Sunday, October 27, 2013

or were you just making chitchat?

I had a weird thought watching Groundhog Day last night...

Which could really be any night, I suppose.

I imagine Phil on the last day of the time loop--he's got a list in his head of all the "errands" he has to run, and he's been driven so mad by all the repeated February 2nds that every item on his list is just as important as the next. So, Buster choking is just as important as that woman's inability to light her cigarette. And, those old ladies' tire--that's just as important as the broken leg of that boy in the tree.

And, a Phil who is that far gone would probably be better off inside the time loop. Or, at least, the world outside the loop--

(Assuming the world beyond the loop even exists.)

--might be better off with him locked safely away in Punxsutawney. And, really, if he was in the time loop as long as some people say--

  • Wolf Gnards says 8.7 years
  • Simon Gallagher says 33 years, 350 days
  • Harold Ramis counters with 30 to 40 years
  • in the original script, Phil celebrated his 263rd "birthday"
  • and Danny Rubin has said 10,000 years

    --the town would be his entire world. He'd know that Pittsburgh exists, might even remember he was from there, but he's probably have no useful memory of his time there, of his family or his friends (assuming he had any).

    The interesting thing is, the longer he was in the time loop, the less his transformation is some great thing to be admired. Consider it. If all he knows are the townspeople of Punxsutawney, he wouldn't even know how to look down on them like he used to. And, given the repetition of his life, most of his old ways of looking at, well, just about anything, would be gone. Like Suzanne Daughton says, "Phil's situation, trapped in the time loop, parallels that of the economically disenfranchised." But, it's also more than that. Phil has been disenfranchised right out of life itself. He does not and probably cannot know how life really works anymore. His early days, or even weeks, outside the time loop will be painful.

    He will have to relearn some very basic things like brushing his teeth, like doing laundry, like watching television--he had to have given up on that a long time ago, even if the Cherry Street Inn has great cable for 1993. He will have to reacquaint himself with crossing the street, with meeting new people...

    And, this entry was supposed to be longer. But, really, it's a simple idea. The longer the time loop lasted, the less normal Phil's life became, the harder it would be to get back to something normal.

    Of course, my nerd side wants to nitpick because obviously, the time loop lasted only 24 hours, duh.

    How long it was from Phil's perspective, though...

    Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to lose track of all the institutions that make modern life so unbearable sometimes.

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