Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Well, here’s a doozy of a theory: Groundhog Day’s Ned Ryerson, he of the fedora and needle-nose, is actually Lucifer himself. Well, at least in the story of the beloved 1993 Harold Ramis film, which has already spawned no shortage of spiritual interpretations. Many of them are Buddhist in nature, with philosophers relating Buddhist concepts of “beginner’s mind” to the movie’s story of a cruel man caught in a time loop and his slow trek towards selflessness.


This interpretation put forth by the That Film Theory YouTube channel—see it above—is decidedly darker, framing Phil Connors’ journey as one ignited by the devil himself. Notice, for example, that nothing begins to go wrong in Phil’s life until he rejects a life insurance pitch from the motor-mouthed Ned, and nothing changes until he not only buys that insurance, but also just about every other plan the man has to offer. Could that contract truly be for Phil’s soul? And that the ending is almost a little too perfect? After all, it wouldn’t be the first time an insurance salesman stood in as a cinematic avatar for Beelzebub (howdy, Barton Fink). If nothing else, it’s further proof of the durability of Groundhog Day, a movie that’s as fun as it is thought-provoking, even 25 years later. 

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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