Monday, March 24, 2008

Aliens in America - Always Lights My Candle

Community Theater - Ep. 113, One Hundred Thousand Miles - Ep. 114

I missed the first two post-writers strike episodes because I didn't realize the Canadian network (SUN TV) started catching up last week, but they caught up last night with the "Rent" episode from last week (on The CW) and with One Hundred Thousand Miles.

And I couldn't let Justin and Franny performing Rent pass by without mentioning it. It was just as awkward, weird, hilarious, cringeworthy, gross and sweet as you would have imagined. Kudos again to Amy Pietz for taking that role full gusto and making a character that could have totally come off as a caricature and making Franny totally realistic and relatable, even as she is singing the love song "Light My Candle" as a drug addicted cat-scratch-club-dancer (Mimi) towards her son who is playing her lover (Roger) in the community theatre production of Rent.

Also, kudos to the show and the writers for making the set up actually somewhat plausible (Franny and Justin didn't originally sign up to play lovers) AND for making the outcome actually sweet and heartwarming.

Yet on the other hand, I think I liked Claire and Raja's storyline even more. I liked that Claire TRIED to do some good by helping out at the crises call centre only to receive dirty calls from some pervert. So in order to help, Raja calls in as an "American" in trouble just to get some help from Claire, only to find themselves bonding.

I wish One Hundred Thousand Miles was funnier but they seemed to skip some of the really easy laughs that I thought they were going for for another set of easy laughs that veered the show back towards the sweet and heartwarming spectrum (but way more than the "Light My Candle" sequence).

I think I wished we saw The Tolchuks actually make it to Vancouver on a trip Franny won (loved her methods for winning silent auctions, good tip!) though mostly because it actually mentioned Canada (yey!) and we take our shout-outs any way we can.

Still, loved that Raja's praying got him in trouble at the airport (and that they simply left it at commercial break for us to fill in the blanks) and that the Tolchuks finally goes to a Mosque in search for missing Raja, who leaves because he thinks it's all his fault.

I know it was a cheap laugh but I still laughed out loud when Franny innocently asked a guy at the mosque if he had seen Raja, describing him as every generalization of a Muslim she could, in a building full of Muslims. Even funnier? When she meets the Muslim family that also has an exchange student, a blonde white boy from Europe. Loved that each family sighed at each other's exchange student in wishful longing.

So wrong yet somehow Aliens in America manages to make it so right AND heartwarming, though I could use a bit more political and societal bite the later episodes from last season had.

Or just have The Tolchuks perform Spring Awakening next time, but with Franny as Ilse.


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