Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Christie Says: Two Words I'll Never Utter Again...

Guilty pleasure.

Okay, okay, the phrase doesn’t look dangerous. And I think we’ve even listed our favorites of them recently here. But I’ve forsworn the idea
now. Here’s why—unless it’s illegal or immoral, I don’t think we should have to feel guilty about any pleasure!

What brought me to this vehemence? Blame it on Johnny.

Johnny is a family friend who recently came to visit after his first six weeks in film school. And he happened to visit just as Son 2 and I finished watching the Disney Channel's High School Musical 2. Johnny told us it was a “bad movie” and that we, the actors, and Disney Studios should be ashamed of participating in its success. After all, what good was a movie that didn’t even deserve a real title? That criticism was just for starters, though he admitted never seeing the movie or its predecessor, High School Musical.

“Pretty people,” he scoffed. “Singing and dancing.”

Um, that’s exactly why I liked it, I said.

Wasn’t good enough for Mr. Film School. He was pretty scathing about sequels altogether, though the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was worthy in his estimation and Batman Begins was great because it was a “new” Batman. Casino Royale? No good because how could Bond be beginning in the contemporary now when we all know he was around in the 60s and 70s? Yeah, my head spun. I tried to defend Daniel Craig (without mentioning the emerging-from-the-ocean scene, which was worth the price of admission right there) . I went so far as to admit that the songs in the Disney musical weren’t memorable, perhaps, but I had a darn good time watching and listening while they lasted.

“Okay, fine,” Johnny told me, with a dismissive flick of his fingers. “It’s your guilty pleasure.”

Um. No. I don’t feel guilty. Why should I feel guilty because something brought me enjoyment and pleasure? That doesn’t make sense.

I hear people use the term all the time in regards to our books, too. We write and read and love romance because it strikes a chord with us. In our busy world and busy lives we find pleasure in these kinds of stories. Sometimes the pleasure lasts a short while, like the way a hot fudge sundae stays on our tongue. Sometimes it’s the kind we can return to time and again, when we select it from our keeper shelf for a re-read.

I feel guilty for neither. Just like I won’t apologize that my favorite genre of fiction ends with a man and a woman committed to each other and to building a better life together than they would have apart. How could that be something feel guilty about or sorry for?

So did I convince Johnny? Nah. That’s okay. I just smiled and pressed the button on my video recorder that said I’m saving High School Musical 2 indefinitely. I’ll watch it again. It was fun.

Has anyone else seen High School Musical and its sequel, High School
Musical 2? And am I the only one who is delighted to know that the two
young lead characters have an actual real-life romance?


lois greiman said...

I'm with you, Christy. Let's get rid of guilt altogether. I mean, I know guilt is good sometimes...keeps us from doing anything toooooo stupid. But there are times...lots of times, when I feel guilty whatever I do. And that just sucks.

And my guilty pleasure movie...Wedding Crashers. Saw it about four times...still feel a need to apologize.

Anonymous said...

I loved High School Musical and really enjoyed High School Musical 2...and I don't even have kids to make me watch these movies. Granted I only saw High School Musical originally because my teenage nieces said it was so good, but I continued to watch it because I really like the movie. I also like that Zac and Vanessa are dating in real life too and aren't in your face about it.


Christie Ridgway said...

Liza: I think it's so cute that Zac and Vanessa are together (at least for now, they are teens after all). But I think the movies are fun too. Glad I'm not alone.

Lois: Yes, let's abandon needless guilt! The piano tuner is coming to my house today and I was going to feel guilty about some dust here and there and I decided to forget about it. I'm also going out to the gym so I won't be here when he sees it.

Michele Hauf said...

Haven't seen the movie, but probably should. There's never a reason a person should pass up to smile and just have a good time watching a movie.

That movie for me is Moulin Rouge. Singing, dancing, wackiness abounds. But I don't feel guilty for it at all. We can take a name from those chocolate cakes the restaurants offer and call them our Guiltless Pleasures.

Betina Krahn said...

Christie, I'm with you-- down with the "guilty" part of pleasures. My mom's influence: if you really feel guilt over it, you shouldn't be doing it. I have to agree with Mom-- except that I'm refusing to feel guilty over things that aren't morally wrong! That's wrongly directed guilt that dilutes the whol notion of guilt for us as a culture. We need to save the term and the feeling of GUILT for real corruption and moral turpitude!

It's time to grow up, take charge of our lives, and quit letting outdated thinking dominate our heads and hearts.

