2396: Wonder Woman 1984
Ponytail, who was eager to see Wonder Woman 1984, the 2019 sequel to the acclaimed 2017 Wonder Woman film, decided to block all news media leading up to the film, to avoid spoilers. Avoiding spoilers is a common practice for people who do not wish to be "spoiled" by reading or hearing any plot points of the film, because they want to be immersed in the movie when watching it for the first time, by not being able to predict any plot twists before they occur. Many early reviewers may inadvertently give away key parts of the film, which may ruin the experience for some watchers, and story elements may be leaked by inside sources, either accidentally or deliberately.
However, there have been many delays for release of the film, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. The film was originally delayed from November 1, 2019 to June 5, 2020 to allow more time for production, and then, after the pandemic struck, was pushed to August 14, 2020, then October 2, 2020, before it was finally moved to December 25, 2020. The film studio announced a simultaneous release of the film in theaters and also on streaming platform HBO Max.
Absurdly, Ponytail apparently continued to block news sites after the delays, and so has not read any news in over a year, even news unrelated to movies. Because of this, she is apparently totally unaware of the entire pandemic, as well as more predictable major news items like the 2020 United States presidential election. This is particularly absurd, because these events were influential enough that it would be difficult or impossible to avoid awareness, even with no media exposure. They have been common topics of conversation, not to mention face-masks and other public health-control measures have now become ubiquitous, and election campaign signs and bumper stickers were common sights in the lead-up to November.
How the release date being postponed (twice) did not convince Ponytail to find out why, therefore becoming aware of the pandemic with its associated lockdown and public health-control, is a question that is left unanswered. Also, if she stopped following the news in October 2019, she should have still been awaiting the outcome of the House of Representatives' (first) motion to impeach President Trump, let alone the primaries and general election. Her confusion as to why her movie is now being shown at a drive-in theater is a sign that she's unaware of COVID-19. Drive-in theaters have been seen as a safer option than indoor movie theaters during the pandemic.
Cueball tries to warn her about the ongoing pandemic, but in an effort to avoid spoilers, she silences him. This may imply that in her wildly excessive effort to avoid spoilers, she's avoided leaving her home and talking to people, which could explain her exceptional level of disconnection from current events. Cueball then tells her to wear a mask, but she is still confused. Ponytail says that she will dress up in costume as Wonder Woman, who is traditionally shown wearing a tiara but not a mask (unlike Batman or many other comic characters, although efficiency of their masks still varies wildly in regards to COVID-19 protection).
The title text expands on Ponytail's speculation that the use of the drive-in theaters is a "retro promotion," presumably because drive-ins and the '80s setting of the movie are now both considered to be retro in 2020. However, they are not associated with the same period; drive-in theaters in America had their heyday in the 1950s and '60s, and were in rapid decline by the '80s. Ponytail further demonstrates her misunderstanding of history by mentioning several other things which she wrongly believes are from the '80s. Britney Spears is a singer who was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Hustle was a disco dance popular in the mid-1970s. Pogs under that name peaked in the mid-1990s. Elvis's appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show - a pivotal moment in American pop culture - occurred on September 9, 1956. (The Ed Sullivan Show went off the air in 1971, Ed Sullivan died in 1974, and Elvis Presley died in 1977.) This joke concerns the phenomenon of people lumping together all time periods before their birth, which results in "retro" or "period" representations combining elements from widely different time periods. (A similar behavior is seen in 771: Period Speech.) Cueball points this out by asking Ponytail when she was born, implying that, if she'd actually lived through any of those time periods, she'd realize that they were distinct. If Ponytail could not remember any of these events in her childhood, an age of about 20 years can be set as an approximate upper bound for this particular character's age.
- [Ponytail sitting at a desk, chatting with Cueball (off-screen) on a laptop.]
- Ponytail: Just two weeks until I see Wonder Woman 1984, learn who the Democratic nominee was, and find out how the election went.
- Cueball: Huh?
- [Close-up on Ponytail.]
- Ponytail: To avoid spoilers, I blocked all news sites ahead of the November 2019 release.
- Ponytail: But then they bumped the date on my ticket to June 2020, and now December 25th.
- Ponytail: It also moved to a drive-in theater? Some retro promotion, maybe.
- [Cueball on his laptop, chatting with Ponytail (off-screen) on a laptop.]
- Cueball: Wait, you haven't seen any news?
- Ponytail: Nope!
- Cueball: So you don't know about -
- Ponytail: No spoilers!
- [Back to Ponytail sitting at a desk, chatting with Cueball (off-screen) on a laptop.]
- Cueball: Okay. Just...
- Cueball: Bring a mask, in case you need to get out of the car.
- Ponytail: Oh, I'll have a full costume! But it's a tiara, not a mask.
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