Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In dreams begin responsibilities...and sitcoms

I dreamed an episode of The Dick Van Dyke show last night.

It was one of those perfect movie-in-your-head dreams---or in this case sitcom-in-your-head---in which every image is vivid and as perfectly framed and choreographed as if for a camera and there's dialogue that almost makes sense and a storyline that is just about coherent.

This one was even in black and white. Not the washed out black and white we all are supposed to dream in, although I know people who swear they dream in color. The clear black and white of a digitally restored piece of film.

The plot was this. Rob and Laura are attending separate academic conferences.

Yep. You read that right. In my dream, the Petries have earned their Ph.D.'s and are now teaching. Nothing else about them has changed.

In Rob's subplot, he is hopelessly out of his depth among his effete and hyper-intellectualized colleagues and his embarrassment and fear of being found out brings on a wild attack of extreme clumsiness. This fits with the real show. The show's creator and chief writer, Carl Reiner, is a classic auto-didact and he built several episodes around his insecurity as a writer and would-be intellectual. In my dream, Rob eventually reveals to a bunch of professors how out of his league he feels, which leads to all of them admitting to their own fears of not measuring up and the storyline ends happily with all the professors pressuring Rob for insider gossip about working on the Alan Brady Show, Rob's teaching career having vanished in a puff of dream illogic.


At Laura's conference no pseudo-intellectual farces are being played out. No conferencing at all appears to be taking place. Every scene is a cocktail party or a picnic and Laura is flirting shamelessly all around. She winds up on a park bench making out with a security guard.

Later, as they are flying home in their private plane, Rob at the controls---hey, my dreaming self wrote this, not Carl Reiner---Laura confesses to her indiscretion.

Rob is surprisingly calm about this. In fact, he is happy to hear it, because he has something to tell her. He's about to confess to a flirtation or affair he had when...my dream ended.

I woke up feeling terribly bitter and betrayed. Laura Petrie! An adulteress! My dreaming self wasn't fooled. It knew it was the 1960s and Laura's make-out session on the park bench was meant to be suggestive. My dreaming self also dreams with a double-standard. It had no hard feelings about Rob's cheating.

Laura Petrie.

Strange dream.

I wonder what it means.

I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the blonde is going to be away this weekend at a business conference.


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