Femslash Friday: Carmen Sandiego and Miss Scarlet -The Toast

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Previously on Femslash Friday, we’ve cut abusive tools loose and given fictional women the keys to direct their own lives. Today I want to talk about a board game character and a pretend lady from a game show for kids that prominently featured a capella music who stole stuff like “the history of medicine” and the leaning tower of Pisa, because it’s important to me that Miss Scarlet from Clue and Carmen Sandiego from Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego (oh, here’s a link to the damn song, go listen to it; I know you won’t be able to pay attention until you do) steal some diamonds and run off together into the sunset. A sexy board game piece and the evil female Indiana Jones? Yeah, I’m on board. It’s like two Catwomans (Catwomen?) getting married: awesome.

miss scarletThis is definitely the purest “Because I run this website” entry in the Femslash series. They’re not literary or even cinematic characters. Carmen Sandiego barely talks; Miss Scarlet is from a children’s board game. I can’t even claim the 1985 movie as part of this because I played the game all the time when I was a kid before I saw it so I never picture White Miss Scarlet when I think of her, just Regular Asian Miss Scarlet. I just feel like putting the two of them together, even though they don’t exist in the same game continuity, and I still own 1/3rd of this website so there’s nothing you can do about it; sorry.

There was a Clue-themed series of children’s mystery books, and they were terrible, and I loved them. The premise was always the same: for some reason Mr. Boddy was this very cheerful, fabulously wealthy naïf who was only best friends with murderous jewel thieves. He was like the Bertie Wooster of getting murdered. And I can’t find any quotes from the series online, but the setup would always be something like…oh, they’re all over watching a movie in Mr. Boddy’s screening room and everyone gets popcorn, but Miss Scarlet has popcorn with no butter and no salt and Mrs. Peacock has popcorn with salt and no butter and Mr. Green has popcorn with salt and butter (and so on), which becomes important later in identifying the killer, somehow, in a way I can’t quite remember. And then Mr. Boddy would show them all his latest treasure, and they’d all make punning asides to themselves about killing him and stealing it. So, say he had a new ruby-encrusted peacock statue, he’d show it to them and they’d all go into their killer inner monologues:

Birds of a feather flock together, thought Miss Scarlet, and I’ll have the finest feathers of them all once I’ve got that bird.

Mr. Boddy’s as dead as a dodo, thought Mr. Green.

Getting that peacock from Mr. Boddy will be as easy as duck soup, thought Mrs. White, and afterwards I’ll be free as a bird. 

I’ll be mad as a wet hen if I don’t get my hands on that statue, thought Colonel Mustard.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, thought Professor Plum, and Mr. Boddy’s a real bird-brain if he thinks he’s going to keep it away from me. 

I shouldn’t count my chickens before they’re hatched, thought Mrs. Peacock. Better keep an eagle eye on that statue the rest of the night.

That sort of thing. I just ate that shit up, I don’t know why. Oh, but by the end of every book you’d find out that Mr. Boddy wasn’t really dead, and you’d find out who tried to steal the artifact, and they’d begrudgingly give it back, and then for some horrible reason he’d invite them back to his mansion the next week. If Bruce Wayne wasn’t also Batman and suffered from weekly amnesia, he’d be Mr. Boddy, and Miss Scarlet would be his Catwoman.

Anyhow, Miss Scarlet was clearly the best of all of them because she was the only young hottie in a group of withered old chefs and ex-army dudes and non-tenured professors. She should have had a flock of Young Hottie friends. Look, if you’re a certain type of girl who grows up preferring a particular set of activities your only role models/avatars are Princess Peach and Miss Scarlet. You don’t want to be Princess Peach, necessarily, but you owe it to yourself and to women in general to select her instead of the toadstool guy when you’re playing Mario Kart, you know? Anyhow, Miss Scarlet meant a lot to me as a kid.

carmen sandiegoYou know what else meant a lot to me as a kid? Youth-oriented game shows that required an appreciation for a capella vocal work and a hell of a lot of geography knowledge. You see where I’m going with this, obviously. Carmen Sandiego is, luckily, of the same exact moral alignment as Miss Scarlet — she loves to steal and she loves to blow shit up, but nobody ever gets hurt and she never gets in any real trouble. She’s as stern as Batman but not even 1/25th as serious, which is an important distinction. She just wears giant hats and gets to live wherever she wants and never has to, like, walk home and then pay a bill and then fall asleep watching The Simpsons on her laptop. Her life’s aces. And what’s more aces than two brilliant, talented jewel thieves of color falling in love and taking on the world together? Nothing, that’s what.

Do you need more convincing? Let me present you with a meet-cute for the damn ages:

scarletcarmenfinal1“You’re never going to get the diamond out that way.”

“Excuse me? I’ve been stealing diamonds since — oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize who it was. Were you…?”

“I was, but you seem to have beat me to it.” Pause for rich and disarming laughter. A puzzling drink over an inquisitive table. Questions in both of their eyes. Then the two of them make a getaway — together. They’re both used to taking off alone.

scarletcarmenfinal02It takes a little getting used to, going somewhere with someone when you’re used to going it alone, but once you make a few adjustments, you find that two can travel just as easily as one.

Roxanne Palmer (alias Roxy Drew) is a cartoonist and science journalist. You can see her stuff at roxydrew.com and roxydrew.tumblr.com.

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