A lot of the beauty of Comedy Bang! Bang! being a mixed bag type of television show is that the guests themselves can be genuine surprises, in terms of an enjoyment or quality level, and the episodes can be a lot better for that. Personally, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an actor I like, but I find that his enthusiasm for everything can be a bit much. His schtick (if you want to call it that) shouldn’t necessarily work on a show all about ironic detached comedy, but because of the the beauty of Comedy Bang! Bang! it does. In fact, his enthusiasm is the type of thing that leads him to beating Reggie up and holding him at gunpoint until he agrees to join “Jo-Go-Lev” in his “open, collaborative production company.”
Like any classic “will-they or will-not-they” relationship, “Joseph Gordon-Levitt Wears A Heart T-Shirt And Blue Jeans” runs the gamut of emotions from happy to sad to fart sound. (In some instances, “fart sound” is an emotion.) In another bit of brilliant Comedy Bang! Bang! casting, Hello Ladies (a spin on the will-they-won’t-they style of romantic comedy but still very much part of that genre) star Christine Woods and Hello Ladies: The Movie co-star Allison Tolman both make appearances in this episode as love interests for Scott—the former in the form of the appropriately named (thanks, Cheers!) Diane and the latter in the form of Ellen, the perfect woman for Scotty (according to his mother) in his movie trailer.
The Diane/Scott relationship takes place in the form of a love-hate relationship full of constant biting insults (which would definitely be an HR nightmare, if HR were still around), breakaway vases (“$10,000 for three breakaway vases is a terrible deal!”), and friend (and guest) intervention. The barbs are quick-witted, if not a bit cheesy—“As long as I’m being honest-” “You’re finally going to admit you’re part scarecrow?”—and the immediate romance (cued by Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet love theme) is as nauseating as Reggie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt make it out to be. (Joseph Gordon-Levitt just looks downright uncomfortable by the amount of love Diane and Scott have for each other.)
Then comes the inevitable: After Reggie’s shipper goggles demand Diane and Scott become a couple, he immediately wants them to break up because, as an outside observer who doesn’t know what he wants (commentary!), he didn’t expect Diane/Scott to lead to “boringness.”
It’s happened plenty of times before in television, to the point where it has an “official” name as “Moonlighting Syndrome.” Shows like Friday Night Lights (Coach and Mrs. Coach) and The O.C. (Sandy and Kirsten) prove that a happy couple isn’t necessarily boring (though in the case of the latter, unnecessary drama would be thrown in, to disastrous results). But the stigma still remains, especially when shows spend so much time planning the preamble of the relationship and then fall into the “What now?” when it actually happens. Comedy Bang! Bang! essentially boils about four to six seasons of flip-flopping television into a half-hour of fun, and honestly, if the concept of “boringness” coming from the will-they-won’t-they relationship getting together wasn’t already ridiculous, this episode proves how much it is just by hitting all of the points (with the exception maybe of giving Scott and Diane a surprise pregnancy) in a quick one-and-done.
And it’s absolutely fantastic.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Reggie playing the sidekicks in Scott’s romantic journey are both on point and just as weird as one would expect, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s out of nowhere Scottish accent—telling Scott to “go after her”—just being a fact of life with regards to this storyline. In fact, as a guest, he tries to insert himself into the storyline as though it is one of his own collaborative production projects, telling Reggie “I told you so” about Scott and Diane’s relationship, despite Reggie being responsible for all of this in the first place. A leading man like Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing the quirky best friend in such a situation is a nice role reversal, one that makes sense in that Comedy Bang! Bang! way of making sense.
Then there’s the trailer for Scott’s upcoming romantic comedy… written and directed by his mother, Barbara Aukerman. The entire trailer is—again—fantastic, but the real gem is the film’s credits:
Yes, that is Fabrice Fabrice.
As for the other guest in the episode, Jon Gabrus’ turn as shock jock Ronnie “Brew Dude” Haynes is a character who doesn’t appear to have that much to offer at first glance. James Adomian has a better Comedy Bang! Bang! shock jock character in Tom Leykis, after all. Plus, the way the “Brew Dude” turns his bit into a story about how his father left him on his Prom night is like a sequel to Matt Jones’ guest spot as author Shiloh Huffington in “Simon Helberg Wears A Sky Blue Button Down And Jeans.” What makes the character a winner is that not even Scott appears to know where all of this weirdness is going, so the weirder the Prom story gets, the better. The shock jock story isn’t even the important part, because as Haynes notes, he doesn’t even really like radio that much. Maybe it was a will-they-won’t-they relationship in its own way.
Simply put, this second half of season four is off to a great start so far.
- Scott’s Onscreen Credit: Two Andahalfmen. Too soon, Scotty. Too soon.
- Until Scott Aukerman mentioned it, I completely forgot that Don Jon is a movie that exists. Thank you?
- Scott comparing himself to Leonardo DiCaprio because he love “making models” is pretty good. See, Diane? His IQ couldn’t possibly be 34.
- Reggie: “Ugh, I’m so sick of you guys arguing like that week-after-week. When are you finally going to get together?”
Scott: “To fight?”
Reggie: “No. To kiss. You’re clearly in love.”
Scott: “No, we’re like cats and dogs.”
Reggie: “That proves my point—anytime people are fighting and bickering and all that stuff, it’s just because they want to get together and bone. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump. Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed. They all wanna do it!”
- “My Body Is A Masterpiece” is an upsetting song.
- Comedy Bang! Bang! also goes to task on spoiler-phobes in this episode, though it’s really a throwaway bit. Oh, Reggie. Oh, Scott spoiling the Red Wedding.
- Between how upset he was over not getting to wear the green Robin shorts and how re-telling Angels In The Outfield made him tear up, who knew Jo-Go-Lev was such a softy?
- Diane: “Interesting scent. I didn’t know Alec Baldwin’s sower drain made a cologne.”
Scott: “You’re so funny, Diane.”
Diane: “Yeah, well— What?”
- Fart sound.