Television is an inescapable part of most contemporary people’s lives. As such, it’s no surprise that the television has become a widespread pop culture motif. The TV set can take on a number of roles on film from friend to enemy (or else the catalyst for making either of these), but one thing’s always for certain: if a TV appears prominently in a movie then it’s probably in order to make some kind of point (although this can range from something enduringly meaningful to a mere illustration of a certain part of the plot).
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Also, of course, featured in Tim Burton’s 2005 adaption Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, television is the main vice of the rather aptly named Mike Teavee. Finder of the fourth of Willy Wonka’s Golden Tickets, his portrayal has varied in the various adaptations of the story. However, in all of them he is an avid watcher of television, the majority of his bad behaviour generally attributed to this. He ends up being shrunk by Mr Wonka’s experimental Wonkavision technology, which broadcasts not images but objects through the air waves to people’s televisions. Although this is ultimately remedied by his being stretched on some of Willy Wonka’s candy making machines, Mike Teavee is never the same after his factory adventure.
Pleasantville is a visually impressive film wherein protagonists David and Jennifer get sucked into a black white 50s sitcom. Breaking the TV remote during a spat and unable to turn the TV on any other way, the pair are mysteriously visited by an enigmatic repairman who presents them with a replacement (which just so happens to cause the aforementioned mishap). Although initially attempting to act in character so as not to interfere with the show’s usual plotline, the siblings slowly start to change the world they now inhabit. The world starts bursting into colour, and the titular town eventually begins to expand beyond its few fictional streets. Although Pleasantville’s residents initially fight the change, they eventually embrace the presence of colour and passion in their lives.
This notorious Japanese horror film that has had a number of sequels, prequels and reimaginings, Ring is widely acknowledged to be one of the scariest horror films of all time. Focusing on a video tape that, once watched, results in your death after seven days, it follows reporter Reiko Asakawa as she attempts to investigate the mysterious deaths of a group of teenagers who watched it. However, it turns out that they only way to escape the same fate is to make a copy of the video and pass it on to somebody else. The film also subtly begs the question as to whether you would be better or worse off for having the best LED TV to watch it on (probably the latter).
Author Bio: Carol Brown wouldn't really like to encounter any of these TVs in real life!