Episode 208: Bridezilla vs. Mothra

The Overthinkers tackle bachelorhood, bachelor parties, and the false dichotomy between friends and spouses.

The Brotherhood of the Stationary Pant (Matthew Belinkie, Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, Josh McNeil, David Shechner, Jordan Stokes, and Matthew Wrather) convenes to overthink bachelorhood, bachelor parties, and the social dynamics of friendships and marriage.


→ Download Episode 208 (MP3)

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Alternative Titles
Here are the alternative titles we considered for this episode.

In which we discuss Brave and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
It is a balanced breakfast, right?
Free Bird, I Must Be
What’s in the pig?
We’re not talking about Se7en anymore.
Reverse sisterhood of the traveling pants: worst wrestling move ever.
The Brotherhood of the Stationary Pant
Lars Von Trier’s “Spiderman”
Not-alie Portman
Rush is so Wanky
The Apatovian Epiphenomenon… Opening for Rush.
Let’s wring our hands for poor Pete Campbell
Quincy Jones is his father. Her father! Dammit!
I like her, and she said yes.
I gotta find me a lady in her twenties.
Men are Children

12 Comments on “Episode 208: Bridezilla vs. Mothra”

  1. cat #

    I love when you guys get together. Congratulations, Belinkie!


    • Matthew Belinkie #

      Thank you, Cat!


  2. Chris #

    I knew a girl in college who liked Rush, so there is at least one.

    Also, in reference to the joke made involving Geddy Lee’s high voice, let us not forget that Pavement taught us he speaks like an ordinary guy.


  3. Leigh #

    Unfortunately, getting married, having a family, and ascending into “adulthood” is strongly correlated with fewer podcast appearances. Selfishly, I weep for Belinkie’s marriage and Schechner’s fatherhood.


    • Matthew Belinkie #

      That’s really sweet of you to say! I’m actually hoping to get back to blogging after this wedding stuff dies down. Pete’s Dragon ain’t gonna psychoanalyze itself.


  4. Gab #

    “Chicks before dicks,” is the version for women I’ve heard and, uh, used…

    Holy crap, which of you was doing the Yoda impression? So good!

    I saw Brave, and I was rather hoping there would be a whole podcast about it. Alas! The movie deals with change and transition in a rather nuanced way because, as the trailers say, Merida wants to “change [her] fate,” and that leads to all sorts of trouble-


    First, she almost brings the four clans (her own included) to war, and in a free-for-all fashion (which I found interesting- hers is the highest-ranked, and I thought the other three would ally themselves against hers, but instead everyone is throwing spears and plates at everyone else). And it happens more than once as she’s running around. Then there’s the spell and what that does, and it puts people’s lives in danger in a more emotionally wrenching way than randomly distributed battle death. But the way Merida and her mother change inside is, predictably, what leads to the resolution and is the most important part. There’s give and take, and what gets Merida out of the mess is taking on the role prescribed for her but with her personal twist, and her mother ends up doing the same. So there’s change, but to an extent- not complete, but enough to make everyone comfortable and happy. One could say they all get scarf down on cake.*

    One thing I found rather interesting (but not really related to change so much as family dynamics, authority, and responsibility) is that Merida is afraid of losing her freedom, the freedom granted her by her dad: In the opening scene, he gives her a bow for her maybe fifth birthday, and the mom gives a little objection but doesn’t stop it. This provides the backdrop for where she gets her spirit from and why she’s so against getting married and such. Now the fruitless objection by Merida’s mom could be because he’s the husband and his word is the last, but there are plenty of scenes later that contradict the conclusion that that’s how the relationship works. When there aren’t swords involved, it seems rather that the mom wears the pants in the relationship, so to speak (and that plays into the trope you brought up of men being children- the mom rebukes him in the exact same way she does the kids, and he reacts the same way a kid would, rather than telling her to be quiet, he’s the husband, etc.). And she seems to pretty much run the clan, too- at the dinner scene shown in the trailers, the mom is the one looking over documents and doing business-type things, while the dad is talking with Merida about the ride she took that day. So we get the impression that Merida’s “wild spirit” and whatnot are a result of her father’s indulgence, but when the sh*t hits the fan and Merida causes a stink with the other clans, it’s presented as her mom’s fault that she rebelled, and that it’s her mom’s responsibility to fix it. But one could argue it’s actually her dad’s fault, since she never would have learned to hunt, climb, ride, etc. if it hadn’t been for her father’s encouragement. Again, there may be a those small, throwaway lines about how “this is your doing” or whatever, but there is never even a hint that the father is considering stepping in, nor that anyone thinks he should. I’d speculate on why he raised her that way- she was the first-born, and the triplet brothers she has are too young to talk, so perhaps he had been raising her the way he’d raise a male heir whenever she wasn’t in princess training with her mother, having not anticipated male heirs. But regardless, everyone knows she’s an athlete and such, and her dad is impressed by and proud of her for it. And I guess my overall point is if we’re talking about medieval society, it’s kind of ridiculous that the dad wouldn’t just tell her to shut up and get married. ‘Course, that’d mean no movie, but I think this is also my main negative critique of the movie, too, that there is absolutely no ounce of responsibility taken on by the father and that the whole thing is basically a, “Not my problem!” from him to his wife. And even if the mom was, indeed, the one “in charge” of the kids, it was his meddling and intervention that set Merida on a path of resistance, and so he thus had a great amount of unanswered-for culpability in what was going on there.

