Watching The Girl Can't Help It (dir. Frank Tashlin, 1956), I thought of an exchange from Ghost World (dir. Terry Zwigoff, 2001). Rebecca Doppelganger and Enid Coleslaw are attending a high-school graduation party:
Rebecca: This is so bad it's almost good.Those two descriptions cover most of the ninety-seven minutes of The Girl Can't Help It. But there are several minutes in the film that are plainly good — among them, those of a beautiful lip-synced performance by the Platters. As the group pretends to sings "You'll Never Know," there are two brief crowd shots of Diane Arbus-like strangeness:
Enid: This is so bad it's gone past good and back to bad again.
[Click for larger views.]
These shots were no doubt meant for laughs. In my house, we screamed, "went back" (can't say rewind anymore), hit Pause, and screamed again. Aiee!
Here's a portfolio of Arbus' photographs (browse at your risk).