17 November 2008

Free Associations, Ep. 6: Our Blushing Aqua Teens

Last night I watched Our Blushing Brides--one of those flicks which, for reasons that shouldn't be too hard to figure out, holds a special place in what passes for my heart--for the second time. In case you aren't familiar with the film, Our Blushing Brides is a proto-chick-flick from 1930 centering around the romantic misadventures of three shop girls living together in a cramped New York flat as they try to eke out a living in the early years of the Great Depression. Our heroines are played by the Holy Trinity of Joan Crawford, Dorothy Sebastian and Anita Page.

Beneath all the coats of MGM varnish and gold plating, Our Blushing Brides is, at heart, a cautionary morality tale for the working girls of the era. Connie Blair (Anita Page) and Francine "Frankie" Daniels (Dorothy Sebastian) are fed up with the inglorious drudgery of working for meager wages in a department store, and allow themselves to be swept up away by wealthy heirs, only to wind up broken-hearted (or worse). Meanwhile, Geraldine "Gerry" March (Joan Crawford) keeps to the straight and narrow, good little trooper that she is. I rather enjoy this decidedly blue-collar subtext; it's rather the antithesis of the "princess" ideal that Disney movies and other cultural forces like to ram down the throat of our nation's impressionable youth.

...But I digress.

Prior to watching Our Blushing Brides, I watched a few episodes of the popular animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force. On the surface, these are two entirely different things that have nothing to do with one another--the proverbial apples and oranges. Yet there certainly is some common ground between the two. I had my suspicions after watching Our Blushing Brides the first time around, and after a side-by-side comparison, it now seems to me that the character dynamic among Gerry, Connie and Frankie is eerily similar to the dynamic among Frylock, Meatwad and Master Shake.

To begin with, Gerry March and Frylock are the moral and responsible corners of their respective triangles. Seemingly motivated by an almost parental affection, they try to point their friends in the right direction, but more often than not their noble efforts meet with failure, with the result that they must bail their friends out of difficult situations. Gerry never shoots lazer beams or thunder bolts from her eyes as Frylock often does, although I suspect that she does possess the ability.

Connie Blair and Meatwad, meanwhile, are the dopey, short-sighted but still essentially good ones. Their gullibility lands them in hot water, particularly in conjunction with their occasional spurts of ambition. Yet once again the point of divergence is the matter of superpowers--that Meatwad is (fittingly) an amorphous wad of meat allows him to take different shapes (most commonly a hot dog or an igloo). As she is unable to metamorphose herself in such a fashion, poor Connie's modus vivendi lies in her less-than-stellar perfume selling skills.

Finally, there comes the matter of Frankie Daniels and Master Shake. Prodigal and avaricious, shiftless and crafty, these two tend to resort to underhanded means and elaborate schemes to get ahead in the world, typically with tragic (or hilarious) results. Yet in spite of all this, one gets the impression that they are still basically good somewhere deep down inside. Neither has any particularly useful super powers, barring their penchant for snarkiness. Frankie is also significantly less malicious toward Connie than Shake is toward Meatwad--as I recall, she never puts Connie (or her cat) in the microwave.

I still don't know who would be the OBB equivalent of Carl, though. Maybe Robert Montgomery.

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