Monthly Archives: September 2014
The next morning at school, Pamela observes that “everyone is looking at me.” This really doesn’t seem the case from the shots we’re given, but given Pamela’s status as the school’s Weird Girl, I’m willing to concede that there might be a bit of staring. Because…dun dun DUN…Jerry has told everyone that he kissed Pamela!
Jessica informs Pamela that she heard from a friend of a friend of Jerry that Jerry and Pamela “made out for awhile in the living room [of Pamela’s house].” I suppose this qualifies as a big, juicy rumor in a 1980s Christian high school, but I remain unimpressed, given the goings-on at my sinful, secular high school. 😉
(Jessica, by the way, is a total sweetie. She’s upset on Pamela’s behalf when she discovers that the rumor is untrue, but she starts the scene happy for Pamela. “So, what did you think of kissing—did you like it?!“)
Pamela tells the entire sordid, sinful tale to her father that night. Wayne reacts…pretty much how one would expect.
Wayne: So, Jerry told everyone he kissed you.
Pamela: And I didn’t, Dad—why is he saying that?
Wayne: Well, first of all, maybe the Lord’s trying to teach you a lesson. If you’d obeyed your father, none of this would have happened.
Pamela: I know.
Wayne: You also deceived me. You said you were going to the game with Jessica, which you did, but you met Jerry. Now Jerry’s telling everyone he went out with you, which you did. But what happened is another story.
Pamela: I don’t know why I did it. All the other girls were going on dates, and I wasn’t.
Therein lies the heart of the problem. Pamela is unhappy. She’s very unhappy and lonely. And she’s trying to take steps to make herself happy and not lonely. This is what happens when perfectly innocuous things, like kissing and going to a basketball game with a boy, are demonized and forbidden. And like I said in the previous installment, this whole thing could have been avoided—not just by Pamela not dating Jerry at all, but by Wayne opening his mind this much and chaperoning the young couple to and from the game.
But no, this is really all about the Lord teaching Pamela a lesson—the lesson that you should never, ever, even ONCE question your parents on anything. Never test boundaries, never find your own path in life, never think for yourself. Because One Wrong Basketball Game, and it’s all over for you.
You see why I hate Wayne? Pamela’s depressed—now, for multiple reasons—and Wayne’s only real response is…Toldja So.
Pamela begs Wayne’s forgiveness, and he gives it. Prick.
Wayne: Pamela, a kiss isn’t something you should just give away.
(Actually, this ties in with Lliira’s point about sex being an activity. Hell, give away as many kisses as you want, Pamela. Because, like love, kisses are not sugar in a bowl. There are always more kisses.)
Wayne: What does the minister say, just after he pronounces the couple husband and wife? You may NOW kiss the bride.
Oh, please. THIS is what Wayne bases his great dating philosophy on? A weird interpretation of the phrase “now kiss the bride”? Jesus, Wayne, the minister means, “now, at this moment, you may kiss the bride,” not “now, for the very first time in your life, you may kiss a woman.”
You see why I hate Wayne, right?
By the way, I do appreciate that dating and kissing and sex are sensitive topics, and television and movies don’t always Get It Right, despite best efforts. And this whole horrible scene reminded me of a good scene that does get it right, from one of my favorite shows ever, Quantum Leap.
It’s from the episode Another Mother, in which Sam leaps into the body of a hard-working single mom, whose teenage son is struggling, much like Pamela, with his virginal reputation at his high school. In one of the last scenes, Sam sits down with the boy, who thinks he is having a talk with his mom.
Sam: I was a virgin when I was sixteen.
Kevin: You’re a girl; you’re supposed to be.
Sam: It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. And there’s no special age when it has to happen. But there should be a special reason: when you love someone so much that making love to them is the most natural way of expressing it.
True confession: I actually get a little teary when I think about that episode. Gets it just right.
After bedtime prayers, Pamela brings up the hot issue (other than Deceiving Her Father, that is): what does she do now?
