Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Men Are From Mars, Women Belong In The Kitchen.

The Bank Dick
1940, USA
Edward F. Cline

Women hate W.C. Fields. But not for the same reasons they hate the Three Stooges. Hatred for Larry, Moe, Curley, and to a lesser extent Shemp comes not from a genetic predilection, but rather stems from a traumatic childhood event. Like most psychiatric pathologies, hatred of the Three Stooges, or ‘triretardophobia’, comes from a woman’s father, who crept in their bedroom late at night, pulled back the covers, and took them downstairs to watch late night stand-up comedians on Showtime at the Apollo. Short of quips about having trouble programming the VCR, women hating the Three Stooges is literally the oldest joke in the book, after the one about the Neolithic caveman, the Mastodon, and the Rabbi walking into a bar.

In case you're wondering, the punchline has something to do with big noses.

The aversion to W.C. Fields is, however, coded directly into female DNA, along with an exceptionally high tolerance for Jimmy Fallon and the ability to speak entirely in Sex and the City quotes. With men being blessed with strength, intelligence, in the case of certain ethnic groups, the ability to tolerate the stench of cheap, sour cologne , you’d think women would get some equally useful skills, like a repressed gag reflex. But no, all their extra X chromosome gives them is an instant, violent reaction to W.C. Fields and the almost supernatural ability to pick up the stale scent of Kleenex and KY Jelly that indicates that there is pornography in the apartment.

KY Jelly jokes are the fourth oldest, incidentally.

You’ll have to excuse me for falling into a tired, familiar pattern of gender stereotyping. It’s just that a discussion of The Bank Dick is impossible without it, like talking about American history but avoiding Lincoln, or giving a genocide lecture without opening with a joke. W.C. Fields spends most of the film reminding us why we love (or hate) his short films, and why that’s not a good enough reason to watch a feature. He drinks a lot, abuses his children amusingly, and does an excellent job of defining the word ‘bumbling’ for a game of charades. If you’re into that sort of thing, this is definitely the movie for you. If you’re not, go into the kitchen and make me a sandwich.


Blogger Squish said...

I recently watched It's a Gift as a sort of prelimidate with this girl, and she said that she quite enjoyed it. However, this girl avoided me ever since... but I lost interest anyway when I asked, "Name an Axis nation from World War II" and she couldn't. Oh, did I mention I followed up with "Name one of the BAD GUYS from the Second World War" and she couldn't. My friends told me she's too dumb to screw. Wow... where did that tangent go?

9:25 a.m.  
Anonymous broadzilla said...

Ash, W.C.Fields completely bypassed my continent so I can't really vouch for his repellent qualities. But Coily - uh, Curly, was definitely the cute one.

Interesting, Squish. When I screen potential dates, I make them watch Danger: Diabolik and then ask them things like "what would cancel quadratic divergences caused by scalar-scalar couplings by couplings due to scalar-fermion couplings?" And "if Kerry King was a vegetable, would you eat it?" Which means I'm able to reveal that "I quite enjoyed it" is actually code for "If I set fire to your clothing, it might distract you long enough for me to drop and roll down the stairwell, change my name and move to another country".

12:19 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

squish - It's not important where the tangent went. What's important is how it got there. I will add that I'm impressed your pre-date testing involves Nazi Germany. Mine involves racial profiling and genetic screening.

Broadzilla - Kerry King would be a pumpkin, and no, he would eat you.

8:23 p.m.  
Blogger Sam Kahn said...

I can't say I dislike WC Fields, but I usually don't find him to be very funny.

4:57 a.m.  
Blogger Squish said...

Well, Ash I suppose I just can't be as picky. As long as Koko the monkey can sign 'Hitler', I'm interested.

10:16 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

I actually find Fields very funny, and after Buster Keaton he's my favorite Olde Thyme comedian. I'd also do Koko the monkey whether she could sign Hitler or not, because I've got jungle fever.

11:30 p.m.  

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