Pamela’s Prayer: Part 5
The next scene after graduation (I suppose we can assume that about a week has gone by) Frederick swings by
the ugliest house in the world Casa Buckland. It’s an unexpected call, and for a couple of unexpected reasons.
Frederick asks to start working at the Film Library full time!
Frederick: Mr. Buckland, I’d like to start working full time at the library, try to help more with the ministry. I really feel like this is what the Lord wants for me to do. I talked it over with my parents but I know you have the final word. Just wanted to let your know.
Ha! The “just wanted to let you know” makes it sound like Freddy is just planning to show up Monday morning, whether Wayne agrees to this or not. Just wanted to let you know! 😀
Wayne: Well, this comes as a surprise. I was thinking with you graduating, I’d be losing you at the end of the summer. Now you want to stay on full time.
Um, yes, Wayne…he just said that.
(Also, insert your own “Wayne ‘losing’ Freddy” joke here.)
Despite his alleged surprise, Wayne needs no time to “think about it, pray about it“—he hires Frederick on the spot.
But Fred’s not done yet!
Freddy: Oh, there is one other thing. I was going to take a ride over to the rock formations and if it’s okay with you and okay with Pamela, I was wondering if she’d like to come along?
Damn, that Freddy has balls of solid steel. “Hey, boss, wanna hire me for full-time, like now? Also, can I date your only daughter? Like, now?
Hilariously, Pamela looks to her father for permission, raising her eyebrows, as the plinkety-plink music of goofiness plays.
Next shot: Frederick and Pamela driving to the rock formation. So one of two things happened: either Freddy and Pam murdered Wayne and are running away into the mountains forever, or b) Wayne allowed Pamela to go on a date.
Either way, my mind is blown.
I mean, honestly, what has changed? We “know how [Wayne] feels about dating.” NO dating, no matter what. There was never any time limit or condition on this feeling. Granted, Pamela is now a high school graduate and an official grown-up (I suppose), but she also lives at home and works* for her dad.
*It is never, for the rest of the film, established what Pamela does with her days. Presumably, with Freddy working full time for her dad, her work is no longer required. After all, Wayne and his dad ran the business alone for decades. (And I remain shocked that this place can support not one, but two households.) Anyway, we never see Pamela going to school or getting a different job, though she does appear to occasionally help out at the library (she brings the men lunch at least once). So I guess, like the spinsters of old, the plan was always for her to live at home, cooking and cleaning for her dad and helping in little ways at his business, until the suitable man (quite literally) knocked at the door.
Anyway, even on her second not-really-a-date ever, Wayne is never far from Pamela’s thoughts. Her very first words to Freddy, once they reach the rock formation, are:
Pamela: My grandfather used to bring my dad up here a lot when he was a little boy. Said that this was a good praying spot.
The conversation quickly turns serious: Pamela discusses the fact that her parents were in their thirties when they met (why she brings this up is anybody’s guess, though it does make me wonder if Wayne and Sarah both waited for their wedding day, when they were both in their thirties, to kiss anyone). Anyway, Freddy takes this as an invitation to ask how Pamela’s mom died. (????) Pamela reveals that Sarah died of an amniotic fluid embolism, a very rare pregnancy complication. I’m a bit confused as to why this information is presented to the viewer now, as opposed to, say, at the beginning of the movie, right after Sarah’s death. Unless, of course, the idea is the assure Freddy and the viewers that although Sarah died in childbirth, it was nothing that would affect Pamela’s ability to spawn.
Despite this sad line of conversation, Pamela states that she has enjoyed herself on this odd little “date.” This leads to our next montage, in which Freddy appears in every facet of Wayne and Pamela’s lives: working at the film library with them, attending church with them, watching a Christian film with them. (Where are your parents, Freddy? I know you have them, because you mentioned them. Don’t they ever want to spend time with you?)
This montage apparently covers quite the passage of time, because we leave the montage at “December 1990,” at War on Christmastime. To review, Pamela was born in January of 1969. Which means she is just about to turn twenty-one. Which means it’s been between three and four YEARS since she and Freddy started courting.
And now I have to wonder if they have ever spent any time alone together since that sad rock formation “date.”
We know it’s the War on Christmas, because a jarring, all-bells version of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” jangles in the background as Wayne fusses ineffectually with some ornaments. Freddy pulls up in his truck (he’s been driving it since graduation, so I assume that it’s his, bought with his after-school earnings). Honestly, it’s not the vehicle I expected from a prepster like Freddy. I would have figured him for a Volvo wagon kind of guy. Freddy looks a bit nervous and uptight, almost as if he had something important on his mind…
Really, with that hat on the wall and that plastic bow on the door? Boy, don’tcha miss the eighties?
