Fifties Denial: A Review of 'Pleasantville'

by J.R. Colson

1998, New Line Cinema/ AOL Time Warner
Starring Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire
Written, directed and produced by Gary Ross*

Hey, gang -- do you remember 1950s, American, middle-class, apple-pie, white-bread culture? Hmmm?

C'mon, you remember it: white picket fences, manicured lawns, girls named Betty, a Ford or Chevy in every garage, Dad belonging to the Lion's Club, Mom wearing dresses and playing bridge twice a week, and always having a cholesterol-laden dinner ready every night at 6:00 sharp?

And surely you recall the clean, smiling, White teen-agers who never used drugs, or listened to vulgar black music?

Even if you were not actually there yourself, you know the culture we're talking about.

Well, the writer/director/producer of "Pleasantville" does not like that historic, idyllic, all-American culture. No way.

In fact, he hates it very much.

So much so that he devoted a big-budget movie to "reconditioning" and reinterpreting that 1950s culture in a way that soothes the denizens and flatters the ideology of the Jewish Hollywood milieu he inhabits. If you've ever watched tv, you've soaked up a pretty good idea of what that means, but if you'd like a deeper look, check out our review of Ben Stein's book "The View from Sunset Boulevard" here.

The basic storyline of this message movie called "Pleasantville" unfolds like so:

One night, while they are home alone, two modern White teen-agers break the remote control on the family TV.


As strange luck would have it, a mysterious, elderly TV-repair man (Don Knotts) instantly shows up at their door, offering them a new, "improved" TV remote, at no charge.

A strange turn of events, this.

Kids being kids, they immediately begin fighting over the gizmo, and in the process are zapped into a fictitious, 1950s TV show called "Pleasantville," an idyllic, "Leave-It-To-Beaver"-type show, where life is simple and there is not a negro, feminist or homosexual in sight.

These modern kids then actually become a part of the family of the make-believe TV show "Pleasantville," becoming the teen children of the featured, make-believe TV family.

At first, this new black-and-white, inside-the-TV world is very strange and weird to the teeners; it is so sterile and rigid; a daytime nightmare, as it were.

But soon they become kinda used to it.

The producer/writer takes great care to portray this new (but unreal) world as hopelessly square, far too wholesome, and far too conservative, even for Jerry Falwell types.

In short, this world is really the pits, he tells us. Dreary. Uptight. Way too formal and way too White.

According to the producer and writer of "Pleasantville," (Gary Ross*), the reason it is so crummy is because there are no blacks, homosexuals, Jews or feminists anywhere in sight. Everyone in this new world is a conservative, White Protestant, with great hair, good morals and a good job (we can't have that, can we?).

Now, here comes the nugget of the story: the modern kids bring their 1990s values into the ultra-square, black-and-white world -- a world that is so dreary that color does not even exist anywhere.

These fashionable teens (especially the girl) proceed to show this really uptight community the error of their narrow-minded ways.

For example, the girl tells her new, unreal, "Pleasantville"-show mother how to masturbate, and so she does -- in the bathtub! Complete with moaning and sighing!

This experience is so liberating to the mother that 1) she begins to turn "colorized" (flesh tones, red lipstick), and 2) eventually leaves her nerdish, button-down husband, who clearly cannot satisfy her "that way" (sexual encounters do not happen in Pleasantville, or at least didn't, until the modern teeners showed up).

Slowly, as the modern teeners touch the lives of various community figures, they all begin to turn "colorized," except for a few super-conservative holdouts, who will not "get with the program" and become liberal like their enlightened pals.

A key scene in the movie shows the conservative townsfolk as the usual bigots who harass the now-"colored" people (get it?).

Subtle, very subtle.

Also shown is the championing of bogus "modern" art: the malt-shop owner paints a colorful mural on his store window -- not a beautiful one, mind you, but a "modern," grotesque nightmare; this same character also is shown looking through a large art book, ooooh-ing and ahhh-ing over ugly images by "modern"-art stooges like Picasso (no standard, traditional art was visible in this book).

Another clever feature in this movie is a book-burning. Yes, the uptight, intolerant White squares burn books that they do not feel conform to their traditional standards and morals (a way-too-obvious reference to Nazi Germany; ya see, the uptight, tradition-minded Whites are kinda/sorta like Nazis -- get it?).

Again, subtle, very subtle...

In summary, this movie was created for one reason, and one reason only: to further brainwash various American audiences about what the Jewish producer obviously feels was a very, very bad, and very over-romanticized, era in American history: the far-too-White, anti-Jewish, anti-homosexual, traditional 1950s.

Jews and liberals know that that era contained few open, visible homosexuals; few open, visible feminists; few visible Blacks; and few overtly visible Jewish people on television and in movies (Jews, as a group, still felt paranoid in the 1950s about letting the rest of America know that American popular culture was, already, heavily impacted by Jews), which is why our usually-Jewish filmmakers hate that era so much; Jews and minorities and homosexuals could not thrive in that era; they were stifled and largely invisible; unlike today, when they more or less dictate our American cultural agenda.

Revisionist movies like "Pleasantville" only exist because America, as a whole, allows them to. There is no outcry from Sally Soccermom about the half-hidden messages sent by movies like this; Jewish Hollywood knows that no one will even mention the anti-White, anti-traditional themes in this movie in any newspaper or magazine, and if they do, those anti-traditional themes will be mentioned in a positive light, giving anyone who might read a review of such a movie the warm feeling that the ending of that way-too-White-for-its-own-good culture is sort of a good thing.

The truth is that Fifties America was a better place than America today. Ask anybody over fifty and he will confirm it. Fifties deniers like the producers of "Pleasantville" can only cover it up.

*Ross is believed to be Jewish. 'Ross,' like 'Green,' is a common Jewish camouflage.

Related reading: "The Ongoing Assault -- Jews Mock '50s Educational Films To Smear The World They Destroyed," at


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