So we return from our commercial break to the Big Barbie Dreamhouse Wedding (TM Donnanottori... *HOWL!*) And that means it’s time for We the TV Viewers get the montage. Yup. You know it. The “tribute to Brandon and Kelly’s True Love” all set to sick-making smoky ballad love song music, like “When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever” or “Tonight I Celebrate My Love for You” or “I Will Always Love You” or “Another One Bites the Dust” or somesuch and the montage includes previous scenes like high-school Kelly and Brandon at the Spring Dance or whatnot, and Kelly cooing that Brandon’s cute and all sorts of high-school hijinx scenes of The Gang at the Peach Pit and at The Gang at West Beverly High and numerous good-friend-hug-scenes between Kelly and Brandon in dreamy slo-mo and then the Big Attraction Scenes when Kelly was still with Dylan but had the hots for Brandon and the First Kiss and First Doink scenes and the I Love You scenes and I’ll Always Love You scenes that followed big Break-Ups and Shake-Ups like when Kelly got burned or when Kelly got shot or when Kelly was on drugs or when Kelly – hey, doesn’t anything ever happen to BRANDON? – and the “I can’t stay away from you” scenes and the scene when Kelly “chose” Brandon and his Big Diamond Ring and the scenes where Kelly and Brandon talk about their Future or their Future Family, even though it’s kinda out of context with a wedding when you consider the biggest Future and Future Family scene came after Kelly’s “miscarriage” but it doesn’t matter because Brandon’s talking about the “houseful of kids” and “it takes six to make a hockey team” and if he’s all that gung-ho about offspring, that must mean he Rilly Rilly Rilly Rilly loves Kelly and wants to have a future with her, right? And then, with one final, tender “I love you” kissy-kissy clip, the Montage, and its stupid soundtrack, thankfully ends.
Which means the wedding, thankfully (or not), is about to begin! And Brandon and his Furrowed Brows of Great Importance and Seriousness are standing up in front of the Dream Wedding Gazebo playing pocket pool and there’s the generic minister and Davy and Stevie up there too and the string quartet is sawing its way through a lurvely version of something from the “Brandenburg Concertos” or “Water Music” or something and the pastel-clad bridesmaids make their appearance at the back of the garden and begin the processional down the aisle and Stevie says all annoyingly Cheez-Wiz to Brandon: “It’s showtime!” and Davy all ha-ha says to Brandon: “You can still bail out if you want, man” like innit funny that the guys are always dragged kicking and screaming to the alter and there’s all this so-called pseudo-comedic “tension” about if the guys are actually going to go through with this Stupidness because guys hate weddings, marriage and everything and no one ever jokes that the *brides* aren’t gonna show up because being the center of attention in all this fluffy wedding stuff is what girlies thrive on and if anyone should be making jokes it should really be about Donna’s Designer BM Gowns.
So, smiling, Erin, Joy and Donna parade up the aisle and we see guests – Jackie and Mel and Jim and Cindy in the front rows, as well as John and Felice Martin, Mrs. Teasley and Gil Myers, Samantha Sanders and Rush Sanders and the Monkey Twins, and Devon Dean, and Willie and Nat and Joanie – all smiling back at them and someone leans to whisper to someone else how “beautiful” the girls look in “Donna’s dresses” and Davy twitches and laughs and exchanges smiles with Donna and Stevie mugs and winks and Brandon just stands up there super-pompously and all Furrowed because, once again, this is a Really Big Serious Moment.
