Lima Theatre Guild. As volunteer carpenters lug pieces of the Les Miz set from one side of the stage to the other, a solidly built matron auditions for the musical's rotund director with a badly mangled version of "Big Spender" from Sweet Charity. Meanwhile, out in the auditorium, Will and Bryan Ryan are horrified to realize they both intend to try out for Jean Valjean with -- of course -- "The Impossible Dream" from Man Of La Mancha. The two quickly descend into loud bickering, with both laying claim to Dream On" as their alternate audition piece, and the petty yowling reaches such volume that the rotund director halts the solidly built matron's caterwauling to order Will and Bryan Ryan onstage for an Aerosmith duet, pronto, and finally we get a goddamned musical number up in this ungodly mess of an episode.
And that musical number is, quite frankly, fantastic. The two start off on opposite sides of the stage -- silently snarling at each other like they're about to launch themselves into an especially fey reenactment of Gunfight At The O.K. Corral, even going so far as to twirl their microphones like six-shooters -- and then it begins, with Will turning the first few lines of the song into a mocking indictment of Bryan Ryan's rapidly fading looks and foolishly squandered potential, and he's so overpoweringly awesome doing so in his little vest and white V-neck t-shirt and just-baggy-enough chinos that when Bryan Ryan finally picks up the next verse, I can't take the guy seriously as Will's rival in anything. It probably doesn't help matters much that Neil Patrick Harris's performance here is reminding me of what I've seen of his turn as that whiny little bag of hipster shit in Rent, and because I hate both that whiny little bag of hipster shit and the so-called musical he rode in on, Will wins. Hooray! Also: Commercial!
We arrive back from the break to find Single-T Tina wheeling Artie through the mall, where he's just optimistically bought himself a pair of tap shoes, and I was going to bust on the idea that a mall in Allen County, Ohio, would host a Capezio outlet, but it turns out there are three stores in Delphos, Ottawa, and Wapakoneta that carry the brand, so what the hell do I know? Anyway, Tina's about to head up to the mall's second level to fetch them some soft pretzels when Artie stops her with, "I need to tell you something -- I went to the doctor yesterday, and he started me on all the therapies that you researched for me, and guess what? They're working." With that, Artie rises slowly from his chair, and we have officially entered the Dream Ballet portion of this evening's festivities. Oh, come on. Like you really thought this bit was actually happening when the episode aired.