Had to renew my pick-ups from the library last week because in my underemployed stage I still have weekend commitments to kind of important things like weddings of family and friends that do make it hard to watch DVDs on the weekend. And you are probably asking, “Well because you work part-time don’t you have some free weekday afternoons (and mornings and evenings for that matter)?” Indeed I do. But I have a prime-time TV schedule to stay on top of and I do actually spend hours looking for and applying to jobs, so sometimes my library finds are not at the top of my to-do list. And, admittedly, sometimes reruns of Property Brothers or What Not to Wear are just more my style mid-day. Yesterday I had a stroke of (un)luck and the cable and internet were kaput for a couple hours. After my cold sweat and twitching stopped, I thought this was a divine sign to watch the DVDs I had checked out two weeks ago. So I watched a nice double feature of the original Grey Gardens and Get Fit and Fab with Jillian Michaels (post for this gem tomorrow).
Grey Gardens made its original debut in 1975. More recently the 2009 made-for-tv version starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange picked up both an Emmy and Golden Glove, but I went for the original (and because that is all the library had — or that I saw at first glance). The premise of Grey Gardens is this: A film crew documents the daily on-goings of the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Edith and “Little” Edith Bouvier Beale.
My main conclusion after watching the documentary: This was the birth of reality television. All I could think was that this was how MTV got the idea for Real World. Edith and Little Edith had money and societal status in New York City, yet through trials and tribulations they ended up holing up in their dilapidated mansion in East Hampton. Literally holed, from racoons who lived in the attic. I guess you could describe them as reclusive or ostracized. Whether this was by force or choice is unclear. I think I’ll just call them weird. Really weird. Momma Edith is funny and have strokes of normalcy and logical behavior. Daughter Edith is (my own counseling diagnosis) bipolar with blinks of normalcy. Daughter Edith has the fashion sense of a four-year old playing dress up. Her hair never shows because it is wrapped up in one of three garbs: an actual scarf, a shirt, or a towel. I want to know whyyyyy???? I’m sure If did enough research I could figure it out, but it is more fun to be annoyed that I don’t know why and speculate her reasons and build upon my already crazy perception of her. In addition to the fashion statements, there is snarky back-and-forth between EI and EII and glimpses into what maybe put their odd behavior over the edge – their filth.
Besides being a precursor for reality televevision, I think the producers of Hoarders maybe also drew inspiration from this show. While Mom and Daughter E didn’t have tons of stuff, they did not clean or take care of their one-beautiful mansion. Case in point: the racoons I mentioned earlier that Little Edith feeds! in the attic with cat food and wonder bread. And from 1970s quality film I could see the stains on the beds and mold on the walls. The filth-ridden lifestyle culminated in a health department raid where Jackie O. herself contributed to the clean up.
The entire 90-minute film documents their day-to-day interactions and lack of interaction. While entertained by their antics, I also found myself semi-bored. Like that multi-tasking kind of bored where you don’t hate something so much that you stop watching it, but you find other things to do (e.g. fix the internet, go get the mail, etc.). And for bonus points, when it was all over I felt a little bit better about my own day-to-day routine during my underemployment. Nothing like comparing yourself to crazy people to boost your self-esteem.
Some Hip-Hop — I think it warrants its own post hopefully tomorrow. You know Jillian Michaels (of Biggest Loser fame) and hip-hop don’t seem to usually come in the same sentence, so you know you want to come back tomorrow.