Cynthia
Episode 206: Impressions

See Episode 203 – Hiatus to see the first Cynthia episode.

Cast:
Brendon Small/Dwayne – Brendon Small
Jason Penopolis/Coach Jon McGuirk – H. Jon Benjamin
Melissa Robbins – Melissa Bardin Galsky
Paula Small – Janine Ditullo
Josie Small – Loren Bouchard
Cynthia – Jennifer Kirkman
Weirdo Temp Guy - Sam Seder
Lorraine – Paula Plum

I know what you're thinking, 'Whose this guy?'

Synopsis: Lying to make a good impression brings down McGuirk's dating attempt, Paula's interview at a temp agency and Brendon's chance with Cynthia.

History:
· This episode introduces the “Starboy and the Captain of Outer Space” movie, which we see more of later.
· This episode marks the first time any of the people in Dwayne’s band have spoken.
· This episode is the first to make a reference to McGuirk’s high school days.

Lawn Gnomes: (Click for picture)
· At Jason’s country club, all the artwork is gnome-shaped.

Brendon’s Filmography:
· *“The Starboy” – A man world is turned upside-down when he discovers that he is the Starboy.

The Movie-Episode Connection:
· I personally couldn't come up with a decent connection between the episode and the "Starboy" movie; however Moltrez e-mailed me this possibility:
The people in Dwayne's band wanted Starboy and the Captian Of Outer Space be the same person, making Starboy someone he's not. The episode is about lying about who you are.
Landstander: This actually makes a lot of sense to me. Dwayne suggested that Starboy and the Captain of Outer Space be one single person, meanwhile Brendon was (at the same time) trying to pass himself as two people: Brendon (to Cynthia) and as Jason (to the Country Club Owners).

The Plotline Connection: (TheJazzFighter)
· Everyone's storyline involves impressing someone. Even what Dwyane's band said. Brendon lies to impress Cynthia, Paula lies to impress the Temp people, McGuirk lies to impress his highschool friend. As for Dwyane's band...see "Movie-Episode Connection" above. (Moltrez makes a good point)

Those who have...should give.

Song Lyrics:

· Alone
Alone…
He wants to be…alone…
To process this to a point of understanding
He wants to be…alone…
He wants to be alone!

· Starboy
Starboy
He knows it now he’s not what he ain’t
Starboy
He’s the Captain of Outer Space

· Alone/Starboy
He wants to be alone so he can process this
To a point of understandingness
Starboy! That’s who he is that’s not who he ain’t
Starboy! He knows it now and now is the truth…
The Captain of Outer Space that is his brother, Uh-huh!
The Captain of Outer Space he knows it’s true, Uh-huh!
Alone…

Paula...I can't reach her...she's too far gone...

Random Observations & Facts:
· Jason and Melissa wear cheap third eyes in “The Starboy”.
· Dwayne has a car calendar in his garage.
· Sign in the temp agency: “Careers are for suckers!”
· Yearbook picture: McGuirk is dressed as a cheerleader at a Halloween ball, with the captioning – Jon Mcguirk “the Queen of the ball”.
· When Brendon is pretending to be Jason, he puts his hands behind his head, in the classic Jason style. (Thanks to Moltrez for this cool little observation)
· One of McGuirk’s friends is Hoffman. Hoffman is one of the animators of the show.
· Another yearbook picture: McGuirk is dancing at a disco. There is a banner that says “Congratulations”. Caption: Johnny B. Goode? – John “Travolta” McGuirk strikes the pose at the Senior Prom.
· A building is shown before Paula’s scene. The sign says: “Executive Placement Incorporated”. But, before the scene begins, the camera switches to another building, with a sign that says: “Fast Cash Temp. Agency”.
· The name of the Opera is: Can Opera Do This?
· Brendon’s end rant: Talking to Dwayne & his band in Dwayne’s garage, talking to McGuirk on the soccer field, talking to himself in the bathtub, talking to Melissa in class, and himself in the sandbox.

Episode Special: McGuirk's Yearbook

Disco John

· People from McGuirk’s Yearbook:
1. James Letterhead – “The Letter”
Remembers: Hangin’ with the boys, egging, REO Speedwagon, good friends: Josh, Pete, Sandy, Louie. Thanks, Mom ‘n’ Dad.
2. Jane Lowe – “Crazy Jane”
Remembers: Cheerleading 1-2-3, Friday Night Parties at Annie’s, Sneaking into Diane’s. Josh 7/11/79, Pete 8/1/79. All my love to Brad. Thanks Mom.
3. Kelley Martin – “Kells”
Remembers: Head Cheerleader 1-2-3, The Who, The Stones, Mr. Freemans acting class, hanging on the Main Street steps, friends: Brenda, Silvia, Roberta, Jake 10/23/78 143
4. Henry Manchester III – “Hets”
Remembers: Good luck to one and all in the 80’s…Give him another chance: Nixon in ’80!
5. Nick McArthur
Remembers: Great times on the outside benches, the BEST band ever “Creation”, cutting classes, sparking a doobie, ‘bye to Lindsey, Daniel, Kim and Ken.
6. John McGuirk – “Big John” – “Disco John”
Remembers: Boogie Shoes, French Fried Friday’s, The Pit, great friends Aya, Daman, Davia, Pops, Big Guy, Hoffman, KaYaI, Jamie, Big Bri…’You should be dancing’…
7. Lorraine Christenson – ‘Lori’
Remembers: Scooby snacks, Field Hockey all my friends. Thanks Mom & Dad.
8. Joey Carmine – ‘Big Joe’
Remembers: The Ramones, Van Halen, Pecka, Crusha, Dude-boy, Disco sucks!

