Monday, September 27, 2021

This Is For The Grandmas Who Don't Like To Bake Cookies

Pixar's newest Sparkshort, Nona, is so relatable it hurts! I'm not a wrestling fan, but I relate to everything else in this short, from the routine of making sure that my "me time" is uninterrupted, to putting some extra sweetener in my drink. And yes, to having kids interrupt my plans. 

And then to finally giving in and realizing what's most important in life: elbow drops off the ropes of a wrestling ring!

Like all Pixar productions (this one made entirely at peoples' homes during quarantine), Nona knows exactly how to tug at the heartstrings and still stay real. It balances sentiment with truth. It tells a compelling and fresh story without being cloying or preachy. In less than 5 minutes, we meet a grandmother who has lost her husband, but finds great joy in watching campy wrestling. Her granddaughter, full of kitty charm and sparkly stickers, interrupts her routine, and Nona is faced with choosing family over comfort. They find a compromise where the two wrestle in a crazycool fantasy sequence, complete with a high five to a durag-outfitted moon. 

Nona feels a little bit like one of those LDS ads encouraging families to spend more time together. But in a good way! There's something about the moment when Nona's television gets knocked over. She turns in anger and frustration to this cutie pie terror who has ruined her plans, but then suddenly melts in sadness. And we instantly know that Nona isn't just crying about her ruined plans or outdated television. She's mourning the loss of her dear husband. The audience is left to fill in the blanks, imagining the countless hours she and her husband spent fangirling over Jaz-Mean and Miss-Terry duking it out in the ring. 

We all have different ways of dealing with death, and mourning those we have lost. We all do what we need to get by. And who am I to say that one way of mourning is better than another? But for me, I have found that pouring my efforts into spending time with the living is the best way for me to honor the dead. For me, nothing beats quality time with family. Family: isn't it about ... time? Nona learns this, as she wrestles with her granddaughter and ends up having an even better day than she planned. 

Even if it includes mindlessly watching the brain-numbing Kitty Kitty Dance Party.

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