If you’re like most Americans, the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life” has been viewed in your home at least once (possibly multiple times) every year during the holiday season. The iconic character of George Bailey and his beloved family and small-town epitomizes the Christmas spirit and what family, faith, and tradition is all about.
And yet, it seems some people cannot leave such timeless classics well enough alone.
Enter Hollywood, and their recently popularized table read.
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If you are unfamiliar with this type of entertainment, here are a few things to know. First of all, consider yourself blessed you have missed out thus far. Secondly, table reads are basically a reading of a film or script by a group of actors and actresses, sometimes from the video’s original cast, sometimes not.
Yes, I said a reading. There is no real acting. No music. No special effects. Hell, there isn’t even a picture. All it is a zoom video of these actors and actresses reading the script of a formerly created movie.
Sounds fantastic, right… not.
Now, I have to admit, this form of entertainment could be, well, entertaining. But only under certain circumstances – say a table read of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High!” I mean, it’s meant to be somewhat comical from the get-go, and it’s not like the film couldn’t be improved upon much.
However, the same cannot be said of the holiday classic and family favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life.” To redo this film and possibly do it poorly is to essentially throw an entire era of American culture and charisma out the window for the birds.
I know, you’re just jumping at the bit to hear it, aren’t you?
Well, if you are, even just for curiosity’s sake, know that the cast is likely to disappoint – and not just by a little.
Let’s start with the only character that really matters, George Bailey, played so well in 1946 original by Jimmy Stewart. So who is being honored to play such a man?
Yes, you read that right: Pete Davidson, ladies, and gentlemen.
Matthew Asner of The Ed Asner Family Center, who is hosting the production to be held on December 13, stated Monday, “We are so thrilled to have Pete reenact the role of George in It’s a Wonderful Life with his talented wit and clever vocalizations.”
Now, yes, Davidson is known for such attributes. They are what has kept him as such a success on “Saturday Night Live” all these years. However, that’s not all he’s known for.
First, consider his very active dating life, which is nearly as famous as his “talented wit.”
Of course, there is also that time when Davidson remarked at how Texas Republican Representative Dan Crenshaw’s eye patch made him look more like “a hitman in a porno movie” than a politician. I get that comedy is Davidson’s livelihood. But making a joke about a former US Navy Seal who lost his eye fighting for our freedoms? It’s nowhere near funny.
Naturally, Davidson did apologize for this. However, only a short time later, he admitted that he really wasn’t sorry and only felt like he’d been “forced to apologize.” He said, “I didn’t think I did anything wrong. It was like words that were twisted so that a guy could be famous. … So I made fun of this guy with an eye patch and then, like, I kind of got forced to apologize.”
Not exactly George Bailey-esque, is it?
Jimmy Stewart made that role because of who he was, not just how he played it. We believed that he could be a good family man, an honorable community member, and the type of man we could all see ourselves as relating to in some form or another.
But Pete Davidson? Not so much.
Is anyone else getting the sense that this isn’t really about honoring the classic and instead is more about publicity for publicity’s sake? ‘Let’s throw a few well-known names in the mix, and it’s bound to be a hit, right?’ Again, not so much.
But just in case you were looking to check out the December 13 production, it’ll cost you somewhere between $50 and $250 to watch on Zoom. Remember, it’s just a reading, and with the likes of Davidson, it’s bound to be a poor one.