Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Glinda the Sort of Good and Other Thoughts

I've been watching The Wizard of Oz a number of times lately. Mostly I was attempting to prepare for a small group Bible study in which we would try to find the Gospel somewhere in the film. It's possible that we came up with some legitimately good connections. It's also possible that it's like the whole Pink Floyd thing. You see what you want to see.

Anyway, it's not just lately that I've watched that movie. I can probably say I've seen The Wizard of Oz over a hundred times and literally mean it. Everyone says things like that, but it's usually hyperbole. I'm 34 years old and I think it's safe to say I've watched that movie at least three times a year throughout my life. 100 sounds like a pretty decent estimate.

But watching it repeatedly recently got me thinking about some things...
  • Glinda the Insulter: When she first appears in front of Dorothy, she asks the poor girl if she's a good witch or a bad witch. Dorothy explains that she's not a witch at all, that witches are old and ugly. Glinda goes on to say that only bad witches are ugly, then asks Dorothy again, good or bad? What is Glinda implying about Dorothy's looks?
  • Glinda the "Good": How good is she, really? I don't think she's as "good" as she claims to be. She magics the Ruby Slippers right onto Dorothy's feet while the Wicked Witch is standing right there. Why would she do that? She may as well have painted a big red target on Dorothy's feet.
  • The Broomstick: Glinda tells Dorothy how to get to the Emerald City, she asks if she brought her broomstick with her. I assume it's because the broomstick would be a faster mode of transportation than simply walking down the Yellow Brick Road. Dorothy says she's afraid she doesn't have one. But her house is 20 feet away! I'd be willing to bet there's a broom in there somewhere. I'm sure Aunt Em has swept the floors in that old farm house a time or two.
  • The Scarecrow's Mental Powers: Dorothy comes across the Scarecrow when he's hanging in a cornfield. He talks to her about the different ways she could go when she's standing at a crossroads. But his lips don't move. Clearly, this means the Scarecrow is telepathic. Telepathy is a mental ability. Logic would dictate that the Scarecrow clearly had a brain the whole time.
  • The Lion's Plan: Here we have a Cowardly Lion. He's lying in wait for our band of heroes and their little dog, too. What's the plan as he attacks the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman? They're both on the ground cowering in fear. Why doesn't he strike? Instead, he cracks, "How long do you stay fresh in that can?" What, is he gonna joke them to death? On a different note, could anyone else picture a sitcom where the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion are roommates? Comedy gold.
  • The Importance of the Gatekeeper: Our five glorified trick-or-treaters arrive at the Emerald City. The gatekeeper states that no one has ever seen the Wizard. Even HE has never seen the Wizard. He says it like he's important enough to deserve such a privilege. What makes him so special?
  • Do As You're Told!: When Dorothy is held hostage in the Witch's castle, the Wicked Witch says she'll return Toto to the girl if she gives her the Ruby Slippers. Dorothy's reasoning for not complying? "The Good Witch told me not to!" Since when does Dorothy do what she's told? She ran away from home! Sure sign of a rebellious nature. Then the Witch tries to take the shoes by force and gets shocked by them. "Well, can I still have my dog back?" Dorothy asks, sheepishly. Seriously?
  • Glinda Again: At the end, Glinda shows up and says Dorothy had the power to go home all along. Why didn't she tell her that to begin with? Because Dorothy had to learn it for herself. But she didn't learn it. Glinda just told her! And I don't think she had any power at all. She clicks her heels and closes her eyes, sure. She chants, "There's no place like home." But Glinda is waving her wand behind Dorothy's head the whole time. Glinda's the one with the real power. She's the one that sent Dorothy back to Kansas. Or sent a wake up call.
Reading that, it makes me sound incredibly cynical toward The Wizard of Oz. But it really is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Speaking of The Wizard of Oz... Don't forget about my 2000th Blog Post Spectacular! You can still win stuff! Several Oz-related items. Today is the final day to enter! The winner will be announced tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. I think that the reason no one in Oz was able to see the Wizard is because he was really the con man that Dorothy met back in Kansas before the tornado struck her home and sent her to Oz!