The classic BYU film and staple of ancient seminary classes, Johnny Lingo (link is to Part 1 – also see Part 2 and Part 3), features a handsome and wealthy Polynesian trader who comes to an island to buy a wife, Mahanna, who others say is ugly. She knows how to cook, sure, but other jealous women can’t figure why Johnny would be attracted to her. The father figures she’s only worth a pig or maybe a cow, dowry wise, but Johnny shocks the island community by offering an unprecedented treasure of eight cows as if she were the ultimate prize. An eight cow wife! As a result, the ugly ducking realizes she must be beautiful and suddenly gets better hair, teeth, skin, and legs. She becomes so beautiful that the father, once shocked with the offer of eight cows, sees that she could have fetched 10 cows and now accuses Johnny of having cheated him. It’s a faith promoting movie that helps audiences understand how much good can be achieved by dating someone rich, and helps young women realize how important it is to be hot. The most important thing of all.
As inspiring as that old movie is, the cultural setting is hard for audiences to relate to. It’s time for an update, and I’ve got a proposal: Johnny Bingo and the Eight Bailout Wife.
Johnny Bingo begins in a paradisaical Caribbean island setting where families of failed Wall Street firms are living in a “Bankstah Paradise.” Sports cars, private jets, dozens of servants, and luxury 24/7. But everyone is in suspense when mega-billionaire and Wall Street hot-shot Johnny Bingo comes to the island. Johnny is the shrewdest trader of all, having led Wall Street’s biggest failure of all, the one that took down most of the US economy. He has come to take a wife!
Everyone assumes he will go after the most beautiful, but he surprises the community by announcing that he wishes to marry Hanna Mae, a Dartmouth accounting grad who really knows how to cook (the books). Unfortunately, Hanna Mae is essentially worthless, her father explains, because she has four criminal cases against her that are pending, as well as pending investigations by Congress, the FBI, and the SEC, plus an IRS audit in the works. He figures the dowry she brings in won’t be more than a few thousand stock options and a Congressman or two. But Johnny Bingo shocks the community with his offer: in addition to 50 million euros, Johnny Bingo will pay off the judges in each of the four criminal cases, will pay off all of Congress, the FBI, the SEC, and the IRS. That’s right, he offers eight bailouts, and Hanna Mae (a.k.a. Mae Hanna) is to be an eight bailout wife!
Hanna Mae can finally relax, and has the time and money to get the dental work, face lift, hair styling, and liposuction that she’s been yearning for (indeed, her attorneys had advised her to stay ugly because many juries despise those who are rich and beautiful). She joins Johnny Bingo’s firm, and with her financial skills, guides him in raiding massive pensions, creating complex new forms of financial derivatives, and generally perpetrating incredible fraud on Wall Street that brings the global economy to horrific new lows, immune from prosecution because he owns much of Washington and has pre-paid for a Presidential pardon should anything stick. Hanna Mae and Johnny Bingo return to the island, where everyone admires Hanna Mae’s new beauty and grovels at Johnny’s delicately sculpted feet with diamond-studded platinum toe rings, before learning that Johnny has bought the island and they are all being evicted. Hanna Mae’s father accuses Johnny Bingo of being a crook and of having cheated them all, but he disappears before he can testify. It’s a faith-promoting story that reminds us all how important it is to be rich and well connected, while still emphasizing old-fashioned values like the importance of being hot.
Any of you have connections with the BYU film department?