Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Library scenes on film and TV

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
New Directions members get their glee on in the stacks.

In honor of National Library Week, I compiled more library scenes to add to last year's list. I think my favorite fictional library enthusiasts are Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls), Brick Heck (The Middle), Jesse St. James (Glee), and the characters on Community.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Find it in the catalog!
Belle is imprisoned in the Beast's castle after offering herself to be held captive in place of her ailing father. Seeing the way Belle misses her home and how lonely she is, the Beast shows her his lavish library, and tells her that she has her pick from the thousands of volumes.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Before search boxes, you had to search card catalog drawers.
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Find it in the catalog!
After Paul (George Peppard) and Holly (Audrey Hepburn) enter the library she asks him, "What is this place?" Yes, Holly Golightly has never been inside a library. Paul explains how each card is either a book or an author (what about subjects, Paul?). They look under his last name, Varjack, to find the card with his book, Nine Lives. They have to bring the card to one librarian and then wait until their number is called at a different desk. The librarian helping them at that desk is uninterested in the fact that Paul wrote the book. Holly informs her, "It's Varjack, Paul in person!" The librarian is quite annoyed with them, tells them to be quiet, and becomes upset when Holly encourages Paul to sign the library's copy of his book. That provides Holly's cue to go: "I don't think this place is half as nice as Tiffany's."

Community (2009-present)
Season 1: Find it in the catalog!
Jeff (Joel McHale), Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Annie (Alison Brie), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), Troy (Donald Glover), Abed (Danny Pudi) and Pierce (Chevy Chase) form a Spanish study group and every episode is set at least partially in the library, since that is their meeting place. I wanted to highlight a recent season 2 episode, because it demonstrates why Abed and Troy are among my favorite characters on TV and also have one of the best friendships on TV, in addition to the fact that the episode involves a librarian-centric plotline.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
If only the librarian would notice them...

Season 2, episode 15: "Early 21st Century Romanticism"
Best friends Troy and Abed both want to ask the same librarian to the Valentine's Dance. They watch her from their study room and hope that if they're too loud she'll shush them, so they yell, "BOOKS!" and then pretend to sleep when she actually does look in their direction. When they finally do approach her, they suggest that she hang out at the dance with both of them, so she can get to know them before she makes her choice.
Troy: Why does being a librarian make her even hotter?
Abed: They're keepers of knowledge. She holds the answers to all of our questions, like "Will you marry me?" and "Why are there still libraries?"

Eastbound & Down (2009-present)
Season 1: Find it in the catalog!
Former baseball pitcher Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) now teaches gym at a junior high school, where his high school girlfriend April (Katy Mixon) also teaches. In a season 1 episode, he goes to talk to her in the library, where two girls get into a fight. Powers breaks them apart and yells, "If you're gonna fight, do it in a parking lot somewhere, not in a library, surrounded by books!"

Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)
Season 2: Find it in the catalog!
Season 2, episode 15: "Lost and Found"
Rory's (Alexis Bledel) boyfriend, Dean (Jared Padelecki), can hardly hide his boredom as he sits next to two piles of books she has already selected to buy from the library's Buy a Book! fundraiser. After over two hours of perusing the sale, Rory is still going strong and has yet to look at the astronomy section.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Impromptu library concert!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
You better re-shelve those when you finish your Madonna song!
Glee (2009-present)
Season 1: Find it in the catalog!
  • Season 1, episode 14: "Hell-O"
    Rachel (Lea Michele) first meets Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline in what appears to be a music library. Rachel had been looking through The Very Best of Lionel Richie songbook, doing research for the glee club's "Hello" assignment. Jesse suggests an impromptu performance and they sit down at a piano and sing Richie's hit "Hello," where it's love at first musical solo.
  • Season 1, episode 15: "The Power of Madonna"
    During Finn (Corey Monteith) and Rachel's duet on "Open Your Heart to Me" they walk through the library, and Finn, with his arms stretched out on both sides, knocks books off the shelves as he walks by. Library pages don't think that's cool, Finn! Also, Jesse has transferred from Carmel to McKinley, and asks Rachel to meet him in the darkened library. He wants to apologize for pressuring her to have sex before she is ready. He explains his rationale for meeting in the library: "I picked the Stephen Sondheim biography section for our clandestine meeting place because only he would be able to express my melancholia."
  • Season 1, episode 17: "Bad Reputation"
    Kurt (Chris Colfer), Mercedes (Amber Riley), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Artie (Kevin McHale), and Brittany (Heather Morris) are upset over not being included on the "glist," which ranks the hotness quotient of glee club members. Actually, Brittany was included on the glist, but she only made #4 and thinks she deserves a top 3 ranking. They want to have a more dangerous reputation around school so they decide to be a distraction in the library, which is the worst thing you could do, according to Kurt. They perform MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," complete with parachute pants. But the librarian doesn't think they're dangerous at all and says that she will ask her pastor if they could perform at Sunday service.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Who's throwing books at me?...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Oh, it's Jesse St. James!
The House Bunny (2008)
Find it in the catalog!
Former Playmate and current house mom to outcast sorority Zeta Alpha Zeta, Shelley (Anna Faris) is nervous about her first date with Oliver (Colin Hanks), a nice guy who has no idea of her Playboy past. With the goal of gaining enough knowledge so she doesn't appear dumb in front of him, Shelley goes to the library studying amidst tall piles of books. Later, when she is out on a date with Oliver someone asks if she posed for Playboy, and she responds, "Oh, heck no. Those girls are all boobs and no brains. I'm too busy. In a library. Reading books with dust on them."