A moment of silence. And then, a flourish as the little quartet or chamber group or whatever strikes up “Here Comes the Bride” [which I’ve always thought is the most ugly-sounding, annoying piece of music next to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” except Stravinsky’s is supposed to be annoying but “Here Comes the Bride” is supposed to herald a joyous occasion, however it totally sounds to me like a funeral dirge so I ended up listening to dozens and dozens of potential processional music to use in place of that and in fact I was seriously wanting the “Imperial March” from Star Wars if I could only find it on CD at the time, but instead I finally found a totally joyous recording of the “Prince of Denmark March” by Wynton Marsalis that was just so happy to listen to.... In fact, just to insert a little Kelly MEMEMEness into things, we had the most kick-ass processional and recessional music… for the processional before the “Prince of Denmark March,” we used a spoken-word piece by Simon LeBon of Duran Duran called “This is How a Road Gets Made” and, if you know anything at all about me and THTM you’ll remember we are both Major Durannies from Hell who met via a Duran fan club so not only was this piece significant in that aspect, but it’s just a damned awesome bit about life’s journey … which was one of the main points of our whole ceremony and our marriage. And then for the recessional, The Husband-Type Man, after considering everything from traditional stuff to The Cure, came up with the brilliant idea of using the music from the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade and that had to be the most totally groovy recessional music, and on our wedding video you can see our family and friends dancing and skipping and twirling their ways down the aisle after the ceremony]. And so, with the first strains of the traditional wedding march, there’s an expectant rustle in the crowd and, at the back of the garden, pausing underneath a flowered arch for a breathtaking moment, appears the Bride, Kelly Taylor, a vision in veiled white on her proud father’s arm. And, her rosebud lips pursed in a dewy – and just slightly smug – Bridal Pout, her daddy escorts Kelly forward to the delight of the guests as Davy and Stevie nudge each other and grin and Brandon makes a pompous rocking motion on the balls of his feet and raises his eyebrows and then rocks again.
“Dearly Beloved,” intones the minister when the music stops. “We are gathered here today to join this man, Brandon James Walsh, and this woman, Kelly Marlene Taylor” [has there ever been any mention of the Hillsters’ – other than Dylan Michael – middle names?]. And because in TV Land, it’s the truncated version of the wedding ceremony, the minister jumps right to the “who gives this woman to be married to this man?” and Bill Taylor is all proudly smug or smugly proud as he says “I do” and lifts Kelly’s face veil away and Kelly leans in for an affectionate kiss from Daddy before Daddy places her hand in Brandon’s and takes his seat and Brandon and Kelly take their place in front of the minister. And if there is any wedding tradition that caused me more grief than the whole goddamned giving-away-the-bride bullshit, then I don’t know what! I mean, like in the case of my 19-year-old cousin who lived at home with her mom and dad until the day she got married, it was entirely appropriate and meaningful for my uncle to walk her down the aisle and say “her mother and I do” when the reverend asked “who gives this bride....” But personally, my old-fashioned Sicilian father bailed when I was 4, and I’ve never been close to him. And moreover, I’d lived on my own for several years – and with THTM for another year – before we got married and I felt very strongly about being “given” by someone else in marriage as opposed to giving myself... I mean, the thought really made me uncomfortable. Furthermore, to have my dad “give me away” would have been an extremely hypocritical gesture on my part, something I couldn’t stand doing from an ethical standpoint, ESPECIALLY at our WEDDING, and besides, if I had wanted any parental figure to “give me away,” it’d be my mom, who, like, was actually there as a supportive parent for me while I was growing up. So, well before the wedding, I told My Dumb Dad how strongly I felt about being “given away” and that after a lot of thought, I’d decided to ask my brother to escort me part way down the aisle, because I wanted to include Sugarbear in a significant way, but that ultimately, I was not being “given” by anyone but myself. So I talked to my dad as honestly as I could about the situation, you know, to show him that I respected his feelings and concerns as a father, etc., and he was like “Okay, whatever, it’s your wedding” and acted like he was fine with it. And in the year of wedding planning, he never mentioned anything about it... until about two weeks prior to The Big Event. Then he started the Poor Him b.s. with “I’m her father, and I don’t even get to give my own daughter away at her wedding” and it wasn’t