When egotistical weatherman Phil Connors gets trapped in a time loop in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, he gets drunk, steals money, manipulates women, binges on breakfast food, plays God… and finally grows up. The story charts Phil’s development over the course of thousands of repeated February 2nds. Along the way, it raises questions about our own capacity for growth. How do we go about improving ourselves? How can we escape boredom? Achieve fulfillment? Wes and Erin analyze the 1993 film Groundhog Day.
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This podcast is part of the Airwave Media podcast network. Visit AirwaveMedia.com to listen and subscribe to other Airwave shows like Food with Former New York Times food journalist and bestselling author Mark Bittman; and Movie Therapy, in which Siskel & Ebert meets Dear Abby.
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Thanks to Tyler Hislop for the audio editing on this episode.
Wes: So I know you’ve probably seen this film several times. I’ve seen it many times.
Erin: I’ve seen it maybe four times. So, actually, fewer than most movies I have seen. Because most movies I’ve seen I’ve seen way too many times to mention.
Wes: You know, I think many listeners will have seen this several times, whatever the demographic. I actually included this film in a course that I taught at a small liberal arts college, and it was universally loved. I assume that that kind of generalizes ‘cause the film became iconic even though I don’t think it was a huge hit when it came out and it had pretty good reviews, but it didn’t really take on the status until several years later. Where it’s soft and listed as… you may not think of this way, but I’ve seen it often listed among the top lists of films.
Erin: I didn’t realize it wasn’t such a big hit.
Wes: Not immediately when it came out.
Erin: ‘Cause it’s like, It’s a Wonderful Life in that way.
Wes: Is it? That was the same thing?
Erin: Yeah, well, actually, It’s a Wonderful Life was kind of a bomb when it first came out. But then, after being shown on TV around Christmas time, it became super popular. This, kind of, has this similarity, maybe, going on with a theme.
Wes: You know, I was surprised to learn that Stanley Fish, who’s a literary critic, Milton scholar, but he also had a column for The New York Times. I think he listed it as an all-time great work of art by any standards, so… It’s interesting ‘cause it’s… in the film started it out I think… the screenplay was written by Danny Rubin and he wrote it in a week, I think. According to him, he wrote this… this article he wrote out there called “How I wrote Groundhog Day in a week?”. Or 10 days, maybe it’s 10 days, but… And so I think it was a burst of inspiration. The original screenplay is actually quite different from the way it ended up, and there were a lot of, you know, this is typical, but there are a lot of changes made by the studio. And then Bill Murray, I think, got very involved. Bill Murray was involved in a divorce at the time and apparently was very difficult to work with, not unlike as we shall see the character that he plays [laughs]. Originally the film was sort of just a, you know, it would’ve been “light comedy”, I think that was forgotten. But something happened where some of this thematic stuff around repetition and someone being stuck and the evolution of a narcissist basically, there’s his change of character. Yeah, I think it came together very well. So some of it’s just an accident. But you know, I’ll say more as we talk about what I think the virtues of the movie are. I know you’re not as enthusiastic as I am about it, right?
Erin: Probably not. I mean, I do. I love the concept and everything. Maybe it’s because I’ve only seen it four times, which sounds like, you know, a lot, maybe to some people. But I know that, like the Roger Ebert original review of the movie, I think he only gave it maybe three out of four stars and said, you know, it was “cute” or whatever, but he didn’t really think of it as a major work. And then later he included it on his “Great Movies List” and said: “Well, you know, it’s the kind of movie that the more you see it, the more you like it”. So maybe I need to see it, you know, for a few Groundhogs Days worth more.
Wes: [laughter] That’s right. You have to let the movie change you.
Erin: Right. Exactly.
Wes: And then you can appreciate it.
Erin: Maybe my narcissism is just too much right now. I need to learn how to love Groundhog Day properly.
Wes: [laughter] Yeah, I think for some, I’m always skeptical, critics change their mind… I think they’re going with the crowd and….
Erin: Right. Only when they change their mind and it goes with popular opinion. Is that suspicious?
Wes: So let’s get a little bit into or, I guess, a lot into the synopsis of the film, which again most listeners will already know this. And if not, you should definitely watch the film before you listen to the rest of this podcast. It’s less than two hours of your time. You’ll enjoy this more. So the basic plot is you have this unpleasant weatherman from Pittsburgh who is a narcissist. I think that’s just the best way to sum it up or his defining quality, as he’ll be told later on. This is egotism. So this guy named Phil… he’s… I think it’s his fourth year in a row that he has to go to do something he really hates because it’s beneath him. But it’s this Groundhog Day festival in Punxsutawney out with the hicks, and it somehow represents everything he hates. And the Groundhog is also called Phil and is also in some sense of weather predictor but a very different kind of weather predictor. The novel thing, though, in this fourth year, is that there’s a new producer working for the studio, Rita, so she will be going with him. And this is really the catalyst for a new sort of repetition. So not the repetition that he’s used to and that he thinks he’s gonna escape when he gets this big break, gets a great job and can get away from the small studio. And you see that at the very beginning of the movie, around the third minute, he sees Rita, who is doing this very playful… she’s playing in front of the blue screen that he’s just used for his forecast, and at first he gives her the sort of cynical, you know, you’re-not-important glance. And then he looks back at her. And so that’s his typical, you know, the modus operandi, and then he looks back at her as if he’s in trance, as if he’s sort of arrested. And it’s a great…. listeners you know, should look at about the third minute, just the expression on Bill Murray’s face. It’s a great moment ‘cause you see that transformation. So anyway, on from there to Punxsutawney and does his shoot of the festival and is being horrible to everyone and then there’s a blizzard, which he predicted will not hit that particular area, but it does and prevents him from leaving. And then is everyone. He famously keeps waking up on the same day over and over again until he can learn to become a better person and win Rita’s affections. So that happens in about, as I counted them, 10 cycles. So there’s many more days, there’s a lot of speculation about how many days he spends there. Originally, it was gonna be something like 10,000 years, I think, which is a reference to buddhism. It turns out to be more like 10 years. I think fans have tried to calculate this based on how long it takes to learn the piano, which is something he does and various other factors. What did you think of Old Phil?
