Romance Roundtable #25: Beautician and the Beast

Welcome to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss a Harlequin romance manga romance manga romance, just, like, in general. Today we’re discussing the (surprisingly) pro-union 90s romance blockbuster The Beautician and the Beast, where we’re dragging #franculture into the mainstream where it belongs.

Rachel: i’m so glad that we watched this movie

Jenny: lol v same

CC: me too what a feel-good film

Ashley: it was extremely fun

CC: a balm to my soul
I Love Fran

Rachel: she’s sO GREAT

Jenny: she’s my hero

Ashley: she is a goddess among women

Rachel: the whole movie i kept turning to my partner and being like “i can’t believe how hot the nanny is”

CC: she’s such a babe

Jenny: exhibit a:


also can i just say i love a gal who rocks a widow’s peak

Jenny: truly

Ashley: mad respect

Rachel: it gives her such morticia addam’s fun sister vibes

Jenny: eddie munster whomst?


Ashley: lol


Rachel: LOL she is the face of an adventuring party if i ever saw one

CC: oh yeah so should we summarize this movie real quick?

Rachel: yes yes

Ashley: yes!

Jenny: hero teacher brings world peace

Ashley: young, working class Jewish New Yorker is searching for the perfect fit in both career and life, and finds it in a gig teaching the children of a mysterious ruler of an Eastern European country with an utterly incomprehensible form of government

Ashley: manages to find true love and lead the workers’ revolution along the way ????

CC: hashtag goals
so like, ok, one thing to note in our summary
our gal here is posing as a “real teacher” when she is in fact “just” a beauty school teacher but

CC: this is a lie, she IS a real teacher
and a good teacher!!!!
such a good teacher

Jenny: the best teacher!!

CC: this is legit a better lesson plan than almost any actual curriculum I had about this play

Ashley: HAHA yes
they wanted her to expose the children to her culture! and she did!

CC: and! how!!!
look all I’m saying is she is an AMAZING teacher and frankly I would have learned more in her class than in just about any actual class I have taken
she really commits to the bit!
she is using what she knows and really going for it!!!

Ashley: i mean, the science project of getting hair gel out of aloe plants???? that’s NEXT LEVEL okay
my AP Bio teacher could NEVER

Jenny: and frankly who needs to know the stuff she doesn’t know?

Ashley: HAHAHA i loved that bit

Jenny: who gives a shit about this asshole

Ashley: not important

Jenny: love to see that everyone hated newt always

Ashley: this is valuable anthropological information for future humans

Rachel: honestly i loved the level of disrespect she brought to all figures of authority

CC: hard same

Ashley: okay but also
that scene where Timothy Dalton is giving a speech to a large crowd of peasants, and you can see her getting visibly hornt….


Ashley: i love that her moral compass is like, well, autocratic rule is honestly fine as long as the populace are secure and well cared-for


Rachel: LOL
for the record, let it me known that jenny named that screenshot “insert pegging joke here.png”

Ashley: HAHAHA

CC: also, to your point ashley:

CC: (jk jk not endorsing)
(in this year of hell, let me be clear, I am not endorsing an autocratic government with or without good intentions L O L)

Ashley: notably, he does not make war! and though he imprisons a dissident, it is CLEARLY more indicative of his struggle with his daughter’s sexuality
(and he does eventually free him)

CC: yeah that is a good point!

Ashley: fran drescher being an excellent sexual health educator in this moment
truly we have no choice but to stan

Jenny: no choice but to fran

Ashley: YES MA’AM


Rachel: LMA

CC: amen

Ashley: honestly, replacing stan culture with fran culture would be SO HEALTHY for us as a society

CC: 100% endorse fran culture

Rachel: PLEASE
where do i sign this petition


Jenny: just another of our fran-given rights

Ashley: jenny, god you are so good with the screenshots
you are the fran drescher of timely screenshots

Jenny: bless
all i’ve ever wanted

CC: ok but while we’re on the subject of continually relevant content from this movie

CC: too real


CC: big oof energy

Jenny: oh man yeah
t i m e l y
and here i thought the harshest truth was going to be

CC: damn

Rachel: i thought this was about to be a tokyo tarareba movie
and punch me right in my 32 year old gut

