Alice’s Adventures in the Tom Zone

If you read my post from the Rainy Monday Film Festival, I watched Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.”  Since then, I’ve watched it about five more times.   Something struck me as curiouser and curiouser.

Namely this: it’s far more likely that if Alice went down a rabbit hole  she’d end up, not in Wonderland, but  in a stifling relationship, living with some guy named Wayne in a trailer park.  Instead of futterwackening, they’d go to the Dew Drop Inn, where she’d drink beer and sing karaoke with the other girlfriends while Wayne shoots pool with Jimmy and Bobby.  There’d be no tea party, just sweet tea at KFC when Wayne’s unemployment hit their bank account.  She’d “drink this,” but “this” wouldn’t be height-reducing pishalver, but sobriety reducing “shooters.”  When it came time to “eat this,” it would be a late-night “Village Inn Skillet.” The only queen in her life would be Brendan at the beauty parlor.

Okay, I’m a little cynical about what would happen.  I mean, Hamish isn’t exactly exciting, but there are worse lives than being married to a quadrille-loving Lord with a delicate digestive tract.  If she needs a good rogering, I’m sure Alice could find a stable-boy or gardener to lend a helping hand (or other parts).  Good Lord, I’d help her out (just in the name of chivalry 😉 ).

I guess what struck me is that Wonderland was really a dangerous, horrible, maniac-intensive place.  For God’s sake, Alice had been in Wonderland maybe five minutes, and she was stabbed by a dormouse, insulted by a stoned catterpillar, and attacked by a bandersnatch.  It’s tragic that this nightmarish world seemed more pleasant than being a corset-eschewing she-rebel on the path to aristocracy. 

Yeah, Hamish is a goober.  I get that.  Alice would definitely have to improvise to live with him and not go bonkers.  If she’s just ungodly rich, though, I don’t think that bonkerslessness would be that difficult.  On the other hand, if she were to fall down the rabbit-hole into a trailer park, that wouldn’t be as easy.  Poverty limits your options. 

As colorful and exciting as Wonderland is, Alice downed a shooter of Jabberwock blood and got the hell out of there the first chance she got, back to dorky Hamish and a mother who checks for stockings and corsets.  She set sail for China, but she did so as an official of a wealthy trading company.  She definitely wasn’t in steerage or swabbing decks.

I know “Alice in Wonderland” is just a kid’s story, a tale meant to amuse and entertain.  The reality is that far more of the little kids who read it (or see the movie) will end up in the trailer park than in the country manor.  It’s sad, in a way, that more kids won’t end up having to wrestle with the misery of manor life.  They’ll end up with their Waynes and Jimmys and Bobbys, only seeing the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat if they down enough Jaeger-bombs Saturday night at the Dew Drop Inn.

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2 Responses to “Alice’s Adventures in the Tom Zone”

  1. Really? You don’t think someone as curious as Alice might not strive for something better than living with Wayne in a mobile home? I think a kid with imagination and an inquiring mind would follow a lot of different rabbits, and some of those crazy bunnies might lead to a world far bigger than Wonderland—no funny lozenges or mushrooms needed.

    Also, remember Tim Burton’s version of the story is fed by his own wild point of view. In the book, Alice is a child who’s both innocent and very opinionated. She gets through all of her trials because damn, that girl’s got principles, even if they aren’t reasoned out. It’s kind of a modern spin on the myth of the hero, except Alice doesn’t come out transformed. She just wakes up shaking a kitten. 🙂

    • You are correct, of course, Professor Gozen. I was basing my screed on the Tim Burton film, not the book. I haven’t read the book in more decades than I care to admit. One thing Burton said he tried to do was add a narrative to the random tales, to give some sort of flow.

      And I wasn’t saying that Alice would choose Trailerland over Wonderland. Only that Trailerland would be a far more likely destination. Maybe you’re right, that her imagination and strength would enable her to aspire to better.

      There’s nothing sadder than seeing a potential Alice trapped in stifling Trailerland.

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