Erin: I loved it. I actually watched it twice to prepare for this, so I had only seen it before two times [laughter], and I’ve watched it two more times to prepare for this, and I did enjoy it just as much the second time as I did the first. It didn’t really get old, though. I was watching it with different people. The thing that I think most puzzles… maybe not puzzles viewers, but the people that I was watching it with, both times… both times turned to me and said: “Why do you think Phil is named Phil? Why do you think he has the same name as the groundhog? Why does it happen on groundhog day? And why does he have the same name as the groundhog? I mean, I guess it seems sort of simple at first, but then maybe more complex, because, I mean, they’re both weathermen, right? I don’t know. I mean, what do you think is the connection there?
Wes: It’s as if…. I don’t know if you would call the groundhog as an alter-ego exactly.
Wes: As opposed to a foil or a… what we see in Phil in the beginning is that his ability to predict the weather is very well connected to his vanity and narcissism. So the routine he does at the very beginning, you know, when he does his routine, wheather routine at the very beginning of the movie, we learned that he’s full of himself and he thinks he deserves a better job, and this particular station is beneath him. But you also get the sense that predicting the weather is beneath him and he’s kind of stuck in this particular role. So the way he delivers it, he’s technically very competent. But there’s a cynicism to it, he says: “It’s gonna be a nice day somewhere”, and he makes a joke about that meeting the real estate prices that are gonna increase [laughs], and he puts a negative spin on that. So you get a sense of that sort of cynicism, but also that… the weather thematically as a metaphor, and it comes out directly in the movie, is something that is used for small talk and for social subtext. So people will, instead of talking about their inner states, their feelings or directly about their relationships, they will talk about the weather. “Is it a nice day out? Am I in a good mood?”, or “is it gonna be a terrible day out?” Am I gonna be in a bad mood?”. And of course, the weather is volatile, so it could be a metaphor for the volatility of relationships and also the risk involved, and so for Phil, his ability to predict things goes along with his risk avoidance and his defendedness against intimacy and against real relationships with people and his, you know, his condescension. So all that stuff goes together and then in the local yokels of the town, “the hicks,” as he calls them… are a foil of that, just like the groundhog. So the groundhog, his competition… the groundhog will get it right and Phil will get it wrong. The blizzard actually hits, so groundhog gets it right in the sense by predicting six more weeks of winter, but something I left out of my… [laughter]... But the groundhog does it. It’s just superstition. At some level, you might even say instinct…
Wes: …or intuition, and that’s the kind of thing that Phil also rejects. He’s into prediction and predictability and safety and also the cuteness of the groundhog. You know, you see in the van on the way to Punxsutawney that, you know, he’s saying how stupid this whole thing is, Phil’s saying how stupid it is and and she we’ll say: “Well, I think he’s really, really cute”. And then she imitates the groundhog with teeth and everything, and then Phil does as well, although Phil does it in this more grotesque way to, you know, he’s rejecting the idea that it’s cute and all that stuff. So I think that’s some of it you get two different ways of approaching weather prediction that have dramatic and symbolic resonance. What did you think?
Erin: Well, I think there are similarities also. I mean, I looked up how often the groundhog is right in his predictions. The groundhog is actually wrong more often than random chance. So if they flipped a coin, it would be right more times than the real groundhog.
Wes: Interesting [laughs].
Erin: [laughs] And Phil is also wrong in his prediction. He thinks it’s just gonna… the storm is gonna blow past them and go out to Altuna, and he keeps saying over and over again. But in the movie human Phil is wrong and the groundhog is presumably right. I mean, he can’t be right every day ‘cause I was thinking: “Oh, I wonder if…” in my tired haze after watching it the first time, I was like: “Oh, I wonder if you added up all the weeks that Phil said it was going to be six more weeks of winter, if that was how long that Bill Murray was in the groundhog-day loop”. But of course, that wouldn’t work, because every time [laughs] he would be for every day there would be six more weeks exponentially.
Wes: Looking at the trivia online. Apparently we see 42 days, even though it’s many more in reality. But we see which is six weeks time seven. So I don’t know if that was intentional, or I don’t know if people are just trying…
Wes: …to fit that if that’s contrived or whatever.
Erin: You’re right about this… What I love about the idea of him being a weatherman is the fact that you know the conversation around him… I mean, because of the fact that Phil is a weatherman, he maybe has to deal with even more mundane small talk on a daily basis than ordinary humans have to. I mean, the guy on the stairs that he keeps seeing when he comes out of his hotel room. Of course, you know doesn’t necessarily know that he’s Phil Connors, that he’s the Pittsburgh weatherman, but that talking about the weather comes up organically or in his case, I guess, inorganically because of the fact that he’s a weatherman and people want to talk about the weather with him and the woman in the in the hotel lobby, the owner of the hotel, maybe who he sees in the lobby when it actually comes down the stairs…
Erin: …and he does his routine of predicting the weather for him. What… that he just did the day before, where he recites the script of the weather prediction. And he goes on, and on, and on. And she’s sort of taken aback that, you know, she wanted to have this, you know, sort of mundane conversation about the weather. Then he is actually giving her a real weather prediction. And then he says: “Oh, did you want to talk about the weather or were you just making chit chat?”, or something like that? And so the way that he cuts through that normal way I mean, it’s a mundane way, but it’s sort of a way of making a human connection with somebody else, right?
Erin: It’s a way that you could, you know, if you see someone on the stairs when you’re coming out of a hotel room, it’s a way to sort of acknowledge someone else’s existence in a polite way. You know, it’s not controversial to talk about the weather. It’s a way to make these kinds of connections. And Phil has no use for that. The human Phil. Whereas the groundhog Phil is bringing together all these sort of different people around the weather and causing all of these various elements to sort of interact with each other in a sort of… I think you see multiple news crews there, right? It can’t just be one…
Erin: …news crew, and you see that the actual groundhog is creating these conditions which bring people together around this common purpose and celebrate the uncontroversial thing that controls all of it, that were all impacted by equally…
Erin: …and the prediction of the six more weeks of winter and everyone booing and everything and getting all upset.
Erin: It’s kind of a sweet moment to me, you know. It’s this easy way of creating a shared experience.