Past Episode References:
· In McGuirk’s apartment, we see that he still has the picture of Sammy & him from episode 112 – Law and Boarder.
· The opera McGuirk tries to take Lorraine to is called “Can Opera Do This?”, a reference to Brendon’s Star Wars movie idea called “Can Star Wars Do This?” from Episode 205 – The Party.

Movie & Other References:
· Next to Lorraine Christenson’s yearbook picture, there is a picture of Joey Carmine. His picture and his remembrances make him a reference to Joey of the Ramones

. Want to go out to eat later?

End Credits: “Alone/Starboy”

Reviews: WARNING: Spoilers

Randomguy: That was HILARIOUS. I don't think I've ever laughed so much in a single thirty-minute period. Dwayne's band was even funnier here, and the drummer and bassist got some talk time to- and they were both really funny. The whole "I need to be alone to process this" bit was really good, as was the Starboy movie. All three plots, with McGuirk, Paula, and Brendan, were great; none of them felt tacked on, and they were spliced together nicely. I was really happy to see the sandbox making its first season 2 appearances as well. Cynthia bugged me in Hiatus, but she was effectively used here. All the conversations made me crack up; the little touches in the animation were great (especially the shimmering water effect in the kiddie pool, the bubble in Brendan's bath, and the Opera's "Can Opera Do This?" poster). All in all, while "The Party" was kinda poignant, this one was just straight up laughs all the way. It was also wise to focus on the central characters as well. Just a hilarious episode in the end. If you missed it, see it Thursday. If you saw it tonight, see it Thursday.

Spectre: I will say this -- in the beginning of the episode, I wasn't involved as much as I was with other Home Movies episodes ("The Party," for example). As the minutes went by, though, I realized I really communicated with the episode. It's a rather sad episode, while I think about it -- it wasn't meant intentionally, but we all knew what Coach McGuirk and Brendon were going through. We probably all have been in a similar situation; McGuirk tries to impress a former classmate by lying about his physical looks -- while Brendon tries to impress a girl by lying about his status.

McGuirk as a character, though, is prone to do these things. Brendon was basically pushed to do so by Jason. But most of us get into these situations sometimes.

Don't get me wrong -- every part of this episode was very, very funny. Actually, I must say, this episode has some of the best lines of all the HM episodes so far. Paula was wonderful as a struggling test taker; her instructors even more so. And this episode has perhaps the best editing featured on a HM episode. Look at the ending, for example.

I don't think I liked it as much as "The Party," but it comes pretty close. It seemed like they spent some time on this episode. Well made, both comedy-wise and animation-wise (for the HM standard). Grade: A-

Noclist: I never saw this episode the first time around but after seeing it, I don't think it was one of the funnier ones. Nothing really struck me as being really funny in this one and it didn't have enough of Jason and Melissa.

C+

J-Chan: Well.. Cynthia's hair is very pretty when it's wet.. ^^;; that's her name, right? I'm sleepy. Not one of the better episodes, but the previews for next week look so good, I don't care.

Behonkiss: The other one is funny, but not spectacular.(On the other hand, it has the first appearances of Starboy and the Captain of Outer Space.) As said, the severe lack of Jason and Melissa(And too much focus on Cynthia, who I personally think was a waste of time for the show)made it a lot worse than it could have been.

The Condiment King: The introduction of the characters of Starboy and the Captain of Outer Space, who would go on to make appearances in "History" and "Time to Pay the Price". I forgot to mention this in "Hiatus", but its truly remarkable how much the Dwayne character has evolved just through this season and a half. Dwayne went from a character that was almost a borderline bully to Brendon (or just a person that he would try to be agreeable with for his own good) to someone that was just dumb and friendly. In a way, this is similar to how Brendon and McGuirk's relationship went from mildly tolerating each other to being genuine friends. Here with the Starboy project, we see Dwayne and the band Skab take an odd interest in Brendon's movies which wouldn't have really worked in Season 1, Franz Kafka Rock Opera or no Franz Kafka Rock Opera.

More of the Cynthia storyline as Brendon uses Jason's family's country club to try to impress her. The underlying theme of this episode is lying as he lies about being a member of the country club, Paula lies about doing the typing test for the temp agency, and McGuirk lies to his date about what he looks like and what his social standing is in the world. All three of them get punished for lying, and not really rewarded for seeing how they were wrong. Regardless, they all learned their lesson.

