Tuesday, January 26, 2016

JC Says You Can't Get the Big D: Evangelical Traumatic Flashback Corner

Angie's Story: 
Evangelical Wedding Ceremony (minus the Unity candle)
One of Jake’s constant refrains in Waterfalls is that marriage is a commitment, an unbreakable contract signed in the Blood of the Lamb to bind you for all eternity to your mate. While Christians have similar or even higher divorce rates than the general, hell-bound public, many are hardliners when it comes to breaking that unbreakable vow. My seventh grade Bible teacher was so smug when she recounted the story of her daughter-in-law sittiing her down before the wedding and saying, "Just so you know, 'divorce' is not a word in my vocabulary," which even as a seventh grader, made me think: why are you using a word that isn't in your vocabulary? We both know that you know what the word means, homegirl.

Technically, according to Le Bible, the only legitimate grounds for divorce is adultery. So some people upon hearing about a marriage dissolving for another reason, like a spouse being physically abused, cluck their tongues and say that divorce is not biblically sanctioned. (In case you were wondering these people are definite, 100% jackasses.) I've heard that this biblical standard was actually included to protect old timey Jewish women since they would be ruined if their husband divorced them. (Back then, they did not have a kicky First Wives Club to get you through your marriage ending). According to one of my teachers, divorce in the year of our Lord was as simple as a man turning around three times chanting, "I divorce you. I divorce you. I divorce you." And just like that, BAM! with no legal fees, you were back on the Jersualem market, along with the fish, loaves, and myrhh. Does this sound
made up? You betcha. But so do many of the "facts" I learned Evangelical school.

Jewish divorce circa 50 BC
When I was a junior higher, trying really hard to make corduroy overalls happen, our high school youth pastor had an affair with a high schooler. (I’ll wait until you’re done dry-heaving). He ended up leaving a wife and four kids in the lurch (and he was not the only pastor affiliated with our church/school to go down that carnal path). While everyone felt terrible for his wife, there was also an underlying sense of relief. Like, well, she gets a free pass on the big D since her husband gave her a biblical out with his a-lyin’ and a-cheatin’. 
Take your holy pass and run, beyotch!
Now if you aren’t as fortunate as this poor youth pastor’s wife, you might find yourself screwed by this strict, black-and-white interpretation of biblical divorce:

Dear God, my spouse, while remaining physically faithful to me, will not stop hitting on my 87-year-old GramGram. His ribald comments are making her very uncomfortable and when confronted about his behavior, he invites my entire family to: “Eat my shorts, dillholes!” Can I get a divorce? GOD SAYS NO!

Dear God, my spouse collects human body parts in the freezer that she keeps chained shut in the basement. She left it unlocked one day and there must be at least ten different people’s torsos, feet, and arms in there. They seem to be all different ages and races but I can’t find any of the heads. Can I get a divorce? GOD SAYS NO!

Dear God, first thing every morning, my spouse makes herself vomit directly onto my sleeping face. I’ve asked her why she does this, is it involuntary, does she have some sort of tic or past trauma that would cause her to do this to me every morning? All she says is it makes her giggle and she needs a joyful start to her day, so she’s never going to stop. Can I get a divorce? GOD SAYS NO!

Dear God, my spouse has replaced me with our golden doodle, Mitzy. She has taken my spot on the bed, and I’m relegated to the floor. He dresses Mitzy in my clothes, and when I complain, he just nudges her collar and leash in my direction. It’s been ten months now, and I’m starting to wonder if maybe I actually am a dog. Can I get a divorce? GOD SAYS NO!
Marge, I believe you and Mitzy have already met.

Commitment is great and important. Breaking up a marriage is no joke and should be done with care. But if you staunchly cling to that stipulation adultery is the only grounds for divorce, you are asking some people to live as a dog because their spouse prefers the company of their golden doodle. Don’t do that, ya dillhole!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

WATERFALLS: Anything Can be Pickled if You Just Believe


What even happens in this book?

Waterfalls begins with an unusual meet cute. Meredith, children’s publisher, white sweateshirt purchaser, and sister of Clouds flight attendant, Shelly, is staying at rich Jessica’s Victorian Inn when Jake, an incognito actor and Shelly and Alissa's former condo neighbor, accidentally crashes on her bed. Unfortunately, Meredith discovers hot Jake when her face is slathered in an avocado mask, making this an ugly meet cute. Somehow, celeb-addict Meredith does not recognize Jake the actor but hikes with him to a waterfall (that he is secretly scouting for what appears to be a truly craptastic rip-off of Narnia) and flirts with him by shoving a muffin in his face (literal muffin, not innuendo). Eventually, Meredith places Jake as the hot famous piece he is and embarrasses him by making a big scene in front of a crowd. They awkwardly go their seperate ways until Jake apparently decides it's time to use his connection to Meredith to get his book series published in a rush to coincide with his terrible Narnia knockoff. (I cannot emphasis enough how much this fake video/book series sucks). 

