• Joe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #33: Phil Connors


"It's going to be cold, it's going to be dark and it's going to last you for the rest of your lives."

Like there was another choice for today? Groundhog Day is a modern classic for multiple reasons. It's funny, it's heartwarming, it's entertaining, and it also speaks to our own deep insecurities about our own lives. In many ways it's the pivot point in Bill Murray's career, from the Caddyshack/Stripes/Ghostbusters fratboy oeuvre of his early days to the more nuanced, even art house films that would come after. Groundhog Day bridges these periods neatly, being darkly comic and horrifying. It's nominally a romance, nominally a comedy, but really its a morality play, and one that isn't all that complimentary about us.

There's part of me that envies Phil, though. Who wouldn't want virtual immortality combined with total omniscience about the day ahead? Endless opportunity to master various skills, all in pursuit of a perfect day. It's estimated that Phil spent more than 12,000 days on Feb 2, or about 34 years. And he never aged, put on weight, or had to deal with any negative consequences of his actions. He was a juvenile god (not THE God - we don't think). And yet, granted that, he still made numerous efforts to end his life. Apparently there can be too much of a good thing.

I'm very tempted to post this again tomorrow, by the way.

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