The couple that surfs together stays together, and that is why I make sure that HRH and I start each day with some quality surfing time.
Two cups of coffee, two iPads, and two completely separate news streams. While HRH scrolls through RBK and Rambler, I log on to the Huffington Post for some Real News.
“Holy Crabby Patties!” I splutter, sitting up suddenly. HRH, with a practiced and deft maneuver reaches over to remove my coffee mug and prevent major flooding.
“What’s wrong now?” he asks.
“This really is the outside of enough,” I say, outraged “the Ukrainian government is going to ban Sponge Bob from TV because they say he’s a threat to traditional family values.”
“Our Sponge Bob?” asks HRH in confusion, “the one with the square pants? What’s wrong with him?” Our daughter Velvet has long since graduated to “Gossip Girl and 90210, but not so long ago, each school day began with breakfast accompanied “multiki” or cartoons, including Sponge Bob.
Poor old HRH, he really does live a bubble.
“Dar-ling,” I say gently, “Sponge Bob is a major gay icon.”
HRH takes a long strengthening sip of my coffee.
“The yellow guy who lives under the sea?” he says evenly.
“Yes, with his buddy the pink…get it pink…starfish and his driving instructor Mrs. Puff?? Duh….”
“And you let Velvet and me watch it?”
“Well, but she was incapable of waking up without it,” I argue, “and anyway, I don’t think it was a deliberate attempt to create some insidious subtext, not like Tinky Wink– “ but no. I decide not to get into the Teletubbies and handbag-gate.
HRH switches on the television and surfs until he alights on an episode of the classic Soviet multik, “Nu, pogodi!” (“Hey, Wait Up!”).
“Now that, Petrovna,” he says, pointing to the anti hero Volk (wolf), puffing on a paparossi, luring innocent Zayets (hare) into another complicated situation, “is a cartoon. Straightforward message, funny situations – perfect. Say what you want, but our multiki are really the epitome of multiki.”
Another secret to a happy marriage is to leave volumes unsaid. So I don’t make the obvious observation that “Nu Pogodi!” owes more than a little to Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, and Tom and Jerry. I refrain from any mention of the USSR’s “Vinnie Pukh.” Disney has a lot to answer for, I know, but completely ignoring the iconic “Winnie the Pooh” illustrations by E.H Shepard really is actionable. I steer the conversation away from the real third rail: a comparison the Soviet version of “Jungle Book” called “The Adventures of Mowgli” which, can I just say, takes a lot of liberties with Kipling’s storyline. That way lies divorce. Russians refer to “Our Mowgli” in the same tone they do “Our Kuril Islands,” and with the same amount of passion.
I certainly never challenge HRH to our perennial “Who Makes a Better Garfield Voiceover: Bill Murray or Oleg Tabakov” duel.
I always lose.
Have you had the Russian cartoon fight? Have you ever seen Russia’s version of The Jungle Tales or Winnie The Pooh? Do you think Oleg Tabakov is a better Garfield? Weigh in by hitting the comment button below!
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