And as for High School Musical-- I LOVED it. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Saw so much of my kids and their society and friends in it. I tried to get into "2" but wasn't as thrilled. The whole golf course thing didn't do it for me. Still, it was good to see the cast back and see how they were doing. That Zach is such a cutie, and Vanessa is so appealing.

And as for my formerly guilty pleasures. . . now just regular pleasures. . . BALLS OF FURY clearly ranks for me. Christopher Walken was hilarious. A send-up of all the time-honored kung-fu tournament flicks. . . casting was dead on and I laughed so hard my rib muscles ached! Also adored KUNG FU HUSTLE. . . kung fu meets Looney Tunes. Rent it if you can! It's a hoot!

Helen Brenna said...

You'll have to work pretty hard on me, Christie, to get rid of the guilt. I was raised Catholic and I'm German to boot.

I'm supposed to work hard and then die and probably go to hell for all my various taudry sins! LOL

Haven't seen the High School movies, but if I had to pick a guilty pleasure movie, it'd probably be Dude, Where's My Car.

I adore Sean William Scott and Ashton Kutcher, and that movie hits my funny bone. Sweet!!

Christie Ridgway said...

Betina: HS Musical 2 wasn't as good as the first one. I agree...the golf part didn't do much for me. And where was the sweat out there in the desert? But I really didn't care, just enjoyed. Did you know Zac didn't do the singing in the first one? But he insisted on doing his own in the second. I didn't notice any difference.

Love your attitude about guilt!

Christie Ridgway said...

Helen: You have one who just left high school, right? You should watch the movie. It's pretty cute. I'm giggling at your guilty feelings, sorry! You must put a stop to them.

I just got back from some retail therapy. I could feel guilty because it was so pleasureful, but I'm not! Hey, I got great deals. Two cute pairs of sandals at Macy's for less than $26. I kid you not. They were 40 percent off, then an extra 50 percent off that.

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- Here! Here! I agree that pleasure that doesn't cause harm to another shouldn't be guilty!

Using the adjective "guilty" implies that the activity isn't worthy of our time. Stress reduction is incredibly important for our health. Pleasure relieves stress.

We need to own our activities and then maybe then next person won't have to make excuses for why they read romance or watch musicals or read erotica or quilt darnnit!

YvonneLindsay said...

I haven't seen HSMII yet, but with two teenage girls at home I'm sure it will come up for viewing pleasure eventually.

FWIW I think we're programmed to 'enjoy' guilty pleasures. If it's bad, it's forbidden, therefore to have it is more than half the fun. A bit like a date with a guy your parents would never have let you out the house to see. The trouble with truly guilty pleasures is that they very rarely live up to expectations, IMHO.

And as far as Johnny is concerned, he's showing typical immaturity of someone who's come out of school or a course and is an instant expert in the field. It would seem that he's become a mirror for his tutors' opinions. Nothing, but nothing, can compete with experience and knowledge gleaned once you've left the classroom. The snobbery inherent in his comments would appear to be little more than an attempt to diminish and denegrate your own personal enjoyment of the film. You know, like the people who put down romance while conveniently forgetting that 'those little books' make up half of the book buying public's CHOICE. He probably doesn't even realise he's doing it, he's been so well trained.

All credit to you, Christie, for not feeling guilty and three cheers for guiltless pleasure :-)

Christie Ridgway said...

Hi, Yvonne! Hah. You're smart. That our pleasure is a "guilty" one makes us enjoy it all the more. I can go with that.

My discussion with Johnny was not fruitful in the sense that we persuaded each other to our opinion, but it did give me a little secret smile or two. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I thought. Come talk to me when you've grown up.

But he really enjoys talking to a working writer--he gives me a lot of respect for that, to his credit.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Christie, thanks for the recommendation. Just took the grandgirls to dance class. Sounds like this one might be a hit with my little ballerinas.

And there's no such thing as a guilty pleasure for this busy Nana.

Anonymous said...

yep watch like the first better. they are just so cute oh.

Jenn said...

I have watched both High School Musical 1 and 2 and I enjoyed both of them. My kids love all the singing. My 4 year old son loves the music so much I bought him the soundtrack and he goes in and listens to Troy's song from the 2nd movie I think it's called "Bet on Me". I don't know but I have to say I like the movies.

YvonneLindsay said...

Ah, so Johnny is not totally irredeemable ;-)

Thanks for the discussion, Christie.