, after being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012, helping people animals & children in anyway he could.

SamSimon

Sam Simon is someone who truly lived by example.

He was a voice for those that didn’t have one.

He stood up tall for animals & children.

This quality about him inspires me personally.

One of the main reasons for creating this blog is to give a voice to the voiceless, the forgotten, the marginalized, the outcast, & the helpless by spreading awareness about their situations; shining a spotlight on the issues teenagers, children, and animals are facing and what or whom is enabling the oppression of them. Children, teenagers, young adults & animals are at the forefront of this battle.

SamSimonProtest

As a young adult in my 20s, I realize the importance of taking action in some way–anyway– is something that is not only needed, but it’s crucial to our survival as a society, culture, and planet. It is one of my goals to help follow in the footsteps of and carry on Sam Simon’s work by doing whatever I can to help animals and young people in anyway. Having had a taste of working in the field of philanthropy through my college years, I understand the importance of giving and urging people to give back. I really hope to help inspire and urge my generation to be a voice for the voiceless. One can do this by attending and participating in peaceful protests, donating to an animal shelter, organization that helps women & children, the homeless, etc.

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(from the left, Mikko Alanne, Jennifer Tilly, Kate Porter, & Sam Simon)

Social media is a blessing because we now can voice our concerns to a broader audience than ever before.

I found the Sam Simon Show through one of my favorite actors, fellow twitter follower, friend, and hero, Jennifer Tilly. She’s Sam Simon’s ex-wife and closest friends. I was a little late to the game tuning in, but I feel very blessed to have had the privilege of being able to listen and call into the show when I did. Sam, Jennifer, Kate, Mikko, & Ari are all incredibly kind, hilarious, and want people to be aware of the issues surrounding animals. They also would ask their callers calling into the show if they are vegan or eat vegan. If not, they urged their listeners and their callers to start a vegan/animal free diet, providing websites to vegan recipes, vegan organizations, stores, and websites that are designed to help you start eating vegan. I personally am not there yet. I am working right now towards a pescatarian diet. I love the taste of seafood too much right now, but I will do my very best as I go through life to eat responsibly and respectably. And like Jennifer Tilly stated on her twitter, I too consider myself ‘vegan adjacent.’ This means (for me) I eat vegan when I can. ;-)

Every single time I tuned in, Sam always urged people to call into the show. I came to a realization the day he passed on that I had been his last caller on his February 20th, 2015 radio show. This really hit my heart. I can still here his voice. He said to me “Heeey! It’s Elena! From Alaska!” I was telling Sam and crew about the ghosts my cats see in my room at night. After telling my story, he chuckled and said amused,  “Anything else you want to ruin with science, Elena?”

All in all, I am grateful to have been able to connect with him in some form. :)

I urge everyone to listen & call into the Farewell Sam Simon Show this Friday, March 13th, 2015. 3pm-5pm Pacific Time.

Share your memories of Sam!

You can access it through this link here:

http://www.radioio.com/channels/talk/bubba-one/

VLOGGING: What I Learned From My First Acting Audition Experience

Posted in Vlogging with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2015 by youngnstrange

In my first vlog, I talk about what I learned from my first acting audition experience.

 

Webseries Review: Young Like Us (Minor Spoilers)

Posted in Raving Retrospective Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2015 by youngnstrange

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Disclaimer: All pictures (banner included) are property and copyright of http://younglikeusseries.com/, Cleo Handler, & Chloe Sarbib.

“As soon as I choose to be anywhere, I wanna be anywhere else. It’s easy for me to love anyone, I love anyone but myself. Just don’t make me love myself.” -Love Myself song by Cleo Handler, Chloe Sarbib, and crew of Young Like Us.

Young Like Us is an 8 episode webseries created by Chloe Sarbib & Cleo Handler (who also stars as one of the three main characters, Mia.)

YoungLikeUs4

Mia (Cleo Handler), Charlie (Julie Shain), & Ava (Sarah Rosen) are three former roommates and close friends who form a faux band called Larry’s Girls to keep from drifting apart in the midst of their busy & ever changing lives.

I had a lot of fun binge watching Young Like Us. Having recently moved back to Anchorage, Alaska from Queens, New York City, this series had a lot of fun references and relatable moments for me.

Living in the big city–that is NYC–isn’t easy for the majority of people–especially if you’re young and looking to start building a life; and everyone knows that keeping yourself surrounded by close and supportive friends makes that transition a whole lot easier and meaningful. Especially in a huge city that can be just as easily isolating.

