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28 May 2010 @ 08:34 am
BatB (most of) s1  

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)

Current Mood: geekygeeky
TuftEars: Wynxtuftears on May 28th, 2010 08:02 am (UTC)
Someday I should check them out - I saw a few episodes way back when, but never watched the series actively. I heard it went interesting places though!
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on May 28th, 2010 08:36 am (UTC)
Ron Perlman

I first saw him in Quest for Fire, and thought he was a pretty good actor.
Touch of Inktouch_of_ink on May 28th, 2010 12:50 pm (UTC)
Ok, now you've made me want to watch :)

And I wish, wish, wish, that TV and writers would get over the Rhoda syndrome already and let there be some romantic tension, and then some move into further developing the relationship.

(Hmm.. side thought, I wonder if one reason that the divorce rate is so high, is because we don't have any story examples of what happens after "happily ever after". Still, I'm not going to be writing romance novels.)
Amandatreehugginhippy on May 29th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
I actually really believe that the divorce idea is true. Hubby and I had a LOT of discussions before we got married -- acknowledging that there would be days we hated each other, times when we didn't like each other much, but that as long as the love was there -- no matter how deeply buried at the moment -- we'd be alright.

And it's been over 5 years and... there've been times we hate each other! Who'd have thought!

There's a million training manuals for "getting to the wedding" but NONE for how to actually LIVE with another human being.
Childlight: BATB by mechildlight on May 28th, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you wrote. I was and still am enchanted with BATB. And I will always be a little in love with both Vincent and Ron Perlman. When I was about 14 or 15 I did the "going together" thing with a guy named Vince. One night he came me a BATB poster and told me he wanted to be the Vincent to my Catherine. What a romantic moment for a sappy teenager.

I loved that Catherine had the strength to stand up for herself while at the same time having her knight is shinning armor.

I memorized much of the poetry from the series and still recite it when I am stressed or scared as a way to deal. And after the soundtrack went out of print I spent $60 to win a bid on a used copy on Ebay but it was worth it. I even have the piano sheet music and can play the theme song well.

Oh and once in high school when I was really depressed I came in to class to find a male friend had drawn a beast hand holding a candle and the words "Somewhere I have never traveled gladly beyond any experience your eyes have their silence" on a piece of paper and left it for me on my desk. I still have it.

So see it even inspired the menfolk.
Passionately decaying organic mattermiintikwa on May 28th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
I loved that show with an unholy love. I need to get the DVDs!
Geek of Weird Shit: sensualgows on May 28th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
Never got into it in high school--my folks were pretty restrictive on what TV we could watch, and we only had a few channels available. But I'm a bit intrigued now, I must say.
Wolf Lahtiwolflahti on May 28th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)

Coincidentally (though I guess not directly related), I just watched the first X-files yestereve. Duchovny looked like he just got out of high school.
SaffronRosesaffronrose on May 28th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
At 16, I found Sara Teasdale's love poetry intensely romantic; now I find it shows a pathetic need to be loved in the face of men of no character.

I still love her nature poems, which are what introduced me to her work.
dsgood on May 28th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
"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."

Not to me. I was born in 1943, so I've gotten used to it.

If it hasn't already happened, you can look forward to people much younger than you complaining that today's high school kids don't appreciate music from the Golden Age (which, oddly enough, coincided with their high school years.) I've seen University of Minnesota undergraduates quoted as mourning that decline in taste.

Also: Historical romances set in that gentler, simpler time.
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on May 29th, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
"You’d think half of New York would recognize him, from the regularity with which he’s glimpsed in these episodes. :)"

You mean like the way that Superman's Fortress of Solitude constantly has visitors, guests, and invaders? He should call it his Vault of Frequent Company.
kitmizkit on May 29th, 2010 07:25 am (UTC)
*lol* Yes, just like that. :)
Merryfeed_your_muse on June 1st, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
Hope you had a great day, Catie!

katedonovankatedonovan on June 2nd, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)