Monday, April 11, 2011

Note to all the writers out there: if your latest work has idiots fucking around with idiots, you better not be writing a drama.

I'm referring, of course, to the eight-car pileup that was Mildred Pierce. All the critics loved the show, but I'm thinking the TV Guide summary should have been, "Idiot housewife has daughter who's a twat." See, a good drama has to feature at least one protagonist who isn't stupid or nuts. When your characters are stupid or nuts, the conflict doesn't mean anything. It can rattle on endlessly, and it never gets resolved. That's why Shakespeare never wrote about Atlanta housewives. Toss in some ridiculous depression-era slang and you've got five hours of unmitigated crap.

If you missed it, here's a quick summary. So you don't doze off like I did, I'll ramp up the action a bit. In Part One, Veda aims a Model T at Mildred, her mom. "Jeepers!" Mildred cries, narrowly escaping death. "That dumb cluck gives me the willies!" In Part Two, Veda runs over Mildred with a beer truck. "Whatta goof!" Mildred yells, setting her broken limbs with old tea towels. "That's one slap-happy stinkeroo!" In Part Three, Veda squashes Mildred with a steamroller. "Phooey!" Mildred splutters, an eighth of an inch thick. "I think that lame-brain wants me to take a dirt nap!"

By Part Four, I'm screaming GET THIS SHIT OFF MY TV.

I don't know what the writer was thinking. Really, your audience isn't going to tear up when your star feels bad in the back of her limo. They're not going to sob in sympathy when she realizes maybe she should have banked a little more money before buying that mansion. They're not going to think, "There but for the grace of God go I!" when she admits that maybe restauranteurs shouldn't keep two sets of books.

I shook my head from start to finish, but nearly got whiplash at Mildred's last line to her daughter.

MILDRED: You played us all like patsies! You were totally faking the injuries from when I tried to choke you to death!

Mildred loses the daughter, of course, but she keeps her business, stays out of jail, and even gets her first husband, Bert, back. Evidently he agrees that a cunt is somebody who, when you hit her with an axe, totally mimes losing an arm.

BERT: Veda can just go to hell. She can take a long walk off a short pier.

MILDRED: Fuck her. Fuck her. (PAUSE.) More Rootin' Tootin' Root Beer pie?

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