Wes: Yeah, that’s very good. So this is a sequence that gets repeated… where he wakes up, he goes into the hallway and meets this guy who asked him what he thinks the weather is gonna be, the same thing with the B&B owner and then when he goes out on the street, passes by a bum, meets this insurance guy, Ned Ryerson, on the way to the fairground. So we see different iterations of his interactions with these people, which is really cool and cleverly done in the movie. But the first one with the owner, he’s really mean to her, it’s really unnecessarily cruel. You get the sense that he thinks he’s a bit of a star, and they’re asking him about the weather because of that. So this… the usual item of everyday interaction… this thing that’s used… as you pointed out. It’s this third thing outside of us, this harmless thing that we can talk about to relate to people we don’t know, instead of going straight forward. You know, we studiously avoid talking about how we really feel and what’s actually going on inside our heads and we do this. This is just a staple of social life, this sort of deception and omission, and… so what’s going on on the surface, it’s not what’s really happening, but we have to be comfortable with that, to socialize and to get to know people, and it also serves the purpose like, you know, as I pointed out, of subtext, of talking about the weather, it eases you into talking about how you feel because you know it is gonna be a nice day or not. “Am I going to feel good and enjoy myself or am I not?” His expertise, though, forecloses that. His whole character does that. So his character forecloses connecting to people who are unimportant, which is practically everyone, people who don’t fit into his ambitions and his narcissism and his… all of his predatory stuff where he makes jokes with Rita about: “You missed me last night. You couldn’t sleep without me” and B&B, the woman asked him how he slept the night before, he says: “I slept alone”. So he’s very objectifying and predatory in the beginning and unable to relate because of this level of defendedness, which manifests itself and expertise with regard to the weather. So he’s too much of a cynic, too much of an expert with regard to human relations, to sink to the level of naive, vulnerable interaction.
Erin: And he’s a misanthrope too, right? Like he says… when he makes fun of Rita for her impression of the groundhog and she says: “Well, people like the groundhog”. He says: “People like blood sausage too”.
Wes: Yeah [laughter].
Erin: “People are morons”, which is, you know, maybe true. [laughter] I mean, we don’t like blood sausage. [laughter]
Wes: Yeah, people are morons. But it depends, as Rita will say later in the movie, “It depends on how you look at it”, though.
Erin: Right, or the drunk guy: “Some people would say that this beer glass is half empty.” [laughter] I love that moment.
Wes: You know, that’s really what he has to… It’s kind of a mission for everyone… is to accept people’s flaws. I mean, that’s a fundamental part of relatedness… is giving up these expectations of people being ideal and undisappointing or simply being usable in the way he wants to use people satisfying his every desire but not making any demands on him. If we don’t do that, that really does create a natural repetition in life. The repetition revolves around the black hole of narcissism because nothing is ever good enough. But you keep trying and keep getting disappointed, and it’s only in acceptance that the repetition goes away. With the stuff that’s happening in the movie, “externalize” is a very real psychological phenomenon.
Erin: Well, and I wonder if you could maybe speak to the fact that, I mean, you know more about these things than I do from a psychoanalytical perspective, but maybe the different sort of phases of Phil’s development over the course of the many iterations. Maybe they correspond with different levels of human development, like he realizes there are no consequences. And so he goes out in the car with the two drunk guys. He gets arrested, and then that doesn’t have any consequences. So then he moves to the theft from the back of the truck, where he takes the money. And then there’s this really weird sequence where he dresses up like Clint Eastwood…
Erin: And so he’s been kind of living out a fantasy, he’s trying like an alternate self and then presumably also uses this to get this woman to dress up in a maid’s outfit.
Wes: Yeah. Lying to her and telling her it’s a costume party so they can go to the movie together.
Erin: Right. So this fantasy self is coexisting with the fact that he’s trying to, again selfishly, we can imagine he’s working through every finding and wooing every eligible woman in town. And then he moves on to Rita and experiences her rejecting him over and over again. And then he sees this meaningless existence and moves through the series of suicides. And it’s not until… my favorite sequence in the movie is when he tries to rescue the homeless man from dying. Anyway, all of that being said, I don’t know if that corresponds with a mental development or like the accepting of adult responsibility or responsibility outside of yourself. You know you go through these phases or these “wants” or fantasies, and only after they die or you outgrow them, can you move on to a sort of adult existence. Maybe there’s no parallel there.
Wes: Yeah, I think that’s right. As a narcissist, he’s kind of developmentally stuck at a very early level. Psychoanalysts call this a “pre-Oedipal” level, where he has problems with separation and individuation and problems relating to people as a whole people who will exist for more than his satisfaction, and who have their own minds and interiorities that can be empathized with people in a way don’t exist for him. And so he does have to grow up in a way getting out of his narcissism will require, kind of, a recapitulation of early development, and to do that, he needs the therapeutic figure. So Rita really does play the role of the therapist. She’s the catalyst that brings about the repetition, him seeing her.. arguably, he would never be in this repetition unless he hadn’t met her. She’s the thing that changes, that gives him the possibility of externalizing his internal psychological repetition, making it external so that he can be aware of it and work through it.
Wes: And so, yeah, we can think of repetition a lot of different ways. It’s pathological in the sense that.. so Freud wrote a famous paper called Beyond the Pleasure Principle, where he postulates a death drive as another drive that’s contrary to our life drive, and its libidinal elements in contrast to the desire, but the reason why, he postulated that was because of his experience with war veterans who had PTSD and would have nightmares. So they were constantly revisiting the trauma, and the question was, you know: “Can you explain that?” Because it’s really, really unpleasurable and horrible and so why would the psyche try to return to this state? What is it doing? You know, it’s… just seems fortuitous and unnecessary for the psyche to try and repeat its traumas. And there are various explanations that fall within the pleasure principle or the idea that, you know, “Well, we do on unpleasurable things all the time because maybe there’s a promise of more pleasure, or it satisfies some part of our psyche that makes it more pleasurable, even if it’s painful to another part”. You could do this calculus, and he thinks it actually lies beyond this calculus for various reasons that I don’t think we need to get into…
Erin: I was thinking of the death drive, actually… I was wondering if you can say something. I don’t know much about it, but I know that the term… So in the second time watching… or the second time watching in preparation for this, I almost thought of the scene where he goes through the pit and then his first suicide that that was almost sort of like a visual metaphor or a pun for the death drive [laughs], because he literally drives off the cliff in order to kill himself in, you know, in Thelma and Louise fashion.
