Where did sex+bluebirds+complicated public dancing come from?
January 19, 2010 4:54 AM   Subscribe

Where did the whole iconography of being recently sexed, skipping down the street, bluebirds landing on shoulders, and people joining in on a complicated dance routine thing come from?


Panel 4 mentions it and I definitely remember seeing it in 500 Days of Summer...
posted by maykasahara to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Bjork's "Oh So Quiet" video is an example, I think, but I am not sure where it started.
posted by handee at 5:06 AM on January 19, 2010

It's from a Viagra ad campaign
posted by asockpuppet at 5:10 AM on January 19, 2010

Bjork? Viagra campaigns? You people are way too young. This is not a recently developed phenomenon.

I haven't seen Disney's 'Bambi' in, oh, thirty years or so, but I remember a springtime number in which all of the animals of the forest are 'twitterpated,' i.e. suddenly interested in animals of the opposite sex. I think there were bluebirds and music, but maybe not the dance routine part.
posted by jon1270 at 5:15 AM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

The whole bluebirds on the shoulder thing is from 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Da' from Disney's Song of the South
posted by pupdog at 5:16 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

It starts with a kiss, but this was the 50's: Singing in the Rain
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:20 AM on January 19, 2010

The "Bluebird of Happiness" idea goes back well before Song of the South, even. Pretty good overview here. I think the most relevant examples are probably:

1909: Maurice Maeterlinck published The Blue Bird, a fairy tale about the bluebird of happiness.

(Downloadable here.)
[Maeterlinck's play was made into a film many times, beginning in 1910.]

1934: tenor Jan Peerce made the song "Bluebird of Happiness" a nationwide hit. The tune was used in the early 40's for the Dawn Patrol radio show sponsored by the Pep Boys automotive chain.

"And when he sings to you,
Though you're deep in blue,
You will see a ray of light creep through...
Life is sweet, tender and complete,
when you find the bluebird of happiness."

(Song here.)

But it probably was Song of the South that popularized the image of the bluebird of happiness landing on one's shoulder.

In recent times, the joyous singing and dancing that accompanies the appearance of the bluebird of happiness has been further associated with having just been laid. I guess that development is pretty natural.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:35 AM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

Minus the strangers joining in or animation, I remember Ross from friends doing it way back in the 90's. It was the first time I'd ever seen it, but I'm only 30. Singing in the Rain is the first instance I can think of too, but again that's only a kiss.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:46 AM on January 19, 2010

TVTropes has a list of examples where this has occurred, but it doesn't identify the origin.
posted by pemberkins at 5:49 AM on January 19, 2010

Oh, but I should point out that not everything on the list I posted is the full-out bluebirds and dancing.
posted by pemberkins at 5:52 AM on January 19, 2010

It dates from about the time it became awkward/unfashionable to show two adults smoking on screen.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:27 AM on January 19, 2010

I don't think the connection is as literal as all that. The depiction of someone feeling a delirious happiness as being surrounded by birds, finding flowers and sniffing them joyfully, skipping...it's been around a long time. Delirious happiness can be caused by a lot of things.

The wit you're noting is in depicting its happening after sex, a la Bridget Jones, when in older media it was sometimes depicted at springtime (related to sex, sure), generic romance, or just simple contentment - the scene in Disney's Snow White, for instance, where the birds flock around her admiringly. In other words, what was once presented as a more innocent, less prurient kind of happiness gets some humor value by being presented in a modern and non-fairy-tale context, connected directly to The Nasty.
posted by Miko at 8:18 AM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

it probably originated with someone feeling the gaiety of life after having sex. it has probably been portrayed in theatre for as long as theatre as existed, i.e. millenia.
posted by randomstriker at 1:31 PM on January 19, 2010

Miko is right. I remember it being used to great effect in the movie Nine to Five, during Lily Tomlin's fantasy scene about her sexistegotisticallyinghypocriticalbigot of a boss, Mr. F. Hart, circa 1980. That scene, incidentally, had nothing to do with sex, but Tomlin's character was deliriously happy (of course they were riffing off Disney, which made it even funnier).

posted by LuckySeven~ at 3:39 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Till there was you" (as sung by the Beatles, but originally written for The Music Man) was written in 1957. That clip doesn't include the part about the birds, but they're in there. This is definitely not where it starts (as covered above), but is an interesting example.
posted by dizziest at 4:24 PM on January 19, 2010

When you say "recently sexed," I had a terrible image of an innocent chick being sexed...

As I struggle to get that image out of my head, everything Pater Aletheias wrote and then some.

(Plus also, the next time I'm in such a situation, I may very well offer thanks to someone for "sexing" me.)

Does the imagery not seem appropriate to you? Or were you only wondering when it started?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:30 PM on January 19, 2010

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