1. Douglas and Lisa as American Gothic
|American Gothic (1930)|
by Grant Wood (American)
2. Mondrian and Suggestions of Modernity
|"Darling I love you, but give me Park Avenue"|
Moving past the obvious American Gothic allusion, I noticed another painting that I found very interesting in the piece. In the theme song, Lisa sings her parts in front of the backdrop of her glamorous New York apartment, decked out with the most modern furniture and art. One painting I initially noticed was this pseudo-Mondrian that appears behind her in a couple of clips.
|A typical Mondrian "composition"|
I'm sure that you probably noticed it as well. Of course, Green Acres didn't acquire a real Piet Mondrian for a few second inclusion in their theme song (and a few consecutive episodes), but they obviously wanted the look of sleek modernism that Mondrian's work suggests. Nothing could be in greater opposition to the ramshackle house Douglass picks than Lisa's (fake) modern art collection.
|Season 1: Episode 16|
Lisa thinks she finds a new house for her furniture and paintings
3. Grant Wood: Returns (Maybe)!
|Birthplace of Herbert Hoover (1931)|
by Grant Wood
So, initially, I just wanted a nice little post about Green Acres and all the good clean fun I enjoyed with it was a kid. But, as I re watched the theme song, I noticed another aspect, probably an unintentional art allusion, that I feel like noting. Maybe it was just because I was a Grant Wood state of mind, but I feel like, you might enjoy my "discovery."
The theme song begins with these panning scenes of the countryside (setting the stage, if you will), as the stars' names show up. And as I was watching these mixed aerial and ground views glorifying the American countryside, I thought of some of Grant Wood's other paintings. If you're familiar with his Regionalism style, he has a lot of paintings of farmland with an elevated look to it. I included The Birthplace of Herbert Hoover (1931) above and I've included his painting, Fall Plowing (also from 1931) below.
|Fall Plowing (1931)|
Admit it, I make a pretty valid point. No, I don't think when they were filming the title sequence, they were thinking "Oh, let's make some very subtle parodies of Grant Wood's extensive volume of work that only some kid with too much time with figure out." No, but I don't think it's out of the question, that a TV show that mocks the glorification of country life would think of modern American images associated with farming and rural areas- namely Grant Wood's paintings. Obviously, they were familiar at least with his most famous painting, American Gothic. It's interesting how, if you try hard enough, you can connect TV and movies with the visual arts thematically and subject-wise. It's just a matter of some determination.