Madison is the mermaid character in Splash and Splash, Too movies. In the first movie Madison was portrayed by actresses Daryl Hannah (older) and Shayla Mackarvich (younger), and in the second movie by actress Amy Yasbeck. Some of the underwater scenes were doubled by Arlene Klein in Splash, Too.
Madison and Allen's first met as children, when Allen jumped overboard on a cruiser after seeing Madison.
Years later, Madison saves Allen's life. Afterward she finds Allen's wallet, that had dropped to the bottom of the sea, and decides to return it to him, and goes to dry land for 6 days. She gets arrested by the police for nudity, and Allen is called to pick her up. Madison learn to speak English from television. They spend lots of time together, and she and Allen fall in love. However Madison was shown as a mermaid to the whole world when she got splashed outside a restaurant, and captured by scientists. After that, Allen was avoiding her, because he had no idea she was mermaid, but later he saved her from the lab, because he realized that he loves her. They drove to the bay, and then jumped into the water, while escaping the military. Allen joined Madison in the underwater world, which was supposed to be one time deal. They got married in a Neptune Ceremony.
Years later Madison and Allen go back to dry land to save Allen's family business that has gone under while he was gone. Madison finds her old friend Salty the dolphin in an aquarium. Madison helping Salty puts her on edge with Allen, and she leaves for a while to look for Salty's mate in the ocean. After Madison returns to rescue Salty, she and Allen make up, and release Salty together. Afterwards Madison decides to stay on land with Allen.
Madison is the archetypical fish-out-of-water in the most literal sense. Based upon Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid (albeit 8 years older than his original character), she is the forerunner to that especially-famous Disney Princess: Ariel; innocently curious about the human world and prone to fall in love with the first man she saves from drowning. She finds herself in the city which supposedly has no happy endings: New York. This city provides the backdrop to Madison's angst, her drama, and her many comedic contributions to the already-quite-humorous story. Out of innocence and necessity, she at first enters New York naked and then wearing Allen's clothes. She then gets said Allen into a number of awkward little situations as she is excited by everything she encounters, and names herself after Madison Avenue. She cries while watching "Bonanza" on television, thinking that a man shooting another man on-screen is in fact a real murder, and then receives a gift offered by Allen under the assumption that the package itself is the extent of the gift. She later is at a fancy restaurant and reveals that mermaids are not accustomed to cutlery....
Still, what endears the audience to Madison as a character is not that her deeds are done with ignorance, but that they are done with innocence. She is as likely to express herself by kissing as by speaking, swift to forgive even those who do the most horrible things to her, courageous in a preciously-gentle manner, and seems to be most motivated by love. As a very clever move on the part of the filmmakers, Madison is the only representative of merfolk in the movie and is thus a sort of goodwill ambassador. In the aquatic realm of the final film, there is no sea-witch, no petty political backbiting, nothing to convince the viewer that merfolk are merely humans with fins. Madison is so beautiful a being as to seem ethereal (and the film's lighting at times emphasizes this), and thus we are invited to view her world with the same childlike wonder with which she views ours; it is almost like having "the Little Flower of Jesus" (Saint Theresa of Lisieux) as one's only exposure to France. Thus, when we see her descend into the dark depths with Allen in tow, the latter having lost his home and his family, we can nevertheless expect that he will live happily ever after (until the sequel). We just can't see how a world which values such wonderful things could be bad.
Hannah was chosen to play the role of Madison because she exuded a sort of innocence which seemed otherworldly, and it was because of this quality that the character has become so iconic. She is the sole reason that "Madison" has become one of the most-popular names for girls (it is currently the 7th-most popular in the U.S.A.; in 2003 it was the 2nd-most popular); a fairy-tale creature who somehow seems more real because she is so unreal. Madison is the exemplar from which all major Disney mermaids have since been drawn, from Ariel in 1989's The Little Mermaid to Syrena in 2011's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides , and she will remain an inspiration to those who wish to bring their own mermaids to life.
Powers and Abilities
- Mermaid Tail: Madison can swim faster and more efficiently than even a military man in scuba gear, and can use her tail to evade hazards in the water.
- Water Breathing: In mermaid form, Madison can breathe water as well as air and can thus remain submerged indefinitely.
- Vocal Modulation: Madison's real name is a sound so high-pitched that it can shatter glass, which suggest that her natural speech patterns are much like those of the bottle-nosed dolphin (though it is unknown whether she can speak with them or other cetacean non-human persons). Nevertheless, she can also speak human dialects with ease and even possesses a limited ability to read and speak English (which she enhances by imitating what she sees on television).
- Mermaid Kiss: Madison's kiss bestows the ability to breathe underwater, so long as the recipient remains in fairly close proximity to her. She gives this kiss freely to those people (and objects) for which she has affection, but the resulting water breathing ability is only bestowed if the kiss is delivered underwater while Madison is in full mermaid form.
- Mermaid Metamorphosis: Due to her human half being the dominant characteristic, Madison may at times transform into a full human being. Doing this requires her entire body to have been out of the water long enough to have completely dried off, at which point it will transform into a pair of human legs. However, Madison's connection to the sea means that she must transform back into a mermaid once every 24 hours (though this was only specifically stated in a deleted scene involving Madison's meeting with the sea witch), which is accomplished by bathing her legs in salt water. Additionally, despite the convenience of being able to assume both human and mermaid forms, the transformation is not consciously voluntary; merely splashing Madison with a sufficient quantity of water will cause her legs to instinctively be drawn together by muscular spasms and revert to a mermaid tail.
- Her real name is unpronounceable by humans.
- When she watched "Bonanza" on television, she thought it was real murder when a man shot another man.
- Madison is mentioned when another Mermaid named Mellisande is discovered.