Monday, August 8, 2011

You Are Woman, I Am Ambivalent (or "Nature vs. Bart Sher")

I spent the weekend re-watching the first season of "Six Feet Under" in an effort to develop a relationship with Lauren Ambrose. It was sort of like obligatory bonding time between new step mommy and rebellious teen. It went well for the most part, though I'm still sensing some resistance from her end. I'm hopeful that we'll get there eventually.

I've done a lot of thinking and self-reflection since it was announced last week that Lauren had been cast in the coveted role of legendary comedienne Fanny Brice, originally made legendary-er in the 60's, of course, by a then relatively up-and-coming Barbra Streisand who would later go on to become my reason for living on this planet. Aware of my complex and unique (yet embarrassingly obvious and stereotypical) affinity for Barbra, many have asked my opinion on the decision. Well, at first I'd felt as though I'd woken up in a bathtub filled with ice and one of my kidneys staring back at me from the top shelf of the medicine cabinet. I've since mellowed.

Funny Girl, by virtue of its subject matter, is unquestionably a star vehicle. But more importantly, it's become the iconic launch pad for the greatest star of our lifetimes (and if you rolled your eyes at that, I respect your opinion but you're wrong and you can drop dead and go to hell.) Never in a million would I have thought they'd dare bring it back without damn good reason; like the exciting discovery of a rising star worthy of succeeding Streisand. For instance - I don't know - Jesus Christ, or someone. (He's at least Jewish and has a musical theatre background.)

When rumors of a revival started, everyone was sure that Glee's Lea Michele seemed the most commercially viable reason. (That was when the night sweats began.) Soon after, the list of possible Fannies began to circulate, naming everyone from Laura Benanti to Kelli O'Hara to my landlady. While I adore all of these women, the idea of any of them being cast was not sparking the Aha Moment I was looking for.

In accordance with the natural progression of the evolution of the homosexual, I discovered the film version at a young age and it was absolutely life-changing. I remember during 8th grade P.E. class, I would hide under the bleachers and sing "Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady" repeatedly while all the other kids ran laps on the track. (This eventually led to my impeccable comedic timing and love handles.) A year later, when I was cast as the lead in the school musical, I'd show up to the auditorium an hour earlier than everyone else so I could sit in the empty house with my hands folded beneath my chin and say, "Did ya hear that, Mrs. Strakosh? Zeigfeld is waiting for me..."

As an aside, it's remarkable that I went all those years without being the subject of a hate crime. Even as I type this, I myself am inclined to get in a time machine and beat the shit out of the younger version of me. (Please don't email me about the seriousness of hate crimes or the impossibility of time travel. I'm well aware on both counts.)

My point is, there's really no satisfying me on this one. So I've decided instead of resisting, to let go and let God and Bartlett Sher. Frankly, I'm devastated that they didn't cast me in the role and beyond that, I've detached all emotional ties and expectations. I think Lauren Ambrose is fabulously talented and though it seems to many of us as though her name was drawn from a hat, I'm gonna be a sport and wish her Mazel Tov (someone tell her what that means.)

Just don't eff it up, shiksa.

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