Please welcome a very funny woman (and my SIL), Jessie Jensen, with her first BCC guest post. She tweets as @JessieJensen, if you’re into that sort of thing, and you might have seen her popular “baby names” posts on her Bloggity Blog.
For better or for worse, Johnny Lingo is an inescapable part of Mormon lore, as immovable as the everlasting hills. This short film, the joint creation of the Sunday School General Board and (what is now) BYU-Hawaii and abounding in abysmal wigs, has been delighting LDS audiences for all the wrong reasons since 1969. If you’re unfamiliar with the storyline, you can view the thing in its entirety here, or you can save yourself 24 minutes of cringing and check out my handy GIF guide instead. Consolidated cringing!
We begin with the announced arrival of the much-anticipated title visitor.
Johnny, a successful trader, has returned to the island to strike a deal with Moki, the father of a (purportedly) stupid, ugly girl named Mahana.
Mahana won’t come out from her hiding place for the bridal negotiations, resulting in her abusive father gifting viewers the single most quotable line in LDS cinema:
The villagers arrive at Moki’s hut, and he and Johnny begin the haggling…
OR SO YOU MIGHT THINK.
Jude Law Johnny Lingo
Meanwhile, the ladies waste no time boasting their perceived worths.
“Really? My husband paid five cows for me.”
Women, amiright?? Always slighting each others’ purchase prices.
The crowd collectively agrees that the most Moki could possibly ask for Mahana is one cow, and that Johnny would be right to counter with a strictly-severed-appendages-only offer. Moki consults his counsellor then demands,
Johnny holds up his hand to silence the villagers, and THEN (wait til you see!)
Moki can barely reply.
Then for some reason there’s this old white guy, who is sorta the narrator, because we wouldn’t trust a Polynesian to tell the story correctly? I guess? Anyway, he asks the second most important question (the first of course being, “How will this inflation affect the island’s economy?”),
Why, indeed. Why, indeed.
The most eligible bachelor on the island, Johnny Lingo, has just offered an unprecedented eight cows for undesirable Mahana. His next stop is the general store for a gift for his new bride-to-be.
This mirror isn’t good enough for Mahana. After some back and forth, Mr. Harris eventually gives in and orders a fancier one, because…
Meanwhile, Mahana hides in the hut and doubts that Johnny will bring the cows at all. Well with THAT attitude!! She’s wrong, of course.
Moki is the proud new owner of eight cows, Johnny is the proud new owner of Mahana, everything’s settled, all that’s left is for her to timidly place her perfectly manicured hand in his.
Months later, the two return from their honeymoon. Mr. Harris locates the mirror Johnny ordered, which has been collecting dust in his shop,
Mr. Harris sets off to greet the newlyweds. As he approaches their home, he sees Mahana’s father storming away, hollering about having been cheated. Cheated?? What on earth could Moki mean?
Mr. Harris forgets his manners and spends the next few minutes staring intensely and repeating her name.
Blah blah blah, something about Johnny wanting a wife who knew she was better than all the other wives…