Wes: One of the reasons people try to kill themselves is because they’re trying to save themselves, ironically. There’s almost a delusion that they will survive beyond it and move on to this more transcendent state. And the transcendent state involves connection to a perfect object. The object means “object of desire”, and the first object is a maternal caretaker. That begins with a merged or symbiotic existence in the womb, and then a very symbiotic early childhood, and the mother is perfect, and you… there are… theory has it that there’s a sense of… omnipotence on the part of the child, because the ministrations of the mother are seen almost as an extension of oneself. And developmentally, you have to mourn that, you have to give that up. This is what narcissists haven’t done. The narcissist will maintain attachment to a fantasy of this idealized object, and this happens in depression as well. These phenomena are actually related. In a depressed person, they will express their disappointment with the object, which is an inherent part of mourning by attacking themselves. So melancholy and depression become this pathological variation on mourning. Mourning itself is psychologically essential. It’s what needs to happen developmentally, to leave childhood behind and be able to have real relationships with people and the way it manifests itself in our daily lives is just that we have to get over all the bad stuff about people so that we can enjoy the good stuff. And empathy is a big part of that. So, yeah, the death drive… So people make the same mistakes over and over again and all of us, I think, are familiar with that. I mean, part of repetition that we’re familiar with is just there’s a daily grind, so we all have our schedules and our jobs, and that gets repetitious and boring. But at the pathological level, that repetition compulsion can have something to do with a kind of pathological attempted resetting the whole psychological apparatus by rebuilding it in a way that just doesn’t work and revisits the trauma, but importantly, as Freud points out, repetition also serves a lot of other purposes, including the purpose of mastery. So we repeat things to master them, and that can happen in the right context. So he’s been going through internal psychological repetitions. Like I say, that revolves around this connection to an idea of what he can’t give up, it’s going to inevitably repeat these patterns where he can relate to people and doesn’t really understand why. In a therapeutic context, then Rita is that context, you externalize and become aware of it and work through it. And so the repetitions we see in the movie are actually therapeutic repetitions. And so, yeah, as you pointed out, you get very, very distinct phases. I call them “cycles”, you know, he begins as a narcissist, suddenly things are out of joint, he’s confused… he tries to get help early on. It doesn’t work. And then he says: “Fuck it”, and goes to this omnipotent phase, you know? The maid and…
Wes: …Nancy manipulates into bed. Then the refocus on Rita. You think this might be a kind of way out for him because now he’s actually trying to get with Rita in what seems to be a real way, but psychoanalyst might call this a “narcissistic transference”, where she is still just an extension of himself, and he’s still approaching that relationship in a manipulative way, and when that doesn’t work, depression and then… you know, how many suicides he tries to commit we don’t know, but at some point he decides that vulnerability is the only way out, and that’s where he starts to talk about what’s going on in his head with her… and then sublimation. So the next stages he’s sublimating, playing piano, improving himself, he’s becoming lovable and engaging in what Freud would call “aim-inhibited libido”. So instead of just trying to have sex with women, now he cares about his fellow human being in this non-sexual way. So for the homeless person that he’s trying to save. So it’s a transition towards being able to become aware of people and to care about them.
Erin: I think it’s useful to look at it from a psychoanalytical perspective. But what’s amazing about the film is that it could be looked at from the perspective of almost any kind of belief system. I was reading an article about the movie where it was talking about how a buddhist monk saw the movie and said: “Well, this movie is clearly about the tenants of Buddhism” and a Catholic Priest watch the movie and said “This is clearly about Catholicism” and so on and so forth. Through all of these various… I mean, there are elements of it that are universal to sort of every major belief system. The object that you talk about Rita being his object of what was it…?
Wes: Like a love object.
Erin: A love object.
Wes: But the maternal caretaker is kind of a prototype for that.
Wes: So we choose people who are in some way similar.
Erin: I had a light bulb go off in my mind when you said that because I was thinking about what he does in Christian terms, where you could argue that when he finally accepts grace in his life, he moves on and we could talk about that, maybe, but there’s a point in the film where he… maybe it’s the last day when he goes down the stairs, when he sees the guy on the stairs on the day that is finally the redemptive day, he quotes Coleridge to the man on the stairs, I believe, and then later, when he’s giving his newscast and he gives his beautiful reflection on winter, he quotes Chéjov, and he says…
Wes: I had that wrong. I was saying that was Coleridge, but go ahead.
Erin: I typed out what he says and he says: “When Chéjov saw the long winter, he saw winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearth and hearts, I can’t imagine a better fate than a long and luxurious winter”. And this idea of hope interested me because I’m familiar with the Coleridge poem that he quotes to the guy on the stairs, which is called Work Without Hope. He quotes lines from the first stanza. It’s just a two-stanza poem: “Winter slumbering in the open air, / wears on his smiling face a dream of spring!”. But the last two lines of that poem, I think, are so significant: “Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve / and Hope without an object cannot live”.
Erin: And it’s so significant. I think the poetry, and there’s actually quite a lot of poetry in this movie, is so well chosen that the object, his love object to the person for whom he is improving, is Rita. So he has this hope so long as he has Rita to work for. So she is the hope for which he is working.
Wes: What does “hope without an object” mean exactly? That’s really great. I’m thinking now of Phil’s ambitions…
Wes: …and wanting to be a great newscaster. “Object” in the context of that Coleridge poem, means “objective”. The hope without something that I’m actually hoping for specifically is fruitless. But you could see that as the person who’s self-absorbed and focused on status, you could argue, doesn’t have an objective in the typical sense, because they’re not in love with the work exactly that they’re doing. They’re in love with this fantasy of the super being that they’re gonna become in all the admiration that they’re gonna receive. So objectlessness and objectivelessness becomes related to self-absorption, where the object is simply oneself in one’s own status.
Erin: Right. And that is literally, I mean, it’s a kind of a hell to be that self-absorbed and to be living in that same self-absorption day after day with no hope of escape.
Erin: That is what Christians would say is choosing yourself over God and then going into this hell-like state. He’s literally living out hell, except he has the opportunity to change his circumstances and to come out of that by doing… I guess you could say it changes because he does corporal works of mercy in order to escape this pattern.
Wes: The good deeds phase.
Erin: Right, which I think begins with the homeless man.
Wes: Yeah, it does. But before we discuss that, this gives us another way, what you were saying of thinking about repetition, where the repetition is the result of this kind of circling around oneself…
Wes: …instead of being able to escape one’s own orbit and get to other people. It’s a reflection of the vicious circle of returning to oneself, even though these sort of they’re these pseudo attempts, you know, and narcissistic or pathological ambition is one of them to escape oneself by winning admiration from other people and mistaking that for loving and being loved.
