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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It Was Great When It All Began

Rocky Horror has gone mainstream!!! This is a bit, er, horrifying to me. Brad, Janet, Rocky, Magenta, Columbia, Riff Raff, Eddie, and Dr. Frank - N- Furter have made the voyage from a tiny club in England in the early 1970s to Fox television in 2010. Now, you don't have to go to a midnight movie, buy the DVD, or (gasp!) attend a live audience participation performance to hear some of the classic Rocky Horror tunes. You can get a family friendly, edited, sanitized but sexy enough to garner the ratings Glee version of Rocky Horror. Oh, Rocky, that's no way to behave on your first day out!

The Rocky Horror Show (stage version) and subsequent Rocky Horror Picture Show (movie) are all about dealing with sexual and moral ambiguity, sexual freedom, and breaking down societal mores. They are also vampy parodies of horror films. Rocky Horror is filled with decidedly adult content, crude language, sexual innuendo, violence, implied sexual activity, and, when accompanied by audience participation, shouting crass comments at the screen or actors, acting out parts in the story, and throwing objects at the screen or stage. This is all part of the Rocky Horror experience (first timers are ridiculed as "virgins.") It is also what makes the experience such fun and gives a sense of community to those who experience it.

Making Rocky Horror acceptable for prime time kills it just as dead as Riff Raff's ray gun kills Frank. While it's great to hear the old songs sung by new voices, we RHPS fans know our lyrics too well not to cringe when Glee cast members sang of "Sensational" Transylvania instead of Transsexual, Transylvania. Oddly enough, they kept in the reference to being a "sweet transvestite." I guess transvestites are PG but transsexuals are R? Either way, it didn't make much sense, as Glee had a girl sing the song, and she wasn't dressed in men's clothes. They pretty much "de-gayified" that whole aspect of Rocky Horror. Then there was the song "Toucha, Toucha, Toucha, Touch Me." While it was deemed acceptable to show the two adult singers rubbing, touching, and panting over each other in an overtly sexual manner, it was apparently not acceptable to use the phrase "heavy petting," which was changed to "heavy sweating."

While I applaud Glee's efforts to expose the current generation to previous generations' music, sometimes it works better than others. I'll be the first to admit that I don't think ANYONE will EVER do as great a job in the role of Dr. Frank as the awesome Tim Curry. When he struts out of that elevator in his fishnets and heels, this straight girl's heart goes all aflutter. This is the chance one takes when presenting a cover version of a beloved song. But when the song is changed so much that the original meaning is lost, some of the original joy (dare I say glee?) is lost too. As Frank so eloquently and dramatically put it, "It's not easy having a good time! Even smiling makes my face ache!"

1 comment:

  1. lolololololol we're testing a theory and you're right behind meeeeeee!!! pickles.


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