Mia, Charlie, & Ava are all in a transitional phase of their lives. They’re in their early 20s, out of college, and adjusting to the quote on quote ‘real world,’ that is the 9-5 workforce life.

YoungLikeUs

Each episode is ripe with issues that any young person deals with; discussions ranging from issues like pregnancy, to dating someone of the same sex, to arguing about who is and who isn’t taking their side of the friendship seriously; which happens in one of the episodes where Charlie feels like she’s taking the idea of starting a band a lot more seriously than her two best friends.

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(From left to right; Cleo Handler, Brad Dourif, Sarah Rosen, Julie Shain aka Larry & his girls. ;-) )

Brad Dourif (Oscar nominated, veteran actor, who portrays one of my favorite characters, Chucky the killer doll from the Chucky/Child’s Play series) makes two guest appearance as Mia, Charlie, & Ava’s former landlord, Larry. One appearance is in the pilot and the second in episode 8. Right off the bat, Cleo Handler and Chloe Sarbib reference Chucky by having Larry tell the girls that he’s on his way to get his Seed of Chucky poster signed by ‘Jennifer–Fucking–Tilly.’ A perfect reference that pays tribute to Brad Dourif’s work as an actor and Chucky, an iconic character we all know and love. Larry is quirky, mysterious, lovingly awkward, & random. Apparently, he is responsible for creating the thin paper that separates cheese in deli’s. Fascinating!

The soundtrack to this webseries is breath taking with hints of folk, rock & roll, even loungy sounding elements to it. These three gal pals spend much of their time in this webseries coming up with much of the lyrics in a lighthearted, entertaining & fun way while they hang out in Ava’s apartment; not taking themselves too seriously….that is until they are faced with a dilemma in the last episode where, Mia’s boyfriend, Trent (portrayed by Devale Ellis) has lined up a gig for their faux band, Larry’s Girls that they of course aren’t in the least bit prepared for. In the end, they embrace this unpreparedness with having fun & letting loose on stage in front of co-workers, friends, & loved ones, proving that just letting go and embracing the moment can be empowering.

These three close gal pals show us the importance of making and carving out the time to spend with your friends; their interactions prove to us that some of the best moments spent in life are in the company of those we form meaningful bonds and connections with in the long term; especially in our youth.

Life happens. In spite of our hardships, if we have our closest friends there to get through it with, then this just amplifies us to be the best versions of ourselves.

You can download the entire soundtrack & watch all eight episodes through the Young Like Us website, also posted there on their Youtube channel that you can find through their website:

http://younglikeusseries.com/

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(Left to right; producer, Holly Meehl; actor, Sarah Rosen; actor, writer, co-creator, Cleo Handler; actor, Julie Shain; co-creator, writer & director, Chloe Sarbib)

Malevolent Institutional Gatekeepers

Posted in Curiouser & Curiouser with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2014 by youngnstrange

“Boys, I’ve given a great deal of thought to what I’m about to say. I’ve talked it over with the staff and we all came to the same conclusion – that there should be some form of punishment for the unspeakable behavior of yesterday. (Pause) Most of you are here because you could not adjust to the outside world. You broke the rules of society. At some time… in your childhood perhaps… you were allowed to get away with that. But when you broke a rule you knew it. You wanted to be punished – needed it – but the punishment did not come. That leniency on the part of your parents may have been the germ of your present illness. I remind you of this, hoping you will understand that it is entirely for your own good that we enforce discipline.”Nurse Ratched; One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (Stage Play)

DUmbridge

Dolores Umbridge of the Harry Potter series

Dolores Umbridge is one of the only villains that’s truly made my stomach churn; right there with Mildred Ratched (Nurse Ratched of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest). Same can be said for Frollo of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, who is considered the scariest Disney villain due to his realistic fear striking. Sister Jude (Judy Martin) of season two’s American Horror Story: Asylum fits this category to an extent.   Why? Besides these types of power hungry individuals actually existing in our schools, work place, etc. They are directly responsible for keeping the wheel of these inhumane systems of bigotry, hatred, & separation moving.

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Nurse Mildred Ratched of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

They are enablers that weasel their way into positions of power; specifically through some sort of position that has direct influence over others on an institutional level. Schools, mental hospitals, government positions, etc. are perfect examples of intuitions where the minds of the masses are in a vulnerable position and easily influenced and steered.

