Dystopian Allen:Panopticism and Allen

How is the world panoptic? First of all, everyone is always being watched, but we aren’t reminded every second of our day. On a small scale, our parents are watching us, our siblings, friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, boss, teachers…On a larger scale, we are watched by the police while driving, drinking, and partying. The police are watched by higher powers and it just goes upward from there. We are all victims in this world. The Panopticon individualizes and  at the same time universalizes people.

The Panopticon can apply to Woody Allen’s Play it Again, Sam. Allan’s wife, Nancy, has recently left him, and his best friend has arranged a blind date for him. Before the night takes off, Allan is in his apartment talking to himself. No one is watching him. He is “talking” to Bogart from Casablanca and asks him for advice. Bogart tells him that there is no such thing as a relationship and he should just drink bourbon and soda. When Allan’s blind date arrives, he realizes that she will be watching and analyzing him, so he changes facades. Allan tries acting like Bogart. He has entered a panoptic scene, where his best friend and blind date will be judging his every moves, so he tires not to mess up. Allan’s wife just left him, therefore  he does not want to look “uncool” during this date. He is under surveillance. Allan is a unique individual in Play it Again, Sam but he is being pushed to be like others in order to win a girl’s heart. He is mimicking Bogart, in order to better present himself… or so he thinks. This is an example of when an individual like Allan, turns into a universal character, because society pushes him to follow the “correct” footsteps of others in order to keep a girl interested.


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