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The Steam Press: 50 Shades of Fall

Mackenzie Broderick, Columnist

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Greetings, culture lovers! Welcome to The Steam Press, where we strive to serve up only the finest literature has to offer. And what better way to welcome the new school year and a new column than with a little S&M?

Although much has been made of the more scandalous aspects of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy (written by E.L. James), the sex pales in comparison to some of the more weirdly wonderful and wonderfully weird details. With the movie slated to come out in less than a year, I’ve compiled a guide to all you need to know before seeing it.

Mrs. Robinson

Let’s start off with Christian and his mommy issues. To summarize, poor little Christian was raised in a broken home by “the crack whore” before the fabulously wealthy Greys rescue him. Sounds just like my own childhood.

James, not content with this bit of characterization, takes out her Freudian subtext hammer and beats us over the head with it: An older, but not legal, Christian is seduced by a family friend and introduced to the world of domination and submission. Consequently, all of his future subs — including Ana — closely resemble his mother, which is as sexy as, well, an Oedipus complex. But Ana doesn’t seem to mind, because she only listens to …

The Inner Goddess

The Inner Goddess is clearly supposed to represent Ana’s psyche but comes across more as her psychotic break from reality. Whenever she is faced with a quandary — from choosing an outfit to submitting to Christian — Ana turns to her Goddess for guidance. The reader is then assailed with descriptions of what said Goddess is wearing, her facial expressions, her antics like mental handsprings and fist-pumps. If Ana put as much thought into her actual freakin’ problems, she wouldn’t have so many of them.

Honestly, I hope the movie takes its cue from “Lizzie McGuire” and animates these sequences because Ana Steele is actually a 15-year-old girl. 

The Sun Never Sets on Seattle 

All of these issues are too egregious to be taken seriously, and James acknowledges this by hinting that her story takes place in an alternate universe — one where Seattle has perpetual sunshine.

As a native of the Pacific Northwest, I feel the need to clear a few more misconceptions — one doesn’t simply drive from Seattle to Portland and back in a day, the Olympic Mountains are not visible from Seattle, even on clear days (which don’t happen), and for anyone north of Los Angeles, business casual consists of tucking in your flannel shirt. Not pantyhose.

Of course, however messed up the books are, you can be sure the movies will mess up even more. Join Steam Press next week as we delve deeper in the world of Christian and Ana. Until then, gentle reader.

Impressed by my wit? Think I went too far, or not far enough? Want to learn more about the latest Steam, impress your friends and become a lover with the prowess of Christian Grey? Then follow me on Twitter — @badbroderick.             

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