Every Feb. 2, a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his home — a hole in the frozen ground in western Pennsylvania — as the world waits for word on whether or not the little guy casts a shadow. If the groundhog sees his shadow, so the legend goes, there will be six more weeks of winter, prompting Phil to descend back into his burrow and slumber for a little longer. If he doesn’t see his shadow, Phil jumps for joy and plays around outside for a while (well, kind of) and the rest of the country breathes a sigh of relief, because spring is just around the corner. (Pray it's a cloudy day!). One little rodent holds a whole lot of power prognosticating whether the dreadful winter we’ve had thus far (please no more polar vortex!) will persist or melt away and usher in a sunny, flowering spring sooner rather than later — how annoying!
No one, of course, found Phil more frustrating than Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.” The meteorologist had to travel to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual event, and instead of filing the report on time and heading back home, he found himself trapped in a maddening time loop, waking up at 6 a.m. on Groundhog Day at the local hotel again and again and again. In other words, every day is Groundhog Day. Through Connors’s struggles with reliving the quirky holiday, we learn not only a lot about groundhogs (they like golf courses and driving cars!), but also lessons about life. Here are some of the most important ones:
Waking up at 6 a.m. for work five days a week is hard. Waking up at 6 a.m. every day when every day is Feb. 2 is even harder.
Connors’s bold move to skip a mug altogether and chug java straight from the pitcher epitomizes an extreme case of the Mondays (and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays). The meteorologist proves that consuming a borderline dangerous amount of caffeine can solve just about any issue (sort of).
Cops aren’t the only ones who enjoy a daily doughnut. Meteorologists love a powdered treat as well. And they’re good for soaking up the acid from that excessive intake of coffee.
Connors teaches viewers the difference between "light flurries" and "full-on blizzard." The white-out conditions may look like a severe winter storm, but professionals always know best. Right?
Only a god (Rita: "You're God?" Phil: "I'm a god," "I'm not the God.") could possibly be conscious of a time loop that no one else seems to notice. Connors might not have been able to control the world around him, but his unwanted power to continuously replay Groundhog Day is certainly some kind of holy capability.
Everyone Grows Up — Eventually
Connors gets stuck in Groundhog Day limbo for an undefined amount of time (the director originally said 10 years and then changed it to 30 to 40 years) and is kept from being able to access Feb. 3 until his level of maturity matches his age. Arrested development may sound like fun — terrorizing a town with no consequences tomorrow would be kind of exhilirating — but even Peter Pan left Neverland in the end.
Persistence Pays Off
Rita repeatedly rebuffs Connors’s romantic advances (quite possibly because of his irate mood, vendetta against groundhogs, and numerous pranks and hijinks he pulled in Punxsutawney), but eventually falls for the weatherman after he turns his bad-boy ways into opportunities for self-improvement. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
Look at that cute little groundhog driving the car! Its chubby cheeks and fluffy fur make the rodent look completely innocent and definitely not like a nuisance. Bill Murray was actually bitten by the groundhog twice during filming and had to get a rabies shot because the bites were so severe. But look how cute that groundhog is!
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