Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, November 28, 2005

Yours, Mine And Nobody's

Mark Steyn worries about the political correctness of Hollywood in this week's column, but after seeing the Fonda/Ball "Yours, Mine and Ours" and the Quaid/Russo "Yours, Mine and Ours" this this weekend, my worries are deeper.

Steyn wonders why Hollywood doesn't protray terrorists. That's easy. The produces and directors are afraid they'll be targeted, and they don't want to die. I'm wondering why Hollywood has stripped movies of all decency, warmth and positive lessons, and that's harder to answer.

The first YM&O was made in 1968, as the anti-war and hippie movements were beginning to gain steam. It was the summer of love and the DNC convention in Chicago. The movie brushes up against these events ever so lightly, but is undiverted from its purpose, which is to have some fun and teach some decency.

The kids get in a bit of trouble, getting Lucille Ball drunk, but basically they see that their parents are good for each other, so they decide to be good for their parents. There's discipline, and positive response to discipline.

Our favorite scene, since we're raising three daughters, was when Fonda talked to Ball's oldest daughter about sex, since she wanted very much to get caught up in the sexual revolution that was running riotously through society at the time. He told her what sex was about: Having babies with the one you love, within the institution of marriage -- with diaper-changing, schooling, worrying, loving all coming with it.

And she looked, listened, thought about it, and agreed.

Contrast that with YM&O II and you see lessons about freedom, not discipline, a "cat's away, the mouse will play" attitude among the kids, and smart children conniving against clueless parents.

Russo's character stands as everything that's wrong with today's "my children are my friends" parents. In one scene, one of her brood drops a watermelon down the stairs and she just smiles with a "they're expressing their creativity" kind of way.

In the end, her style prevails. Oh, it's moderated a bit by Quaid's military discipline, but it prevails.

YM&O I was made for parents; YM&O II was made for kids, and the lesson kids take away from it is we rule, we do what we want, PARTY! and parents can be fooled.

It's been a bad 37 years for Hollywood.