as if the wedding or my getting married mattered that much to him because in all that time he shunned every effort to get to know THTM – his future son-in-law – except for the one time he wanted THTM to build him an interactive web page for his latest home business scheme for free and couldn’t understand why THTM didn’t jump to drive two hours to do this for my dad when my dad promised him “free advertising” on his web page, like, um, Dad? THTM has a full time job, and a very good one at that, and really doesn’t need any “free advertising” from you and furthermore it would take several months and $100,000 worth of labor and coding and the like to build the kind of web page you want, not “just a couple hours” and, besides that, THTM doesn’t do websites, he writes an entirely different kind of software! And my dad never made any effort to get involved with anything related to the wedding despite my efforts to include him in things like picking out a song to dance to or getting certain family photos to display at the wedding... I mean, he never even asked once in that whole year how wedding planning was going or what we were doing for our honeymoon or anything of the sort. But right before the wedding, he started whinging about how he didn’t get to give his daughter away, and how every father dreams of the day he can walk his daughter down the aisle and give her away on her wedding day like all he cared about is being Daddy in the Spotlight and he was worried about what other people there would think if he didn’t walk me down the aisle like, hello, Dad? I’d be more worried about what they’d think if you DID walk me down the aisle knowing you’ve been all but a nonentity in my life for 23 out of 27 years. And, let’s put it to music and dance, Dad, but I don’t want to be given away! Can you kindly respect my wishes? So two days before the wedding as I’m getting ready to drive from LA to San Diego and hoping to be there in time for an appointment with a wedding vendor he calls me and wants to know if I can meet him for lunch because he wants to “talk” to me and I know exactly what he’s up to because my brother called me the night before to let me know that Dad had called *him* and tried to negotiate, like “How about if I walk her part way and you walk her the rest of the way?” as if the aisle is all that long anyway even if that *was even the point*, which it wasn’t! And my brother told him that my dad should probably be asking ME about stuff like that, not him, and I’d made my wishes clear. So anyway, dumb old Dad wants to know if I can meet him for lunch to “talk” and I tell him no, I have an appointment and BECAUSE HE CAN’T FUCKING TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER he starts the Italian Guilt thing about how “will a half-hour of your time be too much?” and he doesn’t seem to understand that, with the unpredictable nature of driving from LA to San Diego in time for an appointment, yes, a half-hour – after driving 45 additional minutes out of my way – IS in fact a big deal and if he’s going to make the pitch to give me away, then I don’t want to hear it because he’s already had a YEAR and, one more time, I’VE MADE MY DECISION AND I’VE ALREADY EXPLAINED NUMEROUS TIMES THAT I DON’T WANT TO BE GIVEN AWAY LIKE A PIECE OF CHATTEL and would he PLEASE show some respect for my feelings? So instead of doing that, he shows up at my Grandma’s house 20 minutes before I have to be at this appointment to “talk” because he “doesn’t understand what his role in the wedding is supposed to be.” Like, cute way to pussyfoot around the subject, Dad. Is this about giving me away? “No, I just need to know what my role in the wedding is supposed to be” he bullshits all innocently in the dumb-shit way that only my father can, because I’m supposed to be that effing stupid and not get what he’s doing. Okay, Dad, have you even rented your tux yet? Gotten those pictures I’ve been asking you for for, oh, a year? Well, do that, and then show up and you’ll be all set, like WHY ARE YOU PULLING THIS STUPID BULLSHIT TWO DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING WHEN YOU’VE KNOWN FOR A GODDAMNED YEAR WHAT WAS GOING ON? So then he goes into the song-and-dance about HisLastName is the only thing his father had to give him and seeing HisLastName with THTM’sLastName was so upsetting to him and he didn’t understand why THTM was taking *his* name and blah blah blah. And he just keeps nagging in his stupid asshole round-about word-gamey way until I get fully pissed off and realize for the final time that this man has absolutely no respect for my feelings, wishes or anything and will never acknowledge the respect for his feelings that I tried to show, because unless he gets what HE wants, it simply doesn’t matter. And finally my mother had to intervene which is a Really Big Deal because in all the years of troubled relations with my dad she’s always stayed out of it and it had gotten to the point where even my step-mother was pissed off at my stupid dad for being such a spoiled brat and by this time he was just