Tonight I snuggled on the couch for a while with 6-1/2 year old Riley and Blue Bear (a stuffed animal he's slept with and toted around since he was a baby. It's a bear. Guess what color?) watching a kids' movie. It was a made-for-TV flick about a show choir (pre-Glee, and MUCH more "G") called Spectacular, which originally appeared on the Nickelodeon channel. While the show itself was somewhat less than "spectacular", it did have some catchy tunes, cute characters, and the inevitable moral lesson to be learned by all.
Basically, a high school rock-star-wanna-be-lead-singer (Nikko) with a crummy attitude gets himself kicked out of his band. Desperate for money to make a demo and sell himself to a record company, he joins his school's show choir group, hoping to help them win the upcoming Championship, with its cash prize. Of course, his style clashes with that of the adorable, uptight Choir Leader (Courtney), and his old bandmates mock him, and in the end, they schedule an audition for the record label execs at the exact same time as the Championship performance.
Now, Riley is squished right up next to me, clutching his Blue Bear with one hand while intently absorbing the action. At one point when the drama was building to the big "Nikko's Decision Time", I asked him what he thought Nikko should do. He considered it very solemnly for a moment, then said, "Well, the choir guys care about him, but his band doesn't...and they're mean. So he should go sing with the choir and help them win." Then at the very end, Nikko and Courtney share a brief little smooch (which he admirably managed to watch, without retching, covering his eyes, or making rude comments, a la his 4th grade brother) and then you see Nikko recording a song in a studio, along with his old band, the entire choir as backup singers, and Courtney as his duet partner. Riley's final review, delivered as he ambled off to bed in his fleecy polar-bear-print pjs: "I liked it 'cause they all got to sing, especially Courtney and Nikko together, and they love each other."
So to summarize Riley's Rules for Life: Hang out with people who are nice, and who like you. Try to do the right thing for your friends. Listen to really happy songs, and dance as much as possible. Sing whenever you feel like it, especially if it's with someone you love. That's it. Simple, and beautiful. (Also quite possibly the recipe for World Peace...one grooving human being at a time!)