Interestingly enough, with McGuirk, we see another shot of the Lonely Avenue road sign as he is looking up people to call for a date, a sign that only shows up when McGuirk is lonely. Paula has been looking for a job for quite a while now, which leads me to wonder just what the timeline is for Home Movies and how long that unemployment compensation could last, especially from a stickler like Arnold Lindenson. In a way, this episode is neat since we see a venue that we don't normally see in the Home Movies world like the country club. On the other hand, nothing really happens in this episode to further any of the season-long plots and none of what does happen is particularly funny enough to make it a really good episode. Seems like they could have went in another direction here. ***

StrangerAtaru: Yet again, we have another one of those "hit and miss" episodes that are prevalent in this part of the second season. But this time, while Brendon has a couple of classic moments (which I will get to much later), he is concentrated in one of the main blunders plotwise. That being the whole "Cynthia" plotline and the country club. For starters, considering Brendon's "pool party" a couple episodes ago with Jason (a tiny pool at Jason's neighbor's), it just feels really awkward to see Jason sudennly a member of a Country Club. Not only is this an obvious plot device, but the moment Jason lets Brendon go in as himself for a date with Cynthia, you already know it will end in disaster. (sure Brendon did once "turn into" Jason in his "Director's Cut" breakdown, but isn't it obvious?) Even Brendon going for love advice from McGurk seems awkward: he is treated like an adult about all this even though he is only an 8-year old kid. (which can be one of the weaknesses of this show, but not seen too often) While we are on McGurk, he too has an awkward sequence involving impersonating something he is not to try an attract an old high-school girl. But unlike Brendon, his situation gets funny once he realizes the lies he makes and actually tries to set himself straight with the woman, only to end up scalping his two tickets to the opera. (I just found it funny seeing McGurk go from trying to save his date to trying to sell his tickets off) In the end, the only plot that actually works from start to finish is Paula's little trouble involving her testing anxiety at a temp agency. Her plot was already set up with both the weird romantic entanglement with her supervisor as well as the first time she bombs the test. By the time she tries to impersonate a better typing test, it gets so ridiculous that its hilarious. (especially with the second guy who falls for her and the phone call she gets from Brendon)

Even though the main plot of this episode is rather awkward, there are two things that make this episode really watchable. The first involves the first appearance of the now classic HM character: Starboy. The beginning of the episode with the first movie is so cheesy it's hilarious. (with the weird revelation scene) This is followed by one of my favorite "movie scenes", where Starboy is sitting on a rotating cube while a beautifully meloncholic "Alone" is playing, matched by the graphics added to the screen. (OK, thinking about this makes one wonder how Brendon can afford this, but remember that anyone with enough computer knowledge can probably do this) But it gets funnier when Brendon gets in an arguement with Dwayne and the members of Scab, first over the music in the sequence, then over the existence of the "Captain of Outer Space" character. (giving some good lines to the previously silent back-up members) The other great scene comes at the end, which I consider one of the best serious sequences this show has ever done: the final montage of Brendon trying to figure out Cynthia. ("Maybe I'll get her flowers...") In a composite of images occuring over an expanse of time, we see Brendon trying to boost himself up in trying to win back a girl he will never have, only to end up alone in his sandbox again. (with the song "Alone" playing again) I say that if you just watch the beginning and end sequence (and the Paula plot), "Impressions" would be a much more worthwhile episode than as it is. (BTW: I personally wish that this was the end of the Cynthia situation, but then along comes "Pizza Club"...)

Mynd Hed: I thought this was a good one. The whole Brendon / Cynthia plot kinda fell flat, but it was balanced out by Starboy (one of my favorite HM movies), a creepy mustachioed temp agent, and McGuirk's bad dating advice. It was nice to see McGuirk actually try to be a decent human being for once at the end, although of course, McGuirk being McGuirk, we all knew it was going to end in disaster.

Overall Grade: B-

The Landstander: This show has always gone to odd, awkward places for humor. I usually love the stuff, but something about this episode seemed a bit too dead on. It did awkward well, but it didn't do funny.

First, there's Brendon and his attempt to win over Cynthia. I never really thought Cynthia amounted to much more than the usual awkward romance so many other TV shows and movies have attempted, and this episode didn't bring it up any more. She felt like a stale character. Brendon's awkward attempts at winning her over were kind of funny on their own, but...haven't we seen this before? Jason's Country Club behavior was indeed pretty funny; Melissa didn't have much to do. McGuirk is given a corresponding storyline that leads to some funny moments (asking a married woman he hasn't seen in 20 years out on the phone), and some nice background on his high school days. But it's not among his best.

Paula's storyline was probably the most solid. Attempting to get a job, she's spoiled by her fear of test taking and eventually decides to cheat to get ahead. The two elements I liked in this episode came at the end: Brendon and Paula's phone call, where they have nothing to say to each other, and the final montage of Brendon mulling over his defeat.

This episode is nicely structured and attempts a kind of humor I like in theory, but I just don't think it pulls it off. Bizarrely enough, the next few episodes attempt something similar and pull it off a lot better. A mediocre episode.

Ye are the Starboy...this is your destiny, and things.