Monday, June 23, 2014

you gotta check your mirrors

Watching Tru Calling again, and Luc and Tru have known each other for more than a month now according to dialogue but Tru's brother and Tru's best friend only got together like once according to dialogue, even though those things happened a day apart if anyone would bother with actual continuity. Groundhog Day doesn't have this problem, but imagine a Groundhog Day TV series... like Day Break minus the cops and criminals or Tru Calling minus the talking dead people. It would end up having a whole lot of continuity problems. Unless they had an entire crew of writers and producers responsible for nothing but continuity.

Continuity is good. Groundhog Day doesn't have much in the way of continuity errors. The Phil Sign Girl's disappearing friend is the big one.

That the DJ banter and the street scene outside don't have quite the same timing from Day 1 to Day 2 would be a little one.

(I've gone over errors before, so let's not linger.)

Continuity got me to thinking about Carl Rogers' phenomenonal field--I just wrote about it on one of my final exams, so it's still in my head. Basically, one element of it is the idea of congruence, consistency between who you are and what you do, an internal/external thing. Continuity.

Incongruence causes stress. Consider the following: Phil Connors is not a bad guy. But he acts like one because he doesn't know any better. That's incongruence, and because of it, he isn't happy. Congruence, for Rogers, leads to growth. And, that is Groundhog Day in a nutshell, then, if we assume Phil was at heart a good guy from the start.

Ugh, and Harrison, Tru's brother, just said something happened "the other day." I hate both him and the writer of this episode now. And dialogue later specifically establishes that Harrison was referring to yesterday. Which means Tru's had two loop days in a row, even though the show insists they come maybe once a week. For a whole long bit about "the other day" read Day 47 - we can see each other tomorrow.

And, I want to talk about personal continuity--congruence--but I also don't. I'm doing my best to be on the outside more of who I think I am on the inside, which is better than I used to be, on the outside. Lately, I think I'm even doing a pretty good job of it. So, I'm finding myself with less to say than expected.

And, that's a good thing.

So, a fourth episode of Tru Calling for today...

It's a High School Reunion episode--do people have 5-year reunions? Reunion makes me think of the time loop Charmed episode "Deja Vu All Over Again." Tru may be heading to the dry cleaners to get some pants, which makes me think of the Oscar-nominated short, Time Freak. And, it occurs to me that a) one show like this can take me back to entires I've written, other shows or movies I've seen, things that have happened in, you know, the real world, and b) I rather like that this blog lately involves a lot of links backward into itself. It's like the blog itself is becoming a giant loop, or loops within loops.

A third of the way into the episode, the death and resumption has just happened. And, my daughter Saer and I have solved the "case" for this one. We should totally be TV detectives.

And another Tru Calling. "The Longest Day." Judging by the shot just--already on the resumption--of a guy missing when he tries to throw away a cigarette pack--a fairly obvious loop marker--this day is going to repeat again. That would fit the title.

Only 12 minutes in and a different guy is dying this time. And, another resumption.

Suddenly, everyone--Tru, Harrison, Davis--call it a "rewind day." It's an ok name, but if you want to add new lingo to the show, have one character do it first, let it catch on. You could even manage it in just one episode, but do it more organically than this.

A different death, a third resumption. Welcome to the Phil Connors Club, Tru.

A conversation about fate:

Tru: l mean, what if this day never stops repeating? lf every day l wake up and make the same lame excuse to Luc and call my brother in a vain attempt to keep him out of trouble and then my neighbor with his lousy song? l can't keep doing this.

Davis: Maybe your job isn't as obvious as we thought.

Tru: What do you mean?

Davis: Perhaps someone is supposed to die today and stay that way.

Tru: l can't deal with this. l am not in the business of deciding who is or isn't supposed to die.

Davis: How do you know?

Tru: Don't say that. You know what everyone else my age is deciding right now? Grad school, or get a job? Order in, or go out? Do l really need a phone that takes little pictures?

Davis: People say things happen for a reason. That reason is fate. Fate, by definition, is immutable. Maybe you're here to make sure that--

Tru: Fate gets its way? How do l know what it wants?

Davis: lt'll tell you, eventually.

Tru: And until then?

Davis: You've got to trust your instincts.

The big difference between Phil and Tru--aside from the nature of the time loop--is that Tru didn't start out as a "bad person"--unless med students are bad people.

Another death, another day.

The good thing about more repetition is, aside from, say The Butterfly Effect, repeating more than once it's just hard for the details to be all bleak. This episode has better funny bits than all the previous ones, I think.

It's too bad the writer of this episode wasn't a bigger fan of Groundhog Day; the guy's bank balance could've been negative $339.88 instead of negative $432.18.

And we end with an interaction Phil might have had, had he known Davis:

Tru: l should've been able to save them both.

Davis: You can change events, but you can't change fate, Tru.

Tru: l can do things that probably no one else can. Sometimes even that doesn't feel like enough.

Davis: Sometimes it isn't.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to solve more murder mysteries...

...and I suppose my daughter could be my partner.

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