Pamela’s Prayer: Part 3
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!