I read this Moviefone blog entry about Embarrassing Movie Moments with Mom recently, and it brought back – in horrifying clarity – the time I watched Barbarella with my Dad. It must have been 1985, so I was around 15 and obsessed with Duran Duran. And I don’t use obsessed lightly. So naturally (and true Fab Five fans know where this is going already), I had to watch Barbarella because in a teen fan magazine (Teen Beat, maybe?) Simon LeBon had said the band name was from the villain in Barbarella – Durand Durand. (Pronounced Dyurahnd Dyurahnd – yes, I obtained the audio and practiced saying it “correctly.” I told you I don’t use obsessed lightly.)
Anyway, Barbarella must have been on television or something because we didn’t have cable. (I watched videos on V66 back then!) The 80’s were big on showing campy films like Flash Gordon and Love at First Bite, which I also loved (enough to shave my eyebrows). It was probably on late, which meant past 9 PM in my parents’ strict household, and I probably begged to be able to stay up and see it. Somehow, it ended up that my father was sitting next to me on the couch as Jane Fonda started a strip tease during the opening credits. I can almost hear my Dad saying, “Well, that is not very realistic. The space suits can’t withstand pressure with velcro closures.” (He’s a scientist who sent solar cells into space, so he knows.) But really, even as a naive-in-many-but-not-all-things 15-year-old, I should have said something along the lines of: “This movie looks disgusting! I’m going upstairs to read Catch-22!”
But of course, there was the pesky obsession involving Duran Duran and their name. So I stayed. And so did my Dad.
We shared a comfortable if tacit agreement not to acknowledge any questionable issues of a sexual nature in the film. And it worked pretty well. Until the scene with the Excessive Machine, also called the Orgasmatron. Haven’t heard of it?
Did you watch? Can you imagine being 15 and watching that with your parent? About half-way through, when most of Barbarella’s clothing had been mechanically removed and it was clear she was gaining the upper-hand, I turned to my dad and said something smarmy about her clothes not staying on or “This scene doesn’t look too realistic either” – heh, heh. Dad accepted the attempt at a joke, briefly acknowledged the weirdness of the situation, and then made it possible for us to keep watching together by telling me that there was no way he sat through this “schrecklicher film” without knowing how it ended. The ending was as campy as the rest of the movie, but it gave us the idea of how to deal with the evening: An Angel has no Memory. We never spoke of it again.
Have you had any mortifying movie moments with your parents?
Linking up with the amazing writers at Yeah Write. Check out what everyone has going on!