    *Cake is actually the conduit for the spell. Which is, actually, a nugget worthy of some consideration. Merida passes it off as having been baked by her, and her mom does, indeed, seem surprised she had done it (and not in the, “You did this for me?” kind of way, but, “You actually pulled it off?” way). But if she’d been in royal female training her whole life, she should know how to bake a small cake. Any lack of skill with the womanly stuff is presented as her being resistant and bored, not as her genuinely lacking skill. And toward the end of the movie, she mends a tapestry while riding on horseback for crying out loud. So if she set her mind to it, one would think yeah, she can bake something yummy.


    I like Rush… I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed now, though. Ahem.

    Many congratulations, Belinkie! :)


    • Nathan Sacket #

      Great episode! Being new to the podcast, this is the first time I have heard Belinkie. Congrats!

      Speculation of early Irish gender roles is tricky. Of course, not a lot is known about early Irish civilization except a few accounts from Romans, oral legend and some silly ancient kings lists. The scene featuring the presentation of Merida’s suitors includes the mention that one of the dudes killed Romans. Considering that the Roman presence in Great Britain was retracted by the 5th century (400s AD), Brave must have been set between the 1st century when the Romans first started invading Great Britain, to the 5th century. So we can’t really say the civilization is medieval, whatever that might mean for our interpretation of how Merida would have lived.

      Wait, there is a chess board…

      In regards to the false spouse friend dickotomy thesis, I’m curious about how the upcoming movie Celeste and Jesse Forever will handle the issues involved.


    • cat #

      I was going to go see Brave but my plans fell through and the reviews I’ve heard kind of scared me off by confirming my worst fears. I’ve heard a lot of complaints on one side or the other about the lack of attention to the actual social dynamics of the time period. Yes, I get that an easy way to write a comedy is to have a wife who wears the pants in the relationship and an easy way to do female empowerment is to just have a feisty protagonist who goes after what she wants regardless of the consequences. To me this completely ignores the historical realities of the situation. If you’re building this kind of conflict, it’s based firmly on the customs and social relationships of the culture and time period. You can’t just ignore the parts you want to when it’s not convenient.

      I’ve also heard a lot of reviewers describe Merrida as kind of selfish and unlikable. And there are lots of little girls who don’t like her as a lead. I maintain that liking princesses doesn’t mean a little girl won’t grow up to be a feminist and that if you want to write a strong, female heroine you have to do it right to make it work. It seems like they didn’t really put in the effort.

      I actually want to take the conversation in a different direction. Two of the comments I’ve heard most are “It’s too much of a Disney movie” and “This is not your typical Pixar movie”. Now, don’t jump down my throat, but I don’t have the highest opinion of Pixar. I think a lot of their plots are pretty simplistic and I have trouble investing in them emotionally.


      • Gab #

        Cat, I agree completely on all fronts. In terms of power-familial relations, it seemed pretty obvious they were basically writing a pseudo-modern family into a medieval Scottish set. Any anachronism (such as, you know, paper and envelopes, and the chess board) isn’t the problem, it’s that the very actions the characters make in the setting are based on political and social forces of a time centuries away. It actually made all of her princess training not make much sense, turning it into a reversal of the part about cutting when it’s not convenient by including because it is convenient. And I anticipate arguments (not necessarily from you) about how it’s supposed to be a commentary on modern society- okay, fine, sure, but do it in a way that makes us reflect on it, rather than just reproducing it with a different backdrop and claiming it’s a deconstruction or something. As for Merida, she wasn’t always the most lovable of characters, and there are a few parts where I felt an urge to slap the screen- which likely would have resulted in slapping the head of the man in front of me, so I refrained. ;p But yes, I didn’t want to go there, but I do think they sort of failed at their task at presenting a heroin as all-around-awesome as the heroes we see all the ruddy time. Her flaws could be thought of as those, flaws, and sure, she sort-of overcomes her selfishness in the end (although I think a strong case for how she doesn’t can be made), but there are plenty of male leads that never have those sorts of characteristics and are 100% likable the whole time.

        It wasn’t as good as the other Pixar movies, but to say it’s “too Disney” seems kind of stupid, too. And what is “Disney” anyway? By “Disney” do they mean crap like Home on the Range? Do they mean the “Golden Age” of Disney, the days when Walt was still there? Song of the South? I know I’m being facetious, but there’s a genuine exhaustion here. Because I really enjoy a lot of Disney movies, and to say something “isn’t Pixar” and “too Disney” is insulting to Disney itself. And I realize you’re just conveying the info, so no, that wasn’t aimed at you either. I don’t shoot messengers, I just yell in their general direction sometimes. ;)

        I think Pixar’s movies aren’t plot-driven, and that’s what sets them apart from typical kid movie fodder. They’re character-driven, in my opinion. So I think the reason this and Cars were comparative disappointments is because the leads in both movies are kind of selfish people (or vehicles) in too many instances to seem as well-done as other Pixar characters. It’s a relative-to-other-Pixar-characters thing, which may or may not be fair.


  5. Jasin #

    This podcast arrived at just the right time for me. Im having my own bachelor party in a few weeks and you guys are helping me overthink it. Thanks for that.

    Also, by marriage counselors you ARE talking about stripers right? That was a long-running inside joke you kept going there.


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      Yes indeed: CANDY stripers. In a hospital. Because we were volunteering to help the sick.


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