Friday, January 21, 2005

In Soviet Russia, hasenpfeffer incorporates you

Today in Russia In Transition - a very soft class, as lectures go - we watched part of Moskva slezan ne verit as a means of illustrating domestic life and women's issues during the Soviet era, in preparation for comparisons to the present. In the required short assignment of commenting on the film, I noted that it seemed entirely too much like a Soviet version of Laverne & Shirley - Katya and Lyudmila (less so their friend Antonina) are screwball man-chasing roommates working blue-collar jobs, constantly getting into hare-brained schemes, to use the sitcom vernacular. The main difference is that the setting, Krushchev-era Moscow, is far more depressing than Milwaukee could ever be. (The dehumanizing scale - either monolithically huge or claustrophobically cramped - of Soviet architecture doesn't help much, to say nothing of politics.) All of this is just background, however; when I started writing up these comments, I went to check the exact production dates of L&S at the IMDB for comparison...and came upon the animated sequel series, of which I wasn't previously aware. Which is to say: now how did that ever get made? No matter how familiar I become with the banal, network television keeps finding ways to surprise me, even retroactively.

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