damned lucky he was even *invited* to the wedding. So by the time the wedding day rolled around, my step-mom was keeping him on a short leash and on the wedding video you can see my brother following me around and keeping my dad from talking to me even thought I didn’t realize it at the time and the final, classy touch to the whole deal is that my asshole father spent THE WHOLE NIGHT GOING AROUND TELLING MY RELATIVES (who he isn’t exactly endeared to in the first place) THAT THIS WAS THE WORST DAY OF HIS LIFE AND NO ONE KNEW THE ANGUISH HE WAS SUFFERING and until one of my uncles and my godmother both told him to shut the fuck up and I didn’t hear about this until after the wedding when aunts and uncles and cousins and even one of my bridesmaids were, like, “What was UP with your dad? What an ASSHOLE!” and finally a close cousin of mine actually told him, “YOU SELFISH JERK! MAYBE YOU SHOULD’VE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT 24 YEARS AGO WHEN YOU LEFT, SO SHUT UP!”
Ahhhh. Um. Yeah.
Postscript: I haven’t talked to him much since unless he forces things. And I can’t begin to express how peaceful life’s been without him in it. Like that Michael Landon spiel about “give him a chance, he’s your father” bit might work on TV, but I’ve tried the real-life version numerous times, and, sorry, but it’d be more productive for me to beat my head against a block of concrete thank you very much.
So Brandon and Kelly are all poised together on the Threshold of Marriage and the minister is reading the abbreviated TV version of the wedding ceremony as a soft, instrumental arrangement of an appropriate wedding love song like “Through The Eyes Of Love” or “’Til There Was You” or “You And I” or “I Swear” or something equally as nauseating plays in the background as Kelly and Brandon take their vows, Brandon all macho and serious and Kelly all moist-eyed and wetly over-pronouncing things because the brides always get all over-emotional and cry and the grooms are totally stoic with the whole thing. Actually, I was sure that I would be bawling up a storm at our wedding. I mean, in the months before, the music would make me tear up... seeing other weddings would make me tear up... the thought of the wedding itself would make me tear up.... And I knew that I’d just be a basket case by the time the day actually rolled around. However, during the wedding, when our pastor started reading the vows, THTM’s lower lip started quivering… and his eyes filled up with tears… and his voice was shaking and he could hardly get the words out, which threw me completely because I’d never seen him cry before! And I’d totally forgotten that there was anyone else in the room but me and THTM so I’m holding onto his hand tightly and whispering to him “Do you want to go sit down? Are you going to be okay?” and he’s doing this very brave sniffling and nodding that he’s fine, he’s fine and then he pulls out the Great White Hanky of Surrender and blows his nose and sniffles some more but it’s too late because by that time I can hear my mom just letting loose sobbing herself silly and his mom and dad and brother and even MY brother are all crying, but, except for a lump in my throat the size of an orange, I was okay because by that point it was like that Wordsworth bit that Kelly’s mom bastardized in the Non-Wedding Wedding about “thoughts that lie too deep for tears.” And when we got the wedding photos back there’re these two that show The Husband-Type Man repeating his vows and in the first one he looks emotional but normal but the second one shows his face all crumpled up with emotional tears and me holding tightly onto his hand with both of mine, and I’m just glad he managed to get through it okay because I was seriously worried up there for a minute or two! J
So, after passing her bridal bouquet to Donna, Kelly earnestly lisps that she promises to “love, honor and cherish” Brandon and then Brandon arrogantly promises to “love, honor and cherish” Kelly and we see Donna blinking back tears and Jackie blinking back tears and Cindy dabbing her eyes with a hanky and Davy scratching and deedling and Stevie trying to look serious and mature for a change. And then, of course, Brandon and Kelly have “some special vows for each other” which, of course, means that they do that Typical Bit about “Kelly, you’re my best friend... you always will be” and “Brandon, after all we’ve been through, I know we’re meant to be together forever.” And I know it’s petty, but I’m annoyed by couples whose vows contain the phrase “we’re best friends” because that seems like such a freaking UNDERSTATEMENT not to mention the biggest cliché in the world because there’s a big difference between sharing movies and “making each other laugh” and all that chummy best friend stuff, and actually building a marriage together, and to say The Husband-Type Man is “my best friend” doesn’t even *begin* to qualify all the trust, respect and love I have for him, but rather, makes it sound like we go, like, clothes shopping together at the mall or out for Megaburgers something.
