May 19, 2019
Once upon a time there lived a Golden Age gay icon, who whiled away her pre-waxing years sitting atop a split-rail fence in some dour, nondescript American Midwest landscape. Her dreams of a more outrageously fierce existence in the big city (wearing roller skates and one-foot-diameter afro wigs and dancing to Army of Lovers in between lines of blow) were hemmed in on all sides by rusted farm equipment, NAPA Auto Parts Stores, and a lone, dejected Applebee’s out on the turnpike. Kansas didn’t even have a meth lab yet. Or a Sally Beauty Supply. Her nascent fabulousness was imprisoned by voluminous swaths of gingham, satin ribbons, and fussy lace collars -- none of them, unfortunately, worn ironically, with a lollipop or a pacifier or Harajuku-style -- at the behest of Aunt Em, a woman whose character is explained by the shocking fact that the better part of her non-church wardrobe was purchased at Quality Farm & Fleet. (I know. Couldn’t you just die?)
This girl, as yet scarcely old enough to have a couple of cherries or a leaping dolphin tattooed near her cameltoe, was named Dorothy. One day, like so many dreamy-eyed girls, she donned her Skechers and her discount department store jeans and waited for a meteorological disaster to rescue her from her sad, glitterless rural life.
As luck would have it, one day, an especially violent cyclone (rated EF4 by the local weather service) carved a bloody path of destruction, misery, and death through central Kansas, carrying Dorothy’s trailer (with her and her dog Toto inside, watching Judge Judy) high into the troposphere. At first, Dorothy mistook the rhythmic vibrations for a circuit party and looked under the bed for her whistle, but soon enough she realized she was airborne. And it felt Fab. U. Lous. She thought she even spotted a cross-country Virgin America flight with Diana Ross sitting in first class refusing a skunky glass of Chardonnay and calling the stewardess an uppity white bitch. (She’ll have Dershowitz on the phone when she gets to LAX.) But maybe Dorothy was unconscious and imagining it all. At any rate, she was immune to the ghastly, soul-rending shrieks, rising from below, of a Kansas mother cradling her dead baby who was impaled by a windswept awl in the cyclone. She was busy listening to “Yahoo!” by Erasure on her iPod.
Eventually, after floating around earth’s gaseous atmosphere for a couple of hours, dreaming of Barney’s Co-op Sale, Dorothy landed in some unknown land, flat-ironed her hair, and repositioned her training thong. Outside her trailer a bunch of ghetto midgets were milling around with some old witchy broad. No, it wasn’t that überfem Glinda – like in the movie – it was some tired-ass old mannish thing, looking like Linda Hunt in The Year of Living Dangerously. Basically, this bitch is no help at all. She’s supposedly a witch, and you’d think she’d know the way to the Meatpacking District, but all she does is give her some cheap-ass silver shoes (Steve Madden – yuck) and kiss Dorothy on the forehead leaving this “magical” lipmark. Dorothy suspects it’s herpes simplex one and hightails it outta there before the witch gives her boxed wine and has her pose for “art” photographs. (Yes, I remember the very special episode of Diff’rent Strokes with Gordon Jump very well, thank you very much.)
Okay, you know the rest of the story (for the most part). Dorothy seeks out the Wizard of Oz by mapquesting Emerald City (or, alternately, the City of Emeralds) and on the way she meets a Scarecrow, a Tin Woodman, and a Lion, who are all needy and want to bask in the glow of her super-hot blinding aura and fierce fantabulousness (and bum a few amphetamines). The Wizard, who likes to mix up his corporeal manifestations, appears to them in his Emerald City throne room (Picture Antwan “Big Boi” Patton’s house on Cribs but with fewer stripper poles and lots more green marble ) in the forms of a giant Little Richard-sized head, a Sears catalog swimsuit model, a vaguely menacing monster, and a talking ball of fire. Obviously, the Wizard has been to see Cirque de Soleil and knows the power of a little Québécois razzle-dazzle. Whilst filing his nails and reading the latest issue of Interview with Drew Barrymore on the cover, the Wizard tells his motley supplicants that, yeah, yeah, sure, he will grant their stupid, retarded wishes if they murder the Wicked Witch of the West, a Tribeca scenester who is always bogarting Page Six with her leather-daddy winged monkey warehouse parties. Dorothy & Crew reluctantly agree – an act of volition which effectively makes Dorothy the youngest hit girl in the history of YA literature, and the only one to ever wear lace-trimmed socklets. Eventually, during a wet t-shirt contest, the witch melts and Dorothy, still flush with her first taste of killing… sweet killing, returns with her entourage to the Wizard to claim her payoff. But then, gosh golly, gee whiz… in a startling atheistic allegory, the all-powerful Wizard is revealed to be an impotent little Wallace Shawn-type standing behind a screen fiddling with some sound board knobs. Nietzsche couldn’t’ve said it any better. The Wizard, who realizes he’s dealing with a bunch of saps here, pretends to grant everyone’s wishes (except Dorothy’s – cuz he’s totally jealous of her fabulousness) and they actually fall for it. Dorothy, burnt-out on the Emerald City scene and suffering from dehydration and exhaustion, longs to return to Kansas to start her autobiographical blog. A bunch of stupid stuff happens, some of which involve a hot air balloon and bitch-slapping trees, and the quartet make their way to Glinda, the Witch of the South, to see if she can grant Dorothy’s wish and thereby prove that she’s at least somewhat less worthless than everybody else in Oz
On the way to the Glinda’s ‘hood, the posse comes across a village where all the people are made of china and break easily (Gee, I wonder why they left that great episode out of the film), and after the Lion accidentally destroys one of their china churches with his tail (I’m not kidding), giving impetus to hate crime legislation the world over, the Tin Woodman decapitates some wolves with his ax. Dorothy skips and frolics through the gory pools of matted fur, blood, and steaming viscera and asks Glinda, who appears to be on Quaaludes, for a trip home. Glinda, as useless as every other allegedly magical person in Oz, tells her that the cheap-ass Steve Madden shoes she’s been wearing could’ve gotten her back to Kansas all along. (And, by the way, when she returns to the Sticks, she should really take off those Chinese panda-skin leatherette things. They’ll give her fatal foot rash.)
So Dorothy uses the magic of those shoes made in China under the brand name of a man imprisoned for magical tax evasion to return to Kansas, where her Aunt and Uncle have long since forgotten about her and adopted a more attractive, Latvian girl who’s not too prissy to hand-inseminate the cows. Dorothy overdoses one night in a dilapidated feed barn on a potent mixture of Robitussin and Gas-X, and Judy Davis plays her in a television movie that no one remembers long enough to have forgotten.