[i repeat this post every time tbs plays the movie]
I hate the Wizard of Oz. I’ve always hated it. And no matter how much I said I hated it, no matter how much I protested, my mother always made me watch it when that special day would come around once a year when Wizard of Oz was on broadcast tv. Yes, kids. There was a time before DVDs. A time before Netflix queues. A time even before VHS and Betamax. I COME FROM THE LAND BEFORE TIME.
So once a year, usually around Easter, some major channel (might have been CBS or ABC) showed the Wizard of Oz. Mom would gather the kids in the living room and put our blankets and pillows on the floor and get all excited that we were doing this traditional thing of watching a movie that scared the piss out of me.
I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, she’s afraid of the flying monkeys. How funny.” But, no. Even though those flying monkeys were - and still are - frightening, there was so much more to be scared of. The helplessness. The sense of abandonment. The cruelty of grownups. EVERYTHING.
I don’t know how old Dorothy was supposed to be in the movie and when I look at it now I’m all “Damn, she looks like she’s 20 years old there. What the hell is a 20 year old doing making friends with a Tin Man and a wizard? Get off the pot, girl! Get a damn job and stop living in your little fantasy world!” But when I was younger, I always imagined Dorothy to be the same age I was. I’d put myself in her situation. I’d imagine what it would be like to be sitting at home minding my own business, maybe plotting revenge on that sour old cunt who stole my dog and then BAM! you’re in this crazy world with singing midgets and fairy godmothers. I don’t know about you but I’d be scared shit. I’d probably stay right in my black and white house and pray that I’d wake up from whatever nightmare was plaguing me.
It just gets worse from there. Really, my fear wasn’t about the witches or midgets or talking trees at all. It was about being away from home and not being able to find a way back. I’d have palpitations for the whole movie, even when I had the ending memorized and I knew everyone lives happily every after. I still felt this smothering, claustrophobic fear creep over me. What if she couldn’t get back? What if she was stuck in this land of lollipop people forever? What if she never saw her aunt or uncle or dog again? What about her friends? School? Who would celebrate her birthday? Would Santa Claus know where to find her? Would she ever wear anything besides that ridiculous dress? Does anyone back home miss her?
How do you file a missing person report for someone who took off in a flying house? I would think about Uncle Henry and Auntie Em frantically looking for her in all the neighboring farmhouses, wondering if she was kidnapped or if the twister carried her off into the woods where she landed in a tree and a branch decapitated her and Toto would be searching for her and come across her bloody head and everyone would be terribly sad for a long time.
The flying monkeys had nothing on that. Nothing.
My fear of death, homelessness and crying aunts were sometimes put aside for my feelings of anger. So much anger. There’s the Cowardly Lion. Was he a jackass or what? Seriously, you are king of the fucking forest. Stop your whining and act like a man. Lion. Whatever. When I wasn’t raging about that I was being pissed off at the god damn wizard. What the fuck, man? How do you mess with a homesick little girl like that? What is your damage, dude? Everyone in this movie is dysfunctional. Everyone has some deep psychological issue. And then when Dorothy “wakes up” from her journey, of course no one believes anything that happened to her. They call it a dream. They laugh at her, not with her, like they’re ridiculing her. And I was like, “Dorothy! It was not a dream! Those people standing around you are really evil and they live in a land where midgets are oppressed and witches fly around with reckless abandon and wizards delight in scarring young girls for life!” This movie needed a horror film ending, something chilling and awful like in The Fly, maybe the camera pulls away from Dorothy and zooms in on the guy who is really the wizard and he winks into the camera, one of those evil, terrible winks that tells you “Oh, this isn’t over, kids. Not by a longshot.” Then Wizard of Oz Part II comes out (no, not that creepy, awful Return to Oz) and Dorothy goes back to Munchkinland to release the Munchkins from slavery and slaughter the wizard and maybe drug the Cowardly Lion and carve the word “pussy” in his forehead while he’s passed out.
I hate the Wizard of Oz.