One of the cool things about motherhood is forcing your kids to watch the shows and movies you loved as a kid and hope they love them the way you did. Disney+ has made it easy to show my boys the classics that made my childhood magical. But watching these back I realized writers were putting jokes in for the parents that I totally went over my head as a kid.
There’s a scene in Beauty and the Beast, once Beast gets passed most of his aggressive anger issues, where he asks Cogsworth for ideas on how to conquer Belle’s heart:
“I’ve never felt this way about anyone. I want to do something for her, but what?”
“Well, there’s the usual things: flowers, chocolates, promises you don’t intend to keep.”
When I heard that as an adult I scream laughed. It’s such a small moment that as a kid I clearly didn’t notice. It would be years before men would break their promises to me. I often wonder if a man or woman wrote that line.
Aladdin also provides humor meant to make adults snicker. Jafar, the villain, hypnotizes the sultan into telling Princess Jasmine she is to wed him instead of choosing a prince. She gasps in silent horror and he replies:
“You’re speechless, I see. A fine quality in a wife.”
Who told Disney to make commentary on antiquated patriarchal values? It’s awful, but I laughed hard that they snuck that in there. As a kid I didn’t understand it was rooted in something larger than Jafar not wanting to deal with Jasmine.
But the joke that went so over my head as a kid comes from my favorite movie, Mrs. Doubtfire. In one of the final scenes of the movie, Daniel Hillard as Mrs. Doubtfire goes on a rant meant to make his ex wife’s new man uncomfortable:
“Oh, I’m sorry, am I being a little graphic? I’m sorry. Well, I hope you’re up for a little competition. She’s got a power tool in the bedroom, dear. It’s her own personal jackhammer. She could break sidewalk with that thing. She uses it and the lights dim, it’s like a prison movie. Amazed she hasn’t chipped her teeth.”
As a kid I had no idea what I was hearing. As an adult I realized this was an extended joke about a vibrator and it makes me laugh every time I see it. It will be interesting when my kids grow up and realize these jokes as they watch with their kids.