Erin: Of course, good deeds offer a way out of the self. But also I think it’s significant that the movie is trying to say that art also offers a way out of the self. The French poetry, which at first he can’t stop himself from [laughs]… from laughing out loud…
Erin: …over Rita’s study of 19th century french poetry in which, in the iteration after that, he quotes some sort of fake french poetry to her the following day. Then becomes, you know, we see him in the diner reading and we see the piano… he hears it on the radio, I think. Is it a Paganini piece, I think, that he hears on the radio? And then he wants to learn that. So he doesn’t specifically learn piano because Rita says that she wants a man who can play an instrument. I mean, he could have chosen… I mean, it’s a small town, so maybe they don’t have clarinet teachers in that town, maybe have to go into Pittsburgh for that. But he knows that she wants a man who could play an instrument, and then while he’s sitting in the diner, he hears and is presumably inspired by this beautiful piano piece.
Erin: So it’s more than just Rita as the catalyst for that. It’s also the appreciation of the beauty of art for its own sake. Then he wants to learn the piano, and the scene with the ice sculptures is really interesting, too, because I don’t think there’s a part in it. We see him actually creating an ice sculpture with the chainsaw…
Erin: …but we don’t see anyone else, I think, creating an ice sculpture. The only time that we see it before he starts taking it up is a hobby, is after that sequence where he’s slapped by Rita many, many times, you know, he’s walking back dejectedly to the bed & breakfast, and we see him go past this beautiful line-up of the ice sculptures. And so, presumably, even in that… in the pain of those constant rejections, walking past them, and he’s not even, you know, we don’t even see a point at which he actually looks at them, I think, but perhaps that repetition of walking back past the ice sculptures also is inspiring in some way and draws him out of himself and then inspires him to create this ice sculpture of her face later, or snow sculpture.
Wes: Yeah, that’s really great. The sublimation is important because there is also a narcissistic element in sublimation in the sense that we are directing our energies at ourselves, by improving ourselves, improving some skill. But it’s also connected. So there’s work. I mean, you know, you mentioned work in… it’s in the Coleridge poem, right? So to be able to really work, is to be able to direct some of those energies outward, but instead of towards a person, it’s towards whether it’s the poetry or the ice sculpting, whatever. It’s these tasks. So it redirects that kind of energy, but it also facilitates movement towards people, and one of the reasons it does that is because it attenuates our ravenous… So you see a lot of things about, kind of a greediness in this movie. So in the beginning, when he’s dropped off at the hotel, he says: “I’m not gonna have dinner because, you know, I’ve seen the way Larry eats” Larry, the camera guy, then like puts his fist in his mouth and then the scene where he’s eating all this food in front of Rita in a gluttonous way and the objectification of women sexually when he’s just trying to sleep with him. That reflects a kind of ravenousness that goes along with unrelatedness. So sublimation, it attenuates the ravenousness and turns it into something that is more affectionate. You know, when you work on something, you’re not just destroying it and taking it into yourself, eating it. It’s not just all for you, it’s not simply a means to one’s own end, but you are being constructive with something out there in the world. You’re creating something you’re creating structure and not just destroying it. And that’s a really important skill to learn when it comes to relating to other people, we have to be able to… not use them as a means, merely their own ends, as Kant would put it, that’s our ethical comportment to other people, but really to relate to them, we have to go beyond that and do something constructive with them, work on them in the sense of… maybe it’s even being a therapeutic presence for them the way Rita is a therapeutic presence for Phil, giving them our attention or recognition or affection, and not simply trying to devour them. So, yeah, I think sublimation is an important psychological stage as well. In some of these impulses, by the way, aggressive and sexual, it’s aggressive, but you do something that elevates them to a different level, whether it’s in literature, whether it’s in a relationship,.
Erin: Sorry, I have so many different directions we could go in. Do you want to talk about the homeless guy now?
Wes: Yeah, so you were getting at that. So beyond, yeah, doing ice sculptures and stuff, he decides that this homeless guy who in… you know, in the first cycles he’s walking by the guy and he’s putting his hands in his pockets as if he might have some money or change for the guy but finding nothing, and you get the sense he might be doing that just as a show. He’s communicating that he doesn’t have any money, even though he might actually have money. So eventually, in his omnipotent phase, the fourth cycle, he will say: “I’ll get you later”. That’s the first time he changes his relation to the bum. “I’ll get you later”… Let’s see… I call him “the bum” in my notes, which is an uncharitable way [laughs] of referring to the homeless guy.
Wes: You know, so I have more in common with Phil that I would like, but “I’ll get you tomorrow”, which is really… so it cuts both ways. It represents a little bit of a transition because there may be an element of that that suggests he’s now thinking about helping the guy. But it’s also just mean because there is no tomorrow.
Erin: Yeah, but that’s an important point, though I never considered that before, like, “I’ll get you tomorrow”, because that implies that he now knows that he should be helping the guy, but that he’s still not going to take responsibility for it. So instead of just, you know, walking past, there must be some seed of guilt in there, then, like making an excuse for himself.
Wes: Yeah, and it’s in the sublimation phase that we see… So where he’s reading and learning piano and all that. That’s also the phase in which he gives the homeless guy money and we see that that’s not enough because the guy dies later, he tries to give him CPR, it doesn’t work, and then you get all those scenes where he’s trying to save him and can’t, and then finally accepts that he can’t save him. There’s no way to save the homeless guy, it turns out. That’s an element that he can’t control, no matter how many days he has, how many repetitions there are. It’s not something he’s gonna master, so he’s learning there not just about other-concern, about being able to empathize and care about people, but he’s learning to accept the downside of that, the risk involved in that, which is losing people, and that’s not something we could do anything about, but not just losing people, but being disappointed by them. So loss really covers the whole range from people dying to them doing things that anger us and disappoint us, which means we can leave. That’s the whole mode of operating for Phil, which is, he leaves in the sense of these “left people”, psychologically. To stay with them, we have to accept that they might reject us, that we might get hurt, a relationship might come to an end, all that stuff.
Erin: Yeah, He works through… I’m trying to think about the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy, but he hits a lot of them just with the homeless guy.
Wes: So let’s say more about the seven…
Erin: Yeah. So, the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy are: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead.
Erin: That’s seven I think so…
Wes: Bury the dead.
Erin: Yeah, and the bury the dead would be the moving on, right? The acceptance of the fact that today he asked the nurse to see this guy’s chart, and the first time that he does and she says: “Sometimes people just die” or something like that. And he says: “Not today”, right? He can’t accept it.