Wayne: You could do what Jesus did. Remember when he stood in front of Pilate? And they falsely accused him? He didn’t say anything. Jesus didn’t defend himself against the lies. And Pilate was amazed. You know why? *doesn’t wait for Pamela to answer* Because he saw the humble reaction of Christ, and it showed him who was really lying. You could do the same. Don’t say anything. Don’t defend yourself. Don’t get upset. Just be patient and let the Lord have control of the situation.
Okay, I am sure that most of the time, in such a case as this, a girl protesting with the truth would only confirm the boy’s story in the minds of most high school kids. But I have a hard time with the idea that whoever doesn’t defend themselves is telling the truth by default. In this exact situation, it’s probably the best plan—no doubt this stupid kissing rumor is already dying because, c’mon, it’s a rumor that two teenagers kissed. Even a Christian high school has to be able to do better than that in the rumor mill within a day or two.
Just not sure this is a Great Life Lesson About Being Like Jesus.
The next day, at school, Jerry’s Friend (And we have a name! It’s Andy!) asks Pamela out to the next game. Pamela almost tells the truth about not kissing Jerry, but stops herself just in time. (Boy, good thing too—Andy actually looked interested in what she had to say, and might have believed her, and we couldn’t very well have that, could we?) Taking an example from Jesus, Pamela declines going to another high school basketball game.
(The first time I saw this movie, I didn’t realize it was Christian Entertainment. Thus, I thought that Andy was actually going to be a good guy, and that the conclusion of the movie would be for Wayne to allow Pamela to date such a nice fellow. And I thought this almost exclusively because Andy looked so interested in the truth in this brief scene.)
When school lets out, Pamela spies Jerry talking to another girl! Gee, how…ominous? Insulting? What are we supposed to be feeling here?
Oh well! Cut to the next scene (“August 1986“), and Pamela’s grandfather (remember how he had a bad heart?) has died. This is an important plot point, for reasons which will become clear in a moment, but to me, this scene is important because Jessica is attending the funeral so she can support Pamela, and it is just more evidence that Jessica is an awesome friend.
Jessica and Pamela: BFFs
Of course, with his dad dead, Wayne is left to run the Christian Film Library all alone. So he does the only natural thing: he trains his daughter in how to run the family business.
HA! Just kidding! Actually, Wayne puts up an extremely professional-looking advertisement at Pamela’s school, so he can train some other kid in how to run the family business.
And it is immediately spotted by…a mysterious boy we have never seen before!
And okay, okay, I can admit it when I’m wrong—Wayne has an interview with the boy (Frederick) and tells him that Pamela has been working with him after school, helping with the “book work.” Frederick’s job would be to “help back here with the films.”
The job would be every day after school for three hours.
DAMN, Wayne. Work the boy to death, why don’t you? I’m being serious here—this could lead to some serious spare change for Frederick, but what if he wants to play a sport or join a club or hang with his friends. I mean DAMN. I had an after-school job in high school, too, and you better believe it was no “every day for three hours” bullshit.
Here is Frederick’s interview speech:
Frederick: We just moved here this summer from Seattle.
Phew! Boy, it’s sure a good thing that Freddy escaped that den of iniquity while he’s still young!
Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt the kid (and I will continue to call him Freddy because it pleases me to do so.
Freddy: Let’s see…I’m a senior, and I became a Christian when I was nine years old. I’ve been wanting to work in a ministry, and when I saw your sign at school, it looked like a good opportunity. I don’t know much about film libraries but I’m willing to learn. I promise to work real hard and try to do the best job I can.
Wayne hires him on the spot.
Two additional notes here. One, Wayne is VERY PLEASED at Freddy’s “I became a Christian when I was nine years old” line. We immediately cut to Wayne, nodding with this smug and satisfied look on his face.
I hate Wayne.
Two, there are multiple posters for Christian films plastered on the walls, including one for this movie, which looks FRICKING AMAZING AND I NEED TO SEE IT.
Hmmm…a new boy in Pamela’s (very small) world. Could things be looking up for her?
We shall see!
“Sin abounds! The Lord is not feared! Morals have replaced Christ, and with liberal teachings! Families are in disarray, no authority, no respect! The world lives without Jesus while the church seems to be filled with professing Christians who do not follow the Lord they claim to believe!”