So after Brandon and Kelly have done the Vow Thing, it’s time to do the Ring Thing. “May I have the ring?” intones the minister to the Best Man. And Stevie reaches in his pocket and passes the ring over to the minister who hands it to Brandon, and Kelly holds out her hand and Brandon, following the minister’s prompt, orates “with this ring I thee wed” and then we get the special hand-model stand-in shots of the Strong Boy Hand putting the ring on the Slender (and Perfectly Manicured) Girl Hand, then squeezing hands tightly. And then the minister turns to the Maid of Honor and asks “May I have the ring?” And Donna, beaming, juggles the two bouquets and-
and her face contorts in pop-eyed horror and the tubas start playing when she realizes she doesn’t have the ring and she gulps “Ohmigawd!” and starts riffling through her flowers and searching frantically down the front of her dress going “Oh no! Oh no! I can’t believe it!” and Doing Comedy until Joy whispers “Donna! Donna! It’s right here!” and points to Donna’s hand where she’s been holding Brandon’s ring on her thumb. So Donna breaths a big sigh of relief and makes an Apology Face and then a Sticky Smile (TM me) and hands over Brandon’s ring and the minister gives it to Kelly, who quavers “with this ring I thee wed” and we get another special hand-model stand-in shots of ring-placing, then squeezing.
And the minister says that by the power vested in him he pronounces them “man and wife” [you KNOW it would be “man and wife” not “husband and wife” or “united in marriage” or anything like that] and then says the six words I find almost as annoying in a wedding ceremony as “who gives this woman in marriage?”: “You may now kiss the bride!” and at least the minister doesn’t attempt to do a stand-up comedy routine like the one at a friend’s wedding where he had a microphone and wanted to know “should they kiss?” (holds microphone out for response) “Yeah!” “Oh, come on, louder than that!” (holds microphone out for response) “Yeah!!” which was rilly rilly awkward and tacky. So the minister says “You may now kiss the bride!” And Kelly squeals and then Brandon and Kelly mack down on each other while Stevie starts hooting and whistling and Donna manages to jump up and down and clap and giggle even with two bouquets of flowers and all the guests start applauding as the minister says “Ladies and gentlemen” like he’s the ringmaster or something in the whole equating-a-wedding-with-a-staged-performance way [I got terribly annoyed with a wedding consultant who persisted in referring to our guests as “the audience,” like we were putting on a show or play or something] ... “ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Walsh!” Because, you KNOW it would be Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Walsh, not Brandon and Kelly Walsh or Brandon and Kelly Taylor-Walsh because Kelly’s identity has essentially been eclipsed by her Huuuusband’s.
So the chamber group strikes up the traditional recessional music (not, I’m sure, the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade theme!) and Brandon and Kelly go tromping down the aisle, followed by Donna and Stevie, then Joy and Davy and little adorable Erin and at the end of the aisle Brandon and Kelly are all hugging and kissing and Stevie thumps Brandon on the back and Davy kisses Kelly’s cheek and Donna darts around to try to hug her best friend-
and bumps right into a hired person who stumbles backwards into the table with Brandon’s Minnesota Twins Jersey Groom’s Cake.
And hijinx ensue. Cue the tubas.
Cut to commercial!
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