Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A Russian Groundhog

And now for something completely different, in the I don't want to bore my readers department.

The other day we watched a Netflix show called Russian Doll. The premise is a woman celebrating her 36th birthday dies. And dies and dies and dies, while things change around her. We thoroughly enjoyed it, living vicariously through a party scene that neither of us would enjoy in real life. All those cigarettes! I started counting how many times she lit one, and then lost count.

There's a cat in it, called Oatmeal, that I had hoped would play a larger role, perhaps being the key to understanding what is going on. I usually enjoy shows with cats, as long as nothing bad happens to them. 

I read about it afterward, mainly to be sure that one of the actors was indeed agent Burke from Elementary. I didn't recognize any of the other actors. Some of the reviews referenced Groundhog Day, the Bill Murray movie from 1993. I had no memory of ever seeing it, but then again, we all know my memory has gaps in it. A few movie clips didn't remind me, so last night while Linda was on a Zoom call with gardening buddies, I watched the movie. Here and I had been thinking the movie had something to do with golf, and a destructive groundhog. I guess that's a different movie.

1993 would have been about the point of my lowest income, working a job that paid the cube root of diddely squat. I probably didn't have the money to splurge on a movie. As far as I can tell, everyone else in the world has seen it, so I won't give you a plot summary. How can Andie MacDowell be more than 60?!

In the 'there you go bringing reality into it again' department, I've often wondered what happens to all the other people in the movie as each day resets. It seems they don't know what's going on, though Groundhog is a bit ambiguous on that point. How broken things reset. How someone that dies in a fiery explosion is recreated, waking up in their bed, or looking in the mirror of a weird bathroom. The theory is here is that someone or something is resetting them so they have a chance to learn something.

This is a smaller scale version of karma, in some senses. Some religions have the idea that you progress through lifetimes, learning what you need to know to become one with God. Or something. One of the related ideas is that you are rewarded in this life for the good things you did in a previous life, or that you'll be punished in a future life. It all gets really deep if you think about it too much. As a side note this is a great deal for those with no morals about lying to people to grift money instead of doing honest work.

But anyone who has trained a pet or a child knows that you have to relate the misdeed with the consequences, preferably ASAP. The punishment does no good if they don't know why it's happening. So if we don't remember what we did in a previous life (and only a few claim they do, and they are widely regarded as kooks) then we can't relate previous actions to todays circumstances.

So both shows end up in the happily ever after department, and how nice for all involved. How Oatmeal ends up is left unknown, perhaps that's what the proposed season 2 is all about.

Most grownups can relate day to day life with bigger issues. Like how they behave influences if they continue to work at a particular place. The idea is that people gradually grow and become better people throughout their life. There are obvious exceptions, however, and it seems like some of them prosper in spite of being assholes. I remain convinced that mostly the world comes back to bite you in the ass, or reward you, if you deserve it. Which gets deep if you think about it.

Of the Day

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