It's no secret that Mary Poppins is kind of a wacked-out acid trip of a movie. The characters leap into paintings and chase penguins around, and there's a lady with a bag with a portal to another dimension in it, and people float and fly, and nearly everybody acts like all this craziness is just another Tuesday.
Julie Andrews' Mary is the focus of all the drugged-out wackiness; her name is the title, after all. But watch the movie again, and this time pay closer attention to Dick Van Dyke's character, Bert. If the whole movie is a secret drug-fueled romp through early-20th-century London, Bert is the dealer -- and that dude is slangin' some fine-ass crystal. And Mary? Why, she is his No. 1 customer.
Sound far-fetched? Well, all the evidence is right there in the movie, beginning with the fact that ...
5Bert And Mary Can't Hold Down Jobs
The star of a one-man band, sidewalk artist, chimney sweep, and kite salesman are all self-employed positions. So it's a little odd for a middle-aged man to experiment with each of these four positions in as many days. However, this is exactly what Bert does. He can't possibly be making much from these menial jobs, yet he wants for nothing. He has the care-free attitude of a billionaire who takes up pottery one day and tries out hunting humans for sport the next.
And lives as a penguin the day after that.
Mary Poppins, on the other hand, seems to have a more solid job history. She's a nanny, and she seems to have been one for a long time. It's mentioned that she never stays with one family for too long, so she's either really good at her job or she's an airborne idiot who's pissed off every one of her former employers. Weird job durations aside, she sounds like a great hire. Her Angie's List reviews would be through the roof, but each would mention her frequent need for days off.
The moment she meets the Banks family, she mentions that she needs every other Tuesday off. Then, only two days into her employment, she tricks Mr. Banks into taking the kids for the day, probably so she could go on a wild meth binge under a magical bridge, or wherever this dangerous loon lives when she isn't feeding drugs to children to get them to sleep.
Most likely this bridge.
Weird. For such a stern, studious, and demanding (but ultimately pleasant) person, she sure doesn't want to do her job all that much. It's like she has something deep in her veins that's pulling her away from what she loves, sort of like how addiction causes a neglect of work responsibilities.
These would be easily ignorable outliers in an otherwise straightforward Disney flick, if not for the fact that ...
4Mary And Bert Have A Friend Who's Clearly A Drug Addict
Early in the movie, Mary and Bert are called upon to help an interesting character named Uncle Albert, who has a very common problem: He's laughing so uncontrollably that he's floated into the air and gotten stuck on the ceiling. We've all been there.
Mary and Bert rush to Albert's aid, and Mary drags the kids with her because she's just so, so very bad at her job. Sure enough, Albert is laughing and floating like he just chugged a cocktail of the Joker's laughing toxin and Willy Wonka's Fizzy-Lifting drinks. He is, quite literally, high. This scene sets up a metaphor that runs through the rest of the movie: "Laughing" is code for "that good shit that Bert's selling."
"'Ello! Wot'chu need, sir? Precious crystals? Magic powders? Sticky leaves?"
Bert does nothing to talk him down, only adding to it by telling Albert jokes to keep him floating, because Bert is an enabler and a goddamn sociopath. Albert is eventually talked down from his high when Mary says it's time to take the kids back home. Uncle Albert gets sad and floats back down to the floor, where he pulls a 180 and sobs violently.
As it happens, certain drugs -- meth, for example -- are known to cause surges of euphoria that can come crashing down in an instant.
The Uncle Albert episode of Intervention would be incredible.
While we're on the topic of meth: It might be worth mentioning that it can be swallowed, snorted, injected, or smoked. Mary Poppins knows that, and she even sings about it in this scene's musical number, "I Love To Laugh":
Some people laugh through their noses
Some people laugh through their teeth, goodness sakes.
After the babysitter goes over the various ways in which a person could become a walking "Faces Of Meth" poster, her trusty sidekick Bert pipes up and explains the concept of binging to further account for exactly what's happening to Albert:
Some laugh too fast
Some only blast -- ha!
Although Mary is not at all impressed by what happened at Uncle Albert's house, she still promises the children that she'll bring them back to see him again soon, because what kid can resist a second visit to a tweaker's meth den?