by Madelle Morgan
You may have heard about the tempest swirling around "Baby, It's Cold Outside," the famous Christmas season song?
It was written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. According to Wikipedia, Frank and his wife sang it at holiday season parties to indicate to guests that it was time to go home.
The song was performed in the 1949 romantic comedy Neptune's Daughter, and won an Academy award for Best Original Song.
Over the following decades, it was covered many times by various famous artists.
Almost 70 years later, the song is suddenly controversial. Who knew the Christmas classic would be pulled from some US and Canadian radio stations this year?
In a December 6, 2018 Postmedia article, Tristin Hopper wrote: "It was never anything other than a sweet couple's number for him and his spouse," the couple's son, John Loesser, told Vanity Fair, adding his father would be mortified by its modern association with sexual assault.
The romance novels in my Hollywood in Muskoka series have playlists. Seduced by the Screenwriter is set in the winter in Canada immediately after the holiday season. Certainly as the story opens, it is very cold outside.
Guess which song is first on the Seduced playlist?
Yup. The BANNED SONG. Michael Bublé and Idina Menzel's cover, to be specific. Their YouTube video is a fun and beautiful dance routine starring children.
There's even a behind-the-scenes YouTube video showing how much fun the unsuspecting child actors had making the video.
A lot of people apparently would find these videos appalling.
Love scenes wearing movie costumes—a romance with a playlist!
CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING
I selected "Baby, It's Cold Outside" for the Seduced by the Screenwriter playlist for several reasons.
A. It mirrors the heroine's internal debate about whether to get involved in a romantic relationship with the visiting screenwriter.
B. The kids are wearing wonderful 1920s costumes. Dressing up in movie costumes is integral to Catrina and Chett's developing relationship.
C. Catrina's soul is wounded. She's emotionally fragile. She has her dog Titan for companionship, but she's lonely and so tempted to have some fun playacting with the Hollywood screenwriter.
Decide for yourself if "Baby It's Cold Outside" is appropriate in the context of the love story.
Here's an excerpt. Catrina and Chett are in a coffee shop, and he makes a proposition.
As they chatted over coffee, Catrina's resolve to avoid the intriguing visitor had begun to melt like an icicle under a warm sun.
Most of the local men had partners, and any unattached males were single for a reason. She’d been celibate for over a year since moving to Port Carson, and until this minute had not realized how much she missed male companionship. She was starving, and across from her a guy with adorable dimples was offering a no-strings, love ’em and leave ’em buffet. On the downside, if she distracted him too much he’d never finish Jenna’s screenplay.
He tapped the table to get her attention. “Are you seeing someone?”
She shrugged. “No. You’d find that out soon enough anyway. But that’s not the reason why we shouldn’t…get involved.”
He propped his elbows on the table and leaned in with an invitation to confide. “Tell me why a beautiful woman like you is single.”
A committed relationship was not possible with this visitor or anyone else for that matter, but Catrina had no intention of revealing why. “You need to focus on writing,” she said firmly. “Jenna is counting on you, and her success keeps me employed.”
Perceptive blue eyes bore into hers. “What’s your life like in Port Carson, then? All work and no play?”
Apparently her neglected libido had handed over a permission slip, because he persisted. “How about if I combine work and play? I’ll write some love scenes, and you act them out with me. It’ll help me to get the creative juices flowing.”
She sighed, weakening. “You aren’t writing another cop movie, are you? Because I’m so done with that. I left the force to get away from all reminders of—” She halted, shook her head. She never spoke of the underwater deaths that haunted her. Not to anyone. “Being a cop, a real cop, not those fake cops in your movies, is not entertaining.”
He turned his hands palm up. “It’s what I write. Action flicks put twelve- to twenty-four-year-old males into movie theater seats.”
A crushing sensation squeezed her lungs. “You haven’t lived it. Dealing with violence, horrific accidents, and… and dead bodies every day takes its toll. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally.”
She sucked in a breath, then let it out slowly to relieve the gut-tightening anxiety that made her nauseous when memories of the traumatic recovery dive surfaced. She needed to keep them buried, because the alternative meant loss of emotional control.
She straightened her spine and gave him a logical reason. “Those car chase and shoot ’em up movies don’t attract women—half the potential audience—unless they have heart.”
“I have no heart.” His tone dripped acid. “My ex took it along with my Porsche and stock portfolio when she dumped me.”
A rare chuckle slipped past Catrina’s guard. “See, you can be funny. Write a romantic comedy that makes me laugh, and I’ll do it.”
The solitary days and long Muskoka winter nights with no male but Titan to keep Catrina company were getting to her. She needed to lighten up and have some fun. Besides, by agreeing to playact she could keep an eye on Chett, make sure he was writing and not drinking his way through the bottles stacked in Jenna’s bar and wine cellar.
Chett demurred. “If you were serious about helping me craft a new screenplay, you’d go with the cop scenario. Being an ex-cop and all, you could be my technical adviser.” He leaned in to emphasize his next words. “I don’t know a damn thing about writing comedy. Action scripts are what I do.”
She leaned across the table and, nose to nose, stared straight into his baby blues. “How’s that working for you lately?”
He winced, withdrew. “Ouch. Right, you win. I’ll give it a shot.”
She rolled her eyes at his word choice and folded her arms. “No guns. No fighting. Or I walk.”
He capitulated and reached across to shake her hand. “Deal.”
As she’d anticipated, the prospect of sex won out. He was a red-blooded man who’d experienced the boredom of a long, dark, freezing night in the boonies.
“Are you free tomorrow night, say at eight?” he continued. “That will give me enough time to write a scene or two.”
Catrina's cold nights are about to heat up...
Cat and Chett’s characters are well developed, drawing the reader into their individual plights, while their campy banter keeps the story light and downright fun. Ms. Morgan keeps the plot moving with humorous situations and dialogue interspersed with exciting and poignant drama. A good read for a snowy afternoon. —Marc Joseph, .
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