Sunday, April 6, 2014

i played the game

Hopper's helping Andrea deal with Eddie's body... I don't remember them talking about Eddie previously. I think he's Andrea's ex-partner. Oh, he's alive.

Day Break again. But, I'm also most of the way through Groundhog Day for today already. I was cheating a little. Limited time because I was judging at a high school debate tournament most of the day and then went out to dinner with two of my kids. Got home and just had to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones but don't want to stay up until all hours of the night because I have plans tomorrow.

New resumption on Day Break.

But, I was telling the story about Game of Groundhogs; that is to say, I turned on Games of Thrones on one screen and Groundhog Day on another. Now, I could have simply ignored Groundhog Day and claimed I had watched it, but no, I did my best to pay attention to both and got some awesome moments out of the juxtaposition.

For example, as Phil talked to Larry about his sweater, Prince Oberyn was hitting on the Littlefinger stand-in. So, it was like Phil was hitting on Larry there at that same brothel, which added a whole new layer to things.

Meanwhile, Hopper called Andrew to tell her to avoid Eddie today (because he's going to get violent and she's going to have to fight him off later) but she takes the call with Eddie beside her in bed. And, Eddie is played by Nestor Carbonell who I know from Bates Motel and Lost so I would totally remember if he'd been in the first three episodes; pretty sure he was not... Not the most natural character introduction.

But, back to Game of Groundhogs...

The next link: Tyrion and Phil said "I don't know" like less than a second apart. Not that exciting, but kinda cool.

Sansa goes off to be alone--she's understandably upset after, you know, horrible treatment by her previous fiancé, not to mention the death of numerous family members now--just as Phil heads to the psychiatrist... time for dealing with some psychological issues, I suppose.

Nice timing on some dialogue: Jaime says, "Odd little man" as Phil says, "Take it like a man."

The next one was rather funny. Game of Thrones cuts from a statue of Joffrey to Joffrey himself looking rather a) thoughtful or b) thoughtless, just as Phil says, "Intelligent, supportive, funny. Me, me, me." The line went perfectly with Joffrey nodding. While I wouldn't call Joffrey any of those three things, I suppose he might believe himself all three. And, he's king, so we probably shouldn't disagree openly.

Meanwhile, Hopper and his sister are arguing about some family issues... stuff's getting a little melodramatic. I like the way this show edits current time with flashes of previous days... And Hopper just gunned down the two guys who keep following him around and almost killed his sister's abusive boyfriend (husband?), Randall. She is surprisingly willing to converse now considering a) Hopper just killed two guys in front of her, b) Hopper put the gun on Randall, and c) she and Hopper were just arguing like a minute ago.

Back to Game of Groundhogs...

Daario offers flowers to Daenerys just as Phil offers white chocolate to Rita. Daenerys, Mother of Dragons, was more welcoming than Rita the Robot.

And, I think Eddie just shot Andrea while Hopper listened in on the phone. This particular day has involved a lot of shooting.

Maybe the best Game of Groundhogs moment: The Hound smashes a guy's face into a knife over and over and Rita asks, "What could he be thinking?"

And, the episode ended as Phil drove off the cliff to his death.

This episode of Day Break is called "What if he can change the day." I think Eddie might be Hopper's ex-partner (who he got fired over a failed drug test). And, the plot is getting convoluted. Eddie's looking for drugs, and Andrea and her CI have some monetary deal going on that is not on the up and up (if cops paying CIs for information can be said to be on the up and up).

Andrea: "Every morning I wake up and I think maybe today will be different." She means Eddie will stop using drugs, but, you know, she totally stole that line from Hopper's brain.

Meanwhile, as Eddie's got a gun to Andrea's head in a standoff with Hopper, a taste of Benesh (2011):

The overall movement is from separation to union, linear goal orientation to circular relational orientation, the darkness of sad, blue unconsciousness to white enlightenment, and, ultimately, from phallic narcissism to the assimilation of healthy, grounded animal instinct. For example, the groundhog evolves from a looming sign that dwarfs the van containing Phil Connors (Gilbey, 2004, p. 73) to a beautiful mandala with Phil Connors at its center (Thompson, 1999). In the meantime, the groundhog...

Meanwhile, Andrea calls Hopper first thing in the morning--something new. Residual from the previous day. She's taking Eddie to rehab and she's going to tell IA the truth about, you know, stuff. Details, details. The point is, Hopper can affect other aspects of the day. And, the plot thickens. Photo Hopper's got (something I skipped) turns out to be from a case that a) Eddie was lead detective on, and b) that also involved Hopper's father. I forgot how quickly this show got so complicated. I'm not that surprised it was cancelled (or that I liked it).

Back to Benesh (as I turn on the rest of Groundhog Day):

...the groundhog has been crushed, burned, and consumed, literally, in most cases, as well as figuratively, just as its shadow protagonist Phil Connors has... (Benesh, 2011, p. 106)

I will spare you the point-by-point breakdown. A lot of it would be repetitious, anyway.

There's a pink tab here labeled "Billboard-->Mandala" and, I've written in the margin the following:

1. Phil is overshadowed by the billboard Punxsutawney Phil.

2. He breaks the oversized Punx. Phil by crashing into it.

3. He kills the literal groundhog and himself.

4. He is framed by groundhogs in the mandala.

I'd elaborate on that progression like this: Phil is overshadowed by a superficial version of himself (taking Benesh's (and my own) juxtaposition of human Phil and groundhog Phil), Phil destroys that version of himself even though he is only just beginning to celebrate his hedonistic tendencies, he kills the groundhog and himself after he has failed to do something better (pursuing Rita), and finally, human Phil--the better version of himself--is framed in the mandala of quilted groundhog Phils.

Before I go, I would share the very next bit of Benesh, and this I will nitpick:

...and by the end of the film, the groundhog's next partner, Larry the cameraman, has been selected. Similarly, in the breathing metaphor Phil Connors changes from blowhard to re-animator and giver of breath. (p. 106)

The "partner" bit seems like another stretch. But, that is what Benesh does. I've suggested, of course, that Larry hitting on Nancy is, as a character, a lot like Phil was back when he was hitting on Nancy. So, yeah, Larry does, in a way, fill the role Phil once had. But, Phil was never partner to Punxsutawney Phil. Take them as some significant pairing, twisted doppelgangers maybe, but that is not the same thing as being partners.

And, with that "giver of breath" line, Benesh finishes (and I finish critiquing (insulting?)) her chapter on "findings." There is not much left.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to juxtapose various films, television shows, real world conversations, whatever comes, and make sense of all of it.*

(* Someday, I'll tell a story that fell through the cracks of the Groundhog Day Project that involves just that. But not today.)

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