Thursday, April 29, 2010

Betty and the Real World

Real references to actual cultural touchstones! Get 'em while they're hot!

Cobweb Morning:
  • Early on Alex gives Anthony the Pompous a look that causes him to say, "You look like one of the Furies!" Wiki tells us they are 'supernatural personifications of the anger of the dead' and that 'their eyes dripped with blood'. That Anthony really has a way with the ladies, no?
  • When Alexandra rescues the kittens and dog in the canal, Taro's reaction is not to slap Penny hard (but you can do it in your head if it makes you feel better) but to call Alex The Witch of Endor. I had to look that one up because it reminded me of Samantha's mother in Bewitched--Endora. The Witch of Endor was originally a Biblical figure who appears to raise the ghost of Samuel from the dead. Witches in the Bible? Yeah, I missed that too. One theory is that Saul, ostracized from God's favor, was reduced to participating in demeaning and taboo activities. Anyway, Alex is dripping wet and looks a bit wild and has 'resurrected' the animals from a watery grave--so maybe that's the reference. Then again, a Witch of Endor ship is referenced in the Horatio Hornblower books. Ships are wet. But there are other pop culture references to The Witch and I still think I haven't twigged to all the meaning Betty intended.
  • The little golden angel that Taro gives to Alexandra plays Away in a Manger when you wind it up. The song was originally attributed to Martin Luther proving the point that you don't need the inter-web-tubes to spread mis-leading and patently false information. It was actually penned in the 1880s but we do have the Lutherans to thank for publishing it.
  • Penny doesn't do anything buy lay around and read Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. I tracked down the December 1975 issues. She would either have to probe the fleetingly stable and emulative life of Liza Minelli or...uh...embrace the passion of dead clowns, copious eye make-up and ruthlessly plucked brows.

In A Girl in a Million we have:

  • Corinne being taken out to eat at The Savoy. During WWII the hotel's air-raid shelters were dubbed "the smartest in London", Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier first met at The Savoy and when 13 guests sit down to dinner, another place (and full place setting) is set for Kaspar (a porcelain black cat) to stave off bad luck.
  • Also, I just thought I'd reference the title. If there are 8 billion humans on the planet (I'm ball-parking here) and there are 1,000 million in each billion, then (let's see...carry the one, square root the outcome, divide by 30...) there are only 8,000 people who could be 'one in a million'--of which, roughly half are men. So, less romantically, Caroline is One in a Company of Four Thousand--not quite as pithy a title, I grant you.
  • Caroline sings nursery rhymes to help Marc come out of his coma. They include, Sing a Song of Sixpence (hearkening back to when live birds were actually cooked into pies for an amusement? Contrary views abound.), Hickory Dickory Dock (thought to be originally a counting-out rhyme like Eeney Meeney Miny Mo or Ink-a Bink) , Goosey Goosey Gander (the only one I'm not really very familiar with--is this a generational thing or an American thing?).


  1. Goosey Goosey Gander- I know that one, it was in the "Wee sing Nursery Rhymes" books my little sister and I had. Sing a song of six pence NEVER made sense to me but I liked the rhyme!

  2. One should point out that many an English nursery rhyme led to murder for Agatha Christie. (There ARE some truly ghastly ones. Ooopsy on the baby falling out of the treetops, cradle and all--an old-fashioned way of preparing the wee ones for a grown-up life, but still I kind of like the black humor).