Tomorrowland and Groundhog Day and Me
Joan Kelly says she kept waiting for Megan or Don to wake up because their engagement seemed like a dream. I understand. Although I did not feel like it was a dream, I recognize the dreamlike qualities, specifically when it gears toward suspension. Weiner has captured the juxtaposition of suspension and dreams, hence, the over appropriate use of Sonny and Cher’s song “I Got You Babe,” to end Tomorrowland. In the movie, Groundhog Day, “I Got You Babe” is the song that wakes up Phil Connors every morning. Personally, ending the episode of Tomorrowland with “I Got You Babe” is very coincidental to what I am going through psychologically.
It was just last Thursday afternoon that my poor daughter had to hear me bear my soul, something that happens when I am overwhelmingly frustrated. She claims she doesn’t mind, just, “Why does it have to happen in the car?” We began the conversation about the rain, or what one could call rain out here. It has been typical October weather. I can recall several Halloweens associated with a light rain, or for people who are accustomed to actual rain, a continuous mist. I welcome the mist. In southern California, particularly along the coast, the weather is the same, every day, day in, day out, the same perfect 68 -78 degree weather, sunny, light breeze, etc. People who are not used to coastal Southern California weather tend to be in awe of its majesty at first meeting. Maybe it is not a handicap for people born and raised here, but to me, it is my prison. I love stories, I love memories, and I especially love remembering memories by remembering the time of the year those memories happened. That is difficult to do in California, thus the reason I believe I tend to lump the last twelve years into one. Before I lived in California, I just had to think of the season and I could recall the year and month when an event happened in my life. Now, it just is. The reality is, you can get too much of a good thing (particularly, the weather) and it is driving me fucking crazy. I want to need a coat. I want to need an umbrella. I want to get wet because I’d forgotten an umbrella. I want to cross a bloody fucking river!
During my rant, and there was nothing particularly bothering me at the time, I had a revelation and screamed out, IT IS FUCKING GROUNDHOG DAY! EVERY FUCKING DAY IS GROUNDHOG DAY. The problem is, Phil Connors has the luxury to move forward if he changes his evil ways. Don is stuck in Groundhog Day because instead of facing his past, in which Dr. Faye was trying to push him into, he prefers reverting to the safety of familiarity, –Groundhog Day. He ain’t ready for February 3, but he certainly has the means if he had the courage (He earned around $500,000 when SCDP was sold to the British).
Again, this is another monumental difference not afforded to people without means. I’ve known many of people who self-reflect and are psychologically ready to move forward but lack the means to do so physically, as in moving and changing something that is suppressing growth (moving forward), as in an unhappy woman with several children leaving a husband who she has become financially dependent. Or someone who knows they must change careers or go to school and simply cannot afford to leave work or lose the small medical insurance they currently have, or stop looking for work and go to school if they are in fact among the unemployed.
Then there are examples (fictitious or otherwise) of people who have all the means in the world, yet they remain trapped in a psychological prison of their own making. Nothing physical is keeping the Dons of the world from moving forward. However, he is rooted for by the masses while the abused woman is asked why doesn’t she just leave or the unemployed is asked, why don’t you just take a job at McDonald’s until you can find something better.
I just want to fucking scream. Oppression is Groundhog Day!
What happens if one is in a metaphorically physical and psychological prison? Is it as glamorous as the rich man’s Groundhog Day? Or like the paralysis theme James Joyce visits repeatedly in Dubliners. Or the residuals of slavery. There is nothing glamorous about paralysis. Paralysis suck, well it does if you are aware of it.
Peggy and Joan do not know it yet, but they too are living in Groundhog Day, –sexism works on a continuous time loop.
What a lovely scene when Peggy and Joan griped about Don and Megan. Not that either one is jealous. I will not accept that conclusion from anyone. Joan has the baby she wants, unfortunately, she has a rapist husband, who isn’t the father, but maybe that nasty bastard will die in Vietnam. I mean honestly. He is able to call all the way from Vietnam and all he can worry about is if her breasts are getting bigger. Of course, she wasn’t much better, focusing her conversation on Don. Just goes to show that their union isn’t satisfying. And it is not like Peggy wanted Don, I think she was truly bothered by the fact that she didn’t get any glory for bringing in some money to SCDP, something if a male had done would have trumped a marriage announcement. At first I thought Joan succumbs to social pressure in wanting a baby, but now I think she is slowly realizing she must make a life for herself outside of work. If work will not bring her satisfaction then maybe a baby will. Peggy is still hoping that work will satisfy her life. Unfortunately, for Joan and Peggy it is not just a matter of them changing their evil ways. Unlike Don, their problems are bigger than the personal.