Stage Left: Flipping the Script on "One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man"
I am in a fairly light mood today, so I thought I'd match that with a pretty light post. One of my favorite things to do is to play with music or other media by mentally flipping the script, changing the context in which it operates. As a queer person, for example, this is one of the few ways I can get "representation" in mainstream media "what if I read that character as queer?". Likewise as a person with several non-evident disabilities, which are rarely discussed on stage or screen. Today I want to flip the script...WITH FEMINISM [video: Scenes from Disney's The Little Mermaid set to Donna Murphy singing "One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man"] Forgive the visuals, this is the only recording of this version of the song that I could find online. And the visuals are, to be frank, rather delightful (though I won't be talking about them today). So, "One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man" (OHEWLM) is not at all a feminist song in its original context. In the musical Wonderful Town, the character singing it does so fairly early in the show and it is terribly sarcastic. She's lamenting her inability to keep a man by lambasting how good she is at alienating them. But I mean really. It can just as easily be read as a way to weed out sexist jerks! Look at lines like "just throw your knowledge in his face/he'll never get to second base," or "just be more well-informed than he, he'll never say 'o promise me.'" I read it as skewering a certain brand of fellow, the kind who can't handle his delicate ego being fractured by having a ~woman~ know more than he does. And I tell myself "Ruth Sherwood [the character who sings this song] totally wouldn't want that kind of guy! This song is detailing an anti-asshole screening procedure. And by reading it through that lens (a lens greatly facilitated by Donna Murphy's absolutely hilarious delivery), OHEWLM becomes infinitely more enjoyable. I put the question to you, readers: What are examples of non-standard media readings that you enjoy? Slash pairings, recreating characters' motivations, headcanon...I want to hear it all.
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