This is a Beauty and the Beast post of no consequence at all. When Ted put the first DVD in for me (I had an armful of baby) I said, “Once upon a time, in the city of New York…” and a moment or three later the first episode came up with that title. Ted looked at me with an expression of bemused horror, pity and affection, and said, “Those are brain cells you’re never going to get back.”
In my defense, I said, I had looked at the DVD information prior to him putting it in; I wasn’t sure I’d have remembered the first episode title, otherwise. (I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t have, either.)
What I did not say is, “No, the brain cells dedicated to knowing the lyrics to the BatB theme music, those I’ll never get back!” But the only reason I didn’t say it was I didn’t think of it at the moment. :)
It’s a little odd to watch a show that aired when I was a teen and to have it look like a period piece. I can’t decide which is more disconcerting, the clothes or the cars. The cars are all, well, mid-to-late-80s make, long boxy things, and when there’s an establishing shot of Catherine getting out of a taxi, the taxi tends to fill the entire screen, left to right. It’s very strange.
And the clothes, oh dear. Linda Hamilton is a petite woman, and the oversized boxy 80s styles utterly swamp her. She looks fantastic on the occasions she’s wearing something fitted, but mostly she looks like she’s borrowed a large man’s clothing (even the skirts. Perhaps she knows Billy?). And high-waisted pants aren’t flattering on short-torsoed people, a fact which never occurred to me in the 80s but which is quite clear after a decade or so of low-riders.
I’d forgotten that Catherine goes to a fight teacher in the second episode and learns how to take care of herself. She actually handles herself quite respectably in the episodes where she gets in trouble (which is virtually all of them), leaving me to wonder, now, why exactly Vincent has to risk being seen to rescue her time and again. This is a somewhat different take than my original Catherine/Linda Hamilton mindset, which came after watching BatB and only *then* seeing Terminator. I spent the entirety of that film waiting for Vincent to show up and rescue her. :)
Ron Perlman, even under all the makeup, looks very young. Linda Hamilton and Roy Dotrice not so much, largely because pretty much everything I’ve seen them in has been from a 5-7 year period around BatB, so they just look like themselves. Perlman, however, has worked a lot more/I’m aware/have seen more of his work in the, oh, twenty years post-BatB, so his youth is striking. And I’d forgotten how much acting he does with his eyes, and how much body language he employs, and to what effect, so that’s kind of cool to watch. Awfully good actor, that man.
Somewhere around the third episode I remembered why it was I really loved this show. It’s not just that Vincent is rawr, though at sixteen that was certainly a large part of it (and who are we kidding, at 36 he still works for me). But in the long term, and in lasting effect, what really made the show wonderful is the poetry, and Perlman’s gift for reading it. I was never much of a poetry person before BatB; he changed that. (And made me like my name. I don’t particularly care for being called Catherine. Ron Perlman is the only person on Earth I’d introduce myself as Catherine to in hopes that he’d actually call me that.) In fact, in the pre-Internet days when BatB was on, I went to quite a lot of trouble to look up the poem from the last Catherine episodes–Dylan Thomas’s “And Death Shall Have No Dominion”–which probably changed my relationship with poetry forever (and to the good).
I knew GRRM had written at least a few episodes, but I didn’t know he’d been the creative consultant for the entire series. That’s cool. I was also surprised, upon re-watching, to discover that “Masques”, the Halloween episode (in which the Irish guest star’s accent is every bit as dreadful as I remember it being) was not only written by him, but is in fact the fourth or fifth episode, when I’d thought it must be a second-season one because it seemed unlikely they’d take that risk (a man in a mask pretending to be not a man in a mask pretending to be a man in a mask) that early on. However, it still generally worked and is a lovely episode for the Catherine/Vincent aspect, if not the Irish storyline.
So far, though, the best episode has been “Song of Orpheus”, which isn’t about Catherine and Vincent at all. It’s a Father episode, and it’s the only one thus far where Vincent hasn’t been Discovered or Seen. You’d think half of New York would recognize him, from the regularity with which he’s glimpsed in these episodes. :)
Huh (she said, several days later), it turns out there were five episodes in a row I hadn’t seen, or had no memory of. Three characters I recognized were introduced, so either they were brought back later (at least one certainly was) or I’d seen the episodes, but aside from knowing who the characters were, no recollection of the actual stories. I was sure I’d missed a couple episodes, but five in a row is more than I thought. Huh. :)
Oh look, GRRM became a producer instead of a creative consultant. Who knew?
Holy crap, Mitch Pileggi. With hair. Brown hair. *pauses* No, sorry, he’s a million times more attractive older, greyer and balder. Does this mean I’m getting old? (Nah, he was hot as Skinner and I was only 20 when X-Files started.)
Speaking of getting old, I have to say that while I suspect at sixteen I found Catherine and Vincent’s self-imposed platonic behavior Romantic and Heartwrenching, at thirty-six I think they’re morons. They spend a lot of time talking about courage and strength and facing fears, and all the while refuse to take any bold measures with regards to their relationship. I suppose that they sort of have to do that in TV storytelling terms, but I have a lot less patience for it now than I did as a teen. I mean, it drove me nuts then in the way it was supposed to: Augh The Romantic Tension! But now I just think they’re chickenshits. :)
Halfway through episode 18, “Fever”, I have lost my will to watch BatB. I don’t know is this is because it’s too much at once or if it’s just that I didn’t like this episode 20 years ago, either (and I didn’t: it’s the only one I actively remember not liking). And the in-laws are arriving today, so probably I won’t watch the rest of it for a couple weeks. So maybe I’ll just post this now. :)
(x-posted from the essential kit)