Erin: …but he hits a lot of those. And then finally, the bearing of the dead, the mourning, would you say, is his way of sort of moving on after that. We don’t see much of him. I think we only see, what? Two or three days worth with the homeless man?
Wes: Yeah, This is again what I call the eighth cycle of… I didn’t count the number of days in that.
Wes: But yeah, we see just a few.
Erin: Yeah, It’s just a very small point in the film, but an important one.
Wes: I mean, it’s implied that there could be more. Because he’s learning the piano we assume that this is one of the reasons people estimate that this part actually goes on for years, possibly.
Erin: I don’t know how many years creates that piano solo at the party at the end.
Erin: Um, those are my favorite parts too because of the piano teacher, who’s so proud of him. He keeps coming in for one lesson, and at the party she turns proudly to Rita and says: “That’s my student”, which is funny because she’s full of it, but she’s also right, like she only thinks that she’s had him as a student for one day.
Wes: Exactly [laughing]
Erin: [laughing] So presumably he would have come in already, umm…
Erin: … a fully formed, excellent master piano player on that day…
Erin: …but she really has been teaching him all along, so she’s full of shit. And yet not at the same time.
Wes: Right. Right.
Erin: I don’t know what that has to do with anything, except that it’s funny.
Erin: But the same thing with the déjà vu…
Erin: The joke on, I think, the second day when he comes down and the woman in the lobby who owns the bed & breakfast, he asked her: “Have you ever had déjà vu?” or something like that and she says: “No, but I’ll see if they have it in the kitchen”.[laughter]
Wes: [laughter] I love that.
Erin: Yeah, and then later, umm… when Rita and Phil are in the… I think they’re in the fudge shop, maybe, and she says: “Did you ever have a déjà vu?” And he says: “Didn’t you just ask me that?”. The cleverness of these lines is that it works as a joke like he’s being clever in response to her, but also he has a serious look on his face. So it could have been that she had just asked him that the day before.
Erin: Yeah. Just the verbal cleverness in this film, I think, needs to get a shout-out. It works on, of course, on this grand philosophical level, but also just on the line-to-line level.
Wes: You know, the wit of saying something like that: “Didn’t you just ask me that?” In joking there’s a kind of… often you will take on an air of not omniscience necessarily, but having more knowledge than one might have. He really has it because of this situation.
Wes: You know, “joking” would be called a “manic defense” by psychoanalysts. You sort of jump into a little bit of an omnipotent or omniscient feeling that’s been made real for him. So all of this, this repetition stuff is intimately connected to his humorous side, which is the one good thing about him, right? From the very beginning of the movie and it’s the only reason we can tolerate him.
Wes: Is that joking side, so the joking actually does form a bridge to something more mature and constructive. But it’s also a defense.
Erin: I mean, it could just be for himself. But in the very early moments of the film, when he’s doing that broadcasts and he makes the joke about the overpriced real estate in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest, “you’re going to see some really big trees”. I suppose he could be just making those jokes for himself, but he’s also presuming that there’s someone out there who’s going to get the joke and who’s going to appreciate his um…
Erin: …his sense of humor.
Wes: And it plants the seeds of relatedness ‘cause as we…
Wes: …saw in Much Ado about Nothing, and I was also thinking about this… watching the new film version of Emma, part of relatedness is this, you know…. So for romantic couples, it’s almost essential that they get involved in this back and forth, which is an attack on each other’s vanity. They have to keep each other’s vanity in check. That’s the instinct of those sorts of relationships. And between Beatrice and Benedict, right, in Much Ado about Nothing.
Wes: So he’s really hostile in a way. But she has her nice, more innocent, well-meaning playfulness. He can kind of match her on that, and you see a flirtation between them going on from the very beginning. So in the first… when he shows up to the fairground to do the shoot, the first thing that she does it’s start adjusting his tie, which is very girlfriend or wife type of behavior. You wouldn’t do it to just anyone as a woman, but she’s the producer. So a lot is made of that in the movie because you know, when he feels like he’s going crazy, you know, he says, “Help me”, she says, “What am I supposed to do?” and he says, “I don’t know you’re the producer”. This idea of her as a producer can put her in the right therapeutic role with respect to him, but also, you know, there’s a forced closeness there that allows the relationship that developed, but I think the humor stuff, you know, as I was saying that really plants the seeds for something more. So…
Erin: I never considered that, that role of the producer before… I mean, she has to keep him in line, right? So she has this kind of mother…
Erin: …relationship with him, which would also produce the… “produce” is a strong word, now I’m using it too much [laughs], but also caused her to adjust his tie.
Erin: You know, in a motherly way, and that relationship as well.
Wes: And she gets to slap him, but you know…
Erin: Right, she gets to be the disciplinary force.
Erin: As well as the sort of one who gives him advice when he comes to her and explains to her what’s been going on in his time of God phase, but maybe the role of the producer also is clever as a female role, as a mothering role, right? Mother being the ultimate producer of life [laughs].
Erin: It’s kind of stupid, but…
Wes: No, no, no, that’s actually very important, and the producer of milk.
Wes: So being fed is an important idea here because it’s…
Wes: Being fed as infants, right? It’s a one way street, it’s not a full relationship to a whole…
Wes: …person. You used the other for your survival, and so on, but people have to become more than producers to us.
Wes: If we’re gonna grow up.
Erin: Not to make too sudden of a turn here, but we haven’t really talked about Ned Ryerson.
Wes: Yeah, let’s definitely talk about him. Yeah.
Wes: Really awesome.
Erin: The relation here is… so this is someone… perhaps we should say before anything else, this is someone from Phil’s past. He has a past connection, too, which maybe is important. I don’t know if you have something particular that you want to say about that or…. He’s an insurance salesman, so that’s important.
Wes: So as we talked about the whole idea of risk and predictability are very important on a surface level that has something to do with the weather, on a psychological level that has to do with the risk of what goes on in relationships, the risk of loss and all that so…
Wes: The insurance salesman. He’s almost like a soothsayer in the movie.
