Repeated viewing of any movie allows you to catch things you didn’t notice the first time, and so when one has seen a film enough times to recite it ad nauseum, one is bound to look beyond the suspension of disbelief most viewers enjoy, dissect its every nuance, and discover gaping holes in the story’s logic. If there’s any movie that fits this description for me, it’s Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Not only do the Twins request it at least three times a week, it was also a VHS my two younger sisters would loop at least three times a day when we were growing up. (Fun fact: When the Twins are at my mom’s house, they watch that very same VHS. It still plays perfectly.) It has recently occurred to me that–by my half-assed calculations–this incessant exposure to The Little Mermaid places it comfortably at the top of my all-time most-viewed movies list. While I’d prefer my chart-topper to be something badass like The Empire Strikes Back or Back to the Future, I guess it could be worse, right? (I’m looking at you, The Chronicles of Riddick.) Anyway, apparently watching The Little Mermaid has become my life’s work, so I feel it is my duty as an expert in this field to share the following observations I’ve made over the years, to further enhance your own Mermaid-viewing experience:
“Say ‘Map!’ Say ‘Map!'” Dora and Boots demanded, as if my family’s life depended on succumbing to their bilingual bullying and pretending to interact with cartoon characters we know can’t really hear us.
Seriously, Dora. Even my two-year-olds know that no matter how loudly you order us around and no matter much we ignore you, you’re still going to pull out that Map.
We know this because we can count on The Map performing a little ditty for us introducing himself roughly 500 times–you know, just in case the rolled-up piece of paper and landmarks all over it aren’t already a dead giveaway.
For my entire Dora the Explorer viewership (about a year now), I have despised this obnoxious piece of parchment, and for a while even began singing along with him using my own lyrics: “Make it stop. Make it stop, make it stop, make it stooop…”
But recently, this has all changed because the Twins have learned his song. Suddenly it went from the World’s Most Annoying Song to Just About The Cutest Thing Ever. My daughter in particular gets it stuck in her head throughout the day and busts it out while eating lunch, building puzzles, and even while sprawled out in her crib, just before falling asleep for her nap.
And so on this particular night, as The Map revealed himself onscreen, my daughter was right with him in her little pixie voice: “I na map. I na map, I na map, I na maaap.”
I’ll admit I’d just finished my second glass of wine at this point. We don’t typically crack Mommy and Daddy’s Special Juice before the kids are in bed, but it was Friday night and we’d had an especially long week, so we figured we’d get the party started a little early.
Sufficiently buzzed and succumbing to the crippling cuteness of my daughter’s singing voice, I thought I’d bury the hatchet with The Map once and for all and sing along with my daughter and my former navigational nemesis.
I looked up at the screen and began. “I’m the map, I’m the…”
And that’s when it hit me. Continue reading