Thursday, November 19, 2009

Homage to the Jacks

My brother, my sister, and I have loved movies since we were kids. One of our favorites, if not the favorite of all time, is “Mr. Mom.” We used to be able to recite every single line, which generally annoyed anyone within earshot.

For those who may not either recall or have not yet seen the film (gasp), I’ll briefly re-cap the plot. The Butler family lives in a Detroit suburb in the early 1980s. The father, Jack, gets laid off from the car plant. The mother, Caroline, goes back to work to support the family. Jack becomes part of the housewives clique and adjusts to being the stay-at-home parent. Meanwhile, Caroline adapts to the dog-eat-dog world of advertising.

About halfway through the movie, Jack and Caroline are experiencing a strain in their marriage while adjusting to their new family dynamic. Both parents thought Jack would be able to find a job and return to being the bread winner. Consequently, he never really embraced his role as a househusband and underachieved during the day by drinking beers, watching soaps, ironing grilled cheese sandwiches, and letting the house fall into disarray.

Inevitably, tension erupts between the couple when Caroline comes home after a long day at work only to find Jack playing coupon poker with his newfound lady friends and flirting with the busty Joan. Anywho, Jack and Caroline confront each other about their unhappiness. Without consulting the internets, I believe Jack makes the following statement to Caroline to explain what he’s been going through:

“My brain [pointing to his head and hesitating] is like oatmeal. Yesterday, I yelled at Kenny for coloring outside the lines. Megan (his one year-old daughter) and I are watching the same TV shows. And I’m liking them. I’m losing it.”

Last week Greta experienced her first cold. Consequently, her sleep schedule was awful. Add to the situation that I love staying up late and I got a flu shot on Thursday, my brain has been a lot like oatmeal. I suddenly realized that I sincerely enjoy two of Gigi’s TV shows that we watch when she wakes up at 5 in the morning and I’m trying to get her to fall back asleep: “Jack’s Big Music Show” and “Yo Gabba Gabba.” I’ll go in order.

Jack, his dog Mel, and his super swell friend Mary are puppets who play music in his clubhouse and teach really cute lessons. Every episode they get a visit from the Schwartzmann Quartet who are a cappella puppets. They also get an occasional visit from real people like Dr. String who made a house call last episode to sing while fixing Mary’s hammer dulcimer, which Jack accidentally broke but decided to disclose after encouragement from the Schwartzmen.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this show makes me laugh out loud at least two or three times per episode, and I tip out on the music. (Seriously, I just downloaded a couple songs on iTunes.) Plus, there is a curly-haired woman who cameos almost every episode during an interlude music video who has a pretty nice rack.

As for “Yo Gabba Gabba,” it’s kind of like a more hip variation of “Sesame Street.” First, the music on this show is great. Here’s just a sampling, and yes, these are all on the iPod. “There’s a party in my tummy. So yummy, so yummy yummy.” The song stops because the carrots and green beans are upset that they weren’t eaten. Then a new beat kicks in and the party starts up again when the veggies are swallowed.” Great stuff.

However, “Gabba” is equally entertaining for the graphic design, DJ Lance, and the shots of “My name is ___ and I like to dance.” As G-sizzle and I cuddled on the couch in the early morning dark last Friday morning, I found myself hoping that Foofa (unfortunately not Fupa, as we originally thought) would have the opening solo because her voice is just so eerily comforting to me. I thought it might help lull G back to sleep because I certainly could have snoozed. G never dozed but she was pretty mellow and I enjoyed every minute of being cozy together under our blanket.

The point of the story is this – for all the Jack and Caroline Butlers out there finding themselves sleep deprived and unfamiliar with the “South to drop off, North to pick em up” school zone commute situations, I feel your pain. We’ll get through this together.

So, any stay-at-home parents out there in Southie interested in doing Jazzercise together at my place on Mondays when I work from home with G? We can watch “As the World Turns” together and comment about how Victor’s vasectomy didn’t take so Vicky’s having his baby. By the way honey, if you call and I’m not here, I’ll either be at the gym or the gun club. How’d you like a little trim on that moustache, Ron? Schooner tuna. Irv, are these tampon maxi pads on special? It’s okay Irv. Nevermind. Forget about it.

Don’t get it? Rent “Mr. Mom,” for crying out loud – or at least check out Jack and DJ Lance.