Inquisitive Raven is back with more insight into how Fireproof fails in its depiction of firefighters!
So, in my last post, I discussed some general matters regarding this movie and how actual fire services work. This time I’m going to tackle the vehicle rescue incident with the train.
Okay, on to the first incident. Our hostess sets the scene:
The next day, two cars of teens (two boys in one car, two girls in the other) flirtatiously drag race to the local pizza joint…with predictably disastrous results. The girls (of course it’s the girls; don’t be silly) get their car stuck on the train tracks, and both are too injured to move.
I should note here that what seems to have happened is that the two cars collided taking a turn. I’m also going to attempt to be charitable and assume that the reason the girls are the ones stuck on the tracks with the serious injuries is not so much an assumption of female incompetence as a need to make Caleb look more impressive reassuring the victims.
Back at the station, the call comes in. “Public Safety to Engine One, Battalion One. Respond to [incident location], 10-50 I Rescue, Time Out XXXX.” There are some things that seemed a bit off to me about that dispatch. Unless Albany uses numeric codes for types of incident, that’s the most unhelpful dispatch I’ve ever heard, and our dispatcher came up with doozies, like “sick person” which doesn’t really narrow things down beyond “not trauma.” Seriously, if that was Haverford Township, the dispatcher would have given a quick thumbnail description of what we were being dispatched to, e.g. “accident with possible injuries” or maybe “MVA with possible injuries.”
Another thing that struck me as odd is that they apparently refer to the ladder as “Battalion One.” Um, really? Battalion chief is apparently an actual title in the Albany Fire Department, although oddly it shows up on the history page, not the organization page. Given that, I would assume that Battalion One would be the battalion chief’s command vehicle (probably an SUV if chief’s vehicles I’m familiar with are any indication). At any rate, calling a ladder “Battalion [number]” seems weird, and most places I’m familiar with would dispatch such a vehicle as “Ladder [number].”
Inside the fire house, Caleb comments “That’s close by” (No, really?) then starts handing out vehicle assignments. Two comments here: 1) the only people who really need to know where the incident location is are the apparatus drivers, one of whom is Caleb, and assuming that both of them are reasonably experienced, he shouldn’t need to point out how close it is. Since presumably everyone is local, I’d expect even the non-drivers to have a pretty good idea where the incident location is. If it’s not obvious to the drivers where the incident location is, well, at Manoa, the ambulances (and I assume the fire apparatus) carries maps, and there’s a map of the township (with hydrants marked) on the wall of an alcove at the back of the engine house. I’d be shocked if this place didn’t have a similar arrangement. 2) This is a professional outfit; I’d kinda expect everyone to have fixed vehicle assignments anyway, unless one of them is covering someone else for the shift which doesn’t appear to be the case, so there’s no need to tell anyone which vehicle to get in.
Remember in the last post, I mentioned weirdness with the turnout gear? Here it comes. Either the boots and trousers are set up on the engine house floor, or someone pulls them off the apparatus and sets them up while the camera is focused on the protag, so when the camera shifts to the people gearing up, they’re already on the floor next to the apparatus. Turnout coats are visible on the apparatus itself. What the audience is seeing only makes sense with fixed vehicle assignments, and then they’d have to swap the turnout around at shift change because the crew members aren’t all the same height, build, and presumably shoe size. At the extremes, my sister, who is about five feet tall can’t wear turnout sized for a six foot tall dude and vice versa.
As they’re on their way to the scene, they spot the crowd. This would be a good time for the cops to already be on the scene, buuut I don’t see any sign of them. Our intrepid crew spots the car on the tracks. Our hero (ha!) calls it in, and asks them to contact the railroad dispatcher to stop all trains. Good move on his part, but given this movie is firmly ensconced in the “everybody has a cell phone” era, I find it difficult to believe that this is the first time 911 Dispatch has heard about the car on the tracks, and they should either have already gotten the railroad dispatcher on the line (or given later developments, be in the process of doing so). In fact, I’d have expected the dispatcher to notify the fire company of the car on the tracks, not the other way around.
They pull up to the scene, and Caleb assigns couple of people to handle triage, while he checks the driver of the car on the tracks, after shooing away the crowd, which is, y’know, the cops’ job. It’s probably important that she’s conscious so he gets to be all manly and reassuring for her.
This gets me wondering, do any of these guys have any kind of EMS training? Philadelphia requires every vehicle to have at least one EMT on its crew. All the full timers in my sister’s town are required to have at least EMT qualifications; most of them are paramedics. A lot of members of my old company have both EMS and firefighter training. One thing all these outfits have in common is that the fire services also run ambulances. Which, based on the city government’s webpage, does not seem to be the case with Albany, so I suppose I shouldn’t count on them having anything more than first aid.
He also assigns someone to run a line of hose. This is actually reasonable although it leaves one guy to get the extrication tools. Having fire suppression standing by at an MVA is accepted practice. I am a little bit concerned that all they have for fire suppression is water, but Albany doesn’t seem to have any foam pumpers which is what I’d really want on hand when the main fire hazard is gasoline. But hey, you use what you’ve got.
Round about the time they’re getting out the extrication tools, someone hears a train whistle. Caleb gets back on the radio to yell at 911 Dispatch about the fact that they can hear a train coming and repeats his earlier instruction to contact the railroad dispatcher at which point he finds out that 911 Dispatch can’t reach the railroad dispatcher. Um, dude, you’re wasting time here. If you can hear the frakking train, it’s too late for it to stop. Worry about getting the car off the tracks.
Somewhere in here, the cops do show up. I didn’t hear them arrive, but they do appear in some shots doing crowd control. The firefighters’ first attempt to get the car off the tracks involves simply shoving it. When that doesn’t work, they attempt to hook up a chain to haul the car off the track, presumably using the ladder as a tow. Good idea, too bad a) Idjit there wasted time with 911 Dispatch, and b) it’s the second thing they try, or they might have managed to pull it off. So with no time for anything else, they attempt to lift the car off the tracks. And here again, we see where a larger crew would be useful. If they’d had two four person crews like I think they should instead of five guys, they might not have needed bystander assistance. If they had needed it, they would have needed less. But hey, this gives the filmmakers a chance to show a military dude being all heroic and stuff. Seriously, they make a point of getting a nicely framed shot of military dude stepping up to help. After he runs up to help, a guy in a suit, a random black dude, and a cop join in, but they don’t get such nicely framed shots.
Now, I’m going to point something out here. Remember in Part 4 where our hostess says this about Caleb taking off his mask and coat:
Now, I am about as far from being an expert on firefighting as it is possible to be, but is it really advisable for Caleb to take off his oxygen mask and his firefighting jacket, and put them on the unconscious kid? Doesn’t Caleb need them more at this moment? I mean, I keep thinking about being on an airplane—secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Because if Caleb is injured or collapses from smoke inhalation, they’re both screwed. Isn’t it better, instead of wasting time fumbling with the gear, to get them both out as quickly as possible so the kid can get medical attention?
She’s right, and more on that in the next installment when I go over the fire call, but here’s the important point: to borrow a line from Jim MacDonald at Making Light, “Your first job is not to add to the number of people needing to be rescued.” They are not paying attention to that rule.
That is an official rule, btw, although it’s not usually phrased that succinctly. A large chunk of the first day of my EMT class was spent hammering it into our heads. There comes a point with the train bearing down on you where you drop the car and run. The rescuers overstayed that point big time. Fortunately, they succeeded in getting the car and themselves clear of the tracks because if they’d failed, they’d be dead; the occupants of the car would be dead; and the train operator would at the very least be injured since I think a car on the tracks would be enough to derail the train. Running in such a circumstance may not be heroic, but it reduces the probable casualty count by the number of would be rescuers.
Okay, passengers saved and derailment averted. We get a couple of quick shots of the extrication, but the important thing is our hero (Ha!) talks to Christian dude after everything is over. Makes sense given what the movie is about, but I’m gonna go over the what’s shown of the extrication. Before I do though, a correction to my last post. I said there was a guy at each scene who wasn’t wearing turnout. That’s not quite accurate. He’s shed the coat, but at this scene at least, he’s wearing everything else. At the fire scene, the coatless guy has also shed his helmet.
Military Dude is assisting Christian Dude who was too close to the train for comfort as two EMS responders come up to the car and one climbs through an open window into the back seat.
Okay, remember in the last installment, I mentioned that Manoa’s ambulances carry helmets and heavy jackets as protective gear? This is why; MVA rescue scenes tend to have a lot of broken glass and shredded twisted metal, especially after the vehicle rescue techs get done with the cutting tools. The firefighters at this scene break out the cutting tools and take the roof off the car. Two EMS responders are visible in the back holding spinal stabilization on the patients necks (the reason they’re in the back seat), while a third has just finished covering the patients with a blanket, presumably to protect them from debris. The EMS responders are in short sleeved uniforms, and none of them have donned additional protective gear. This isn’t a problem for the guy next to the car. He can back away from the danger zone. The two guys in the car can’t go anywhere, and they should have at least put on coats. The Manoa ambulance jumpsuits are a) long sleeved, b) worn over our street clothes, and c) heavier than the uniform shirt seen here, and I still have probably put on a coat before getting into the back seat. They tend to make the shortest people on the crew get in the back to take spinal stabilization. One look at the state of the roof should show why.
There are some other things that seem to have been neglected. Before climbing around (and into) the vehicle and cutting it apart, they should have braced it so it can’t shift position while they work on it. Suspensions are springy, y’know? And the state of the tires is iffy. I don’t expect them to show the process; it would take too long, but they could’ve had a chunk of wood or a jack sticking out from under the car to show that it was done, and I saw no sign of anything like that.
There’s a long spine board, and what could be a bag of cervical collars or a bag of basic EMS gear (commonly referred to as “first-in” or “jump” bag). I don’t see anything to stabilize the spine below the neck before removing them from the car, which should be laid out with the long board. Also, honestly, I don’t think that bag is long enough to contain flattened collars. When the firefighters take the roof off the car, the patients don’t seem to have been collared. I will note for the record that there is a push to reduce the frequency with which EMS providers immobilize the spine, but given the driver’s report of neck pain, and the passenger’s lack of responsiveness, this seems like one of those occasions where spinal immobilization is indicated.
I can’t think of anything else to say about this, but if people have questions, I’ll try to answer them.
Next up the fire call, and, boy howdy, is it a train wreck. Our hostess did a pretty good job of eviscerating it, but it’s worse than she thought.
It’s Pamela’s Sweet Sixteen party, yo, and she is having a ROCKING party, consisting of her dad and her grandparents.
Not that I’m a one to talk. Still, though, I had friends over for a sleepover for my sixteenth birthday, nerd though I was (and am).
Still still, though, did Sarah have no family? Why are these the only three people in Pamela’s whole life?
*They sing “Happy Birthday”*
Wayne: Say a prayer and blow out the candles.
*Pamela closes her eyes and blows out the candles*
Grandma: Whadja pray for, honey?
Grandpa: Now she’s not supposed to tell you that! That’s a secret between her and the Lord!
Wayne: Right, Ma, sorry. *beat* Whadja pray for, Pamela?
Pamela: Daa-aad! I’m not supposed to tell you, but I will: I didn’t ask for anything. I just told God how much I love my grandparents and my father.
Grandpa: Well, isn’t that nice.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE???
Seriously, Grandpa is the only normal human among them. And isn’t it incredibly sad that Pamela is allowed no privacy whatsoever? That her every thought, her every prayer, needs to be shared with her whole family.
Speaking of, did I miss something (again) by growing up in a secular home? Are birthday wishes sinful or something? They have to be birthday prayers or Baby Jesus cries?
And look at how well Wayne has Pamela controlled. Just look at that. One word from him, and she spills her innermost thoughts. Nothing is her own, even the thoughts in her head.