Wes: He’s there to tell Phil that things are uncertain. So Phil thinks he can predict everything, the blizzards not gonna hit blah, blah, blah. You know, here you have the soothsayer coming to warn him that, you know, actually, life is uncertain, life is unpredictable, things can happen… And so you need insurance and life insurance is not the kind of thing we get for ourselves, right? So he’s not appealing to that side of Phil, and when Phil rejects it, you know, it’s because he is rejecting the whole idea of risk, and then right after that he steps in the puddle, of course, which is a weather-related…
Erin: Right. [laughs]
Wes: …kind of mishap but also could be dangerous and also points to the fact that he’s not actually omniscient, and you know, it does a lot of different things at once. [laughs] But in the end, you know when you see him, he’s bought all the insurance. Some of it is just to appease him and not be an asshole, but thematically or on a symbolic level, it’s a way of saying that he accepts the concept of chance, and risk and all that. So which is part of becoming vulnerable and…
Erin: Right. At the end I wrote down everything that he buys. He buys whole-life-term uniflex, fire, theft, auto…
Erin: …dental, health, with the optional death and dismemberment plan. Water damage…[laughter]
Wes: [laughter] Death and dismemberment plan.
Erin: And you’re right. I mean, it is to… on the one hand, he could buy all of these things and know that he never has to pay into the insurance plan. On the other hand, you know he doesn’t have to buy quite this much insurance. So he’s made this guy’s day because this guy says, you know: “This is the best day of my life” because of how much insurance he’s bought.
Erin: So there’s an element of which, when you’re buying something long term, it’s kind of like the joke with the homeless guy, you know, “I’ll get you tomorrow” because he doesn’t have to pay into it.
Erin: Except that the day that he buys all of this is the day that things keep going. So he is going to have to come to terms with the fact that he bought a death and dismemberment plan. But there was this sense of just making this guy’s day by buying all of these things, even though this guy is sort of insufferable and exactly the sort of person that old Phil would hate the most. Early on, I don’t know if it’s in the first one or third or something, but early on in the early iterations, he says: “I would recommend for you single premium life”. And then he makes the reference to the you know: “All their people out there who live and die by the actuarial tables…
Erin: …and I say: “Hey, it’s all one big crapshoot, anyhoo”. He has always annoying folksy expressions.
Wes: All right. Well, it’s another form of prediction, right?
Erin: Yeah. So the actuarial tables that these people live and die by, and maybe you know, the same people who are planning their days around the weather or these types of predictions. The irony of this is, of course, that Phil is living in a state in which he can predict everything that happens, and yet the insurance can apply to him, or… I don’t know what else to say about that. But yeah, anyway, single premium life. He’s living multiple lives.
Wes: The concept of predictability for him has been transformed and… in his ordinary world, he’s trying to control things and guard himself. But in this world, the pathological results of that are made explicit because of predictability as repetition of the same state, it’s not growth. Anything else we should be talking about?
Erin: I do want to just mention my favorite joke of the whole movie, which is on the marquee. Heidi II is playing. [laughter]
Wes: Yeah [laughter] , that’s…
Wes: That’s probably… it’s something you’ve seen, right? Since you’ve seen everything.
Erin: No, it’s not. It doesn’t exist.
Wes: Heidi II
Erin: I mean, what happens in that? It is just funny. It’s just the least likely sequel I could think of.
Wes: It’s hilarious, alright.
Erin: And I love the fact that it’s shown.
Wes: See, naturally, I wouldn’t know that that doesn’t exist. But… [laughter]
Erin: All right, well, I haven’t grown up with the fantasy of living like Heidi.
Wes: Oh really?
Wes: Oh, yeah, but before she goes to the city and has her whole other life, she lives on the top of the mountain in Switzerland with her grandfather, and they just eat bread and cheese all day long. It’s like that was my fantasy as a kid, but anyway, Heidi II doesn’t sound that great. The grandfather’s dead, and she’s already gone through all of the [laughter] … I can’t imagine what’s in that movie. It’s kind of like, and I don’t know if you’ve seen The Good Place.
Wes: Yeah, a little bit.
Erin: I think that The Good Place you know, it has several references to Groundhog Day, but one of them that puts me in mind of the good places when they visit Mindy in the in-between place. The woman who was addicted to cocaine and was an eighties businesswoman but did the one good thing. So she lives in the in-between place and the only movie she has in the in-between place is Cannonball Run II [laughter] .
Wes: Oh God…
Erin: Again the sequel is just being as… you know this purgatorial state, where you only watch a sequel of a mediocre movie.
Wes: One of my, uh… I think one of my favorite moments is the therapist’s office. Well, first he goes to see a…
Wes: …brain guy who’s played by, uh…
Erin: by Harold Ramis.
Wes: Ramis. Yeah, the director.
Wes: So he doesn’t find anything on the scans. But then, when he turns around from these brain scans to look at Phil, he’s kind of blinking like he has bad eyesight [laughter] . I Just…
Wes: I just think it’s great.
Erin: I didn’t even notice that. That’s hilarious.
Wes: Yeah, and then there’s the scene with the very new psychotherapist. It looks like psychoanalysis ‘cause he’s lying down on the couch and the guy is terrified, which is real when….
Wes: …you start doing it. It’s a terrifying experience [laughter, doesn’t know what to say and especially with the kind of patient who sounds like he’s psychotic, and then it ends up, you know, he ends up asking him if he can come back, if Phil can come back tomorrow [laughter]
Erin: [laughter] Yeah.
Wes: Which suggests that he’s rejected, Phil’s reality, entirely.
Wes: Um.. without knowing it so..
Erin: Well and he’s proud of the fact that he finally got what, an alcoholic or something in the town that it’s… he says: “Oh, well, you know, I’ve never dealt with anything like this, but I got my first alcoholic”.
Erin: Like he’s thrilled.
Wes: Yeah. Yeah.
Erin: It’s funny.
Wes: You know, there’s a lot of subtle things in the movie to make transition… the psychological transition plausible. You can see some of it is foreshadowing or forecasting, but it’s also, you know. So, for instance, there’s a moment of altruism when he’s with the drunks early on from the local yokel guys, he’s at the bowling alley, and then they get really drunk and…
Wes: …one of them falls, and he catches him in his arms. And another scene in the diner when he’s saying to Rita that he’s a God… So I think that’s pretty late, where anyway, I forget which phase that happens in, she says: “It sounds like you’re just doing all this by tricks, you’re not really a God”. And he says something like: “Well, maybe that’s the way God is. Maybe it’s just someone who does this all by tricks”.
Erin: Yeah, who’s been around so long that he knows everybody [laughter].
