Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Some As You Like It in Never Been Kissed

Never Been Kissed. Dir. Raja Gosnell. Perf. Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, and Michael Vartan. 1999. DVD. 20th Century FOX Home Entertainment, 2011.

As you probably know, I'm always hoping for more Shakespeare in pop culture. In this instance, I read an article that mentioned As You Like It connections in the 1999 film Never Been Kissed.

The plot involves a journalist who is sent on an undercover assignment to her old high school to try to get the scoop on what kids are thinking, doing, and saying these days.

Soon, it becomes clear that she's developing a crush on the high school English teacher. That partly becomes evident when the As You Like It comes in. Here's the scene:

I was hoping for more Shakespeare . . . some more play with the idea of being in disguise and being better able to express your true identity. And the film does provide some of that anxiety-producing dramatic irony in the play—where we know that Rosalind is in love with Orlando but we're not sure what to think when he's being asked to woo Ganymede while he (she, really) is pretending to be Rosalind (which she is, really).

But it may be too awkward and involve too much anxiety. It's okay for the journalist to develop a crush on the high school teacher since she's not really a high school student and it about the same age as the teacher—but it's not okay for the teacher to develop a crush on one of his students and start to act on those feelings.

In any case, the text of As You Like It serves as a touchstone (see what I did there?) to these issues of love and disguise.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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Friday, July 5, 2019

What Role did Friends' Joey play in Macbeth?

"The One Where Chandler Takes a Bath " By Vanessa McCarthy. Perf. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, and James Michael Tyler. Dir. Ben Weiss. Friends. Season 8, episode 13. NBC. 17 January 2002. DVD. Warner Home Video, 2003.

Now there's an obscure trivia question for you. Unfortunately, I'm not sure it has an answer.

I suppose a better question would be "In what Shakespeare play did Joey from Friends have a role?" but that doesn't sound obscure enough.

Additionally, a season three episode might provide too much of a clue (for that episode, q.v.).

In any case, here's how we know what we know about Joey's Shakespearean career. We learn it when Monica and Chandler are having a conversation while Chandler is in a bubble bath (so be forewarned):

There you have it. As a side note, we can't really deduce what role he had from Monica and Chandler's comments. If it had been Macbeth, that would be a very long night indeed. But the joke might be even funnier if it were a small role. If Joey played Young Siward . . . or even "Boy, son to Macduff" . . . and that made for a long evening, that might say even more about Joey's acting ability.

Note: The image at the beginning of this post does not come from the video clip (as is usually the case). But I didn't think anyone really needed an image of Chandler in a bubble bath.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

A Little Touch of As You Like It in Frasier

“Motor Skills.” By Eric Zicklin. Perf. Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin, and John Mahoney. Dir. Pamela Fryman. Frasier. Season 8, episode 11. NBC. 30 January 2001. DVD. Paramount, 2006.

We've seen more extensive Shakespeare in the sitcom Frasier before—in an episode in which Derek Jacobi plays a terrible Shakespearean actor (for which, q.v.).

This, on the other hand, is more incidental, but it pleases me very much because of the material being quoted.

In As You Like It, the ordinary working man (the shepherd) Colin, is being bothered—or bugged . . . or bothered . . . or plagued—by the self-designated court wit Touchstone. Touchstone can be quite funny . . . but he can also be very self-centered and very annoying, impressed by his own cleverness.

In the middle of such a bothering session and as an answer to the scorn that Touchstone is heaping on him, Corin gives what is (to me at least) a beautiful speech about his life, his work, and his identity:
Sir, I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good, content with my harm, and the greatest of my pride is to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck. (III.ii.73-77)
The contentment and easy satisfaction of that speech is an excellent antidote to Touchstone's stirring up of trouble and self-satisfaction.

And so we turn to Frasier's version of the speech. The Crane boys have decided to enroll in an automotive repair class. As he calls to register for the course, Frasier quotes part of Corin's speech:

He had to leave out the part about the lambs, but it's still a good speech about the satisfaction of a job done well. 

You'll have to see the rest of the episode for yourselves to see whether Corin's contentment trickles down to the Crane boys in the end or not.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

Click below to purchase Season Eight from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest