Pamela’s Prayer: Part 2
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!