Remember how we said way back at the beginning of Season 2 that the relationship stuff was the least interesting thing about Episodes? Well, last night's episode reconfirmed that opinion, as the so-dull-nobody-cares affair between Carol and Merc and the slightly-less-dull-but-still-nobody-cares dalliance between Matt and Merc's wife Jamie, drove much of the narrative as the two secret couples conspired to secretly get away for the weekend until an overeager travel agent frelled up their secret plans by booking Merc and Jamie on a Napa vacation. (Clearly, Merc should have booked his defunct Cabo getaway with Carol via Priceline.com. Isn't he supposed to be buddy-buddy with Bill Shatner?) On the upside, this was finally the straw that broke the back of the Carol/Merc alliance and we can only hope she means it when she says she's through with their romance. We were over it a season ago.
With all the couples drama going on, there wasn't much room for the behind-the-scenes of Hollywood stuff, but two scenes did jump out at us. The first involved the backstory on Matt's stalker, Labia. He first met her when she was an 8-year-old Friends super-fan and Make-A-Wish Foundation beneficiary. As Matt tells it, her last wish was for Joey Tribbiani to take her to Disneyland (we would have picked Phoebe, but hey, to each their own) and Matt agreed to make it come true. Only then, she didn't die. Over the next fifteen years, she kept inundating "Joey" with cards, e-mails and phone calls, encouraged by the fact that he slept with her once... when she was legal, natch. Eventually he got a restraining order and now she's forced to admire him from a distance of 500 feet. Don't worry, this isn't building up to a true-life tale about a celebrity who slept with a Make-a-Wisher. No, it just put us in mind of some of the recent Make-a-Wish story of the young Hellboy devotee and leukemia patient Zachary, whose wish was to spend the day hanging out with his favorite superhero. So the organization reached out to Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman, who agreed to put on the red demon makeup and made young Zachary's day. (You can see the photos of their encounter and the boy's makeover into Lil' Hellboy online. Check 'em out -- they'll give you the warm fuzzies inside.) Besides reminding us of the good work that the Make-a-Wish Foundation does, this story also makes us love Perlman more than we already do.
The second scene that rang our Hollywood truth gong was the one where Sean and Bev speculated that the reason for Morning Randolph's mysterious and prolonged absence from the set had less to do with her claim of being sick and was instead her way of protesting her diminished role on Pucks following by the network's decision to award the kids with more screentime. It's the kind of power play move Matt LeBlanc is certainly familiar with; during the course of Friends he and the rest of the cast famously banded together whenever contract negotiation time rolled around and refused to continue working unless all of them received the same salary to return. The "call in sick" approach was also used by the three Home Improvement kids when they wanted more money. (It didn't work out so well for them, though; ABC issued a casting call notice for a new batch of Taylors and the original three promptly got better. Check out this story for a list of other famous examples of actors who tried to goad the networks into better deals.) As it turned out though, Morning wasn't on strike; she had just gone into hiding after a botched cheek implant left her with a giant bulge on the side of her face. Way to give the network a reason not to put you on camera anymore, Morning...
Truest Hollywood Lines
"You know that the "Fy" stands for?" -- Sean, poking a hole in Matt's theory about the scientific accuracy of the Syfy channel.
"I was at the Peoples' Choice Awards. Faith Hill had just won Favorite Hair or something equally important." -- Carol, summing up the utter uselessness of the Peoples' Choice Awards.
"It's opposite that talking dog. If they change your timeslot, I'll watch your show." -- Matt's ex-wife, proving the enormous appeal of that infernal talking dog show.
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