Monday, June 09, 2008

Hello Boys, I Am Carl Jung

It's been about 15 years since I saw "Aurora Borealis, A Fairy Tale for Adults," the last episode of the first season of Northern Exposure. Back when I lived in Japan, video entertainment didn't move around the world with the liquidity it does now. Not that that bothered me. With certain exceptions (such as NE), I missed everything shown on American television from 1990 to 1995, and all this time later I can't think of any downside to that.

However, a friend sent me VHS tapes from time to time that would include some then-current TV. "Aurora Borealis" was on one such tape, and it was the third episode of the series I ever saw. My reaction to the first episode of NE I ever saw was, "That's odd." The second: "Odd, but interesting." But it was "Aurora Borealis" that convinced me that something wonderfully strange was being shown on network television -- and not strange in some stereotypically gothic way, but one that showed some imagination on someone's part.

Last week, a rental DVD including the episode came in the mail and I watched it again. I never knew its full title before, but it fits. In fact, the entire series is pretty much a fairy tale for adults. All sorts of interesting things happen in "Aurora Borealis," but the scene that captured my full attention -- a moment that sold me on the whole series -- is toward the end. The guest star character Bernard is bunking down at Chris's place a short while after showing up in town on a motorcycle, having driven to Alaska from Oregon for a reason he can't quite pin down.

At first, it seems like Chris is having the dream. Chris, as a boy, is told by his mother that his father has "forgotten his balls," and is sent after him carrying a bag containing two orbs (colored yellow, fortunately). He climbs into a truck, which starts to move, and now Chris is an adult. Neither he nor Bernard, who is also in the cab, are driving it.

Chris: Bernard!

Bernard: Chris, what are you doing here?

Chris: Dad forget his balls again. Mom's tough, what can I say?


Chris: What'd you do to your hair?

Bernard: I look like a thin Barry White, don't I?

Chris: Yeah, you do.

Bernard: That's why I don't care much for dreams. You never can control the way you look, people wander in and out and foul up the continuity.

Chris: Excuse me, Bernard, but I didn't wander into your dream. This is my basic, come-as-you-are recurring dream where I chase after my father for attention.

Bernard: Then what are you doing in my Daddy's truck?

Chris: Good point. Maybe we should ask him who's got first dibs on the dream.

Bernard: [to the unseen driver]: Excuse me, you seen my father?

Driver [still off camera]: No.

Bernard: Guess you win.

Chris: He's not my Daddy.


Chris and Bernard in unison: Who are you?!?

We see the driver for the first time.

Driver: Hello boys, I am Carl Jung, und vile I know much about zie collective unconscious, I don't know how to drive!

All scream, tires screech, dream ends.



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