Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce my twenty-eighth chapter of Alanna the Piranha. Because we discuss and recommend movies as well as television shows on this site every week, my novelist, the Maltese, and I have decided we will throw in our two cents about the Oscar occurrence. After writing up an eight-point plan of how we would handle the incident if we were the Academy, and then producing a written summary of our thoughts which turned out to be longer than the eight-point plan we decided instead to give a brief opinion about our take on the slap heard round the world. Here it is:
- The Academy should approach their decisions from a Rashomon/Oleanna point of view. Or in other words the blame lies on the shoulders of three individuals and not just one albeit at varying degrees of guilt and for different reasons.
- Mr. Smith should not have his Oscar rescinded. An Academy Award, except for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, is not given as a measure of one’s moral stature. It is awarded for the individual’s talent and their outstanding work in a particular film as decided by the Academy voters and verified by an accounting firm presently being PwC. This is done in advance of the ceremony. Mr. Smith earned his Oscar despite his actions on the night of the presentation. Retracting it puts the Academy at risk of having all their awards choices past, present, and future contended. This does not mean that other privileges should not be stripped from Mr. Smith as well as and to a lesser degree Mr. Rock, and Ms. Pinkett Smith who also played minor parts in this fiasco. They most certainly should, and we have our opinions as to what those privileges ought to be. But we stand firm in our believe that Mr. Smith’s Oscar should not be revoked. Those who believe that one’s actions should determine one’s success are either idiots, fools, or sensory judgement personality types.
And here is chapter twenty-eight of Alanna the Piranha. Enjoy!
Alanna the Piranha
Gigi the parti poodle
Day the Twenty-Eighth
This afternoon I am showing Alanna and Fabulous some new dance steps. To my surprise bunnies are far more agile than one would expect. I imagine that’s why they hop so well.
“Alright,” I tell them. “What I think might work is if we can somehow get Fabulous off the stool occasionally. Maybe during the guitar solo. The trick of course is not to get her winded. If Fabulous gets winded she can’t sing.”
“What do you propose?” Fabulous asks.
“I was thinking possibly that if you can keep your balance, Alanna could hold her hands straight out at her sides, and you could hop off your stool onto the hand closest to you and then spring onto her head and do a few dance moves.”
“You want me to take a flying leap from Alanna’s hand onto her head?”
“What if I can’t hold my hands out that long?” Alanna asks. “What if they get tired?”
“You won’t have to hold them out that long at all. Just long enough to get Fabulous onto one. Then once she’s boogied in your hand then she can hop up on your head and do some of the moves I taught her up there.”
“Fabulous is going to dance on my head?”
“Just for a little bit. Then she can hop down into your opposite hand, and you can turn around and she can hop back onto the stool and keep singing. It’ll be a super cool short routine. Just trust me.”
“Should we give it a try?” Fabulous asks.
“Yeah, let’s go. Okay, Alanna. Let’s see you do those steps I taught you. The ones at the beginning of the song.”
“I feel exposed doing them, Flint. They’re too sexy.”
“The song’s supposed to be sexy. You’re performing in a comedy club.”
“Yes, but I have limits you know.”
“I’m not asking that much, Alanna. Just go over the steps I taught you.”
“I feel like a rock slut.”
“You’re supposed to be like a rock slut.”
“But I don’t like it, Flint. I don’t like it one bit.”
“Just take it from the top.”
“Come on, Alanna,” Fabulous says. “If I can hop up on your head you can do these steps.”
“Next time I get to pick the song,” Alanna gripes.
“Make sure you lift on the ball of your foot when you do the triple pirouette spin and don’t lean too far forwards when you come out of it, or you’ll lose your balance. You want to be especially careful not to trip and knock Fabulous off her stool.”
“Yes,” Fabulous says. “Don’t do that.”
“I know, I know,” Alanna says. “But you’re asking too much of me, Flint. These steps are a lot more advanced than the ones we did for our audition and first performance.”
“Every time you go out on that stage you need to know exactly what you’re doing and raise the ante one more notch.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one who is going to be wearing hot pants and stilettos.”
“Stilettos? No, no, no. Hang on.”
I head over to my desk and open the large bottom drawer. I take out a shoe box with a pair of character shoes in it. I head back and hand the box to Alanna. She takes out the shoes. They are black with a T-strap across the top and a small silver buckle on the side.
“These are real dancing shoes,” I tell her. “All leather top and bottom so you can flex your feet and spin in them without tripping or having them fly off your feet.”
“Oh, Flint! They’re beautiful!”
“Yeah, yeah. Let’s have you put them on so we can practice.”
“What about me?” Fabulous asks. “Don’t I get shoes?”
“You have four paws. How am I supposed to get you dancing shoes?”
“You could get me some of those fancy paw coverings”
“If I do, you run the risk of slipping. Your natural paws will serve you much better.”
“I want the fancy paw coverings.”
“What if you slip?”
“Many paw coverings are designed to keep the creature wearing it from slipping.”
“I am not getting you fancy paw coverings.”