Wes: But this idea, using the word “trick”, it’s the beginning of an idea that, “okay, this is a defense”. You know, his sense of omnipotence is actually… in the normal world it comes across as this guardedness and trying to be omniscient, and predict the weather, and predict everything, is actually just a trick in the sense of a defense that it’s not actually a power, it’s not actually useful. You know and then before the sublimation phase and what I call the “self-disclosure phase” when they fall asleep together, I think he’s reading to her, which was actually Bill Murray’s idea while she falls asleep, and then he says this wonderful things about, you know, “When I first saw you, something happened to me”, which is true again. You go back in the film to around the third minute, something does actually, visibly happen to him that sets everything in motion. And the playing of cards, which, you know, reminds me of the apartment where they’re playing a game together, that’s always a significant step, I think [laughter]. Umm.. they’re gonna have something to do together.
Wes: To establish a healthy boundary.
Erin: In that scene in the diner with about being a God too, there’s a sort of reframing that goes on where he is vulnerable with her, maybe for the first time, and opens himself up to her because that’s the point where he says… he tells her everything that he’s learned about her, which she sees through during his trying to bed her where she says: “Okay, you’re making some kind of list and have you been calling up my friends and finding out what I like?” And she says: “Is this what love is to you? You’re just learning everything about me in order to appease me or, yeah, manipulate me, get me to like you”. He then in the diner, goes through this list of all of her traits, and but he ends it with, “And when you stand in the snow, you look like an angel”.
Erin: And so we know, of course, that he’s liked her this whole time I mean, when he has that trust with Nancy early on, he keeps saying Rita’s name
Wes: Yeah, saying “I love you, Rita”.
Erin: Right. And that comes from you know, someplace that he seems to have no control over, but this is the first time that he recognizes something transcendent about her, or perhaps about his feelings for her.
Erin: Which he expresses in these sort of, you know, supernatural terms, after saying that he’s like a God, calls her an angel, he sees what is her sort of superhuman niceness, her angelic or saintly quality as being something that he is appreciative of, or maybe even envious of, that she could see the world in such a wholesome way and recognizes that in this moment… and acknowledges it out loud for the first time. So I see that as being a real turning point for him, and the moment where he may be first starts to accept, you know, what in Christian terms we would call “grace”.
Erin: It’s the gift that is really given to you, that you do nothing to deserve, but which you can either accept or reject, and this is the first moment in which she seems to acknowledge or accept that grace.
Wes: He says in the bed together when they were together and she’s being… I forget what she’s doing. She’s being optimistic about his situation, I think…
Wes: And he says: “Gosh, you’re such an upbeat lady”.
Wes: You know, he says, “Oh, you’re gonna be gone tomorrow”, and she says “Well, maybe not” just like, “Gosh, you’re such an upbeat lady” [laughter].
Erin: And he says it in such a kind of a multivalent…
Erin: …way where it’s like he’s making fun of her.
Wes: Well, I was trying to get your point where he’s going from envy to… yeah, he’s becoming aware that she has qualities that he might like to take on himself.
Erin: Right, appreciation, which is also sort of winking. But he’s winking at both for his sake and for hers in saying that.
Erin: Maybe it’s such a moment of sincerity that it seems to have more than one meaning to me because he’s so insincere…
Erin: Through so much of the film.
Wes: Yeah, it’s a less cruel, cynical version of the kind of humorous stuff that he’s been doing.
Wes: ‘Cause I think “sincere” is a good word.
Erin: Yeah, and then he finally gets to the point
where when he wakes up on the last day or on the third day, I guess february 3rd, the first thing he says is, you know: “Is there anything I could do for you today?” This is, I guess, the signal that the transformation is complete, that he is sincering in all of his intentions because even upon waking up and realizing that he’s now moved on to the following day, he’s still looking for ways to please her and to be worthy of her. You know, certainly the adulation he gets on that last Groundhog Day might be a powerful motivating factor for doing good deeds.
Erin: That he’s getting all of this appreciation for being always at the right place at the right time and helping people… Of course, it’s a lot of work, we realize, because that night the reader character remarks in the morning: “Oh, you fell to sleep” and he said: “Well, I had a long day”, so…
Wes: It was the end of a very long day.
Erin: The end of a very long day, Yeah, and so presumably it’s, you know, it’s taking a lot out of them to be there for other people at the level that he is and rushing from place to place, trying to help people and do these good deeds. But he is getting a lot of acknowledgement from it, and everyone is very happy with him. And he’s very… he becomes a very popular guy. Nancy, you know, says to the Chris Elliott character… what’s his name? Larry. “Oh, Phil Connors is already in there”, so he makes quite a name for himself. You know, by the time of the party that night that he’s known by everyone in town there are these… I don’t know, this sort of the dark side of altruistic motives, we might say, is the fact that we get some recognition or could get some recognition for our good deeds and people will like us. But when he wakes up on february 3rd, we know that his motivations have been sincere.
Erin: Because he wants to continue to do things for her.
Wes: This is actually one of the things that is confusing about narcissism. You know, you’re trying to treat it in others or treat it in oneself [laughter]. We all have narcissism, and a lot of it is healthy. We have narcissism in the sense of being focused on our own well being, on our own pleasure, but also… a lot of it comes out in the focus on our own ambitions, and it’s not like by curing Phil of narcissism to whatever extent that has actually happened, that means he’s gonna be free of ambitions, or free of the desire for recognition. None of us get to that point, but I think it’s a matter of a balance where for pathological narcissist, the focus on the admiration of others become so overwhelming that you lose the element of loving what you’re doing or loving other people, and he wants to be loved, and part of that is becoming lovable, developing all those qualities. So I think the movie can be confusing in that sense ‘cause you wonder in the end: “Well, isn’t this just all manipulation? He’s learned to play the piano. Everyone thinks he’s a swell guy…” It might have the appearance of that, but there’s a lot of other evidence that he’s changed internally. Realistically, we do have to get others to like us [laughter]. We have to do a lot of things that you know, one might see as manipulation. That includes talking about the weather that includes all these little social niceties, which are not what they seem and are deceptive in a lot of ways, or they conceal…
Erin: Well, maybe we can end with… I found a translation of what Bill Murray says or tries to say in French (his pronunciation isn’t that good) the day after she’s revealed that she likes 19th century French poetry, and then he does his little quoting of a poem.
Wes: Right. It’s not a poem.
Erin: It’s not a poem. The translation is: “the girl I will love is like a wine who will get better a little bit every morning”.
Erin: So it’s sort of sweet, actually… [laughter]
Erin: …what he calls to her, even as he’s trying to get into her pants [laughter].
Wes: [laughter] Yes. All right, Well, that was fun. Thank you.Erin: Thank you.