Saturday, January 13, 2007

A new review...see if it makes you giggle...

TCM reviews just got back to me with their review of Persuading Jo.
At first I thought WTF? Then I re-read it a couple of times and started giggling. Lets see if you can come up with the same conclusion I have.

Will & Grace has a lot to answer for - NOT, one hastens to add, that author Anne Douglas has anything to apologize for on that score, but the fact remains, any ménage a trios involving two gay men, a cute female roomie, and the not-so-nagging suspicion that one or both of them want to have their way with her, is bound to draw comparisons, no matter how much the reader tries to shut the mind to the ensuing images.

Jo, Matt and Brian met when all three were at college, and it swiftly became apparent, to the boys, anyway, that the trio was destined to be together forever. But fair’s fair; Jo had the right to determine her own life, so they let her be... and, for eight long, frustrating years, they watched as she made one bad choice after another, and was nowhere nearer to finding happiness than the day she first walked through their door, and almost caught them having sex. Brian stood up just in time, but she knew what he’d been doing down there, and they knew she knew, which sets the tale up perfectly for some delirious bouts of voyeurism, shot through with stolen fragments of the lovers’ conversation. So Jo knows the score as well. She just needs to be persuaded....

Persuading Jo is a quick and exhilarating read, its 91 pages a roller coaster ride on which every scene is either setting up for sex, coming down from it, or just going at it hammer and tongs. There is a subplot, involving Jo’s creepy cousin, but it doesn’t really go any place before fizzling out in a final chapter that winds things up a lot more abruptly than it ought to. The dialogue is a little cheap, too, with the boys, in particular, cursed with a vocabulary straight out of an early 80s porn flick. For all that, however, Douglas tells her tale with vivid verve, and the hiccups are certainly overwhelmed by the highs.

Actually he raises a valid point - does my fascination with multiple partners in a loving relationship (versus wham, bam, thank you sir & madam, sex) stem from a popular culture television show?

Will and Grace had so much pointedly unexplored sexual exploration opportunities. First there is Will and Grace - wasn't the running joke that Grace turned Will gay? Is she such a fag hag because she is hoping one day he will realise that unlike all his other lovers, shes the one who hung through thick and thin with a hope that she might turn him back?

Jack and Grace - the love to hate each other relationship - more than just the biting sarcasm between them and the blatant and constant fight for Will's attention, there was the constant wonder if Jack would take the final step of finding out why Grace fascinated Will so much, to find out why he, Jack, couldn't measure up. Of course everyone else but Jack knew Will would jump in front of a bus if he had to to save Jacks ass, even if he was treated like the annoying puppy that won't let go of your pants leg.

Jack and Will - the tortured unrequited love.

Karen - oh Karen we loved to hate you - the perfect foil for them all. Trying so hard to be a bitch, and succeeding of course; but when it came to the crunch she pulled out the goodies, even if she said it was for an ulterior motive. Karen, so sexually ambiguous, you didn't know who she might be going to come on to next. Such a refreshing hurricane to keep you guessing. Would she do Jack? Rosario? Grace? Her husband? The bellboy or the waitress? What better personality to upset the Will/Grace/Jack triangle so successfully?

Karen is the one who rang true for me.
Seriously, Grace was a whiny bitch, who was totally inept at keeping her life on track. Even with Will as her crutch she got it wrong. She wasn't just a chick-lit girl, she was the chick-lit girl - if a cow had invaded New York and plopped a nice big cowpat on the sidewalk Grace would have stepped in it, then tripped over her boyfriend and landed him in it face first while exposing her underwear to the general populace.
Karen? Karen, aside from her bisexual tendencies, was a woman who had a real life. A tough time growing up, then she had compromised to her need for security by marrying Stan only to end up loving him anyway. She didn't like her step kids most days and they didn't like her, and lets face it, how many trophy wives and step kids really do like each other? Though I always got the idea that she didn't like that so much - that she would have liked to have been move involved with their lives and to have them like her. After all, that's what it was all about, she hurt people before they hurt her - a facade to cover up how desperately she really did want everyones approval.

So, in the end, do I think in my instance I am playing out a hidden desire to rewrite Will and Grace the way I wanted it to play out? No, I don't think I am. While Will and Grace had an amazing cast dynamic with an intricately woven, twisty web to tie the characters up in I would never have saddled Will with both Grace and Jack - eh could you imagine the Sunday morning bickering, and the moaning and whining? Now Rosario, Will and Karen...that would be a different story altogether!

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