Evangelical Star Wars

Meredith puts her business bitch hat on and signs Jake but lets him know his story is subpar right now. He initially throws a hissy fit at Meredith’s note that maybe there have been enough fantasy series with white, male protagonists, but he comes around. They eventually bond over two week editing period where they make his script/book series slightly less awfulby adding a female sidekick (aka the Hermoine factor) , but Meredith finds out that Jake is anti-love. Jake believes that marriage is essentially a contract that two people agree to honor even after the honeymoon period is over, and he conveys this in the most dead-eyed, serial killer way possible. Remember, Jake is the sensitive guy who tells Alissa during Sunsets that her dead parents are roasting in hell, so he knows a lot about maintaining positive relationships with people. Meredith is obviously grossed out by Jake's life philosophy and also by her attraction to this unfeeling, marginally-talented monster. Her lady boner for him leads her to make a series of thirsty decisions, including: rewriting his shitty book, agreeing to star in his shitty movie, agreeing to pretend to date him to keep away his non-existent admiring fans, and jumping into a lake with her clothes on (which all ladies know is the classic “I’m a sexy free spirit with boobs” move). Fortunately, Meredith's perky muffin-smushing antics eventually win Jake the handsome sociopath over and they decide to give this crazy love game a shot, evangelical-style (chaste, closed-mouth kiss).

Wait, Whaaaaa????

There’s a lot of questionable behavior in Glenbrook. This is where we judge it all.

How, how in God’s name could Shelly the flight attendance conveniently forget to tell her sister that her former neighbor is now an action film star? Hard-to-believe sister fail. Sandra Oh from Grey’s Anatomy, once walked past me on a sidewalk in LA, and I’m pretty sure I texted Elise about while she was still in my eyesight (I was also screaming, "Grey's Anatomy! Grey's Anatomy lady!" and pointing because I'm from Indiana, obvs.). . 
Pass. Hard Pass.

Meredith finally realizes that “Jay, bed sleeping bandit” is actually “Jacob Wilde, brand new movie star” by seeing the name Jacob Wilde embossed in gold on his LEATHER CELL PHONE POUCH.

While Jake’s anti-love affect gives him a Ted Bundy flair, Meredith is also someone to keep a close eye on if neighborhood pets begin disappearing. After playing the classic, “let’s throw grapes at each other and try to catch them in our mouths” game, Jake leaves a single grape on Meredith’s pillow at rich Jessica’s Inn…which she proceeds to pickle and keep in a jar in her fridge, presumably waiting for a convenient time to make a bone broth out of Jake’s femurs and garnish with said grape.

Precious Moments:

Our favorite quotes.

Meredith joins the rest of the Glenbrook ladies in throwing shade when describing Jessica: “She was a tender-hearted woman with fair skin, a regal look about her, and a half-moon-shaped scar on her upper lip. She hadn’t yet lost the weight after her son[‘s birth].

Jake about to take Meredith out to a fancy Hollywood dessert: “The only place I know…is the Cheesecake Factory in Hollywood. I hope you don’t mind that’ it’s a bit of a drive.”

Conspiracy Theory:
We tell you what’s really going down in Glenbrook.

A night out on the town with Fred.
Angie: Meredith and Jake are both sociopaths who form a strong bond over their ability to mask their true selves to others and reject all manner of normal human emotions. This is evidenced by Jake’s commitment to the idea that all marriages are loveless, and Meredith’s only companions are a goldfish named Elvis and a blowup man-doll named Fred. She can only forge relationships with inanimate objects, of which Jake is one. 

Elise: Robin Jones Gunn has infiltrated my life. Her description of Meredith's birthday dinner she cooked for herself (fettuccine alfredo with fresh pasta, roasted broccoli and raspberry cheesecake) inspired me to completely recreate it despite having “high cholesterol” and “a need to reduce fat intake” according to THE GOVERNMENT OR SOMETHING. I have bought frozen tamales, Dove bars, fresh German pears and choked down Irish breakfast tea during this project. I want to go to Germany, Hawaii and stay in a cute cabin on an island in the Pacific Northwest. I want to crash an elderly couple’s wedding in southern California and dodge used condoms on the sidewalk while commuting 30 minutes to go to the Cheesecake Factory, I WANT WICKER. RJG, you have weaseled your way into being my lifestyle inspo, and I, for one, am loving it.
Just because you ain't blood, don't make it right, y'all.

Final Judgment:

Is it worth the $0.01 on Amazon?

Did you enjoy watching deeply troubled Deb fall madly in love with her serial killer adopted brother, Dexter? Then Waterfalls is the book for you. A lot of this book is entertaining. You’ve got the Hollywood factor, Meredith actually liking her job and excelling at it, two weirdos bonding over their fake Narnia project. The part that was a little “meh” was Jake’s anti-love diatribes. He seems like a normal, fun-loving guy, so those parts felt like forced conflict.