Monday, November 07, 2005

Eye Candy: The DC review

For those of you who want to, head to Or you can just read it here.

Going to the late Saturday showing reminded me of the delicate balance of the circle of Divine Comedy. Well, not so much a delicate balance as the rampant insanity that ensues in the last show. Each month’s series can be expected to follow this pattern:
First Friday show: funny, but the cast might still be a little shaky on their lines and experiencing a wonderful case of nerves
Second Friday show: funny, funny, funny. The cast knows that they can do it and they nail just about every sketch.
First Saturday show: About the same as the Second Friday show.
Second Saturday show: Having reached this point, the cast again experiences a wonderful case of nerves, but this time as in “You’ve got some. . .” Which is wonderful to watch if you know the cast and Divine Comedy. Can be a little unsettling for first-timers though.

And now I will quit preaching to the choir and do what I do best: write another chapter of my dissertation.

The cast has achieved a sense of unity and balance that wasn’t there in the last show. Perhaps it was the influence of Yoda and company in the “Mentors” sketch, which was quite possibly my favorite this time around. That being said, I was enjoyed watching cast members working outside of their (or what I perceive to be their) comfort zone. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to point out some of these as I talk about the show.

“Freshman Nights” was excellent for two reasons. The first, of course, is that it was a fun, high energy number that involved the entire cast. The second reason was that the dialogue preceding the song was just as witty/intelligent/funny as the song itself. Matt’s letter took a very close second to the song itself (and Joel’s dancing was a distant third). I am going to qualify my praise with a few thoughts, however. One: the problem with a show-stopping number is that it, well, stops the show. In prepping to write this review, I remembered liking the sketch that followed (Clean Flicks), but I couldn’t remember what it was. There’s no real solution to this, other than having FN as the final number, which would change the traditional DC format. Two: just like “Freshmen in the Night” last time, I couldn’t hear all of the lyrics. Part of this was the overpowering (male) backup singers (who were wonderful). The result: I have “hum ha hum. . . dance, awkward romance” stuck in my head with no idea what the rest of the line was.

Next on my list of “things I want to talk about”: running gags. The highlight by far was Mr. Teacherson. I was glad to see him return and I hope we get to see more of him. Teacherson in high school, in college, as Joel’s supervisor snatching his hat away on the job, and finally, Mr. Teacherson in the rest home. It was nice to see it come out in other sketches (Mentors and Hillary Potter are the two I’m thinking of), but they came significantly later in the show than Mr. Teacherson. I’m just hoping the audience caught on—because it was brilliant.

The other returning character, Steve Erwin, I wasn’t as excited to see. (Although the rest of the crowd disagreed with me.) It’s probably just that I’ve never actually seen his TV show and am an undercultured, uneducated idiot. But it just wasn’t as exciting/funny as last time. At least not until Matt slithered into his snake act and delivered his line. That was beautiful. And an example of a strong ending, which I understand is hard to pull off, but some of the sketches were hilarious, but then had nowhere to go. Speaking of “ADD Judge,” it wasn’t obvious that he was ADD until the title went up on the web page—he was just some weird guy who couldn’t pay attention, which is the stock, stereotypical definition of ADD.

I was glad to see more of the cast being used in the different sketches. Paul was great in (what I’m thinking as) the “Closed for devotional 2” sketch, the Clean Flicks sketch (“The French have clothing-optional beaches. We don’t believe in options.”), and Halestorm meeting. Actually, everyone was wonderful in these sketches. It’s difficult to single out particular performances because cast members were used well. Although, I’m going to guiltily admit, that I missed the Ultimate Latin Lover (was that him in “Sitcom”?).

Having said that it’s difficult to single out, I’m going to tally up some of my favorite “little” moments of the show: Lisa sitting on the silver platter and her amazing half-time (that was impressive), Mary in “Divine Dorm Design,” Jono as Yoda and in “Freshman Nights,” Hillary in “The Ring” and “Saving Seats,” Joel as Kirby Heyborne (or was that Kirby Heyborne as Joel?), Taylor in “Sitcom” and “Freshman Nights,” Will in FN, “Sitcom,” and the lawyer in “ADD Judge,” Trevor as Teacherson/Snaperson, Matt as Cecildore (that hat was awesome), and Paul in the above.

I’ve review-ed myself out. That and I’m getting funny looks for laughing in the office. Thank you, Divine Comedy.



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