The Parent Trap Part II

The Parent Trap Part II

The Canyon House (The real villain!)

So here’s poor Mitch, swamped with woman problems. What’s a fella to do? Hold on to your hat! In this defeated state Mitch’s subconscious comes to his rescue in the form of the twins, Susan and Sharon. Except they have become one in the persona of Susan, the tomboy. With Mitch incapable of breaking up with Vicki and his carnal side, the twins work as weapons forged in his subconscious sent to free him from his self-imposed ‘trap.’ By defending Mitch’s weakened masculinity and banishing the evil Vicki, the twins reestablish the traditional order of things. As monsters from the id they are products of his guilt for divorcing their mother and abandoning them. At one point Mitch even refers to them as monsters (with a gleam in his eye) after they successfully ‘submarine’ his engagement to Vicki.

Like any good myth there has to be a guardian at the gate. In this case it’s the family dog, a German Shepherd, named Andromeda. Andromeda was the princess of the Greek myth who ends up chained naked to a rocky coast as bait for a sea monster!(A curious name for a dog in modern, happy-go-lucky California.)This is punishment for Andromeda’s arrogant mother boasting she was the most beautiful girl in the world. Here we have an example of a child punished for the sins of the parents, literally sacrificed like the twins were sacrificed when their parent’s divorced. Sharon explains it clearly when she says, “They…parted and just sort of bisected us.” This reference to Andromeda points to Maggie’s shared guilt in the divorce. Like Andromeda’s fate (the princess, not the dog) what could be a greater punishment for a parent than to witness the destruction of their child?

Once past Andromeda the girls have a real fight on their hands. Sex rules supreme in Mitch’s psyche/house. Vicki reminds them of their disadvantage when Susan/Sharon throws a fit at the idea of Mitch’s impending engagement.

“Oh honey, don’t you play with the big girls, you’ll be in way over your head.”

For once the twins don’t have a sassy come-back for this reproach. They know they are no match for Vicki on her home turf. She must be lured out of her sanctuary. Enter ridiculous camping trip.

During the camping trip Mitch is at his most ineffectual, if not downright cowardly. He stands back and watches as the twins punish Vicki for her intrusion by giving her mosquito ‘attraction’ lotion, nearly drowning her, and then use her as bait for bears. Mitch finally chastises them for the ‘terrible thing’ they’ve done (attempted drowning) and he can hardly keep a straight face. “Now I don’t want any more of that from either of you, both of you, understand?” Even he’s not sure who he’s dealing with. This is Mitch at his most naked, and impotent. He is incapable of disciplining his daughters as they are products of his psyche. Things are so out of control that the defeated Vicki rightfully lashes out at the twins. “Do you share everything?” she asks. “Yes we do,” Susan smugly replies. “Well give your sister her half of this,” she says slapping Susan. This violence is condoned because even the audience knows the girl’s outlandish behavior should not go unpunished. It is verbalized because Vicki recognizes the twins are not individuals but a single entity.

With Vicki successfully banished from Mitch’s life the family can return to its normal semblance of order. While Mitch and Maggie flirt in the kitchen, the twins are up in their double bed sleeping. Suddenly Susan is jolted awake and explains to Sharon that she, “Just had the craziest dream.” The girls bedroom dissolves as Susan, the messenger of Mitch’s psyche, describes her dream. “We’re wearing organdy dresses, music is coming from somewhere, there are flowers… The girls are bridesmaids at their parent’s wedding. Susan is baffled by this? Why? To trap and reunite her parents has been the whole purpose of their adventure. Is it because the spell is broken she is surprised? The girls have now reverted back to their natural state as teenagers not the avenging angels they were constructed to be. This is the final message from their father’s subconscious, all is well, and the moral order has been restored.

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