Con Man: Pin Cushion and I’m With Stupid – Musical Fun (Recap/Review)

Ep 7 Lou and Alan images by Comic Con HQ

In “Pin Cushion” Wray and Bobby are at the Long Con (You have to love these names, the next con coming up is “Shaka” Con.). She informs him that he does not yet have the part of Doctor Cop Lawyer, he has been pinned for the role. It appears that there is yet another Hemsworth brother, “The best one yet,” says Bobbie, “Farnsworth Hemsworth.”

She then goes on to tell Wray that Lou Ferrigno really wants him for his  stage version of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” Lou is in the room filling up on snacks at the buffet. Wray goes over to see Ferrigno and as the big man talks to Wray, he has a smear of dip on his upper lip.

As Wray tries to signal to Lou that he has dip on his lip (See what we did there?) Nearly’s old “double” from season one, Karen appears. This season she is Ferrigno’s double and when she arrives Karen already has dip on her lip.

Event coordinator Bucky (It’s a long story.) brings the talent out and finds she is two short, despite using the talent buddy system. Lou and Wray are missing. They have snuck into a back room to do a reading from the musical.

As the two actors enter the room, the door closes behind them. Wray is now trapped into reading the play whether he wants to or not. Wray is dismayed to learn that Lou will be playing George, a dream of his since he was a “giant baby,” and Nearly will be Lenny.

He is, however, somewhat excited to find out that Lou intends this to be a musical version of the story. Wray switches back to dismay though when he reads the play’s title: “I’m With Stupid,” and he is playing “Stupid.”

Wray immediately tries to talk his way out of the part, citing Spectrum: The Movie and being pinned for Doctor Cop Lawyer. He attempts to leave but finds the door is locked. Lou disregards Wray’s excuses and they begin to do a reading.

Bucky explains that Lou and Wray are missing and Karen tries to trick the attendees into believing that she is Ferrigno. Bobbie and Leslie go to find Wray and as they enter the room where the reading is taking place, the episode takes on a homage to The Marx Brothers film “A Night at the Opera.”

As each new artist enters the room, they are cast in Lou’s show. After Lansing is cast as the dog, Wray explains to Lou that he needs to be Lenny. Ferrigno also learns that Wray wants out, but he then talks the reluctant actor into doing the show…in the back room.

Karen comes in and holds the door but Wray tells her to let the door close and lock. They then continue working to put on the show “I’m With Stupid.”

Con Man Musical Poster courtesy of Comic Con HG

Con Man then moves into episode 8 where the actors and crew put on the musical in the back room. In the dining hall/meet and greet area, Bucky is showing an increasingly hostile audience a clip from Spectrum that features Wray and Jack. In the back room preparations continue for “I’m With Stupid.”

The “impromptu” show is actually quite good. There are plenty of comic moments.  Leslie Jordan’s “Short and Curly’s” is amusing but nowhere near as funny as Nolan North’s character. As Jerry Lansing, North plays the longest dog death scene ever in the history of musical theatre.

“Fat of the Land” is fun and funny. Ferrigno’s Lenny with the “dead” stuffed bunny is hysterical. As is Bobbie as the doomed  “femme fatale.” The scene with George and Lenny is also quite touching although Bucky bursts in at the shows climatic finish. She is furious at the stars for messing up her con.

Wray placates Bucky by giving her “Long Con” the world exclusive rights to premiere “I’m With Stupid” and the musical is a mega hit.

A bald Jack Moore calls Wray and tells him that “I’m With Stupid” is being streamed and that people are “losing their minds over it.” He believes it is the perfect lead in to Spectrum: The Movie.

Jack also tells Wray that the musical’s popularity has guaranteed them an invite to “Shaka Con.” He is over the moon at the prospect while Wray is less than enthusiastic.

Lou tells Wray that due to the popularity of the show the musical is going to the real “off Broadway.” He also reveals that they want a “name” to play George, “someone from England.” Wray is effectively fired from the show.

Before the credits roll, with a few previews of the next episode, Wray miserably refreshes his makeup. During the closing credits we are treated to Stan Lee doing a cameo and a bush offering to kill a Hemsworth for Wray.