It’s worth noting that even after working for him and courting his daughter for this long, Frederick still calls Wayne “Mr. Buckland.” He compliments the decorating scheme, which sucks more than a little bit, but Pamela did it, so Freddy is no fool. Since Pam is still making some last ornaments in her room, Freddy has the opportunity to pop the question…to Wayne.
Freddy: Mr. Buckland, there’s something I’d like to ask you.
Freddy: Mr. Buckland, I’d like to ask you for your permission to marry Pamela. I love her very much, sir, and I know she’s the one the Lord has for me.
The one the Lord HAS for him? That is just so weird. Did the actor miss a word or two? I would have thought the phrase would be, “the one the Lord has in mind for me,” but that is not what Freddy says. Anyone ever heard this one before?
Anyway, Wayne gets the slimiest look on his face, and the weirdest tone in his voice as he quizzes Freddy:
Wayne: How do you know that, Frederick?
I say “quizzes” because that’s what it sounds like: like a teacher asking a student a question to which it is certain the student knows the answer. Like a parent asking a child, “What do we say?” when the child forgets a “please.”
Frederick: Well, when I was younger, I told the Lord that I wanted to marry the girl that he wanted me to. So I promised him that I wouldn’t kiss a girl until my wedding day. And if I did that, if I waited, he’d show me who the right girl was by bringing me someone who did the same thing. I know Pamela’s that girl.
Wayne turns away and smirks the smirk of someone who has been proved to be Right All Along. Pamela trots down the stairs into the living room and we see the passage of time by the fact that she has chopped her long hair off. You can see the true love between Freddy and Pam as they have the following deep and tender conversation:
Pam: How are you?
Fred: Good. How are you?
Given this proof of deep and abiding love, Wayne signals his assent with a nod to Freddy, who just pops the question (again), right then and there, in front of Wayne. (He doesn’t even get down on one knee, the jerk.)
Freddy: Pamela, I was just talking with your father. I love you very much and I want you to be my wife.
Pamela smiles, and immediately looks to Wayne, who nods his assent. Good thing too, because we wouldn’t want Pamela to make a decision for herself or anything.
Freddy: Pamela, will you marry me?
Pam: Yes. I’d love to.
And Wayne immediately comes over and hugs them, and he kisses Pamela (on the forehead) and shakes Freddy’s hand. And since he steps between Pam and Freddy and hugs each with one arm, the two lovebirds don’t even come within 18 inches of each other in this whole scene! What, no firm handshake? No high five? No friendly thump on the shoulder?
Kidding aside, you know what’s really sad? Pamela never says she loves Frederick, in this scene or any other. She says she’d love to marry him, but that’s…not the same thing.
Next scene: “November 8, 1991,” (a Friday, so presumably the wedding will be the next day, Saturday, because we’re at the rehearsal).
Wait a second. Freddy proposed at War on Christmastime, 1990. Now it’s November of the next year. So it took eleven months to plan this wedding? What the hell, WHY??? They’re getting married in the same church they’ve attended for years, with a guest list of…I guess you could say ones of people.
SO WHAT TOOK SO LONG???
After the miming of the walking back up the aisle, Wayne corners Freddy.
Wayne: How you feeling?
Freddy: Good. I feel like the most blessed man on earth.
Wayne: That’s how I felt the night before I got married. I had so much joy in my heart I couldn’t contain myself.
Jesus, Wayne, could things be about someone other than you for, like, FIVE MINUTES?
No. No, they cannot. Wayne proceeds to give some nice, depressing advice to the young groom—that he only had two years with Sarah before she died, and you never know when your time is up.
Oh well, Freddy takes it in stride, and we cut to Wayne and Pamela, praying on her bed one last time.
It’s actually a pretty sucky prayer: Wayne basically just asks God to make sure Freddy and Pam stay Christians. The attempts to tug at heartstrings continue, as Wayne gives Pamela her mother’s cross, and they stare at each other a lot.
Is it just me, or does Jessica look way happier to be there than the bride or the groom?
(Also, Jessica just generally looks happy and well-adjusted. Not that I expected the movie to show her crying in the corner of the church or anything, but it looks like her one youthful regret isn’t stopping her from living a happy life.)
So, are you wondering about the word “obey”? I am!
Minister: Do you take Pamela to be your lawful wedded wife? To love her, honor her, provide for her, and lead her always in the name of our lord Jesus Christ?
Freddy: I do.
Minister: And Pamela, do you take Frederick to be your lawful wedded husband? To love him, care for him, respect him, and submit to his leadership in the name of our lord Jesus Christ?
Pamela: I do.
So, no “obey.” “Lead” and “submit,” though. And I doubt Freddy could lead a drunk to a pub, just sayin’.
And here we go, you guys—THE MOMENT WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!!!
