"The Comeback"

A review by Jenni:
I chose this episode tonight because lately I've been feeling really nostalgic about the theatre.  I used to go nearly once a week at spurts.  I could rattle off local actors' names and what all I'd seen them in.  I saw Jesus rise from the dead, I saw Matt and Louisa fall in love, I teared up for Radames and Aida, I cried for Jonathan Larson and Bohemia, and I discovered that I do not care for Dr. Frank N Furter.  But then my favorite theatre closed.  Others followed.  Jesus got a job at a grocery store.  El Gallo skipped town.  So with all this in my mind, I guess it made sense to watch this episode about crushed theatrical dreams!

What I love about this episode:

I really like the opening scene.  It's fun to see what Broadway shows were playing at the time.  "Titanic" and "Smokey Joe's Cafe" apparently.  I also thought Tess using the massive scroll in Time Square to send a message to Monica was cute.

I like that, at least at the start, Tess is fairly laid back about superstitions.  It always got a bit on my nerves when the angels would be dismissive about superstitions.  As Tess implies, it's part of the theatre.  Now, yes, superstitions are problematic when people get as obsessed with them as Lillian does.  But anything can get unhealthy if taken to extremes.  If people wanna carry around a lucky charm: great.  If people refuse to pick up a tails side up penny: fun.  Superstitions are part of the culture.  Enjoy them.  Don't angst over the morality of em.

I commend TBAA for providing what I would guess to be a far more accurate look of a young person's life in New York than, say, Friends ever did.  Allison's apartment is tiny.  It's not attractive.  She's low on food.  She's hiding from her landlord.  She's frustrated to the point of tears about being jobless.  (Something that I know you don't have to be in New York to feel!)  It just seems like often on TV even the supposed struggling people in NY have glorious apartments and never want.  Right...

I laugh at everyone's reactions to Monica's fabulous voice.  Her and Andrew's facial expressions are a riot!

"In God's eyes you're a star.  We all are."  Awesome quote from Tess.

Carol Burnett's rendition of "I'm Still Here" is inspired!  I get goosebumps.  I'm a lil partial to that song even since I used a quote from it to introduce JABB's 10th anniversary issue.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Maybe this is just because I *know* that voice is not Roma Downey's but when Monica sings the lip synching seems really off. 
But, again, that could just be me knowing that it's fake.  If we played just that clip to someone who had never seen TBAA maybe they wouldn't notice anything suspicious.

"Follow Your Dreams."  It's the musical of Amanda's that Allison's so taken by.  But I think it's fake.  I just don't get why the TBAA writers would use real Broadway songs, real Broadway personalities, yet couldn't use a real Broadway show title?  Just strikes me as weird and kinda distracted me.

Lingering questions:
What did Tess mean by saying that the cappuccino was messing with Monica's taste buds?  I drink quite a lot of coffee and I'm still perfectly willing to chow down on pretzels, donuts, and whatnot when the opportunity arises!  If coffee did knock out one's taste buds, Starbucks would have its own weight loss program.

According to Tess here it's not accurate to say angels can get colds.  Rather their human bodies can.  Interesting distinction.  How far does that go?  Does that mean Tess didn't really get Alzheimer's, her human brain did?  If an angel gets depressed (not gonna name names but you can probly guess who I mean) is the angel depressed or are their human neurons misfiring?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Okay...  I pretty much always think Andrew is cute, handsome, or lovely.  But in his first scene in this episode I think he's actually... wait for it... sexy.  In an artsy sorta way.  Maybe it's the all black ensemble.  Or the glasses. 
Or the ponytail.  But he *is.*  But then he gets all confuzzled by Monica's awesome voice and he's adorable, asexual Andrew again.  Yay.  Oh and then when he gets all giggly listening to Rita Moreno... yep, sexiness is totally replaced by adorableness. 

So Mr. Adorable is the director.  Let's just think about this.  That means Andrew was giving directions to the actors.  Rather the point of the job.  How much fun would a scene of him trying to direct the "Whatever Lola Wants" number have been?  It's such a vampy, sultry number.  Woulda been hilarious!  So I'm gonna give Andrew swoony points not for what I actually saw but the mental image of him blushing like crazy over having to tell Amanda to hang on the male dancer a bit more.

This episode features early signs of what would become Andrew's button forgetfulness.  On behalf of Andrew fans everywhere: yippee! 

But now back to cute Andrew...  He's so adorable when he breaks the news to Monica that she's fired.  His voice is so soft.  So sympathetic.  For a moment he closes his eyes.  If only she'd been as tender when he experienced *really* upsetting things like, you know, government sponsored torture and his assignments acting like he's infected with bubonic plague. 

I appreciate that people would be irritated about shelling out money to see a major Broadway star perform and then hearing she's sick.  However, I just need to say that if I were in that audience I would have been perfectly happy to hear Andrew rattle on for 2 hours.  Just saying...

Random thoughts:
I can't help but envy Allison a bit.  Even at the start when things are rough.  Cause she has a really grand dream that she's dedicated to.  I'm not sure I do. 

So apparently God was actually doing the casting for the production, not Andrew.  I hadn't noticed it before but Andrew seems surprised that Monica gets the second lead.  If he'd chose her himself, why would he be surprised?  So obviously God did.   Which makes me wonder if He also chose the musical numbers.  Perhaps He thought Andrew blushing through "Whatever Lola Wants" would be as amusing as I do.

Tess says that there's "nothing better than soup made by your mama."  Ironic for me since, while my mom made most of our meals growing up, my dad always made the from scratch soup. 

I do miss the theatre very, very much...

Sadly, Carrie Hamilton ("Allison" and daughter of Carol Burnett) passed away in 2002.  A campaign is underway to fund a theatre named for her.  You can learn more about it here.

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