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December 23, 2004 9:37 PM   Subscribe

Why Pottersville is better than Bedford Falls. Merry Christmas you old building and loan!
posted by braun_richard (22 comments total)

 
Merry Christmas to you... in jail!
posted by interrobang at 10:03 PM on December 23, 2004


Nick is understandably impatient. "Look, mister, I'm standing here waiting for you to make up your mind," he says.

But this only spurs Clarence on to an even more prolonged and irritating fit of thinking to himself out loud. "That's a good man," he says. "I was just thinking of a flaming rum punch -- no, it's not cold enough, not nearly cold enough...I've got it -- mulled wine! Heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves. Off with you, my lad, and be lively."

Many bartenders, after being subjected to this insufferably patronizing sermon -- "Off with you, my lad, and be lively"? "That's a good man"? -- on top of being ordered to make an insultingly impractical drink, would simply reach behind the bar and bring down a baseball bat upon the head of the offending customer. To his credit, Nick does not. Instead, he delivers a speech that, while perhaps not as gracious as it could have been, is a model of frankness and concision. "We serve hard drinks for men who want to get drunk fast," he tells Clarence, "and we don't need any 'characters' hanging around to give the joint 'atmosphere.'"




A funny take on my favorite scene. Thanks.
posted by interrobang at 10:14 PM on December 23, 2004


Man, that essay ends depressing. The world is now Pottersville, so get used to it? Yikes ...
posted by gubo at 10:51 PM on December 23, 2004


Oh yeah, totally. The areas you want to go in in any given town are the ones with neon signs and hot sex everywhere. Those are the places everyone loves to live.

Give me a break.
posted by u.n. owen at 10:56 PM on December 23, 2004


I've always wondered why Jimmy Stewart was a good friend of the Reagans, considering that he was in this movie; Potter is clearly an anti-New Deal Republican, and Pottersville is a Republican's dream: tons of poor people barely able to pay rent to you, practically indentured servants living in identical, poorly-built houses out in a field.
posted by interrobang at 11:01 PM on December 23, 2004


I can't say I find either Pottersville or Bedford Falls an appealing place to live. There's not enough peaceful privacy in either one. And while it may be difficult to get a good drink in Bedford Falls, I doubt it's easy to get a cheap one in Pottersville.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:06 PM on December 23, 2004


I'd actually bet the drinks are *extremely* cheap in Pottersville; they hadn't invented the 40 yet, after all.
posted by interrobang at 11:45 PM on December 23, 2004


Pottersville is a Republican's dream: tons of poor people barely able to pay rent to you, practically indentured servants living in identical, poorly-built houses out in a field.

Hey, that is my dream!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:10 AM on December 24, 2004


What kind of doofus drinks a flaming rum punch or mulled wine anyway? That's almost as bad as spiked egg nog in April.

And I can tell you the areas of a town I don't want to go to: places where hot sex is discouraged by Bedford Falls-like folksways. Life's too short to be prudish.
posted by ed at 3:38 AM on December 24, 2004


I always thought it was weird how Nick says, in his citified accent, that he doesn't know George Bailey "from Adam's off ox" -- that's more of a country thing to say, I figure, since Dad grew up in rural New Jersey and it's something he use to say.

Speaking of hot sex vs. prudishness, "It's a wonderful life" is a great prelude to "...so let's celebrate it and screw."
posted by alumshubby at 4:04 AM on December 24, 2004


and Pottersville is a Republican's dream: tons of poor people barely able to pay rent to you, practically indentured servants living in identical, poorly-built houses out in a field.

And yours is the perfect liberal attitude. Blame it on someone else. It's the man that's keeping them down. Come on, someone help me get the house of my dreams! Ha.
posted by justgary at 5:55 AM on December 24, 2004


I think the movie is a fantasy for the Republican party. Bedford falls is a moralistic Police State. Pottersville is a laisez-faire paradise. The Rich Industrialist gets paid twice and the working people of the town have to foot the bill.
posted by Megafly at 6:52 AM on December 24, 2004


I've always wondered why Jimmy Stewart was a good friend of the Reagans, considering that he was in this movie...

Of course, Frank Capra was also a Republican. Note that while the movie does advocate the virtues of community and collective action, it doesn't advocate government intervention in people's affairs. The Savings and Loan is pretty well presented as a means for the people to voluntarily help each other achieve the American dream - a bootstrapping effort so that everybody gets to have a house, car, and 2.4 kids. Watch the movie again and note the scene with the board after George's father dies-- George defends the S and L to the businessmen by claiming that it makes the people better consumers. Potter doesn't serve here as a stand-in for the entire Republican Party. And note anyway that nobody challenges Potter's right to be the richest man in Bedford Falls, whatever route he takes to get there. George criticizes him for his business practices, but never suggests that they shouldn't be legally allowed.

Bedford falls is a moralistic Police State.

Yeah, right. How can it be a police state when the only cop in town is Bert?
posted by Chris Freiberg at 7:44 AM on December 24, 2004


That's right, Megafly. We've got both. It's called the City and the Suburbs. This way the Vaunted Businessman gets to slurp up drinks & dime dance babes after work, take a one-hour commuter train ride, and stumble past the Building & Loan to his own personal Mary.
posted by juggernautco at 7:46 AM on December 24, 2004


uh, perhaps there should have been a "wink" a the end of my post, or a sarcasm mark
posted by Megafly at 8:07 AM on December 24, 2004


I'd take Bedford Falls over Pottersville any day.
posted by Doohickie at 9:26 AM on December 24, 2004


U=BTL
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:53 AM on December 24, 2004


I'm in the process of moving out of Pottersville & into Bedford Falls... wish me luck.
Oh, how I'll miss the Bamboo Room...
posted by miss lynnster at 10:32 AM on December 24, 2004


As usual some writer at Salon doesn't have a clue.
posted by TetrisKid at 10:47 AM on December 24, 2004


I always thought it was weird how Nick says, in his citified accent, that he doesn't know George Bailey "from Adam's off ox"

So that's what he's saying. I've been trying to figure that one out for years and the close caption doesnt' help. Thanks alumshubby!

What kind of doofus drinks a flaming rum punch or mulled wine anyway? That's almost as bad as spiked egg nog in April.

A 293 (next May) year old angel who "never grew up." It should be noted that George Bailey orders a double bourbon.
posted by AstroGuy at 11:11 AM on December 24, 2004




If I have to choose between Bedford Falls and Pottersvill, I pick the latter without much hesitation. But then, I don't have to choose.

I didn't see IAWL until I was in my 20s. And I distinctly remember having an epiphany during the part of the "nightmare" sequence where George runs like a man deranged down the neon-littered streets of Pottersville:

Bedford Falls would be a really, really boring place to live.

When a thought like that occurs to me, I remind myself that neither place is real. Most of us live in the world Juggernautco describes, where "bad" stuff is isolated into "red zones", nightlife districts, urban residential neighborhoos, and salted throughout the beltways, and people with money move out into the 'burbs where zoneing doesn't permit such things.
posted by lodurr at 11:45 AM on December 26, 2004


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