Jenny: lololololol

Ashley: HAHAHA

CC: but also, can you really settle for someone who owns their own stationary store?
look man what a beautiful dream

Jenny: sounds like she’s the reacher there

Ashley: as we know from the original Shop Around The Corner that is the ideal male form, like it or not

Jenny: but truly what a great dad, fran’s dad

CC: truly

Jenny: and what a solidly hilarious mom
exhibit b:

Jenny: just get her girl

Ashley: okay but she’s also saying that right in front of the framed cover story of fran saving the animals from the beauty school fire!
we rib with SO MUCH LOVE in this house!!

Jenny: it’s true!! a v loving household!!

CC: speaking of wall art

CC: hell yeah


CC: (would) love 2 have an oil painting of my dog
god bless

Jenny: just a matter of time tbh

Ashley: this is before you could commission pet portraits on the internet! twitter did not exist!

CC: where did she find this artist??????

Ashley: probably down at the Carvel

Jenny: how did anyone get anything done before the internet, frankly?
maybe put out an ad – pet portraitist wanted, submit portfolio
truly i have no clue

Rachel: i bet her husband used those stationary connections

Jenny: that sounds real and i trust it

Ashley: on the other hand, fran could not have googled the small country she was offered a job in, and therefore was completely within societal norms to hop a plane there that very day

CC: paris, 50 years ago

Jenny: truly how did anyone not get murdered in the past

Ashley: omg omg
may i take this opportunity to analyze the history and political structure of this fictional country??? y’all know i’m chomping at the bit

Rachel: PLEASE

Jenny: go off

Ashley: i have to use this czech studies background for SOMETHING

CC: hell yeah

Ashley: and in this case, okay… Slovetzia, despite being located distinctly to the east of modern-day Czechia, uses Czech as its language and is therefore in concept lightly based on it
HOWEVER, this is very peculiar, as what was formerly known as the Czech Republic had the least “violent” split from the Soviet Bloc in the 90s in what was known as the “Velvet Revolution”
while Slovetzia in the film combines incongruent stereotypes of autocratic “communist” rule with features of neoliberalization (hostility to workers’ unions)
Slovetzia is clearly intended as a former Soviet Bloc state (supported by references to Fidel and other socialist leaders staying in the bedroom given to Fran)
and yet, the movie’s canon also states that Pochenko inherited leadership from his father, and before that his grandfather, implying a former state of monarchy?
in short, it makes no sense, is extremely 90s post-Cold War mumbo jumbo, but is nonetheless very amusing and enjoyable to watch
end lecture!!!

CC: we are Learning learning here on pome dash mag dot com!!!!
let me help u with that big brain

Ashley: omg thank you, heavy is the head that wears 4 years of absolutely useless scholarship

CC: I gotta say, it is really hard to figure out the goal for these political ideologies

Jenny: if only fran could come fix the neoliberalism that runs rampant today
just a matter of

Jenny: and a dash of

Jenny: and then we should be all set


CC: working class icon

Ashley: the only person on the planet who could pull off heeled booties in white boot-cut jeans WHILE organizing the factory
absolute legend

CC: so, this is a bit of a change of subject and is much less big brain
what did yall think about Them

CC: (spoiler alert: she did the thing)

Jenny: agree — did not want to be as into it as i was

Ashley: omg yes exactly jenny
their chemistry was SPICY af

Rachel: at first my feeling was SHE’S TOO GOOD FOR YOU
but then he turned out to be a tough-on-the-outside-full-of-feelings-on-the-inside kind of dictator

Jenny: a real nougat centered kind of dictator

CC: yeah by the end was kinda as “sure, yeah, I can accept you trying your whole life to be a good enough man for fran”

Jenny: and honestly that’s the take-home message!
we all need to try our whole lives to be good enough for fran
but also def their chemistry was v good

Rachel: honestly love a woman who can easily convince a man to shave his gross moustache
but i am prejudiced against moustaches

Ashley: YES

Jenny: idk i think timothy dalton isn’t timothy dalton w/o it
i’m into it

Ashley: and also EXPERTLY execute it super old-fashioned style?

