Sometimes people tell me about their “guilty pleasures.”
The phrase sounds so racy and scandalous, but it really means, “Something that I like that I’m ashamed of liking because other people think it’s dumb.”
I don’t have guilty pleasures. I like what I like unashamedly, because life is too short to have to issue a disclaimer every time I tell someone how much I enjoy the Spice Girls or Fuller House.
So it is without shame that I tell you I’m obsessed with the musical Cats. Some of you Galaxy Cruise fans probably guessed this when I named my species of feline aliens “Gellicles,” which is a
blatant rip off of homage to T.S. Eliot’s “Jellicle cats.”
(It should be noted that my race of lizard people, the Geiko, do not stem from a secret love of insurance company mascots. That one is just lazy writing.)
This fascination started when I was a kid in the ’80s. The area where I grew up got TV stations out of New York City. Which meant I spent hours upon hours of precious youth staring slack-jawed at the tube, absorbing endless commercials for Cats on Broadway, running “now and forever” at the Winter Garden Theater.
I grew up hearing seemingly brainwashed audience members droning the praises of Cats, including such wild claims as “I loved it more than Disneyland!” Which is pretty much the yardstick against which the quality of all entertainment options is measured when you’re eight years old. They had my attention.
But the Jellicle cats didn’t just sing and dance. These writhing feline things taught young me important life lessons, like “Don’t smoke cigarettes” and “Put children in a car seat” in the most nightmarish way possible.
(Sidebar: That’s four cats in an ashtray. Did the person who designed this PSA think cats are two inches tall? Somebody here was clearly smoking something…)
If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s basically the story of a bunch of cats who introduce themselves then kill the one they don’t like. As far as plots go, it’s not the strongest. But I don’t care, because it’s completely off-the-rails bonkers. There’s a scene where people dressed as cats act like cats playing dogs. There are a pair of psychic cats who allegedly use telepathy to convey messages between other cats. And of course, one of the cats rides to the afterlife on a spaceship tire.
This week Cats came to my town. And I went to it, dressed as much like the Magical Mister Mistoffelees as my wife would allow and still agree to go with me.
Our seats were all the way up, up, up, up in the Heaviside Layer, with the other freaks and weirdos who didn’t have 100+ dollars to blow on sating their childhood demons. To one side of me was a woman who spent the whole show randomly laughing like the straitjacket weasel from Roger Rabbit. To the other was a guy who reacted to every dance move and lighting change like he was Guy Fieri eating a pulled-pork sandwich. Mmm. Yeees! So gooood!
But it didn’t matter. The show was as spectacular as the inescapable marketing of my youth led me to believe. And if you worked out a calculation of price paid vs. time experienced to deduce a standard unit of entertainment enjoyment value, it might be accurate to say that for a two-hour period, “I loved it more than Disneyland.”
The point of all of this (if we’re going to pretend I was making a point) is that you should embrace your “guilty pleasures.” Also, in Galaxy Cruise: Many Happy Returns, we’ll visit the cat planet Gellico, and there will be enough Cats references to make T.S. Eliot roll over in his grave and Andrew Lloyd Webber issue a cease-and-desist order.
Your ineffable, effable, effanineffable, old pal,
PS. No, I did not see the 2019 Cats movie. Because when everyone I know says a movie is an unwatchable abomination, I believe them. This is a lesson I learned the hard way from Dana Carvey’s The Master of Disguise. After twenty years, I’m still scarred. You could say that I am, in fact, not turtley enough for the Turtle Club.*
* Don’t click that link. Please. I’m begging you.
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