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Sister Jude of American Horror Story: Asylum

What’s most disturbing is their methods of concealing their bigotry and intolerance.

They hide it, and they hide it well; much of it using subtle means.

They will do all that they can to convince you that you are somebody or something that you are certainly NOT. They do this by manipulation, coercion, and delivery of some sort of sermon. Anything to convince you of what they believe to be their truth.

Their lull’s and smiles are covered in poison as they pretend to nurture you. When in the presence of someone like this, we often feel drained, sick, or dirty on an energetic level.

Sometimes these malevolent institutional gatekeepers are very observant and will use their observations of you to their own advantage.

NurseRatchedWatching

Watch out.

Others will just call it as they see it.

WitchCraft

Does it come as a surprise that many of perpetrators/institutional gatekeepers are women? To me, not really. These women–even if they claim their behavior is all them–aren’t always aware (or are) that behind them is a council made up of mostly–if not all–men. These men know and perpetuate a system sometimes even they don’t fully understand.

Either way, you can’t negotiate with these people.

As the disfranchised, misfits, dreamers, weirdos, and regular everyday folk, we have to mass together if we want things to change. They may think they have power over others….but what they don’t understand is that the rest of us outnumber the power hungry 99 to 1.

Year of the Norma/Norman Bates Mother/Son Dynamic?

Posted in Curiouser & Curiouser with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2014 by youngnstrange

Is this the year of the Norma/Norman Bates mother/(killer) son dysfunctional relationship dynamic on TV?

Norman & Norma Bates of Bates Motel

No seriously, we have the actual Norma & Norman Bates of Bates Motel, with Norma having to come to terms with her sons psychological illness and issues getting worse and worse; we have Oswald Cobblepott & his mother, Gertrud Kapelput that have a weird connection all their own going on; and then there’s psychotic, copy-cat clown, serial killer, Dandy Mott, and his mother Gloria in this season (four) of American Horror Story: Freak show.

Dandy & Gloria Mott of season 4 of American Horror Story: Freak show

What do these mothers & sons all have in common? Well…the sons are all obviously killers; their mothers know this…or will soon find out…they’re unabashedly devoted to their boys, yet they haven’t a clue how to properly deal with their sons descent into madness….

But watch out: These overprotective mothers will do whatever it takes to make sure their boys are safe from harm; even if that means hiding the bodies for them, and crossing a few moral lines themselves along the way.

Oswald Cobblepott, & his mother, Gertrud Kapelput of Gotham

Gertrud is….pretty convinced her Oswald has run off with some lady friend. Not sure where she gets that idea…But nonetheless there’s a few boundaries she needs to abide by:

First rule: Let your son take his bath. Alone. Capiche? …All kinds of awkward here. He’s had a rough day dealing with all kinds of pre-Batman criminal mob stuff. I think he can sponge bathe himself.

Second: I’m going to feel very sorry for the poor unfortunate lady soul that may date Oswald in the future. …Both because he’s Oswald Cobblepott and, of course, Gertrud. Nah. I joke. No! Really! ;-) Kudos to whomever dates Robin Lord Taylor’s Oswald. He’s a keeper.

OswladBath

Oh hell…lets be real: These mothers are facing their own journey and descent into madness.

Exhibit A:

PartiesHorrorAHS

 Yeah, Gloria….where he devours them into that void of a mouth, behind that faux DCnu Joker mask.

In spite of these mama’s over-protective killer instincts…the monsters their sons have become reflect a really nasty reality we face today: Enabling undesirable, unacceptable, and often abhorrent behaviors in people in order to maintain the status quo; particularly at any costs, and especially if said person has a reputation to maintain.

It’s much worse when the killer is rife with privileges, which include class, gender, and race–specifically the white, rich, males who have some sort of societal and class protection. Dandy Mott is a perfect example of someone whose privilege and stunted emotions run unchecked. Sheltered from the world and spoiled rotten by his mother hasn’t helped his psych any either. He’s come to embrace his inner emptiness and darkness, as well as pulling inspiration from the now deceased, tortured soul, Twisty the clown (pictured above).