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Find it in the catalog!
When Clarence (Angel, Second Class) shows George (James Stewart) what the world would have been like without his having been born, George finds that nobody in Bedford Falls (now called Pottersville) recognizes him. After seeing the grave of his younger brother Harry, Geroge demands that Clarence tells him where his wife, Mary, is. Clarence hesitates: "You're not going to like it, George... She's an old maid. She never married... She's just about to close up the library!"
The Middle (2009-present)
Season 1: Find it in the catalog!
  • Season 1, episode 2, "The Cheerleader"
    Brick (Atticus Shaffer) is dying to check out a book from the library, but the Heck family has a $189 fine on the card, so they cannot check out until it's paid. Frankie (Patricia Heaton) later offers jelly beans to a young boy in the library to check out the book for her.
  • Season 1, episode 24, "Average Rules"
    The school librarian (Betty White) tells Brick that he will repeat second grade if he doesn't return the 30-odd library books checked out to him. Brick finds books around the house in the oddest places, including the refrigerator, but still cannot locate one last reference book. His solution is to borrow the same title from the municipal library and return it to his school library, which actually works, in spite of the fact that I'm guessing they have different barcodes and call numbers! 
  • Season 2, episode 9: "Thanksgiving II"
    Bob (Chris Kattan) is bringing his girlfriend to the Heck's Thanksgiving dinner. Brick can hardly contain his excitement, acting as if they are going to be visited by a celebrity. He can't believe his other brother Axl (Charlie McDermott) neglected to clean his room in preparation for this huge event. Later, during dinner, Bob shows signs of jealousy as his girlfriend talks about the Dewey Decimal System with Brick.
Parks and Recreation (2009-present):
Season 2: Find it in the catalog!
  • Season 2, episode 8: "Ron and Tammy"
    One of the funniest storylines on this show is the deepfelt hatred felt by Pawnee's Parks Department toward the library. Leslie believes that "the library is the worst group of people ever assembled in history. They're mean, conniving, rude, and extremely well-read, which makes them very dangerous." Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) exclaims that librarians are a "bunch of punk-*** book jockeys!" In this particular episode the Parks Department finds out that the library has filed a planning claim for the same empty lot which Leslie & co. want to turn into a park. Ron Swanson's ex-wife, Tammy (Megan Mullally), is Deputy Director of Library Services in Pawnee, and while he hates her with a passion, she has a powerful unexplained influence over him. Leslie and Ron go to talk to her in hopes of clearing up any confusion about the site, and the intense feelings between the two come alive again.
  • Season 2, episode 15: "Sweetums"
    Leslie and Ann (Rashida Jones) visit the library to check out some old film reels about the company Sweetums. The librarian at the check-out desk is not happy to see them and Leslie tells her without hesitation, "You're pretty cocky for someone whose job is obsolete because of the Internet." When the librarian informs Leslie of a large fine for books with embarrassing titles, Leslie at first protests this news before grabbing the films, knocking over a cart of books, and running out the front door. Look closer at this scene: the librarian "scans" Leslie's library card in what is used to unlock and lock DVD/CD cases!
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Find it in the catalog!
Andie (Molly Ringwald) is working on one of the computers in the school library when her screen goes blank and she begins to receive messages. She types back, telling her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) to stop bothering her, only the mysterious typist asks her, "Who's Duckie?" When she asks if the person knows who she is, she is surprised to see a picture of herself appear on the screen. Asking who is talking to her, a picture of Blane (Andrew McCarthy) appears on her screen. She slowly stands up in her study carrel to look around and finds Blane standing across from her. That computer-programming rascal!

And one final quote, from the BBC version of The Office (2001-2003):

"That'll be a quiet night at the library. Not!"
--Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook) talking about getting together with Oggy (aka The Oggmonster) after work