By Jeanne Marie Laskas
Sunday, March 23, 2008

One small cheese pizza and one medium with mushrooms and green peppers, with pepperoni on half. It's movie night. Just Mom and Dad and our two girls. We usually do this once a week.

The pizza order arrives, but is only vaguely correct. I'm taking the pepperoni off the small and putting it on half the medium, while the girls cue up the movie. Sasha, 7, comes storming into the kitchen, followed by her sister, Anna, who is about to turn 9.

"Mom, that guy just said a bad word," she announces. Anna is nodding, indicating that the two of them have discussed this and decided it was best to report it.

"Um, which word?" I ask.

"S-H," Sasha says.

Really? What the heck movie did we pick? "Blades of Glory," a silly Will Ferrell comedy. Someone gave it to us, and we never got around to watching until now. The girls requested it when they saw it was about ice skating, because they love ice skating. It has curse words in it?

Really? "Are you girls sure?" I ask.

"Mom," Anna reports, "he just turned to the guy and said, 'Oh, shut up.' "

Oh, that bad word. My goodness, my girls are sheltered.

True, we don't say "Shut up" in our house, but it's not a really, really bad word, and maybe it's consistent with the guy's character? Why are they reporting this mild infraction? I wonder if it's because this is a parent-sanctioned movie and therefore I'm somehow responsible for the content. I have a vague suspicion that I'm heading into unchartered territory.

I summon my husband, and we all head to the couch with our respective plates of pizza. Will Ferrell's skating is hilarious but not half as funny as Jon Heder's girly hair and peacock outfit. My girls don't know what to make of the peacock outfit. Sasha says it's pretty but looks stupid on a boy. Anna says the boy looks like a girl, anyway. I'm wondering how to explain the joke.

The two skaters hate each other, and Anna looks at me when she hears "hate," another forbidden word in our house. The skaters get into a fistfight, and one of them says, "Shut up" again. Because of the fight, the guys get banned from the skating world, and Jon Heder's father disowns him, kicking him out of the car. It's funny because it's so ridiculous. I turn to look at Anna, and she has her hands over her ears and her eyes squeezed shut.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company