 

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Dandy Mott’s smashing clown costume

Dandy isn’t afraid to show his mother whom he truly and fully is. This puts Gloria in a very tight spot. Though…it’s hard to empathize someone who enables such warped behavior….especially one that’s admitted to having been at least aware of the inbreeding that’s been going on in the Mott family.  It’ll be interesting to see what Gloria ends up doing in the midst of Dandy’s knife happy shenanigans…

Norman

Same could be said for Norma Bates. In that corrupt, quiet, coastal Oregon town there’s only so many places one can hide a body. Norman is still a teenager, and has killed two people or more already….though his diagnosis and motivation isn’t necessarily caused by malice or sociopathy…that we know of. Norman’s blackouts are still something to be explored. He may just have a bad case of mental illness…We’ll have to wait and see. We know where his story goes…but it’s the mechanics of his mental illness we need to understand.

Either way…It’ll be interesting to see how far these mothers are willing to be pushed, both by themselves and by their sons’ madness.

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Gloria, haven’t we seen you at this angle before? Oh! Wait!

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POISONOUS PARENTS: Harry & Zinnia Wormwood (Matilda)

Posted in POISONOUS PARENTS on November 13, 2014 by youngnstrange

“Narrator: Everyone is born, but not everyone is born the same. Some will grow to be butchers, or bakers, or candlestick makers. Some will only be really good at making Jell-O salad. One way or another, though, every human being is unique, for better or for worse.

[Harry takes his first look at Matilda, grunts, and leaves]

Narrator: Most parents believe their children are the most beautiful creatures ever to grace the planet. Others take a less emotional approach.

[Harry and Zinnia are leaving the hospital with the baby]

Harry Wormwood: What a waste of time!

Zinnia Wormwood: And painful!

Harry Wormwood: And expensive, $9.25 for a bar of soap?

Zinnia Wormwood: Well I had to take a shower, Harry!

Harry Wormwood: $5,000? I’m not paying it. What’re they going to do, repossess the kid?”

-Matilda (1996), the day Matilda was born.

Ah…Harry and Zinnia Wormwood.

Where could I possibly start with these two?

Well, first of all:

Congratulations!

Congratulations, for taking absolutely no interest in your intellectual prodigy daughter.  She’s a human calculator, has read every single children’s library book, and has a college level IQ. I mean, look at this face:

She has a face that will one day, undoubtedly, cure cancer…and all you can do is sit there in sloth with your tainted TV dinners and your dirty car sales tricks. Yeah…I mean, who needs to read and fill their minds with knowledge right? Who needs those pesky intellectuals who move our society forward anyway?? You know…the doctors and scientists that help cure common diseases; the teachers that are partially responsible for making sure the next generation doesn’t devolve. Oh! And the engineers that build our space ships to send our astronauts into space in hopes that we might find signs of intelligent life somewhere….out there…wherever that may be. Because lets face it: We’re coming up bone dry in the signs of intelligent life on our planet; common sense becoming a common rarity. But yeah…Who needs those people, eh? Meh…

Well, the good news is that your kid is immune to your bullshittery of deceit, stupidity and ignorance with her hunger and eagerness to learn and grow as a person. She’s proof that we, as offspring, aren’t fully influenced by our environment, and/or our parents or the guardians that raised us.

Considering how many parents would deem it a god send to have a child like Matilda, one can only wonder WHY people like Harry & Zinnia Wormwood have children to begin with? Chances are Michael (Matilda’s older brother) and Matilda were the byproduct of a couple of passionate nights between Mr. & Mrs. Wormwood. I mean, that’s how it all starts out anyway, right? Perhaps Zinnia and Harry don’t actually like children. …The world may never know. And for that, I shrug.

Either way, Harry and Zinnia, between your negligence, and not caring whether your child succeeds at life, people in the real world like YOU are the very definition of why our society is heading towards a real life Idiocracy.

So again, congratulations and hats off to you!

Oh wait….

In all seriousness, Matilda is one of those stories where the book and the movie are both really good, at least in my humble opinion. I never did see the Broadway musical, so I cannot comment on that. In terms of the book and the film each has a unique vision, is stylistic, and each allow the audience to look through the eyes of this extraordinary young girl.

And come on! Who doesn’t like Danny Devito’s vision and direction? Have you seen his later film, Death To Smoochy (2002)?

Matilda is a grade A example of why we don’t need to be co-dependent on our parents for everything. Given the direction Generation Y (Millennials) are headed in at this moment in time, with the state of the economy, dwindling full time jobs, hours, and benefits, loss of healthcare. etc. it becomes more of a challenge for a good number of my generation not to depend on their parents and family in some aspect or another. Like it or not, there are many situations that are not within my generations control right now, even if we do everything in our power to be as independent as humanly possible. But that’s just where we’re at at this moment in time.