That night, we see how the whole “I promised to pray with Pamela every night” thing plays out: Wayne sits on Pamela’s bed, as she sits under the covers, and Wayne says the whole prayer. Pamela says not a word until the end, when she adds her own “Amen,” followed by, “Thanks, Dad.”
Wayne isn’t praying with her, he’s praying for her. As in, he is praying in her place.
You see why I hate this guy?
The next day, the playa of Pamela’s Christian school, one Jerry Clark, is scoping out all the young hotties with his friend…um…Jerry’s Friend. Jerry’s Friend informs Jerry that our Pamela has never been kissed, and Jerry takes this as a challenge, asking Pamela to attend the school basketball game with him. Pamela, of course, has to ask her dad, though she knows damn well what he’ll say.
Wayne: You know how I feel about dating.
Yeah. No dating. At all. Under any circumstances.
Despite Pamela’s plea that he is “a good Christian guy,” Wayne doesn’t budge, and Pamela has to turn Jerry down, much to the consternation of her
best only friend, Jessica. Pamela brings home a new argument of Jessica’s every night for her father, but Wayne has an answer for them:
Pamela: Jessica’s father lets her go out with guys as long as they’re Christians.
Wayne: I wonder what Jessica’s husband would say if he knew that?
Pamela: What do you mean?
I know, right???
But pay attention, you guys—Wayne’s whole philosophy of relations between the sexes is right here:
Wayne: Pamela, whenever we come to a point in our lives where we’re not sure what to do, we should always look ahead and view things from that perspective. For example, in your case about dating, let’s look ahead to your wedding day. You’ll be getting married to the man you love with all your heart. This is the man you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Now, let’s go ahead a little further, to your wedding night. When you lie down on your wedding bed, what kind of a man do you want your husband to be? Do you want a man who’s saved all his love just for you, one who never even kissed another woman, so he could share that just with you, or do you want a man who’s been with other women before? One who kissed other women, and didn’t wait for you? Which one would you prefer?
Pamela: I’d prefer the one who waited.
Wayne: And so would your husband.
Your husband would also prefer the man who waited. Wait, no!
Honestly, there is a ton wrong with Wayne, but I think the saddest thing about his little philosophy is how he thinks love is a bowl of sugar that can be used up. That love can be saved like money, then all poured into one big investment: Marriage.
Now, on to my big problem with this whole premise. I don’t think experience is everything. I think if two people have good chemistry, they can have a great time together, even if neither one of them has had much “practice,” whether we’re talking about kissing or anything beyond that.
But…I kinda think you have to kiss someone to know whether you are sexually compatible. You can get along with someone just fine, have things in common and things to talk about, but you just don’t know if there is any there there until you lock lips. And basic chemistry is not something that can be learned—you either have it with the other person, or you don’t. And getting to your wedding day, to the actual ceremony, and then finding out that you don’t like his touch or his taste…well, I don’t care at that point if he’s saved all his love in a box for me or not.
And, hell, my girl Jessica doesn’t even think that such a guy exists, and she goes to the same Christian school as Pamela.
Jessica: I’ve kissed guys before and I don’t feel bad. Kissing’s fun! You’re missing out.
But despite her father’s talk, Pamela is still sad. She had to turn down Jerry, and now she has to sit in class all day with him, with his smoldering good looks and sparkling personality…
Or not. I mean, Jerry’s not that bad, though he’s certainly no prize. The movie makes him out to be a manipulative asshole (“I get it…I’m just not good enough for you“), but his whiny-ass delivery erases any hint of threat.
Pamela mourns her loss of date, while rocking the Cosby sweater (plus the hairdo that I wore almost constantly from 6th through 9th grades).
In a few small moments that, shockingly for this film, actually stir some emotion, Pamela sadly gazes at two different happy couples at school, then is given the patented Mean Boy treatment by a random group of guys (that does not include Jerry, btw):
One guy: *faux friendly tone* Hi, Pam!
