Sunday, January 09, 2011

Star Wars Survivor

Carrie Fisher defies genetics. How did this witty, wonderfully talented, albeit seriously troubled, woman emerge from the union of a lecherous moron and, to put it kindly, a bubbly but intellectually challenged Barbie doll?

Fisher tries to explain in the scathingly revealing and very funny one-woman show, "Wishful Drinking" on HBO. If you don't subscribe, manipulate a friend to invite you over when it's on, as it often is this month.

Her life arc goes from infancy during the past century's biggest Hollywood scandal--Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor (think Pitt, Anniston, Jolie, she advises today's audiences)--to iconic status herself (a Pez dispenser, among other knockoffs) as Princess Leia in "Star Wars" and, recently, as the poster girl (seriously) for bipolar disorder in medical journals. "It’s the same as manic depression," she explains. "Bipolar sounds like a gay bear."

Fisher, whose father recently died, still lives near her mother who, in a joint interview to promote the special, insists on blaming Eddie for the "disease, which you were unfortunately given by genetic factors, which is your father’s gift to his daughter."

A preview of Carrie's bollixed biography can be found in the 1990 movie, "Postcards from the Edge," based on her novel, in which she is played by Meryl Streep, whose mission in life seems to be portraying every semi-famous woman of our time. (Sample: Emergency room doctor: "We're going to have to pump your stomach." "Do I have to be there?")

Personal footnote: In Eddie Fisher's bachelor days, he kept pressing a Hollywood friend of mine to introduce him to Audrey Hepburn. "I couldn't explain," the friend said, "that she lived on a different intellectual planet, so I just said she was a Lesbian."

Soon afterward, when Hepburn married Mel Ferrer, Fisher was upset so "I told him she had gone somewhere for a miracle cure. He believed me."

With genes like those, where did Carrie Fisher come from? One clue is a line she quotes from her maternal grandmother, "A fly is just as likely to land on shit as on pie." This 54-year-old Star Wars survivor has had her share of both, but she has learned to deal with it all in a tart and sweetly satisfying way.

Update: For the New Year, Carrie resolves to be thinner and richer as she starts a gig as spokesperson for Jenny Craig.

"I look on the Internet and they say, 'Whatever happened to Carrie Fisher? She used to be so hot and now she looks like Elton John,'" she recalls.

Great, as long as going hungry doesn't spoil her sense of humor.

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