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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Dunking the bucket: why Dorothy was lucky

Over at screenwriting blog Alligators in a Helicopter, a few notes about why you must earn The Bucket: “The longer I read, the more intolerant I have gotten about dumb logic mistakes in scripts. There’s nothing that makes me throw a script across the room quicker… I don’t think I even realized how stupid the bucket was, until I was an adult.The bucket, of course, is the bucket of water that Dorothy throws on the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, melting her. There are so many amazing things wrong with the bucket. First of all, it has no reason being there… You’re a witch. And your main Achilles’ heel… is that water will melt you… it takes a lot of effort to avoid water your whole life.We’re talking no showers. No swimming in pools, or lakes, or skinning-dipping in the local pond. No dancing through the rain as a little girl… No toilets, because she wouldn’t want to risk the splashback… Was she limited to juice? Milk? Martinis? …But despite what must have been a tyrannical water ban… there’s a bucket of water. Just sort of sitting there…

The obvious fix is to have Dorothy learn of this, and bring a little water with her… A stoppered bottle, a prototype water pistol… even a flying monkey, that needs to pee really badly. But Dorothy has no idea. And this is the second problem. She douses the witch with the bucket accidentally, while putting out the scarecrow… Obviously, the idea is that Dorothy is really not a bad person. She’s not a killer, she just conveniently kills witches by pure contrivance… I’m more jaded now. The bucket has to be earned. I think that’s a good thing.”

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