17 July 2010

great melanies in popular culture.

It's funny-- I've been thinking about this post for a couple of days, and then a very successful filmmaker friend of mine emails me today to tell me he's naming a character after me in a script he's writing-- not because the character and I are all that much alike, but because the name sounds right.  Let us review some of the great Melanies of popular culture, real and fictional, who often bear little resemblance to the name's meaning-- "dark."

Melanie Hamilton, Gone With the Wind, 1939
Good... pure...... helpless...self-abnegating... one of literature's biggest doormats, really.  Miss Mellie serves as a foil to the evil Scarlet.  I can't think of any good quotes for her because she is totally spineless.

Melanie, Rabbit is Rich, 1981
I've been working my way through Updike's Rabbit tetraology this summer.  Updike is far and away my favorite author, so you can imagine my pleasure at finding a character called Melanie in the series' third book.  Melanie comes home with Rabbit's son Nelson from college at Kent State.  A Californian unfamiliar with small-town Pennsylvania, she throws the family for a loop with her happy embrace of 70s trends-- she gets the whole Angstrom family eating wheat germ and studies various yogis in between rides on her 12 speed Fuji bicycle, her curly red hair flying in the wind.  

My favorite quote about Melanie occurs as the family discusses her impending arrival--
"We don't know the girl is a slut," Harry apologizes.  "All we know is her name is Melanie instead of Susan." 

"Melanie" by Wierd Al Yankovic, 1988

Well, he's stalking her... so that's not creepy at all. But you can't help but like the song.
(true confession: I once went to a Weird Al concert with my filmmaker friend. Everything comes full circle!)

UPDATE: Photo evidence of Weird Al singing to me:

Melanie Griffeth, film actress

I haven't really seen anything she was in other than Now and Then but  Antonio Banderas wasn't such a bad catch in the 1990s.

Melanie Chisholm and Melanie Brown, members of Spice Girls, mid-90s
Not one but two Spice Girls were named Melanie.  Sporty Spice and Scary Spice never really appealed to my middle-school sensibilities (I was Team Baby Spice all the way, as my blonde loyalty knows no bounds).  Nonetheless, a good excuse to post a Spice Girls video on my blog.

Melanie Ralston, Jackie Brown, 1997
Nobody talks about this Tarantino flick very much, but Bridget Fonda's beachy surfer-stoner Melanie is endearing.  As is Samuel L. Jackson's line:
"You can always trust Melanie to be Melanie." 

Melanie Smooter, Sweet Home Alabama, 2002
I like this Melanie.  I mean, what's not to like?  A sassy fashion designer with tons of gumption played by turn-of-the-century star Reese Witherspoon.  Sure, she's kind of a liar, but she comes around, right?  And she can't help but keep snagging good looking guys.  Unfortunately, this movie coined the term "Melanie taco," a practice I've been in the middle of on more than one occasion (by guys; guys would never admit to watching this movie).

Ok, that was all of the Melanies I could muster. Did I forget any?


Mom said...

I liked Melanie Griffith in Working Girl (1988), Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), both good flicks!

Nathan D. Lee said...

Weird AL was a great show! And as I recall he sang you "I wanna be your Lover baby" from the isle! Maybe he thought you were his Melanie :)

mealexster said...

Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk... perhaps? AKA "Melanie", famous in the 70s for, among others, the song "Brand New Key". (I've got a brand new pair of roller skates, you've got a brand new key...) A little ahead of your time, perhaps, but... maybe not so much now as it might have been a few months ago, thanks to TV and HP and the wonders of technology.