My son and I have a constant struggle going on.

He keeps trying to get me to watch videos or listen to songs that he likes and I keep getting him to read Watership Down.

I think I’m actually more open minded than he is because while I’ve read and experienced a LOT of the stuff that he’s recommended and actually found a lot of it to be pretty darned good, he is more reticent to indulge in my tastes.

And yet, when I was watching Pan’s Labyrinth and told him he should come and see this particularly creepy scene, he actually listened to me so that it freaked him out something terrible. For those who might have seen the movie you probably know which scene I’m talking about. It’s the scene with the pale man. *shudder*

The tables were turned when it came to a sleeper hit called Napoleon Dynamite. This movie really embodies the new ‘youth’ humor style.

And frankly for the longest time I just didn’t get it.

It’s the awkward type of humor, the senseless absurd stuff, that older people just look at and think, “Huh?” That’s supposed to be funny?

So I was walking by when my son was watching Napoleon Dynamite and I sat down and saw a few scenes, especially the one where the girl (love interest) is trying to sell gimp bracelets (I call it gimp, you know that plastic lace stuff that you braid into bracelets and stuff in day camp) and she’s so shy she ends up running away and he takes her case (on wheels) to school to give it back to her, and yup, I didn’t get the humor of it.

Not until I watched the whole darn thing.

I talked myself into it one day.

This is how the conversation with myself went:

Rukhsana, you call yourself a children’s author, you deal with youth sensibilities all the time, you’ve got to ‘get’ them. And that means getting what they think is funny.

Watch it!

So I did.

It was like watching a foreign movie for goodness sakes!

It’s like I needed a translator, or maybe a coach or something explaining things to me, and yet after a short time, I did indeed ‘get’ it.

I just relaxed and went with the flow and I saw the essentials of plot and characterization, and yes, I have to admit it, they were brilliant.

Okay it begins with the irony that the main character, this tall lanky washed out pale face with curly mousy brown hair has such an unusual name: Napoleon Dynamite. It gives you, the viewer a sense, that he is not as ‘blah’ as he seems.

And you go on a journey with him at this mid-western white-washed blah school where he gets pummeled by bullies and then kicks at the air in defiance with his moon boots in a totally useless and pathetic gesture, and something about him, is actually endearing. You get to know all these totally weird and yet completely recognizable characters and how they’re going through their own journeys and you really really start to hate Napoleon’s useless uncle and you absolutely cheer when he throws an orange at his windshield. (spoiler alert)

He’s a total dork…and yet…

I’m chuckling just typing all this, remembering all the little moments in the movie that don’t seem like much on their own, but are really really doggone funny!

Just watch it! It’s good clean fun. And might even restore your faith in young people because their humor is yeah, kind of funny.

You just have to open your mind to access it.