4.28.2006

"Shake Me Up, Judy!"

So I watched Bleak House on PBS a couple months ago. Superbly entertaining, masterfully filmed, incredibly depicted characters - every week kept me coming back to see the end, even after I read the synopsis of the remaining four episodes online. (Why did I do that?! I am not a gift shaker, peaker or requester. I love surprises, and yet I went ahead and read ahead. Completely out of character for me. But I digress.) I was so excited about Bleak House that David got excited about it, too, and he watched the last couple weeks with me, then bought it for me on DVD for Valentine's Day.

Anyway, there is one character, the ruthless and mean Smallweed, an extremely cranky invalid who is carried around on his chair to various devious moneylending confrontations and repossessions. Immediately after his arrival anywhere and sometimes more than once in a given conversation, Smallweed bellows, "Shake me up, Judy!" and his granddaughter Judy summarily walks behind him, reaches under his armpits, and fiercely jerks him up and down several times as he continues his dialogue. The thing about it is, it cracks me up! Every time. And not just while watching the movie; I think of that one line and in my mind it begs for a blog because it amuses me so.

Maybe it's that I know the feeling: I could really use someone to shake me up regularly, too. How funny if, every time I'm in a rut of some sort, like feeling suddenly overwhelmed by the futility of sweeping under Henry's highchair, I could holler out gruffly, "Shake me up, Judy!" and it would help me get it done. I bet it would at least get a laugh out of Calvin, or prompt him to ask his favorite latest, "What in the world?!"

As I write this, I am realizing that it may just be one of those things you have to see to know how surprising and funny it is. So I highly recommend watching Bleak House, for great literature and drama, and for Smallweed, too, unworthy as he is. I also recommend bellering whenever you need shooken.

The next thing on my to-do list is get the novel and read it through, both for the Dickensian commentary that seriously thrills me, AND to see if "Shake me up, Judy!" is Dickens' creation or the screenplay writer's. If Dickens wrote it, is the literary world aware that it owes him for so much more than Miss Havisham's spidery, decaying wedding feast and, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times?"

I'll keep you posted on what I find out. And I'll let you know if it's as funny in the book as it is on screen and in the recesses of my mind.

7 comments:

Angela said...

"Shake me up, Judy!" Yelled at ANYtime for ANY reason, without EVER even knowing where it came from, is wholly, without question, hilarious. I hope you can find a voice for it in your own life, and I hope I get in on it one day. :)

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed that in the novel, although Mr. Smallweed asks to be shaken--by Judy and others--he never says, "Shake me up, Judy!"

Still, it has become one of my all-time favorite phrases.

"Shake me up, Judy!"

Anonymous said...

This is even better than, "Beam me up, Scotty!" I laugh everytime I think of it!

RedFern said...

I recently saw Bleak House via my Netflix account. (Loved it!) I was/am so amused by "Shake me up, Judy!" that I searched it and found your website. We really need a group of people to call one another from time to time and just shout into the phone, "Shake me up, Judy!" That would be the funniest thing! My other favorite phrase was Jarndyce's reference to "east winds blowing" whenever tempers or circumstances were less than ideal.

Shake me up, Judy!

buildermusic said...

just watched this last night and was googling to figure out what was happening when Judy shook him up...I too think this is a hillarious line and can't stop thinking about it...laughed out loud everytime it happened! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

mike crawford
www.myspace.com/mikecrawfordmusic

gottalaugh said...

THANK YOU! I loved loved loved your blog!! I watched Bleak House a few weeks ago on Netflix and found Smallweed to be the most wretched and vile man I'd seen in years. He was SO horrid it was just too hilarious. I've been saying, "JUDY! Shake me up!!" ever since. (I guess I got it backwards). Today my adult daughter watched it with me and never laughed once. In fact, by the 5 episode she was fast forwarding through his scenes. HAHAHAHAHA. There'e only one variable when it comes to Smallweek. Either you love him or hate him. And regardless of the variable, he-is-VILE. But you are spot on with the gratitude we own Dickens for this guy. Oy-vay. I'm still chuckling. p.s. I've tried to find out what ailed him and nothing consistent comes up. In the scheme of things, we may be better off not knowing. It might just shake us up.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I'm here after also searching to try and figure out why he says that. What's the purpose of being "shaken up?". Maybe we will never know.