I sit at the back of The Chuckle Duck waiting for Alanna and Fabulous to perform. The Zipper has just finished his schtick with Frenchy and Blocko. I had to rush over to PETCO before the show to pick up Fabulous some paw coverings. Did you know some of these things have rhinestones? Anyway, I am waiting for the music to kick in.
“Alright, alright,” The Zipper says. “Again, welcome to The Chuckle Duck. We’ve got some great performers here tonight, some great performers. Right now, we’re going to introduce you to our first act of the evening. They blew you away with their rendition of “Legs” by ZZ Top. Now they’re here to bring you another dynamite act of their own unusual brand of comedy. Let’s give it up for Alanna and Fabulous!
Word must have gotten around about them because as soon as The Zipper said, “Alanna and Fabulous”, the crowd went insane. Fabulous yells out the lyrics to the opening part of the song. Alanna throws up a kick higher than she’s ever kicked before. Guitar strains are exploding, drums are banging, and Fabulous belts out the lyrics of “Cherry Pie” by Warrant with her gravel ridden voice. Up front to the left I see a couple of young guys throw their underwear onstage. I have no idea how they managed to get their underwear off without anyone noticing but up onstage the underwear flies. Luckily it flies off to the side near the curtain and Alanna avoids tripping.
I’m glad I got her the T-strap character shoes because we worked a cartwheel into the routine which she executes. Her dance move is met with frenetic cheers.
The guitar solo starts, and Alanna holds out her hand. Fabulous, wearing those overpriced rhinestone paw coverings hops into her palm. I hold my breath. She takes a flying leap and lands…on Alanna’s shoulder. I face palm right then and there. She missed Alanna’s head. But Alanna leans forwards which allows Fabulous to roll across Alanna’s back from one shoulder to the other. When Fabulous gets to the opposite shoulder, she takes a flying leap which in my mind happens in slow motion, much like Peter Griffins car when he jumps the unjumpable canyon to “Panama” by Van Halen. She lands perfectly on Alanna’s head and rocks out just like we practiced. More screams from the audience ensue.
Fabulous jumps back down onto Alanna’s other hand and Alanna turns around just like we practiced allowing Fabulous to hop back onto her stool. Fabulous leans into the microphone and starts singing right as Alanna gets into position to execute her final triple pirouette. But we don’t see the third pair of underwear coming. It hits the floor just as Alanna begins her spin and she leans forwards losing her balance. This causes the Newfoundland Bunny to slide off the chair and into the crowd.
Luckily a group people in the crowd see it coming and they all run to the stage. Fabulous lands on raised hands and more audience members join the mosh pit. Fabulous goes body surfing around the room. The song ends and the crowd is on their feet, screaming, crying, applauding. Two standing ovations down. One to go.
You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!, Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!, Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!
STREAM OF THE WEEK: CODA (2021)-Apple TV+
As Gigi mentioned last week, we are adding a few more streaming services to pull stream of the week movies and television shows from and one of them is Apple TV+. This week’s movie won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur and Best Original Screenplay for the film’s writer and director Sian Heder. The Best Picture race was a competition between thinking films and feeling films. The feelers won and CODA also took home the top prize. For me the biggest head scratcher about this movie is although she was nominated for a BAFTA Emilia Jones who plays Ruby Rosi was not nominated for Best Actress even though she had to learn sign language, play the part with an American accent, sing very well, and learn how to drive a commercial fishing boat. I have no idea what the Oscars were thinking. Her performance is outstanding in every way. This is the feel-good film of the year. Unfortunately, that often means errors and/or plot contrivances in the story. One glaring example is Ruby constantly falling asleep in class and struggling with her subjects, but she can somehow be in contention for a full ride scholarship for more than $42,000 a year in tuition alone to The Berklee College of Music. Berklee requires not only an audition but a 3.15 GPA minimum. It does not require SAT or ACT scores, but they don’t exactly tell you not to turn in your scores when applying. The acceptance rate is high but
that doesn’t mean you can slack academically. This isn’t to say Ruby is trying to get into MIT or something like that, but she does have to have a solid B average.
Also, I find it hard to believe her parents and older brother don’t know their daughter has been singing for years. She does it every day on the boat. Just because they can’t hear it doesn’t mean they can’t see it. I really wish some of these screenwriters would do their homework.
That said, CODA does do a lot of things right. It’s the story of the youngest child of an otherwise all-deaf family of fishermen. Not only can Ruby hear but she has a naturally gifted singing voice which she exercises every single morning when they go out to get their daily catch. When Ruby signs up for Choir and meets the choir teacher, fastidious Bernardo Villalobos (wonderfully played by Eugenio Derbez) he picks up on her raw but extraordinary talent and offers to coach her so she can gain acceptance into his alma matter, Berklee. This creates a great divide between Ruby and her family who have always depended on her to keep their business afloat. Ruby is a well-defined and interesting character, and the depictions of what it is like to be deaf and the ups and downs of having that condition are good.
However, please keep in mind this film does not have the depth or complexity of this year’s more meticulously written cerebral contenders The Power of the Dog or Drive My Car. But it is a pleasure to watch just the same and good one for both teens and adults alike.