Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception... for a better now

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Notes on Charlie's Angels

The man of masculinity has only a handful of choices as he ages -- the burly Kris Kristofferson on the farm route, the handsome dad who drives the babysitter home route, the wise old sage who coughs route and the fun fat guy who drinks route.

Bosley is great as this last one; he's been brain damaged by his connection to the lovely girls of the show. Their hormones have wreaked a genuine winged and whip-weilding fury onto his lowly testes. He has found his god too, and serves the mighty Charlie. Castrated and thrust into service of the invisible other, Bosley is the white version of all those wiley chauffers Mantan Moreland played in the 1940s, always doing what needs be done but making it look like an accident.

The mighty Charlie is an ingenious concept, for as long as he isn't seen, he's immortal and all male viewers like him. He's not competition for the angels attention because he's "far away" and surrounded by (always less attractive) bitches of his own.

Like the Wizard of Oz, Charlie also teaches us that the UNSEEN subject is the one with power. In this way CHARLIE is a WIZARD OF OZ with the luxury of not being uncovered by that infernal dog, Toto. The angels need no Toto. And it is important that he stay invisible to them as well, even though they tease about it and try to see him all the time. His visibility is their desire, the way Smith's breasts are to the viewer, things we are safe in longing for due to their remoteness. (If they did actually see Charlie, they'd inevitably feel some measure of disappointment, while if they never see him he stays eternally beautiful).

What we in our priest-spooked ignorance fail to realize when we try to overthrow these hidden rulers is that we LIKE the unseen ruler. The seen ruler is evil and odious because inevitably some aspect of him will remind us of ourselves, or our odious younger brothers, or oppressive fathers. Once Charlie is seen he becomes that smug artist in Hitchcock's The TROUBLE WITH HARRY now grown old and possibly paunched -- and certainly debauched. The good father is the unseen Charlie; the anal father is the visible Charlie. Thus, one must always keep they Charlie hidden, lest you give the game away.

This is also akin to a person not being able to stand the suspense of a novel and so cheating and reading the last chapters first. What the writer knows is that the ending is almost always a sad one, because it shuts us out of the future. The story continues in a direction we cannot know. If the book ends tragically we feel better in the long term to be in our own reality, while a happy reality's happiness is correspondingly short-lived. The ending is always a Medusa grimace, and the narrative apparatus once more turns to stone.

If we do not seek to look at Charlie we always dwell in smoggy but babe-filled Los Angeles, protected from on high by the mighty Aaron Spelling. If we look upon Charlie, he shall be as one who has jumped a mighty shark.

If we seek to gaze at Charlie we are dislodged from paradise. We snap from the narrative and behold our mate on the couch, sleepy and real, and the aches in our legs and our noses. We need to get back right quick, but all we can think of is how saggy were His eyelids, how white was His thinning hair, how skull-like and frail his human, failing smile.

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