On Christmas Eve, I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life”. My second-favorite Christmas movie (the animated Grinch comes first, especially if watched palindromically on VHS) and the movie that everyone loves, except Mom who can’t watch black-and-white movies because “the people shout at each other”.
Well, I kind of have a problem with that movie now…
When I watched it this time, I realized: it’s not about George Bailey. It’s about his wife.
Yeah, sure, it follows his life, and he’s the viewpoint character– but have you ever noticed how, basically, his wife does everything? I mean, when they first meet, George is kind of a dweeb, but she likes him anyway. When they’re newly married and the Building and Loan is going under, it’s her idea to use their honeymoon money to save it. She wants to live in that weird leaky house
because I think she was the first hipster ever, and then while George goes off every day to his boo-hoo terrible job at the Building and Loan, she manages to pop out four kids and wallpaper the whole house. (Where an actual roof came from, we never see.) Oh, and when George decides to go jump off a bridge, his wife is running around town in the snow trying to find him and simulataneously dig him out of all the trouble he’s gotten into. (And she pulls it off, too.)
Yet somehow, in the alternate universe where he doesn’t exist, she’s not just an old maid. She’s an old maid librarian with dorky glasses. Being an old maid, totally understandable. Being suddenly bespectacled? How does that even work? “You see George, if you were never born, even Mary’s eyesight would suffer. Because then she wouldn’t exercise it looking for reasons not to thwack you upside the head with a spatula.”
I would have thwacked him.
Also, why is the emphasis merely on how horrible her life would be without him– I’m not denying it would be, seeing as her true love was never even born– when it’s also his life that would be horrible without her? Why is it just like, “Holy cow, so freaky, my wife doesn’t know me!” instead of… Well, I don’t know. I just think he should have had some realization at some point that she was always the one doing all the work. Not just the housework, either; she’s the glue that holds EVERYTHING together. She’s the only one who put any real effort into their relationship and the current state of their lives.
I also think they should have changed the name to “It’s a Wonderful Wife”. Because you might never realize it, George, but she is one.
Whew. Rant over.
Oh, but I have one more question:
Why is there a random tame crow, and how does that not make working at the Building and Loan like one million times more awesome?
These are things I ponder…