Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cry Up A Liver (If That Is Indeed Possible)

All right, all right, I admit it. Much as I sometimes wish it isn't so, although never quite enough to start winking lasciviously at anything with legs from here to yah-yah and binding down my bosom (baby, there just ain't enough binding in the world, noewaddimean?) I just have to come to terms with the fact that I am a girly-woman-lady type. And thus, I am occasionally prone, when I let my guard down, to engaging in girly-woman-lady type activities, like looking at videos of animals trampolining (thanks, Mippy!), paying inordinate amounts of money to have people apply poisonous chemicals to my hair with micrometre precision, and chronic self-hatred. Also, crying at things on the TV that are not upsetting, even through the foul-mouthed stream of invective that such things usually provoke in me. Here are a few things that make me cry:

1. The Coffee And TV video, specifically the moment at the end where Graham returns to the homestead and his family, who have been sadly gazing out of the window, suddenly hear him enter and rush to...well, one assumes greet him, but it's offscreen - they could be so maddened by his total disregard for their feelings and selfish skulking about in Britpop bands behaviour that they beat him to a pulp. I'm guessing that's not the way Hammer and Tongs pictured it. Peculiarly, the death of the milk cartons leaves me cold, the cheery Tetrapak idiots.

2. The episode of Futurama where Fry's fossilised dog is almost brought back from the dead, before Fry realises the dog lived a long life after Fry had gone, and so leaves him to his stony rest. But oh no, then the sucker punch - the dog had in fact stayed in the spot where Fry left him, pining after his lost master, for years and years until he grew old and died, lonely and unloved. Heartbreaking. Tragic. But a stupid cartoon set 1,000 years in the future, for the love of all the ponies!

3. Any advert for Cancer Research or somesuch where a big-eyed teary child looks into the mirror and sees their departed mother smiling back at them. Or the Mastercard advert where people joyfully greet their long-lost relatives in airport terminals.

Ah-ha! Sky One seem to have run with this last idea, straight into a wall made of emotional manipulation. A new show starts this week called "Hello Goodbye" (I base all of the following on the trail alone, BTW, I have no intention of watching - misinformed opinion once again the best opinion!) which hangs around Heathrow and sticks a camera into the faces of people saying - yes, yes! - hello, or goodbye, to friends and family. It's hardcore emotional pornography. None of the backstory, nothing you need to fast forward through, just straight-up crying, sobbing, and snuffling. Look, look at them cry. You can cry too. Look at those tears, running down their faces. Ohhh, yeah. Do you like that? Do you like those tears? Oh, the anguish! Oh, God! The anguish! More, more! Cry harder! Harder! And...! Quick, get a tissue, you've made an awful mess all down your face.

Disgusted? You should be. It's a ridiculous idea for a show, but it's somehow genius in its simplicity. You just have to beam footage of people suffering, but not in a horrible "my whole family's just been gunned down" kind of way, into the living rooms of saps who'll watch so they can "just have a good cry". There's no such thing. Just as there's no such thing as a hilarious homicidal rage. Trouble is though, it would make me cry in a way that, for example, watching footage of far-flung wars or real terrible human suffering wouldn't. And that is what is worrying to me.

Ah well - just have to fall back on the saviour of all girly-woman-lady types - blame it on the hormones. I knew there was a good side to it somewhere.


Ishouldbeworking said...

Anyone who saw that episode of 'Futurama' and did not shed a tear needs to check their pulse - they may already be dead.It's the one where they play 'If It Takes Forever I Will Wait For you' at the end, right? I'm filling up just thinking about it!

justrestingmyeyes said...

That's the one. What a song that is. My ex-flatmate disliked the episode, but would rejoice in finding me watching it, so that when I was dissolving into a crumpled heap at the end, he could bark "WEAK!" at me.

He was a good man.

the grizzle said...

Your ex-flatmate was some kind of flint-hearted robot from the future then. Even men are allowed to choke up a bit at that one.

James Taverner said...


"What do we want?"
"Fry's dog!"
"When do we want it?"
"Fry's dog!"

You'll be pleased to hear that the dog makes a happier cameo reappearance in one of the straight-to-DVD Futurama movies, so all is well.

Though I've got into the habit of crying at every movie i see in the cinema, in a way completely uncorrelated with what's actually happening on screen. Welled up during "Benjamin Button", "Slumdog Millionaire" and even "Watchmen" recently. Curious.