“Bye Bye Birdie I’m gonna miss you so; Bye Bye Birdie, why’d ya have to do? No more sunshine, It’s followed you away; I’ll cry Birdie, Till you’re home to stay.”
If there has ever been a film that speaks to me in the deepest of fangirl feels it is Bye Bye Birdie. At twenty-seven, I fangirl over things like I am a damn teenager. If it is something I like I will get super into it and become obsessed and want every piece of merchandise that accompanies it (shout out to Orphan Black and YouTube’s Holy Trinity). I was doing so well for a few years with keeping the fangirl feels at bay until I got back into watching TV shows last winter. It started with Leverage and Orphan Black and now I am full blown fangirl about everything I get into lately. When I was younger if there was a hot guy on a TV show I liked or was a member in a boy band I listened to forget it I would beyond fangirl over them. I related a little too much to the girls’ obsession with the character of Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie and me relating to them made the musical so much more enjoyable and funny to watch.
Singer Conrad Birdie has been drafted to fight in Vietnam. Girls all across America and the world are in mourning. In Washington DC girls even get together to picket the White House with signs saying to take them and leave Conrad alone.
In New York City, a failed songwriter named Albert Peterson (Dick van Dyke) may be the only male in the country that is upset to see Conrad go off to war. He was hoping to give his management a new song of his. Albert is also really upset because his mother’s dreams of him becoming a famous songwriter have come crashing down. First of all songwriter was his mother’s dream not really his. Albert has a degree in science. He is also upset because his secretary and fiancé Rose DeLeon (Janet Leigh) has gone off to the Ed Sullivan Show. He thinks she is jumping ship since his business tanked. Rose is really over at Ed Sullivan to make a deal. She pitches the idea to have Conrad on the show to do a farewell segment to a new song that Albert will write and after he sings the son Conrad will kiss a girl who will represent all his fans. Ed and his show runner love the idea and let her set up the whole thing.
Rose and Ed decide that a girl from Ohio will be the perfect choice to be the one to get a kiss from Conrad. Rose goes to the Conrad Birdie fan club and picks out a file on a girl named Kim McAfee (Ann-Margaret). Rose tries calling Kim but the line is busy. Kim is on the phone with her friend to tell her that her boyfriend Hugo has given her a pin as a symbol that they are going to steady. She feels like now that she has a steady boyfriend and she is sixteen she is becoming a real woman and is ready to do grown-up things. Kim sings her feelings about being a woman in a little number all the while she changes into jeans, a baggy sweater and a baseball cap. When she goes downstairs there is a call from her from Rose about Conrad. Kim is in total shock that she has been chosen to receive a kiss from her number one crush.
Back in New York City, Rose tries to explain to Albert her plan but he just keeps going on and on in such a negative way she cannot get a word in for a little bit. When she is finally able to reveal her plan Albert loves her all the more. Their tender moment is interrupted by his pushy, annoying, coddling mother. Next to the definition of “Mama’s Boy” there would be a picture of Albert and his mother. Albert and Rose have been engaged for six years and have never told his told his drama queen mother and it is starting to bother Rose that her fiancé chooses his mother over her.
On the day Conrad is come to her hometown, Kim’s boyfriend Hugo and all the boys in town become insanely jealous. Hugo is worried that Kim will not want him anymore and no matter how many times Kim explains to him that he is the only one for her Hugo does not really listen. When Conrad rides into town on his motorcycle the girls lose their freaking minds and literally fall to the ground when he points at them. Kim’s father comes home in an uproar over Conrad being in town. Mr. McAfee and some of the other townspeople want Conrad and Albert and Rose out immediately. Mr. McAfee’s routine has been thrown off a bit and his home has been slightly taken over which makes him mad. Rose and Albert hear all this and decide to play to Mr. McAfee who runs a fertilizing plant. Albert realizes that the McAfee son has created a concoction with his chemistry set. The concoction can speed things up such as animals and plant growth. He tells McAfee is that if the concoction works on animals and they can market and sell the product they can go into business together but just as long as Kim can get into the show. The father agrees to go along with the plan only if he can get on the Ed Sullivan Show to which Albert agrees to do.
Other things happen to Kim and Hugo and Albert and Rose that I will spare you the details on. Just know that Albert and Rose end up happily ever after and his mother is taken out of the picture and Kim and Hugo make up when she realizes that Conrad is not all he is cracked up to be.
I am not a Janet Leigh fan normally I find her so annoying but I cannot even tell you how much I LOVED her in the film! Oh my goodness she was fantastic! First of all, where did her acting come from? I usually think she is quite crap but in this she was acting so well! Second, she had black hair instead of her insanely bleached hair and she looked amazing. Third, she was singing and sounded great. Fourth, and final, she was dancing and did a great job! Seriously, it was like watching a totally different Janet Leigh. She made the film for me. Ann-Margaret I believe I have only seen in the movie Tommy up to this point. She will forever be Tommy’s mom singing “Tommy can you hear me?”. She was good I liked her. There was this big dance number for all the young kids in it and her dancing skills were incredible. Dick van Dyke usually drives me nuts too but I really liked him in this. I loved his number “Put on a Happy Face”.
Bye Bye Birdie was so much to watch. If I had to pick who I am hardcore crushing on at the moment it is Arthur Darvill who played Rory Williams on Doctor Who. If he were to come to my town and had to plant a kiss on me for a TV show I would faint just like all the girls in the film did! Actually the one actor who if he were to come by and just say hey let’s go, would be Carmine Giovinazzo (Formerly Danny Messer from CSI:NY). I am not even going to go into detail about my love for that man because I would sound like a pathetic lovesick girl. The musical numbers were a great time. I will now most likely have Ann-Margaret singing “Bye Bye Birdie” stuck in my head for the rest of the week along with “Put on a Happy Face”. You do not have to know what it feels like to be a fangirl to enjoy Bye Bye Birdie. Everything about it is entertaining and silly and fun making it a definite watch.