I recap sitcoms. I recap sham weddings. I recap John Doe Unplugged concerts. This week, I recap music videos. Once upon a time there was the artifice of an actual show buried underneath all this excess media somewhere. But that was a long, long time ago.
Fade up on The Bar That Carding And Bouncers Forgot. Liz "Toys For Bots" sits next to Kyle "Julian Lennon" Valenti, the latter of whom watches in horror as Porno and his Shickers of the Kit jam out with renewed vigor as special guest Maria "I'm With The Bland" DeLuca sits in on vocals and general underage whoring. On a stage decorated with strips of flowy silver foil that announce "I'm a rockin' car wash" as much as they announce "I'm a rockin' Chinese restaurant and right back there are the restrooms" as much as they announce "please fail to take my non-legitimate musical enterprise the slightest bit seriously," they gamely fight their way through a rendition of Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." Oh, sorry. "Meat Loaf Aday." The scene's single saving grace is that we join the song somewhere in its ninetieth marathon hour, after Mr. and Mrs. Loaf have met, after they fall in love, after they're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife, glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife, glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife, after the words "Phil Rizzuto" and "sex" are no longer mutually exclusive, to my continuing shock and horror. And then Maria: "Stop right there!" Good advice, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Lite. May I suggest you take said advice and apply it to your own singing career? As Maria vamps functionally through the girl empowerment verse, she stands back-to-back with a glistening Porno in a pose that's two parts "Olsen Twins photo shoot" and one part "David Bowie and Mick Jagger in that really, really gay 'Dancing in the Streets' video from 1985." Either way, it's just not right. And Kyle, head buried in his hands, knows it. He asks Liz, "Am I the only one who sees the creepiness in this?" Liz counsels him to -- and this is really what she says -- "get a grip. They sound amazink." Get a grip. Which is one Queer Dialogue Step above telling him to "take a chill pill," which I'm sure she also totally thinks he should do. Liz frets her way into a plot development snit, looking around and asking, "Where's everyone else?" Far, far away, Liz, exercising their divine rights of free will and self-preservation. Kyle, meanwhile, continues his own brooding: "There are so many other duets out there. Clean duets. Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt can keep their hands off each other. So can Elton John and Kiki Dee." Liz, cultural barometer and sexual deviancy witch hunter, sets Kyle, uh, straight, with the quip, "Elton John likes boys." Insert Max/Jesse/Kyle barbed retort here. Thanks. Kyle shoots back, "Yeah, but did the Captain ever grind on Tennille?" Well, kind of. Depending on what the "that" modifies in "Do that to me one more time." Is it sex? I think it's sex. Kyle finally freaks out and disappears from the table, exclaiming, "I've gotta wash my eyes." On his victory lap in Operation Avoid Liz At All Costs, he walks past an interested-looking woman with curly hair, who looks curiously at the stage before taking a pen from her jacket and writing something -- perhaps "this is where the plot should be" -- on a copy of the script with large chunks of text mysteriously missing from it. From the stage, Porno requests that he be allowed to "sleep on it," promising he'll "give [her] an answer in the morning." But lo, it's not good enough for Maria. Before they go any further, she's gotta know right now does he love her, does he love her forever. God. Phil Rizzuto wept. And he didn't even know he was sad. Or even still alive, maybe.
Liz sits alone at the table for just a minute, until Max "Elton John" Evans makes his way over to the table and kisses her on her shiny, shiny hair. Liz informs Max, "You missed half the set" (meaning "the first nineteen verses of this song"), punishing him appropriately by continuing to talk to him, asking, "Are Isabel and Jesse coming?" Good God, I do hope not. What about Michael? The damaged ex-boyfriend whose heart the bitch broke? No. No, I don't think he'll be coming either. Now Liz is mad: "This is a big thing for Maria. She's been practicing for, like, over a week." Over a week? Now that's dedication, yo. And also a brilliant way to legitimize this huge, not-at-all-continuity-defying event in Maria's life that we heard of for the very first time ever not two TV minutes ago. Liz drives it home: "None of her friends showed up." Translation: she hates you, Max. Max notes Maria up on stage, cowboy hat in hand, eyes squinty, singing the same damn verse again, and (gack!) smiles, "I don't think she's gonna notice." Liz is not amused. Or bemused, even. So Max tries the old sweet touch, putting his arm around her and apologizing. Liz regards him all, "Don't even dream of touching me unless I can't stop the bleeding myself, thanks," and fires a really unwarranted dagger: "I'm not the one you should be apologizing to." Max senses that this can't be all about Meat Loaf Aday -- is it ever? -- so he turns the topic to the Liz-being-a-total-bitch thing, asking, "What's wrong?" Liz thinks on it. This has nothing to do with Meat Loaf Aday: "I think I'm coming down with somethink." He notes that there is a "bad flu going around." And then this line really, actually happens: "It's terrible. Fever. Sore throat. And an uncontrollable urge to dance." Nice! So what kind of fever would that be? Dance Fever? Night Fever? Disco Fever? Um. Max? Max, if you don't tell us, how are we supposed to get the proper shot? Max? MAX? Damn. Now I'm dancing and I feel like crap.