In Which Jenn Notes Something Odd About “Jolly Holiday”

Mary Poppins

A truly great animated film transcends age, appealing to audiences of all ages. Of course, sometimes there are jokes aimed squarely adults that fly merrily over the kids’ heads, often sexual, political, or otherwise sly. When we go back and re-view the films of our childhoods, it’s not uncommon to have a couple OHHHHH moments.

Patty cake Roger Rabbit

Here’s my favorite: in Mary Poppins, there’s an entire verse of the “Jolly Holiday” song dedicated to the fact that unlike many men, you can totally trust Bert not to rape you.

Let’s break it down.

Mary Poppins sings:

Oh, it’s a jolly holiday with you, Bert
Gentlemen like you are few [BERT: A vanishing breed, that’s me]
Though you’re just a diamond in the rough, Bert
Underneath your blood is blue [BERT: Common knowledge!]

Okay, MPopps, with you so far: you’re saying Bert is a blue collar worker with a genteel soul. Do go on.

You’d never think of pressing your advantage
Forbearance is the hallmark of your creed [BERT: True]

So, like, Bert’s #1 rule is not to hit on girls? Okay, that’s fair. What else?

A lady needn’t fear when you are near
Your sweet gentility is crystal clear

A lady needn’t fear? And this is a vanishing breed? What the hell are the men in Edwardian England like?

It’s cool though, ladies; you can be sure Bert won’t sexually assault you. What a guy.

(Actually, I know why they did this – P.L. Travers insisted that there be no sexual or romantic tension between Mary Poppins and Bert,* and I guess this verse was drawing the explicit line. But geez, guys. Subtle much?)

* Julie Andrews is on record as saying that she hopes the two got together all the same. Also she assures us that Mary Poppins both uses the bathroom and has orgasms. God, I love her.

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