Pamela’s (and Freddy’s) First Kiss Ever
Here we go!
Yeah, yeah, yeah…as usual, we don’t actually get to see a kiss in a Christian film.
A Christian film about kissing.
Pam and Freddy leeeean in—and cut to Wayne’s giant, smirking face.
Thus leaving us to conclude that the most important thing about Pamela’s first kiss ever is how it makes her father feel.
But I’m serious: remember how I said in the very beginning that the film lied about this being Pamela’s story—that it is really Wayne’s story? Well, Pamela goes to kiss her husband, we cut to Wayne’s face…and we never cut back to Pamela and Frederick. We don’t get any reaction from either of them. We never do get an answer to Jessica’s question: “So, what did you think of kissing–did you like it?”
From Wayne’s face, the very next shot is of Wayne arriving home after the wedding.
And how Wayne spends the evening of his daughter’s wedding day.
This is Wayne’s story, not Pamela’s.
The music of sadness plays as Wayne unwinds from the wedding: he removes his snap-on bowtie and wanders around the house, gazing longingly into Pamela’s Pamela-free bedroom. (Dude, creepy!)
Her changes clothes, then, inexplicably, makes himself a huge dinner-for-one, including TWO baked potatoes and TWO dinner roles. Then he fills an entire sink right to the top with soapy water in order to wash his one plate and glass.
Wayne, buddy, did you not just come from a wedding party? Eleven months of planning, and nobody thought to have a reception, or any kind of meal at all? What the hell? Shouldn’t Wayne have enough appetizers and dry chicken to last him a month?
Makes no sense.
A smaller point that also makes no sense: why didn’t Wayne invite his mom to spend the night at his place, or, better yet, spend the night at her place? That way, they could hang out and keep each other company and maybe have a good cry and not stare at Pamela’s empty room together.
But no, I guess Grandma (Pamela’s primary caretaker growing up, let’s remember) is on her own.
A bigger point: this really illustrates how empty Wayne’s life is. He’s been single for almost 22 years. And in all that time, it seems that not only has he not had a single date, but he doesn’t have a single friend. Just like with Pamela, we have no idea of anything about Wayne. Other than protecting his daughter’s lips and watching Christian films, what does he like to do? What are his hobbies, his interests? Who does he ever hang out with other than his daughter, his now-son-in-law/business partner, and his mother?
So why should I care that he’s feeling lonely, especially when he’s WASTING SO MUCH WATER JESUS CHRIST THE FAUCET DOESN’T HAVE TO RUN THE ENTIRE TIME YOU’RE WASHING DISHES STOP IT WAYNE.
Wayne reads for awhile as the music of sadness continues, and I wonder if Wayne is trying not to think about how much hot monkey sex his precious daughter is engaging in at that very moment. Heh.
He heads upstairs and gazes into Pamela’s room again, but levels up this time and goes to sit on her bed. (Dude, stop creeping!) Finally, he goes to his own bed, sheesh, and just as he is finishing his gazing at Sarah’s picture…the phone rings!
It’s Pamela, who sees nothing at all weird about calling her father on her wedding night. In fact, she wants to pray with him…”one more time.”
Wayne: Okay, if it’s alright with Frederick.
Daughter, are you properly submitting to the headship of your husband? You have been married for almost four hours, after all.
WHY IS SHE TALKING TO HER FATHER INSTEAD OF HAVING SEX WITH HER HUSBAND???
But I guess that first kiss that he waited a lifetime for, didn’t have that much impact on Freddy, either, as he is perfectly fine to let Pamela chat with her dad ON THEIR FREAKING WEDDING NIGHT I AM NEVER GETTING OVER THIS.
And Pamela asks that this time, she be the one who prays.
It is so sad that she had to wait until she was a married woman of 21, to be able to pray for herself.
Pamela: Dear Lord, thank you so much for my daddy.
Well, that’s it. That is officially Pamela’s Prayer.
We flash back over scenes that we might have forgotten, given that this movie is nearly one whole hour long (then again, it has taken me five installments to critique it, so…). Sarah heads to the hospital with the basketball, Wayne feeds the baby, Wayne signs “Happy Birthday” to his daughter before demanding to know what her private birthday prayer was, Jerry asks out Pamela, Jessica and Pamela chat, kids laugh at Pamela, Pamela confessions her sinful transgressions to Wayne, Wayne shows Freddy how Christian films work, Jessica has sex, Pamela settles for Freddy, Wayne prevents Pam and Freddy from showing any physical contact, even though they have just agreed to marry, and Pam and Freddy marry, both looking like they’re standing in line at a bank.
Wow, Pamela does have a lot to be grateful for.
So, the montage is it. Roll credits.
And the mystery remains unsolved.
What did Pamela think of kissing?
Rock on, Jessica. Rock on.