Con Man continues to delight and amuse. The fate of Wray hangs in the balance as Spectrum: The Movie looks to be more of a possibility and yet another Hemsworth if found to read for Doctor Cop Lawyer.

It looks like Wray Nearly will be doomed to repeat his role in the film version of Spectrum.  Alan Tudyk continues to make the most of his character’s misery and all the cameos in this treat are splendid fun.

Ferrigno is beyond brilliant with his comedic touch and is surprisingly good with his musical bits.  The former Incredible Hulk, makes fun of his work as The Hulk and yet manages to put so much feeling into Lenny that he practically induces tears from the viewer.

Nathan Fillion, with his giant bald head, is spot on while trying to match a toupee to a yachting cap. This may not be high comedy, but there are enough nods and winks to other shows that it is well worth watching.

Con Man is streaming on Comic Con HQ.


Cast:

Con Man: Alan Tudyk for the Win (Review)

Bobbi, Wray and Karen in Wray's room in Con Man.

Having come late to the Con Man Web Series (which started as an Indiegogo project a mere  six months ago), it was with keen excitement,  and not a little fanboy giddiness, that the entire first season was rented via Vimeo online. This project, which is being written and directed by Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Serenity, Tucker and Dale Vs Evil), is a great “spot the guest star” series that is an epic  win for the performer.

Con Man, which is short for Convention Man (“Because it sounds cooler” according to the show’s publicity campaign.) follows the adventures of Tudyk’s character who, like Alan, played a pilot in a very short-lived television science fiction show. Wray Nerely (Tudyk) is an actor who, like the name implies, is nearly a star.

While the science fiction conventions Wray attends allow him to be adored by the fans of Spectrum, the Con Man version of Firefly, his career has stalled out. Frustrated and anxious Nerely has issues with his convention organizer, the fans, his aide, friends and just about everyone he meets and interacts with.

Nerely’s co-star from the cancelled series, Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) has the success that Wray dreams of.  Films, fame and rubbing elbows with the world’s celebrities make up the life of Moore post Spectrum.

The first four episodes of Con Man take place prior to, during, and just after a science fiction convention. Guest stars are: Sean Astin, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, Nolan North, Will Wheaton and  Mindy Sterling.

The dialogue is brilliant. Obviously Tudyk has written the lines based upon comments heard at conventions.  In episode one, Stalled, the  exchange between Nerely and a fan, while both are on the toilet  in adjoining stalls, is priceless. The obnoxious fan, who will not take no for an answer, is voiced by The Greg Wilson:

“Did you ever see that show Spectrum?”

“No.”

“Greatest canceled TV show ever.”

While that exchange screams Firefly, it also has that element of truth about the fans who inhabit the convention world.  References to the Joss Whedon series abound, as do other film nods and winks. Nolan North appears in what looks suspiciously like one of the soldiers from Galaxy Quest (a comedy film about another popular canceled science fiction series).  There is also a fan who clearly is a reference to Mystique from X-Men as well (she drops off some bourbon balls).

Fans of Nolan North will be impressed to see that not only is the man hysterically funny at Comic Con but he can do “proper comedy” as well. Granted the man is an actor of great skills and range, but to many he is the “video game’ voice of Nathan Drake – Uncharted, Desmond Miles – Assassin’s Creed, The Prince  – Prince of Persia and about a million other video game characters.

Felicia Day plays the “con” volunteer (who dresses exactly like Nerely) and does her usual perfect job with precise comic delivery that many only dream of. In some ways, Con Man feels like it belongs firmly  in The Guild territory. Fans of that web series will remember that Fillion also appeared in an episode of the long running show that Day created,  wrote and starred in. The web series made Day the pinup girl for geeks and nerds everywhere.

Fillion has a cameo in Con Man where he gets some great lines, delivered as only the Castle star can. Nerely gets a call from his now very famous former co-star and Wray asks Moore to put in a good word for him with Clint Eastwood (He has an audition for an Eastwood western):

Moore: “All famous people don’t know other famous people, Wray…But yeah I know him. He borrowed my lawn mower. He owes me a favor.”

