Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Listeria: The Ten Best Moments from Home Movies’ “Bye Bye, Greasy”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on May 23, 2008

“I wanna sing, I wanna dance…let’s make it happen.

Maybe my own elementary school-era experiences in musical theater (Winthrop in The Music Man and Randolph in Bye Bye Birdie, if you must know) have something to do with it, but “Bye Bye Greasy” is one of my favorite episodes of Home Movies, almost certainly my favorite outside of that golden first season. To have Brendon do a musical was a natural development for the show, since due to the real life Brendon Small’s talent, the show’s music (whether incidental or directly plot related) had always been exceptionally strong–the show soundtrack disc that comes with the Season Four DVDs is almost worth the set’s price in itself. And the episode doesn’t disappoint–the hilarity comes so fast and furious, especially once the musical actually starts, that it might be the single best Home Movies episode for non-fans to get into the show. Plus, musical theater can always stand to be taken down a peg or two, even at the grade school level.

Ten best moments:

10. Coach McGuirk’s typically encouraging consolence to Brendon on the play’s difficulties:

“This play is completely sucking, Brendon. Do you have any control on what’s going on? It’s kind of a disaster….like, a historic disaster. And that’s good…in a way…because you’ll be sort of famous, for putting on the worst play ever in this elementary school.”

9. The lyrics to the spacey Angela’s audition song for the lead role:

I’m not the girl you thought I WAAAAAAAAAASSSSS… / I’m just the girl you want me wish, was not, was were / Cause thou must think’th I / was not, once was, was not / but a girl…”

8. Mrs. Small’s unlikely confirmation of Melissa’s paranoia over her newly discovered kiwi allergy:

Melissa: “I think I smell kiwi. Does anyone else smell kiwi?”
Brendan (frustrated): “Relax, there’s no kiwi around here! Don’t worr-”
Mrs. Small: “Well, no, I made Kiwi Pie. It’s for the scene where [Melissa’s character] eats the pie.”

7. The extremely unmetaphorical lyrics to “If You Were a Car”

If you were a car, instead of a boy / You’d have headlights instead of eyes / And tires instead of feet…”

6. Mr. Lynch missing the point of theatrical breakthrough of suspended bully Shannon as Maloney, the play’s tough guy protagonist:

Mr. Lynch: “WHAT?!? Is that Shannon? Defying my suspension?!?!?
Brendon: “That’s not Shannon, Mr. Lynch…it’s Maloney!
Mr. Lynch: “It’s Shannon! You can tell by his…thing!”

5. Brendon instructing Melissa to sing-talk her way through her part, Rex Harrison style:

No-I-don’t-have-a-date-to-night-but-thanks-for-ask-ing / Lena….

4. Mrs. Small getting too creative with the play’s background set:

Brendon: “Listen, Mom, when somebody says an outdoor background, you don’t have to jump to the conclusion that it must be a winter.”
Mrs. Small: “Brendon…why don’t you just make it winter?”
Brendon: “Why don’t I make it win–?!?!? Because…th-there’s a cookout scene! There’s a 4th of July scene! There’s a big independence song!!!”

3. Jason lacking improv skills when taking over Brendon’s part at the last mintue (pictured above):

Brendon (whispering, off-stage): “Tell her that you know she’s seeing Maloney!
Jason: “Oh, oh yeah…” (To Angela): “So…you’re not seeing Maloney…”
Brendon (still whispering off-stage): “No, you know that–”
Jason (repeating to Angela): “You know that–”
Brendon: “No, you know! You know!–”
Jason (to Angela): “You know, Lena…Lena, you know that–”
Brendon (moving onstage, conspicously using a bush for cover): “No, you know that! Not her!”
Jason (to Angela): “No, you know that! Not her–” (Breaking character): “I’m sorry, Brendon”
Brendan: “No, you know that shee’s seeing Maloney!”
Jason: “Oh.” (To Angela): “I know that you’re seeing Maloney! The guy Brendon is playing…”

2. Brendon describing Coach McGuirk’s character to him

Brendon: “You’re probably familiar with the character Quick Rick.”
McGuirk: “The drag racer.”
Brendon: “Then you know he’s like, the coolest guy in the whole play, hello.”
McGuirk: “There are no cool guys in musicals.

1. McGuirk’s Springsteen-Meets-Sondheim Street Racing Anthem:

And I’ll race / to feel the wind in my face / And I’ll race / to feel alive / And I’ll race / to feel like I own this place / And I’ll race until I die / And I’ll race against the other racers / And I’ll race with one big shout / And I’ll race against the clock / And I’ll race against MYSELF / And I’ll race…”

3 Responses to “Listeria: The Ten Best Moments from Home Movies’ “Bye Bye, Greasy””

  1. […] too liable to kick Brendon when he’s down, as when he tells Brendon during the middle of his disastrous production of the school play, “It’s kind of a disaster….like, a historic disaster. And that’s good…in a […]

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