Saturday, December 13, 2008

Antichrist Television Blues

The AV Club's list of bad gifts includes the television given to Jane Wyman in Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows. I've never seen that movie, but I immediately thought of two other films in which a TV serves a similar role: in Barry Levinson's Avalon, a TV ends up alienating a family from their heritage, and in Quiz Show, Charles van Doren presents his father with a new TV set at a frequently awkward birthday party, just as his own fleeting celebrity is outshining his father's intellectual notoriety.

So, if you're looking for a Christmas present that will be fraught with symbolism and drive a wedge between the generations, by all means spring for that shiny plasma screen.

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