Pamela: *smiles back*
One guy: *mutters something to his friends*
All the guys: *burst out laughing*
Frustrated, Pamela snaps at her father when she gets home, and it evolves into what I would characterize as a mild argument, but which the movie clearly portrays as the most at odds Pamela and Wayne have ever been. (Some of it is in the trailer—this is the part where Pamela cries, “You’re making my life miserable, Dad…don’t you see…you’re making it miserable!“)
The trailer leaves out her excellent point, though:
Pamela: You can’t show me one verse in the Bible where it says it’s wrong to date.
You go girl—fight fire with fire.
Not that it helps. In her best teenage move yet, Pamela retreats to her room, and doesn’t let Wayne in to say prayers with her!
Pamela: I’ve already said my prayers, good night.
Now, it is a pretty good burn, indeed, but Pamela, sadly, has nothing on Wayne, who counterattacks with a Level Six Guilt Trip, as follows:
Wayne: *praying out loud from the other side of Pamela’s closed bedroom door* Dear Lord, we love you. Thank you for this day. Please watch over Pamela. Help me to be the father you want me to be. In Jesus’ name, amen. *beat* Good night, Pamela.
Believe me when I tell you that Wayne was not capable of keeping the smug satisfaction out of his voice for the “Good night, Pamela” part. Prick.
But Pamela ain’t through yet, no sir! As the Ominous Music plays, Pamela approaches Jerry at school the next day…
Then she calls her father at work and LIES to him (filthy sinner that she is), saying she is going to the game, but with Jessica. Wayne obviously has his doubts, but given that Pamela has already questioned the level of trust he has in her, he can’t very well ask her outright if she’s lying to him.
Turns out Pamela isn’t half-bad at this whole Being a Teenager business.
You know, this whole problem could be solved by just having Wayne drop Pamela off at the game, then pick her up when it’s over, to take her home. I mean, look at this. I don’t know what kind of magician-contortionist-wizard Wayne thinks Jerry is, but the odds of anything physical happening in this particular setting are somewhere south of 1%.
But no, Jerry walks Pamela home after the game. The Ominous Music continues, even though Jerry and Pamela aren’t so much as holding hands. They chit-chat outside in the snow for a few minutes, then Jerry leeeeeans in for his good-night kiss…
And Pamela turns away and rushes home!
Oh, and did I mention that Wayne has been sitting in his easy chair, praying for Pamela, for the last fifteen minutes?
So it wasn’t really Pamela who stopped the kiss from happening—it was God, at Wayne’s behest, watching out for the poor girl.
That was a close one, too! If Wayne hadn’t been praying, who knows what might have happened! There could have even been a hug involved!
Jerry, meanwhile, reacts to this turn of events quite mildly (at least for now): first with a “Bwa?” look when he is denied his kiss, then with a “Huh. Weird chick,” chuckle as he heads on home.
Pamela enters the house, with a look on her face like she barely escaped with her life. But all she says to Wayne is, “Sorry I’m late.” And after all that praying, we don’t even get to see Wayne’s reaction.
WILL there be further repercussions to Pamela’s almost-kiss?
WILL Wayne continue to be a guilt-tripping prick? (Yes.)
Stay tuned! Same purity time, same purity channel!
Well, here we go, you guys. Pamela’s Prayer.
Pamela’s FREAKING Prayer.
The One That Started It All for me.
Once upon a time, a younger and more innocent Ruby was at college. Unable to sleep, I flipped through late-nite TV, finally finding what looked like an old After-School Special. It was only ten minutes in or so, and featured a teenage girl whose strict father didn’t allow her to date. At all.
Naïve as I was, I assumed that surely, this Pamela would find a nice boy to date, one who would never want to take advantage of her, and Dad would realize that he was being too strict, probably because he just missed Pamela’s mom so very much, and he and Pamela would hug it out.
Oh, how wrong I was. So young, so innocent, not yet wise in the ways of Christian films.
Because Pamela’s father is right. The only way for Pamela to be happy is to avoid all physical contact with the opposite sex until the day of her wedding, at which point she is finally allowed her Very First Kiss.
(You just have to picture the look of slack-jawed amazement on my face. Oh, to be so young and trusting again…)
Seriously, though, you guys, Pamela’s Prayer is a classic of the genre. The most classic movie we’ve watched so far here is probably Second Glance, but Pamela’s Prayer…well, people take actual Life Lessons from this flick. This story makes it icky to kiss someone unless you are bound in matrimony to each other.
