So I was minding my own business on Sunday night, when suddenly and with no warning whatsoever, I was attacked by the Ninja Flu. Within the space of two hours, my throat was completely closed up, I couldn’t speak, I was hacking up a lung, my sinuses were blocked, and I felt like someone had clunked me over the head with an epic mace (Dork Alert).
No idea where it came from. Very very Ninja. I spent the majority of Monday in bed, hopped up on cold medication and searching in vain for that cool ginger/lemon/orange concoction that I think Gina Black, Robin Brande, or maybe EatRawFish once sent me. I wish I could remember who or where (comment thread? email?) but, as mentioned, hopped up on cold medicine. Please, please, person who sent it once before, send it again!
I’m praying Sailor Boy doesn’t get it, since he has two exams tomorrow, and one on Friday. I’ve been trying to force him to take some Airborne, but Sailor Boy will not be forced. Methinks he shall regret it.
In other news, I watched Pretty in Pink for the first time in many years yesterday. When I was a teenager, I thought it was, like, the most romantic thing ever. When I was in college, I was disappointed that Andie didn’t end up with Duckie (judging from Jon Cryer’s complaints in the Special Features, I’m not the only one, and the poor guy has had to answer to that every day of his entire life). By the way, DO NOT be taken in by the ads on the DVDs that say the movie has the “original, Duckie ending” on them. It doesn’t They don’t actually have the original ending scene, just some footage of them shooting the original ending (which they apparently lost or something) while the cast and production crew talk about why they didn’t do it.
Watching it last night made me wonder not only why Andie (Molly) ends up with Blaine (Worst. Name. For. A. Hero. Ever.) but why she’s ever with him to start with! Their date is a positive disaster. He doesn’t take her anywhere, she doesn’t WANT to be taken anywhere, whenever they are together, they both appear to be on the verge of tears all the time, all they ever talk about is how they shouldn’t be together, and then she flips out on him in the hallway like an utter harpy (which I think is deserved by that point, but still). I just don’t see what they see in one another. The only cute scene is the computer trick one.
HOWEVER, watching it last night also made me realize what an utter fan of this film Rob Thomas must be. I mean, I knew he liked it, and I got the PiP references sprinkled throughout Veronica Mars (such as when Meg and Duncan dress up as Andie and Duckie at the 80’s dance), but holy crap — I never realized how much of VM was set up on the PiP template. There’s this great interaction between sexysexy Steph (James Spader) and Blaine early on in the film where Steph tells Blaine about how he’s slumming with Andie that I swear, I swear, I saw Logan and Duncan have re: Veronica. And the whole close daughter-father relationship with the missing mom and etc… And of course the class bias and all the scenes of Andie waiting around at the lockers while Blaine walks on by… it’s very interesting when viewed post-VM.
In the extra where they sit around and discuss why they cut the Duckie ending, one of the main reasons given is that Cryer and Ringwald had more of a sibling like chemistry. Ringwald actually says that she thought the ending worked when they had considered casting Robert Downey Jr. as Duckie, because she was attracted to him, but when they cast Cryer, she was all, nope. And apparently, when they screened it, they got boos. So the director said that he had learned his lesson, that when he’s filming, he needs to watch the chemistry of the couple who are supposed to be together.
Which I also think is interesting vis-a-vis Veronica Mars. Because Kristen Bell never had any chemistry with the dude playing Duncan — none — so though I felt bad that she’d been dumped and all that, I never really felt for her on a romantic level. It was more like Duncan was a symbol of what she had lost: her innocence, her place in society, and of course, her best friend Lilly, who I can imagine that Duncan’s presence couldn’t help but remind her of all the time.
But Jason Dohring and Kristen Bell had heaps of chemistry (much, much more, IMO, than she had with Milo what’s-his-face-Peter-Petrelli). They melt the screen with that chemistry. (I’m not watching Moonlight, so I don’t know what kind of chemistry he’s got going on that show, but I’ll tell you this much: the two leads have NONE. They can be writhing around in the shower with her moaning: “Turn me, Mick, turn me!” as they were in one episode, and I just yawn.)
And I’m glad the writers on Veronica Mars realized it and put those two together, and wrote Duncan out. I think it’s important to follow the chemistry, even if that’s not the plan.
This is important in writing, too. In a movie, something may work fine on paper, in the script, but when you cast the characters and start filming, it’s off. In a book, something may work fine in your head, or in your synopsis, but when you start writing it, and the magic starts happening on the page, it could be off as well.
I’m a big believer in following the chemistry, and not just in the matter of romantic pairings. Another example from film: the character of Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was originally written as a one-off. He was just supposed to appear and be a monster of the week, and a further complication in the relationship between Buffy and Angel. But he was a great character, and he had a ton of screen chemistry with the lead, so they kept bringing him back. (I do not agree that they made a good couple, but I loved all the seasons of them sparring and forming alliances and whatnot, so Seasons 2-5 were great Spike years for me.)
Of course, looking at Pretty in Pink, I didn’t see that the leads had too much chemistry either, though I remember being overwhelmed at sixteen (I think it’s the way Blaine touches her face and neck while he kisses her. That was a big thing for my teen hormones.
However, the lesson remains: follow the chemistry. Trust your instincts. If a character or a relationship is working, go with it. For instance, in my own work, I didn’t plan on Poe being a major character in the story, I didn’t even give him a real name. But he was so much fun to write in the initiation sequence that I kept bringing him back throughout the book (he was always so handy, story-wise) and then gave him an even bigger part in Under the Rose.
I also wrote a character in another book that wasn’t working at all. I kept trying to make him do this or that, and I wasn’t buy the result. So I recast him. I gave him a different name, and bam — he glimmered. (Not that I think Robert Downey Jr. would have made a better Duckie. I thought Cryer rocked.) But sometimes you do have to recast so that the chemistry all works out.
Right. Back to the cold remedies. Darn Ninja Flu