Tudyk is the real star here, his comic timing is superb and his character’s visit to the convention is one long comedy of errors. From his booking agent not putting him in first class to his mixing a pain pill and alcohol before a platinum member meet and greet, the performer sails through each catastrophic event with ease.

In Retarding It All Up Wray tries to recover from the platinum party and his “I hate Science Fiction gaffe” from the night before. As Nerely begins his talk at the scheduled Q&A the actor in Tudyk appears to channel his “inner Joss.”  He speech pattern and tone appear to be a spot on imitation of Whedon that is truly funny.

Available on Vimeo, Con Man is geek gold. Fun to watch, amusing enough that if one watches it in a crowed public place they should prepare to be embarrassed (not shooting your drink through your nose embarrassed but close).  This is an epic “win” of a web series where spotting the celeb guest stars is almost as much fun as the show itself.

Kudos to all involved. There is not one clunky performance from any of the actors on this series.  Special mention goes to Mindy Sterling and while all the scenes were funny…The Nolan North monologue about Mo-Cap was hysterical as was the laptop gag with Tudyk and the cup of coffee.

Head over to Vimeo and check this out, as if fans needed urging,  and prepare to laugh hard and a lot. Con Man; Alan Tudyk as Wray Nerely  from Spectrum (a thinly disguised Tudyk from Firefly) is comedy brilliance on demand.

 

How the Internet Changed the Way We Watch Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The internet has changed the way that we view television. I first noticed the increased presence of the ‘net’ while Buffy the Vampire Slayer was in its relative infancy of seasons.

By the time the series had moved up a gear or two and was entering its third season, my daughter started buying Buffy ‘fan-zines.’ The first thing I noticed was the magazine’s inclusion of several different sites that were forums for fans.

If you logged onto the net, you could access these ‘fan-sites’ and either read the current thread of discussion about the program or enter the debate. The latter choice could be a little disconcerting.

While reading the intense and sometimes heated discussions on the forum I noticed that a few of the more fervent fans would get excited enough to give a figurative ‘bitch-slap’ to folks who disagreed with them.

I, for some reason, thought that these ‘fan-sites’ were indicative of the “Buffy-verse” alone and therefore rather unique. But the internet was a great place for fans of many different television programs to meet and discuss or even bitch about the latest episode that they’d just watched.

Certain programs listened to these fan groups and acted upon  the fan feedback.  Lost, for instance, listened when fans  relayed that the introduction  of two new major characters in the program had resulted in characters that they despised. Producers acted quickly and killed off these two new characters in the same season that they were introduced.

Going back for a moment to the verse of Joss Whedon, it is imperative to mention the huge internet support for Firefly when it was unceremoniously axed by its network. The fans of Joss’s fledgling western/science fiction show rose in mass to show support for the program and to petition the network for a reprieve.

While the fan protest wasn’t enough to save the beleaguered show, it was enough to convince both Joss and the studios that an audience existed for a film. And thus Serenity was created to give the loyal fans some closure for a program that they’d grown to love.

Independent film producers learned very quickly of the power of the internet in areas of marketing their products and drumming up interest in upcoming film releases. Paranormal Activity is one such “internet” driven film but it was by no means the first in a long list of films that would use the net as the perfect advertising tool.

The American re-make of The Grudge (Ju-on) used the web to show ‘diaries’ of the actors and set up a site with a ‘tour’ of the grudge house and a fictional account of one of the producers.

Apart from certain network affiliates I have not seen any increased activity across the board for web ‘snake oil publicity’ with the  exception of The Walking Dead. AMC vigorously utilized the internet in the upcoming months to the pilot  air date of The Walking Dead. They continued the vigorous net campaigning well into the second season.

Of course I’ve not mentioned the new “webisodes” that have taken the net by storm. The hugely popular The Guild, brainchild of Felicia Day is just one of many. Joss Whedon also did a webisode series which coincidentally had Felicia Day in a major role,  Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was another hugely successful venture into this new medium.

I have postulated before about how YouTube was becoming the ‘new’ television and now believe that it’s not just YouTube but the internet that is ‘becoming’ television. Either by replacing it as another medium of entertainment or influencing the direction that existing shows are going.

Think I’m exaggerating? Just check out the first related article, Dr. Horrible is going to be on television in October.