The Reel World
The Reel World: Clarence the Angel
What Will Courage and Audacity Bring You in the Workplace?
A loveable angel assigned to help troubled protagonist George Bailey in the classic holiday flick, It’s a Wonderful Life, Clarence has been awaiting his wings for more than 200 years. This case is his big chance to finally earn them, but with Bailey’s profound sense of discouragement and bad attitude, success doesn’t come easy.
One has to wonder about an angel who has failed to get his wings after two centuries. When fellow angel Joseph remarks that Clarence “has the IQ of a rabbit,” we tend to take this assessment at face value, in light of the circumstances. In fact, Clarence has many fine attributes that would serve him well in the work force.
Notably courageous, he begins his mission by diving into the Bedford Falls River to prevent Bailey from suicide. Sure, for a man who’s already dead this act has no real consequences, but it’s still a bold move. As is biting a police officer to save Bailey from certain arrest. Again, as someone who can disappear on command, Clarence can (quite literally) get away with this kind of behavior. Nevertheless, it’s a feisty ploy that serves its purpose — to distract law enforcement from Bailey’s drunkenness.
Even more impressive than his audacity are Clarence’s creative problem solving skills. To present a man on the brink of ending it all with the experience of a world in which he was never born is an ingenious way to make anyone appreciate his value. When the love of our lives acts like he or she has never seen us before and runs from us when we call out his or her name, who among us would not be brought to our knees and call out, as Bailey does, “I wanna live again. I wanna live again!”
Indeed, this angel’s inspired thinking is just what is needed to deal with such seemingly insurmountable challenges as climate change, economic instability and terrorism. Which begs the question, why did it take him so long? Old Clarence may be clever, but discreet he is not. Waving the angel card at everyone he meets, Clarence is clearly naïve about human attitudes toward the celestial, a shortcoming that may very well have been his downfall in the past. But when you’ve been stuck in heaven making clocks for a double centennial, this kind of lapse in judgment can be forgiven.
Environmental Analyst, Life Coach, Diplomat
Becky Hutner is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She has produced and edited segments for network and cable television, and has screened at numerous festivals internationally. She holds a bachelor’s degree in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.