Sunday, January 6, 2008

Helga and the Real Baby

I really wish the American media were as into slander and scandal as the British. Actually, I don't, but I do really love the cracked out television documentaries that come from our former oppressors across the pond.

It all started with Guys and Dolls, the squirm-inducing doc about Real Dolls, and the inspiration behind Lars and the Real Girl, which was slightly less entertaining than watching the real men who love fake women. I highly recommend watching the whole thing. Davecat is the breakout star - and what I imagine would happen if Lars were in a cautionary tale instead of a heartwarming indie movie. This film also heavily relies on American subjects, which somehow makes it (seem?) less slanderous. What is it about Brits and their love of the crazy? At least in the media, which is where I get all my information. It just seems that their New York Times is our National Enquirer.
The new Brit Doc that has my attention is My Fake Baby. I love how they don't fuck around with the titles of these hour-long tastes of crazy. Yes, this educational program is exactly what is sounds like: A look into the lives of two women who are mothers to a whole other kind of real doll. I was actually really fascinated by the Real Doll doc, and completely frustrated, yet enthralled, by the madness of the Faux Baby Show.

The men in Guys and Dolls were portrayed as sort of nerdy, loner guys who were sick of masturbating/talking to themselves and needed a "real" thing to interact with. They were actually endearing, in a way, especially my boy Davecat. When he had to ship off his Asian love Si-Chan for repairs, I almost felt his pain. The two women featured in My Fake Baby were just off their meds.

One has four "babies" and is expecting her fifth. She is married, and they both like children, but she doesn't want actual children because they're too messy and sometimes cry. She is probably a little more than slightly OCD. There is a scene in which she calmly explains how she washes and rotates the tires of her strollers so that she's always got one with clean wheels. Yeah. At the end of her tale she returns a baby because it's head was cracked. This woman then says that even if the baby were repaired, she could not love her because she'd always know that she wasn't "perfect." I think it's probably good that she realized real children weren't her thang.

The second woman's story is told in a completely non-linear way, so that at first you feel for her, because you think she had a son who died young. Then you find out that Harry was actually her grandson that she housed for six months while his mother/her daughter was getting treatment for cancer. When the daughter/mom was well again, she took back Harry, fell in love, and packed up the fam to move to New Zealand. The hopeful mom took these events very hard. Not that her daughter had cancer and almost died, that she didn't get to steal her daughter's child and raise him as her own. Maybe some of the story was edited out, but this seems pretty nuts to me. Oh! And the baby she's commissioning is supposed to be Baby Harry! Based on pictures of him as an infant! Complete with birthmarks and a breathing mechanism!
So then you're thinking that the daughter and the mom had a falling out or something, and that Harry's Grandma can't contact him anymore because she tried to steal him from his mom (she readily admits to this on camera). But then at the end you see her showing off Baby Harry to real Harry via webcam! What the fuck?

There's also a woman with an entire nursery of "reborn" babies in her bed and breakfast. The documentary producers claim that she is a celebrity within the fake baby online fan community. Great. I only got upset when she pulled out a tiny baby (which she named "Tiny") and said "this is the smallest that a baby can survive!" in a very cutesy awww kind of voice. I'm sure that's what parents with infants in incubators say too! Darn those less-cute babies that are unlucky enough to be carried to term!

Even though I was a little skeeved out by this baby doc, I watched the whole thing, which is more than I can say for the odd issue of Life & Style. Come on America! Get with it! I'm so ready for the next exploitive BritDoc. Maybe one on fake dogs? Or adults with imaginary friends? Whatever it is, I'll be on that shit like Davecat on Si-Chan. Hey-O!

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