Friday, October 7, 2011

Color in the Garden: Burnt Pink/Dusty Rose

Season 4, Episode 11. “Jingle Balls.”

This was one of my favorite episodes—if not my favorite—of Will & Grace, that 8 season-long NBC  comedy about the antics of roommates Will, a gay lawyer (played by the dashing Eric McCormack) and Grace, a straight interior (played by that vibrant Debra Messing).

In that episode, Jack usurped Grace’s chance to design a Barney’s Christmas window. Of course, his dalliance, assisted by everyone’s favorite booze-aholic, pill-popping Karen, could not muster the approval of his boss, Darlene. Played by the ever quirky Parker Posey (side note: LOVE her!), Darlene expressed her disapproval in visceral sorts of ways. Grace, of course, unbeknownst came to Jack’s rescue.

At the unveiling of the window, Jack tried to soften the blow of his incompetence by introducing his window as “nothing for Christmas.” The curtain opens, and we are treated to Grace’s sophisticated vision.

And Darlene utters in perfect, deadpan prose with a hint of introspection, those lines: “It’s dark. It’s glam. It’s Christmas.”

With their raw pithiness, those 6 words stripped away the veneer and exposed an immutable core.
There is something innately compelling about somber, muted tones, whether sought out as alternatives to holiday garishness, or found as perennial autumnal offerings.  
Burnt Pink reminds me of Darlene’s interpretive variation, though I would amend it to read, “It’s moody. It’s glam. It’s romantic.”

Yes. Romance shares with holidays those darkest and most glamorous of times. Darkness and glamour: each the complement of the other, perhaps they are even synonymous.

Dusty Rose? Pathetic name for a glam color.

Burnt Pink?  It gets a little closer.

But what do they share in common? 
They are what remains.

After the cerulean veneer of the Nikko Blue Hydrangea has faded, and the improbable azure fluorescence of the Lady-in-Red Hydrangea bleeds out, burnt pink exudes its intensity.

No matter what we call this color--that "a rose by any other name" syndrome--the arrests you, and propels you backwards, just a little, as if to remind you that all that bling, and all that swag, and all that flash...all of it: it's veneer. Easily stripped away, easily forgotten.  Disposable.

But the glamour and the darkness, whether of holidays or romance: well, they give us pause, compel us really, to look deeply at that immutable core and reflect upon what really remains. 

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