Yeah, it’s just gross.
So let’s go!
This is the biggest lie of the movie. This is NOT Pamela’s story. This is the story of her father, Wayne, and his obsession with keeping his daughter’s lips (let alone her ladyparts) pure and untouched for the sake of his future son-in-law.
But let us travel back, back all the way in time to “May 1968,” when young marrieds Wayne and Sarah drive up to some random rock formations, where Sarah, after scrambling over some rocks in a suitably modest long dress, reveals to Wayne that their joyless, ritualized intercourse has finally resulted in the only God-ordained result: a fertilized egg.
Sarah: I have something to tell you.
Wayne: What, Sarah?
Sarah: We’re going to have a baby.
Sure enough, in “January 1969,” Wayne takes Sarah to the hospital, with the part of Pamela being played by a basketball held under Sarah’s coat. However, after the title sequence, the Music of Sadness plays as Wayne makes a little visit to the cemetery…
Yep, following a long line of Disney moms, Sarah didn’t even make it past the opening credits.
Farewell, Sarah! We’ll never forget your thirteen words of dialogue!
Fortunately for Wayne (and especially for Pamela, but we’ll get to that), his parents are completely awesome, and all but move in with him to help with Pamela.
At least for a few days, until Wayne boots their collective ass out.
Wayne’s mom offers for them to spend the night “again.”
Wayne: Ma, I’ll see you in the morning. Dad, I’ll be coming back to work tomorrow.
So Wayne’s mom is going to go home, grab sleep, then come back first thing in the morning. I just love how Wayne takes that totally for granted. (Not that Wayne’s mom shouldn’t do that, if she wants to. Just that I think Wayne could be a bit more grateful about the whole thing.)
And yes, Wayne works with his dad. They run a Christian film library.
Wayne checks on the baby and prays over her, then reads his Bible for a bit before turning out the light. (His nightstand, of course, has a picture of Sarah on it–who could ever forget that unforgettable character!) Two hours later (in a touch of realism) he’s up for a feeding. The next morning, his mom is there before Wayne even wakes up. (THANK THE WOMAN, YOU INGRATE!)
The tinkly-music montage that follows is quite sweet, showing Wayne bonding with the baby by reading the Bible to her and taking her to unsafe rock formations.
We fast-forward in time to “July 1975,” and it is time for the biggest gorram event of the year, by gab: the convention. The Convention. Presumably one of Christian film library owners. Wayne’s dad can’t go, because the doctor told him he shouldn’t travel because of his heart. So Wayne is supposed to go instead. But, there’s a problem…
Wayne: When Pamela was born, I made a commitment to the Lord that I would pray with her every night. So far, I’ve been able to keep that commitment. If I go to the convention, I don’t see how I can.
At this point, Wayne is not impressing me with his mental aptitude. His dad, however, is no fool, and comes up with a brilliant idea.
A TELEPHONE!!! BRILLIANT!!!
Seriously, this thought never even crossed Wayne’s mind for a second? What an asshole!
(This is perhaps the right time to let you all know that I hate Wayne. Like, a really, really lot. I might even hate him more than Paul Stepola. Sure, Paul murdered people, but Wayne is just so self-righteously smug and ungrateful and FRAKKING STUPID.)
Sure enough, Wayne actually uses that wild new invention, and telephones his daughter from his hotel room to pray with her. And this is all starting to read less like Wayne wanting to keep his commitment to the Lord, and more like Wayne not wanting to release his iron-fisted control over every tiny facet of Pamela’s life, even for a second. Honestly, did nobody ever tell this man that it’s healthy for a child to bond with trusted adults besides the parents?
Probably not. The last scene of Pamela’s early childhood shows her on Wayne’s lap, as he reads the Bible to her. I wonder if he’s ever read any book besides the Bible to her? Wayne is made happy by Pamela’s spontaneous statement that “I have Jesus on my heart.” Aww.
Next time: Pamela turns Sweet Sixteen!