The story of Matilda is a clear demonstration of how our reactions play a crucial role in maintaining our own happiness, health, and overall well being. That’s not to say that everyone isn’t different in how they deal with stress and negativity. If you suffer from depression or any sort of mental illness, then that crucially needs to be factored into the equation. Matilda holds herself up pretty well, in spite of her parents neglect and unethical behavior. She doesn’t allow her parents to discourage her from reading,  learning or growing to her fullest potential; and most certainly doesn’t react or blame herself unnecessarily for Harry and Zinnia’s ignorance. Her maturity level is exceeded beyond her years.

Lauren Lungerich, creator of MTV’s Awkward once said: (…though I’ve heard this quote before) “You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.” Something about her saying this during the making of Awkward really stood out to me. Awkward’s main character, Jenna Hamilton–which I’ll be writing about here soon in more detail–had a lot of negativity coming her way during the first couple of seasons of Awkward from school, her parents, and various curve balls that life kept throwing at this high school misfit. She managed to handle and deal with her problems with grace and tact, and turned a lot of her problems into something that could help herself, as well as others move forward. Matilda does something similar, but still manages to have fun in the process; proving you don’t have to be malicious to play a prank on someone, especially your parents. After all, it’s a possibility they deserve a lot worse than a prank scare, but that’s not for me or you to decide. ;-)

MatildaBird

That poor parrot though…stuck in a chimney for days? Ah, well…I’d probably stick to super gluing my dads hat on his head.

There are two drastically different directions this story could have gone:

1. The actual direction it went in: Overcoming fear, discouragement, and the ignorance of others; resulting in fun times.

OR….

2.

Carrie

How I put it: Going full Carrie.

As I tweeted just a couple of days ago to Mara Wilson herself:

https://twitter.com/YoungNStrange

“. Matilda could have gone full Carrie, had she not believed in the power of Thurston Harris & Cheerios.”

Hey…anything is possible. ;-)

Carrie had a much more damaging upbringing than Matilda did, so I’m not too sure this is a fair assessment… Ultimately, the choice was theirs.

Harry and Zinnia Wormwood represent the apathy that comes when society starts to take for granted the thing, situations, places, and people we should value…but don’t have an appreciation for because they’re so integrated into our daily lives. Although the book came out in 1988, and the movie in 1996, many aspects of the story of Matilda still ring true, especially in this day and age as we descend further and further into a materialistic and self absorbed society. Harry and Zinnia’s bad parenting doesn’t just come from their self absorbed and unethical nature; they allow themselves to become susceptible to the media and other societal influences by zoning out in front of the television and other forms of easily digestible consumerism.

The Wormwood’s don’t value their daughter and her intelligence, simply because they don’t value hard work, intellectual pursuits, education, or a challenge. They’d rather take the easy way out by doing the least amount of work for the largest amount of reward. Harry Wormwood’s job as a dirty car salesman makes this fact pretty obvious and overt. This extends to their parenting as well. Matilda learned instinctively very very early on that she had to become super self reliant if she were to survive in this world; especially from an emotional standpoint.

Often times, those that cannot seek emotional solace and support from within their own families often have no other choice but to seek it out elsewhere. Matilda found a kindred spirit–and later a mother–in her teacher, Miss Honey. Both of them share a similar past with abusive and negligent family members. Ms. Trunchbull being Miss Honey’s main guardian after the death of her father at a very young age.

“You were born into a family that doesn’t always appreciate you, but one day, things are going to be very different.” Miss Honey; Matilda (1996)

When we’re young, we have very little say in where we get to live, let alone who we surround ourselves with. In the US, many teenagers don’t get to leave their home until their 18th birthday. …That is unless they get themselves emancipated, or can convince social services to have them removed from whatever dysfunctional situations they’re in. Many children end up coming up with coping methods to deal with the dysfunction. Matilda’s coping method was immersing herself in her story books, school work, and surrounding herself with friends. For someone as young as six, that may have been her only option. Either way, as challenging as it can be not to get sucked into family drama and dysfunction, Matilda managed to completely focus her energies on expanding the power of her mind; using it constructively. That’s not an easy thing to do, but it can be done and is often necessary.

In spite of their bad parenting, Harry and Zinnia did at least one great thing for their daughter, and that was giving her up for adoption to the one person who loved and valued her most: Jennifer Honey; allowing Matilda to grow up in a loving family.

Everyone has to do what’s best for their children. Sometimes that requires letting them go so they can live up to their fullest potential, in a positive and loving environment.

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