Three Kid Circus : Who Wants Some Bacon?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Who Wants Some Bacon?

I love Kevin Bacon. There. I admit it.

Last night, I was treated to VH-1's presentation of Footloose. I've seen Footloose something like 500 times. In fact, I saw it probably 50 times when it was first in the theaters. So let me see... it came out in 1984, so I was 11 at the time.

It had the potential to be a major, formative influence in my young adolescent life. We lived in the suburbs, next to a shopping center with a tiny, two cinema movie theater. They featured two dollar double features all summer long, to the delight of every mother in town. "Here, take your brother and sister, and have a good time. See you at dinner!" The place was always packed.
It's been a few years since I really watched it, beyond saying, "Hey! Footloose, on TV! I've seen that like 500 times!" and flipping channels.

Anyway, I was fixated on Footloose last night. Kevin Bacon. So hot. Love him. Lori Singer? Girl... EAT A MEAL. OR TEN. I forgot about Sarah Jessica Parker. Hah! John Lithgow? Him, too? Oh, red cowboy boots. I need some red cowboy boots.

And then, I became progressively horrified by the actual contents of the movie. Lots of smoking, underage drinking, references to sex, cussing, lying to parents and other stupid rebellious stunts. And really demure prom dresses. And skinny ties. And that scene where Ariel's boyfriend smacks her around. And the time when Ariel's FATHER smacks her face. What? I don't remember all this stuff.

My memories of Footloose are pretty much confined to the really silly dance numbers. I guess at the age of 11, those other elements were lost in the "Oooh! Kevin BACON. He's so fine he blows my MIND." But, wow. I really remembered it as a much more innocent movie.

And that cracks me up. Have I become a prude since becoming a parent? I know that I view so much of the world differently. I want to protect my children from the majority of the thematic elements from Footloose. I doubt my parents were aware of the content, but at the tender age of 11, the negative elements were not what I remembered about the movie. It didn't even register.
I wonder how long the innocence filter lasts these days? I remember catching some Rocky and Bullwinkle a few years back and found myself laughing at some of the jokes with a new appreciation for the double entendres and subtle adult humor. How much of that is buried in children's programming? My kids watch a variety of television programs (I know, I know, must. kill. television. Flame away.) and although we are careful to preview all programs, and use TiVo to eliminate advertisements, we don't always watch together.

Does Dora ever solve the Grumpy Old Troll's riddle and cross into the next county for some underage drinking? Does Rolie Polie Olie ever stoned and then get into a chicken fight with a tractor? Are those perky Hi-5 singers doing skits about balancing on the window frames of two moving cars? (Actually, wouldn't that be just like the Simpsons?) I have only seen positive role-play come from the children's programming available today. But I guess I had better pay attention. You never know when those Teletubbies are going to start smoking and cussing. And who knows what the hell is going on with those Boohbah critters.