Goodbye Glee. Hello Hairspray. But the joy and madness that has become Jellybean’s musical merry-go-round doesn’t end there, and I’m a tad concerned.
We plain wore out those peppy young things from fictional McKinley High School. From Journey to Joan Jett, Lady Gaga to Cee Lo, we wore those mothers out, but like the students themselves, we too must eventually graduate … to star-studded Hollywood musicals and a man dressed in drag.
Since I can’t remember whose idea it was, I’ll take credit. It’s MY column after all. But some weeks back we introduced Jellybean to Hairspray – the newer one with John Travolta dressed up like a fat lady and Michelle Pfeiffer as the mean Miss Baltimore Crabs.
Granted, not the kind of movie that’ll put hair on Jellybean’s chest or leave her questioning the meaning of life, but it ain’t a bad way to keep her from putting makeup on the dogs or forcing yours truly to play school for weekends on end. The greatest trick a parent learns is the art of distraction, and for Jellybean that translates into anything with singing and dancing.
I tried to get her into Iron Maiden’s righteous documentary Death on the Road,but she just kept asking “why that man was always yelling … was he mad?” Heavy metal isn’t for toddlers.
Hairspray’s got some great songs in it. I know because twice a day, 30 minutes a day, five days a week for the past two months, it’s all I’ve been listening to when taking Jellybean back and forth to daycare. I sing the songs in my sleep. Whistle the tunes in the shower. I confuse family member’s names with characters from the show and even had a very inappropriate dream about John Travolta cooking bacon dressed only in a moo-moo.
It’s just so easy to fall into the trap. Jellybean loves to sing and dance, and it’s a hoot to watch her … until it all becomes like an infected splinter in the brain.
Enter Grease … it is “the word” after all. I first sold it to Jellybean with, “You remember the mom from Hairspray? He’s in this movie, too.”
You can imagine the look on her face. “No. That’s a girl,” Jellybean answers, pointing at Travolta in drag. “See.”
“Well, actually … oh, never mind.”
So I focused on the songs and the dancing. She was hooked by “Summer Nights.” By “Hopelessly Devoted,” she wanted us to call her Sandy and “Beauty School Dropout,” Jellybean was ready to dye her hair pink and work as a waitress in a diner. Well … it ain’t Iron Maiden, but I’ve gotta admit to being a Grease freak. Had I ever learned to play guitar and started a rock band that played college frat parties, we totally would’ve covered “Greased Lightening” with choreographed hand gestures and everything.
It’s about that moment when I realized … Grease is kinda dirty. It’s subtle, but a couple of close listens and there’s more than a few phrases that might make the grandparents blush.
Sure it’s cute to watch Jellybean swish her hips, but add that to strutting around singing, “look at me/I’m Sandra Dee/Lousy with virginity” and it’ll look like a tryout for Toddlers and Tiaras.
I guess Grease isn’t as wholesome as I remember. But at least John Travolta’s worrying about taking bras off rather than putting them on.
Contact Brett Buckner at email@example.com