Rachel: LOL

CC: OMG!!!

Jenny: lolololol

CC: she literally has!!!
she is literally a certified practitioner of the blade!!!
stylists are so powerful…

Ashley: honestly i think dalton looks great without the mustache, though slightly less hot, and also absolutely HORRENDOUS in that fat-tie broad lapel suit at the very end

Rachel: oh yes with the turtleneck

Ashley: nah, that’s the YSL, that one is okay
i’m talking about the blue suit with the gold tie that makes him look like a Dick Tracy character

Jenny: i mean, tbh that was the only scene where his hair looked good
the rest of the time it was just

Jenny: like gelled…out??

Rachel: he’s like a hotter aliens guy

Jenny: OMG

Ashley: BAHAHA

Rachel: honestly the 90s were terrible to everyone from an aesthetic perspective except for Fran and also Marsha, the second oldest daughter who made her own clothes

Ashley: agreed!!!!

CC: early 90s Looks were like, designed for Fran

Jenny: all looks were designed for fran

Ashley: yeah like, basically everyone was trying to look like Fran and simply could not cut it
she IS the blueprint

Rachel: accept no substitutions!!

CC: the rest of the world was just trying to buy couture looks from the fashion bug
I should know, my mom used to work at several different fashion bugs in the mid to late 90s

Ashley: ????
it was Rainbow for me

CC: so real quick
I just wanna talk about this

CC: love when a writer writes the trope just for you
i am a fan and i am being served
god bless

Ashley: the most regal updo of all time!!!!!

Jenny: marie antoinette could never

CC: love the pointy tiara
this gold gown

Jenny: head to toe
r e g a l

CC: god even the sorta plum, sorta nude lipstick which was v of the time

Ashley: yes, i was frankly in awe of her extremely difficult lipstick choices
it shouldn’t work BUT IT DOES

CC: what a palette

Jenny: i mean–she has STUDIED THE SHADE

Ashley: ** shock jock airhorn noises **

Rachel: lollll

Ashley: nailed it

Jenny: thank

CC: y’all ready to get into final thoughts? I know there is just so much gold in this movie worth talking about LOL

Jenny: i’m down

Ashley: let’s do it

Rachel: yes please
mind if i go first??

CC: yeah go ahead!

Jenny: def


Jenny: stomping away from prince charming
she’s perfect


CC: and also what bootleg don bluth studio did this tho
v good disney hot takes

Ashley: lol

CC: just far enough away to avoid a lawsuit

Jenny: very 9 to 5, very Xandau

Rachel: i just wish i could have been in the room when they were like “ok here’s the pitch for this movie, oh and also, it opens with a cartoon”
“people are going to go wild for it”

Jenny: it was a different time

CC: wasn’t the nanny’s like,
idk what it’s actually called but
like, the opening song
wasn’t that a cartoon too???

omg maybe it’s a Fran thing

CC: ok well my final thought is
Actual Picture Of Me:

CC: me, for several consecutive months earlier this year
this is the Too Real content in the movie for me

Jenny: lolololololol

CC: me: emotionally smothering my dog
also me: WHAT’S WRONG

Jenny: v real v real

Ashley: lmaaaa
i’m ready!
my final thought is: this is how you perfectly deliver an astonishing punchline

Ashley: “this embryo belongs to satan” AMEN

Jenny: TRULY

Jenny: didn’t they do this on Sabrina?

CC: probably not as well let’s be honest

Ashley: ** solemn nod **

Jenny: lolololol v real
but fran would do anything better than RAS

Rachel: so true

Jenny: better than anyone, really

Rachel: the truest

Jenny: and that’s my final thought

CC: #franculture!!!!!

Jenny: she’s fab

Ashley: ????????

Rachel: BLESS

Ashley: the TAILORING, i die

Join us next time for even more love story shouting in our next Romance Roundtable!

All images in this article are sourced from The Beautician and the Beast unless otherwise noted.

Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.
Ashley Gallagher

Ashley Gallagher

Ashley writes comics and emails from zir burrow in the Pacific Northwest. Ze is a sentient subtropical swamp fern whose favorite food is old words.
CC Calanthe

CC Calanthe

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
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