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06 February 2014 @ 04:02 pm
BatB rewatch: Eps 1-4  

Arright, to start with you should actually go read Steve Aryan’s commentary, because it’s much more thoughtful and insightful than my own, and he’s my co-pilot on this BatB re-watch. :)

Here is my relationship with Beauty and the Beast in a nutshell: I had never read GREAT EXPECTATIONS when the first episode aired, and did so just to find out what the last chapter was, because in the hospital at the end Catherine wonders if someone might read the last chapter to her, because Vincent has been reading it to her and didn’t quite have time to finish before she left Below and went back to her world.

It never occurred to me to just read the last chapter.

When Ted put the first Beauty and the Beast DVD in for me 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 40 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).

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

The Black Rabbit: Headinlerah on February 6th, 2014 10:37 pm (UTC)
I had to comment. You don't know me well, Mizkit, but I know you (not only because of your books, but because we have several good friends in common). I wanted to share my own first reaction to BatB, because I think you will truly appreciate it. Reading your post, I couldn't stop smiling. We apparently are misplaced twins or something, because I feel the exact same way about everything you said. But anyway, on to my anecdote.

I did not start watching the show when it premiered. In fact, I didn't catch up to it until it was in its second season. I stumbled upon it during the Christmas episode called "Dead of Winter". This was a Paracelsus episode that ended with Vincent and Catherine dancing. I can't really say why, but I was just gobsmacked. Hooked. So, the next week, I made sure to catch it again. I was home for the holidays, so I did not have "control" of the living room TV, but I convinced my family that this was what we should be watching. Now, the episode that aired that week was a first season repeat. I had no idea of that fact at the time. To me, they were all new, but I found out later when I became an addict and memorized everything to do with the show. :) Anyway, the episode they chose to fill the seasonal hiatus was Ozymandias. This was an Elliot Birch episode. Now, unlike you, I have always been a poetry person--at least on some level. And Percy's signature work is a favorite of mine. I've had it memorized since grade school. So, as we watch the episode unfold, and it gets near the end, and Vincent begins...reciting...I of course know exactly what he's reading--even if we missed the tell-tale title of the episode (which we did, having only turned the station on after the show had begun). So, Vincent begins reciting, and I get all warm and fuzzy, and, without even thinking, begin reciting with him. We finish Ozymandias together, and I suddenly discover my entire family is staring at me. I blink owlishly, and my sister says, "I thought this was a new show." To which I say, "It is. I've never seen it before."

I didn't explain why I knew what Vincent was reciting. I chose to keep that to myself. Who needs to ruin magical moments with logic and reasoning. So I'd studied Shelley before hand. That was still one heck of an awesome moment. And in a large family, you have to play up moments like that, or you get lost in the shuffle. :)

Anyway, I thought you'd enjoy my BatB story.
kitmizkit on February 7th, 2014 06:46 am (UTC)
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3!
Childlightchildlight on February 6th, 2014 11:59 pm (UTC)
Did you know there is a sound track to BATB where Vincent recites poems?? And there is sheet music :-) I loved playing "The First Time I Loved Forever" on the piano.
kitmizkit on February 7th, 2014 06:44 am (UTC)
Did you know there is a sound track to BATB where Vincent recites poems??

Yes, I've owned it since 1989 or whatever. <3 :)

And there is sheet music

How do you think I learned the lyrics? :)
tamagotamago on February 8th, 2014 11:28 pm (UTC)
I saw Linda Hamilton guest starring recently on a show called Lost Girl (the first three seasons are on Netflix) and thinking, simultaneously, "Wow, she's aged!" and "Wow, she's so gorgeous!" She doesn't look like she's been hitting the plastic surgery, like so many North American actresses do when they start aging, so she looks her age, but oh, boy, to look like her at her age is still a fine and fabulous thing.

ruford42 on February 9th, 2014 03:05 am (UTC)
Oh my! I might have to revisit this since it's on NetFlix. I didn't watch this show with anywhere near the religious devotion I'm seeing here, but then the episodes I do recall tended to deal with more emotional drama than most teen boys are willing to bother with. :)

Though..You said you're watching on DVD, and I know there are differences between NetFlix in the UK and the US, but curious if you've ever seen the current CW remake?