Saturday, July 28, 2012

They killed Cameron!

My connection to Alan Ruck was stronger than I thought.

This week I had a disproportionate emotional response to televised stimuli.  I watched Bunheads.  First off, I had been under the impression that the show was reality tv aimed at the ballerina set. Rissa is a bit of a dance fiend herself, so we PVR'd it and sat down to watch it together. Imagine my unexpected thrill when I discovered that it was not reality tv, but that Broadway star Sutton Foster (be still my theatre geek heart!) was the lead, and the writing had deliciously sarcastic lines that made me laugh out loud. What happened after the first episode was unforeseen.  (If you don't have a lot of time to read, skip down to the Spoiler Alert part)

I'll catch you up.  Sutton Foster's character, Michelle, is a discouraged Vegas showgirl who has been wooed for the past year by Alan Ruck's geekily-adorable shoe salesman character, Hubbell.  After finally accepting a night out with Hubbell,  Michelle gets more than a little tipsy and decides to accept Hubbell's impromptu marriage proposal and heads back to his sleepy California coastal town.  There she finds out that he still lives with his mother, Fanny, who also happens to be a dance teacher - with a studio in the back yard, and that the entire town is shocked that Hubbell has married a showgirl/stripper/pole dancer.  With me so far?  Naturally, there's conflict  between Michelle and her mother-in-law and throw in, just for kicks, Hubbell's ditzy and sweet ex-girlfriend - but Hubbell is determined to let Michelle know his feelings and says to her in a moment of privacy:

“I know you don’t love me. I’m not an idiot. But I don’t believe you’re not made that way … you wanna love, you just haven’t found the right person yet. Maybe you don’t trust that anybody’s gonna understand you. But I do. I know exactly what you want. You want to laugh, and you want to travel, and you want to be surprised, and challenged. You want to live an unexpected life. And I intend you give you exactly that.” 

After this speech, of course they have great marriage consummation sex and the future seems filled with hope and possibility for our wayward heroine.  Then there's a bit of showdown between Michelle and Fanny, where there's a lot of yelling and storming out of the premises.  (Hubbell tells his mother and the whole town that Michelle is his wife and that they'd better do right by her because he loves her.)  Michelle finds her way to Fanny's dance studio, and choreographs Fanny's students in a "Let's get you prepared for an audition" spontaneous dance routine, which of course Fanny witnesses from a doorway, and then Fanny whisks our heroine away to a bar and an uneasy friendship begins between Michelle and her mother-in-law where they have their own spontaneous dance number together.  Just as everything seems to be wrapping up all tickety boo, they find out that Hubbell has been in a car accident looking for them.  Episode 1 ends.

....SPOILER ALERT!!!!...

They freaking killed off Alan Ruck's character, Hubbell!  He is DEAD.  Charming, sweet and apparently good in the sack, no less - Hubbell is now DEAD.  Alan Ruck is DEAD.  They killed off Cameron!!!   (Please view above pic to remind yourself of Alan Ruck as Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  Really look.  LOOK at him.)

I was okay at the beginning of the episode.  It was well-written and quirky, as Fanny tries to subvert her grief through memorial service planning, but as the episode progressed, I began to LOSE it.  Really a lot.   Especially around the actual memorial service part.  I started crying and couldn't stop.  Gut-wrenching sobs.  Multiple Kleenexes.  Rissa looking at me like I'd lost my mind.  It wrecked me - absolutely WRECKED me that Michelle wasn't going to have the possibility of happiness with Hubbell - this charming, lovely man.  No she didn't love him, not right then, but she COULD.   Except she couldn't, because he was now DEAD.

Hiccuping sobs.  I felt nauseated. My angina kicked in.

"Mummy, it's okay.  It's not real," said Rissa patting me gently.
"They killed Cameron!" I wailed.
"Mummy it's just a show," she said.
"But, they KILLED Cameron!!"
"He's not Cameron Mummy, he was Hubbell."
"But they still killed him!"

More wailing, and I think maybe even some gnashing of teeth.  My chest was killing me.  I ran to the alcohol cupboard in our butler's pantry.  I grabbed the rye.

"Don't do this," I said to Rissa as I poured myself a shot, still sobbing madly.  "You should not relieve your stress by (I take my shot) taking a shot of rye."  (A shot of alcohol usually helps the angina.  I could take my nitro spray, but although that takes the pain away, my heart then races madly and the sensation is more than a little disquieting in itself.  I am NOT recommending a shot of rye for everyone with angina - this was a unique situation and it works for me in a pinch.)

"Okay Mummy."  Rissa tried her very best not to laugh at me.  "Come on.  Let's go upstairs and snuggle."
"Okay," I said, still sniffling.  But the emotional pain is still whacking me over the head.  Really hard.  What the hell was going on here?

Rissa lead me upstairs and we settled into the big bed - my bed.  She handed me Kleenexes.

"You know, we never really saw the body of Hubbell, Mummy.  Maybe his ex-girlfriend just kidnapped him and is holding him someplace," Rissa said.

This is how messed up I am.  I actually perked up at the notion.  Maybe Cameron ISN'T dead.  Maybe he's just being held by some psychopath in an undisclosed location, a la Stephen King's Misery.   But then I started crying again.  "No, they killed him.  They killed him to give her EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE!!!"

Then David came home.  I tried to recount the story to him - he did his best to follow, but I could see him exchanging  "She's having a moment" looks with Rissa.  I imagined he must be trying to picture the kitchen calendar in his head to see if my PMS should be kicking in yet.  (It shouldn't - I just HAD my freaking period!!)

"I don't know why this is affecting me so much," I sobbed.  "It's just that he was so sweet.  So nice to her.  They had the possibility of a wonderful future and now... (sob, sob) it's GONE!!!"

"Hey," he said.  "Hey.  It's okay.  It's okay."  He leaned over me in bed, kissed me.
I continued to cry really hard.
"Heather!"  He held my face.  "Look at me!  Look... at... me..."
I looked up at him.
"It's okay," he said.  "I'm here."
"Yes, but Cameron's NOT!!!!!"  There is no reasoning with me.
David got his fierce, in-charge look.  "No.  LISTEN to me Heather.  I'M still here.  I'm not dead."  He looked at me meaningfully.

My head cleared.  I got it.  I grabbed onto David like he was a freaking life preserver and I'm in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912.  My pre-David life associated with Ferris Bueller's Day Off - the death of Alan Ruck's character, a sweet and selfless man who does everything for the woman he loves... BINGO.   This is what happens to me on an average Tuesday night. Just imagine when there's something to cry about.

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