This weekend we were watching the movie Plesantville. It is around ten years old, and has a cute concept. A teenage boy, who was far from the most popular kid in town was a big fan of one of the first situation comedies that came out, called Plesantville. Apparently it was a fairly popular; this boy had watched it a lot and could pratcially quote every line. There was a marathon scheduled for that weekend with a contest the young man intended to win.
A television repairman, played by Don Knotts, came without being called. The set had only broken seconds before he arrived. All the time he was working the repairman was talking about Plesantville and becoming more and more impressed by the boy's knowledge of the show. Finally he was even stumped by the comsomate fan who impressed him with a knowledge of the later seasons in addition to the earlier ones. Because of the young man's knowledge he gave him a special remote. When he left and the boy and his sister got in an argument over what show to watch. The two of them were holding on to opposite ends of the remote exactly like Buddy and his sister in the show were. There was a flash and the two modern day teenagers were transported to Pleasntville. Their clothes became period costumes appropriate to the show and they were in black and white like everyone else in the show.
The boy knew the stories and started out trying to preserve the story line with no real changes his sister did not know the stories and acted like a modern day young lady in a 1950's world. Her actions set changes in motion. It was kind of the reverse of the story in “It’s A Wonderful Life” instead of one person not having been there effected everything, in that case for good, a different person being there effected everyone’s life.
My husband saw the two kids as snakes being put in the garden of Eden. I on the other hand saw it more in terms new testament spread of Christianity. Though I admit there were certain aspects that could be read his way for they brought the knowledge of good and evil. As the new knowledge and actions spread through the town colors appeared in a black and white world.
First a red rose on a gray bush with gray blooms, and it spread from person to person. People, then clothes, then houses, cars, etc. As people learned more there was color in their lives. There was more going on though they brought the written word into their lives. When the two of them got to Pleasantville the library was filled with blank books with real book titles on the spines. As the two of them talked about what the books said the pages filled before their eyes. Soon the library was full of books with words and pictures in them.
There was an especially tender moment when the mother started to be colorful where the son helped her with her old grey makeup to hide her facial color from her colorless family. The fellow at the malt shop liked to decorate the store for Christmas. So Buddy presented him with an art book which now had pictures. This got him painting, in color, some of it was very good some of it used poor judgement. It so incensed the town fathers that they tried to put everything back like it was. You cannot unscramble an egg there was no going back to the way it was before. The town fathers were a lot like the pharisees they legislated the changes away but the changes wouldn’t go away.
Not only was the town changed the people were changed as well. The mayor brought things to court to try to change things back. His anger changed him as well and in that town there was no hiding a change. The whole town was different including the two real kids brought to change the town. The girl decided to stay there she had become a good student she stayed behind to get an education she knew she would not achieve in the real world. The boy returned home to become a popular student in the modern day school as he had become in the make believe world. Both had personally grown in the experience of coming to Pleasantville.
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