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DWTS: The Eliza Doolitle Effect

Last night it was Chris Jericho's turn to go home.

Goodbye Jericho. You and your cute little bum shall be missed by me and by a bunch of other fans. But you were on your way to the Royal Wedding and your children anyway, so it's all good.

(For those who have been following my saga trying to get away from Royal Wedding news on Facebook, I am failing miserably. The darned thing seems to pop everywhere!)

At any rate, saved were Ralph Macchio and Kendra Wilkinson, who got a chance to dance another week.

And speaking of saved dancers, there have been a number of comments in the Yahoo and Entertainement Weekly DWTS review sections asking "Who the heck is voting for Kendra???"

My answer? Many more people than you might think, most of them closeted Kendra fans.

But why? You may ask. Well, I say, for one thing, everyone loves an underdog. But mostly, I believe, because of the Eliza Doolitle effect. Yes, boys and girls. I have come to the conclusion that for all effects and purposes, Kendra Wilkinson is the American counterpart of Eliza Doolitle.

Are you out of your mind? You say. How on Earth is Kendra Kilkinson like Eliza Doolitle? She doesn't even remotely look like Audrey Hepburn, who was a classy lady, and Kendra is nothing of not trashy.

Well my friends, that's because in real life, Audrey Hepburn was not Eliza Doolitle. She only played one in the movies. While Audrey Hepburn, the actress, was an elegant and refined lady, Eliza Doolitle, Shaw's heroine, was a gutter girl. We tend to forget this because she is described in the movie as "flower girl," which is a nice way to describe someone who sold flowers in the market and who came from the lowest levels of society.

In fact, Eliza's father sells her for 5 pounds to Professor Higgins. In this day and age, that would have been considered trafficking of persons. By purchasing her, one would assume that Professor Higgins would have been able to do with Eliza as he pleased. (Or tried to. That Eliza was one very fiery lady and would have probably ripped his 'nads off had he tried anything funny.) The fact that Prof. Higgins chose to teach her how to talk and behave properly and make her pass for a duchess instead of using her as a prostitute, does not detract from the fact that for all intents and purposes Eliza's father behaved like a pimp and sold his own daughter to the highest bidder.

Eliza Doolitle also had a gutter mouth, and said the most innapropriate things at the most unexpected times. Just like Kendra. One of the most endearing scenes in the movie is when Higgins takes Eliza to the Ascot horse races, dressed in her nicest finery and speaking in the highest class accent, she reverts to her gutter talk and yells "C'mon Dover, move your bloomin' arse!"

In the end, at least in Shaw's original version, Eliza leaves Higgins. She also reverts to her gutter talk here and there, proving that you can take the girl out of the gutter, but that you can't take the gutter out of the girl, and that's what makes her human. Shaw never wanted Eliza to go back to Higgins, who was a real jerk to her. He defended her integrity and was really annoyed at the pressure to change the ending -- which Hollywood shamelessly did. But in *Shaw's* ending, Eliza leaves Higgins for Freddy, with the plans of opening her own flower shop and teaching phonetics.

So how does Eliza compares to Kendra and why are we so fascinated by her?

Eliza = Gutter girl with a potty mouth, who was sold by her father to Professor Higgins.

Kendra = Low class girl, with a drug problem as a teen, who worked as a stripper and ended up as Hugh Hefner's girlfriend.

Eliza = Polished by Professor Higgins, who teaches her speech and manners and makes her into a lady. She later leaves him for another man to become her own person. She reverts here and there to her gutter girl self, which keeps her real.

Kendra = Saved by Hugh Hefner, who cleans her up, and offers her a new life. Eventually leaves the Mansion for another man and to become her own person. Currently a wife and mother with a successful reality show. Says the most innapropriate things at the most unexpected times, which keeps her real. She has not yet reached the levels of refinement of Eliza, but she has the potential. And everyone is waiting to see that happen.

So there you go. Everyone loves a redemption story. Everyone wants to see if the gutter girl can get polished. Everyone loves to see the gutter girl revert to her gutter self just to make sure that she's still real. And if not everyone loves it, a lot of people do whether they admit to it in public or not.

So are you surprised that this potty mouth former stripper is becoming one of our favorite guilty pleasures? Not really.

Like I said before. Everyone loves a redemption story. It's in our genes. And whether it comes to pass or not, we are all suckers for it.

~Belfebe out.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
greta_k
Apr. 27th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
Bingo! And I admit it - I like Kendra (not her dancing, because you know I don't watch the show. I just like her). She's not full of herself :-)
belfebe
Apr. 27th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
There is something very real about her. I think that's why a lot of people like her.
kass_rants
Apr. 27th, 2011 09:12 pm (UTC)
I love you. I don't even watch DWTS and yet I anxiously await your posts every week. =)
belfebe
Apr. 27th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I just have too much fun writing this stuff. Glad you enjoy it :-D
melaniesuzanne
Apr. 27th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Heh. DWTS as literary analysis. I love it!
belfebe
Apr. 28th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
I was inspired. :-D
kellfire
Apr. 27th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
*&%$ it! I didn't like Kendra, not one teeny tiny bit...but now, as a fan of My Fair Lady and of Audrey Hepburn/Eliza Doolitle, I feel my heart softening toward Kendra.
greta_k
Apr. 28th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
Come to the dark side, Kel - we have Eliza ;-)
belfebe
Apr. 28th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
My job here is done. *Bows*
sskipstress
Apr. 28th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
If Heffner is Professor Higgins, does that mean Len is Colonel Pickering?
belfebe
Apr. 28th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... I would peg Louis more as Col. Pickering. He is a lot more patient, like Pickering, and he's working directly with polishing Kendra.
mstra_margarita
Apr. 30th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
Sorry, still think she's trashy with a bad attitude.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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