23 April 2008

Mr Wonderful

I think the time has come for me to let loose on an issue that has been getting my goat for quite some time now. And, metaphorical though it may be, my goat is quite fast and difficult to pin down. Just like me.

Those of you who know me in person will possibly be thinking "wait… Garry is actually quite slow and could be pinned down without too much trouble by just about anyone." And you’d be right, more or less. But compared to the floppy-jacketed economic girly-man that has so incensed me for so long, I’m a veritable Andrew Symonds, keeping one step ahead of the pack with the speed and agility of… well, of a goat.

Now… what was I on about again (before I was so rudely interrupted)? Oh yes – a subject that has been… annoying me for a while now.

I had thought I was the only one who felt this way, but recently I heard a radio announcer discussing his opinions on the subject and was encouraged by the fact that they lined up fairly well with mine. This radio announcer was expressing his opinions on the behaviour and nature of a fictional character that has largely enjoyed the adoration of millions of fans without ever really having to stand up to any serious moral scrutiny. A character of book and films (or rather, films of the book) who is recognised all over western civilisation as Mr Wonderful.

You know who I’m on about, right? That ineffable gentleman whose name starts with “Mr D” and ends with “arsey”.

I’ll admit straight up that I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice. It’s on my list of things to do when I get bored. Really bored.

I have sat through the six hours of the BBC rendition wherein our hero was played Colin Firth. Twice (I got in trouble the second time for letting on that I was constructing alternative plot lines in my head, which may or may not have involved dinosaurs). As far as I can understand, the basic premise is this (correct me if I’m wrong):

He doesn’t like her because she is plain and ordinary and well below him in social standing (that’s the pride bit)

She doesn’t like him because he’s an anti-social git and, she is informed (unreliably it turns out) he mistreated some guy who was in the army (whose name I’ve forgotten). She finds it so easy to believe the worst of him because he’s an anti-social git (that’s the prejudice bit).

As the plot (I use the term loosely – basically it’s a series of dances and every so often a peripheral character gets married plus I think someone tries to buy their house at some point?) unfolds, Mr Darcy falls in love with her because… he likes her eyes. Initially she won’t have a bar of him because he is an anti-social git and mistreated her friend what’s-his-name. But once it is revealed that the stories about what’s-his-name aren’t actually true, she starts to warm to him. And what really clinches it is when her sister runs off to town with what’s-his-name and Mr. Darcy goes and fetches them back. Once this happens – Ka-Bam it’s a match made in Heaven.

We can discuss the implausibility of the plot at a later date. What really riles me up is that all of a sudden he’s Mr Wonderful. At no point has there been any hint of dealing with the fact that he’s an anti-social git.

Now by contrast, let’s look at England’s other most eligible bachelor; Prince William, who admittedly has the marked advantage of being less fictional, if no more realistic. Patriotic republican and renowned pommy-basher though I may be, even I am forced to admit that P.William has serious style. When the crown prince comes a-courting, does he take a turn about the estate and remark upon the weather? I don’t think so. Does he dress himself up in his best white blouse and throw himself in the duck pond? Hell no! What does Prince William do to show a girl his affection? He lands helicopter on his intended’s back lawn! Now that’s romance!

In light of this unmistakable demonstration of the proper way to do it, I’m going to add my voice to that of the radio presenter.

“Mr Darcy; you’re a disgrace”

Far from home

Garry with 2 Rs
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