PORTIA: What are you doing?
ELLEN: Nothing, what are you doing?
PORTIA: Having a philosophical crisis.
ELLEN: Actually, I'm contemplating eating this bag of M&Ms while my brain degenerates into post-thesis mush.
PORTIA: Why would you contemplate eating M&Ms? Just eat them for god's sake.
ELLEN: Would the Loathly Lady eat M&Ms if offered to her?
PORTIA: Unless you & the Loathly Lady are planning to get into bikinis this weekend there is no good reason NOT to eat the M&Ms.
ELLEN: Good point.
PORTIA: Ok, can we talk about my crisis now?
PORTIA: I think I have a new theory on why I might be Bianca/Eden obsessed.
ELLEN: Might be?
PORTIA: Ok, fine. I can own it. I am obsessed. But I think I have figured out why. Finally.
ELLEN: Ok, what is it?
PORTIA: Well, you're aware that I do like me some serious mythology and am deeply interested in philosophy and frighteningly prone to over-analyzing stories that interest me.
ELLEN: And it's just one of the many reasons why I love you.
PORTIA: Sarcasm aside, Miss I Have A Masters Thesis in Medieval Literature, I have come to a very profound insight about our dear, beloved Bianca.
ELLEN: Does our dear, beloved Bianca even exist anymore? Now that she's not Eden, or Eden is not Bianca? And Bianca is without Reese? I mean, the new chick is fine. She seems to be a lovely person and a very good, competent actor, but...
PORTIA: She's not Eden. I know. . . but CBL is not what I want to talk about right now.
ELLEN: Ok, what is this blinding, profound insight?
PORTIA: Well, I am reading these two Joseph Campbell books --
PORTIA: Yes. Do you have a problem with that?
PORTIA: Yes you do. You think it's weird.
ELLEN: No I don't.
PORTIA: Look at you! You're eating the M&Ms color by color.
ELLEN: So? I like to be organized.
PORTIA: Whatever. According to Joe, --
ELLEN: Are you on a first name basis now?
PORTIA: As a matter of fact, yes. According to Joe, the first function of mythology is "reconciliation" of the brutality of life with a gratitude for the sweetness of life.
ELLEN: Bianca knows about the brutality of life.
PORTIA: I know! Right? And, civilization's first mythologies affirm that even though life is full of "bitterness and pain" at it's core, our primary experience of life is sweetness.
ELLEN: My primary experience of life right now is sweetness, but I think it has more to do with gratitude for the M&Ms than with primitive mythology.
PORTIA: C'mon! This is important. Seriously, I can't overstate how significant I think this is!! -- The first mythologies were ones of affirmation of life. Reconciling the brutality and bitterness with the ultimate sweetness. Now if that is not the very heart and soul of Bianca Christine Montgomery's character, I don't know what is!!
ELLEN: Well, it's true, everything in Bianca's history is proof that the poor girl has suffered plenty.
PORTIA: And through it all she remained a good, life affirming person.
ELLEN: Ok, but ... this isn't exactly a news flash. We've always known Bianca is practically a saint. I mean, she did give birth to the Messiah, Little Mimo. And did you notice, the NuMimo looks exactly like Eden at age 7, which I think is weird. But whatever, at least Bianca has her babies back.
PORTIA: Focus Ellen, focus! Think about Bianca in mythic terms, and consider all that she has suffered and how she always, ALWAYS stays a good person! A "life-affirming" person! I'm convinced it has raised the level of the character to mythic standing.
ELLEN: Ooooh, I see what you mean. Do you think Agnes ever read Joseph Campbell?
PORTIA: Who knows. But, you know, merely writing a character with this quality is not enough. Having Bianca be played by an actor that physically, emotionally and intellectually projects the same sentiment is what is critical.
ELLEN: AMC had no idea how lucky there were. Finding Eden for Bianca was catching lightening in a bottle. It doesn't matter how talented a recast is, or whether the writers are able to come up with something moving and brilliant, Bianca without Eden is not Bianca. You've actually put your finger on why this is true.
PORTIA: It's not as simple as "we love Eden because she's so sweet and fun and cute!" Bianca + Eden = MONUMENTAL MYTHIC MAGIC.
ELLEN: Ok, you might have a propensity to overstate things a wee bit. Poor CBL, I wonder if she knew she was stepping into mythic shoes? And it's so true, that no matter what life, or Pratt, has thrown at Eden, she seems to respond with complete and utter kindness and a belief that the world is ultimately good. Just like Bianca does.
PORTIA: Yes! And in this day and age, when so many people are so deeply bitter and negative about EVERYTHING, it's refreshing and reassuring to see people, real and fictional, who still believe in the sweetness of life.
ELLEN: Uh, yeah, so, what makes this a philosophical crisis?
PORTIA: Well, there's more! You know the whole "follow your bliss" stuff, right?
ELLEN: Whatever the frak that means.
PORTIA: According to Joe "bliss" is "that deep sense of being present, of doing what you absolutely must do to be yourself." Again -- Hello Bianca!! Her coming out story is all about doing what you absolutely must do to be yourself.
ELLEN: And if Pratt hadn't ruined it, we might also have gotten to see Reese live out that kind of story.
ELLEN: That asshat's fuckery not only deprived us of the hottest lesbian eye sex on television, he damn near destroyed a mythic character!! I had no idea I could despise him more deeply than I already did but I think I do.
PORTIA: And may I just add, on the subject of Reese, I think one reason Reese is so important to the Bianca story is that her love for Bianca --hot eye sex being just one major indicator-- is proof of Bianca's wisdom in believing in the sweetness of life.
ELLEN: If there is anything sweeter than those two together with Miranda and their ill-begotten baby Gaby, I don't know what it is.
PORTIA: Good ole Joe also said that "the first function of mythology is to evoke in the individual a sense of grateful, affirmative awe before the monstrous mystery that is existence."
ELLEN: That's deep. And is frequently a monstrous mystery.
PORTIA: Somehow, someway, despite what was written for their characters, Eden and Tamara created a bond between Bianca & Reese that is indestructible and indescribably sweet. I mean, their wedding vows, for example, were so beautiful, and despite having to watch Greenlee drive herself off a cliff during their wedding ceremony, I felt full of that "grateful, affirmative awe."
ELLEN: Ah ha! So this is why you made all those sappy music videos.
PORTIA: Goddamnit! I WANT THEM BACK ON MY TV TOGETHER NOW AND FOREVER. Because while the rest of the world sucks donkeyballs those two made me believe in "the sweetness of life."
ELLEN: And that there is your crisis. I completely understand.
PORTIA: I knew you would.
ELLEN: Have some M&Ms.