If there was a reason to start watching ‘Con Man‘ season 2, this week’s tour de force would be it. Since the premiere, we have heard rumors of a ‘Mice and Men’ musical featuring Lou Ferrigno, and it has finally arrived in episodes 7 and 8, and it was phenomenal.
The set-up to the musical is that Wray arrives at a convention (at last!) with Bobbi and learns that he did not actually get the lead of ‘Doctor-Cop-Lawyer’ just yet, apparently they put a pin in him as they are looking to go with a Hemsworth named Farnsworth. Wray meanwhile is sporting a ‘Spectrum’ shirt as Jack needs him to promote the show at the “Long Con” convention in order get them enough buzz to get the movie into the big “Shaka Con” where Jack plans to heavily promote the upcoming ‘Spectrum’ movie. While waiting at the Long Con, Wray and Bobbi run into Lou Ferrigno, who tells Wray all about his new play based on ‘Of Mice and Men’ which Wray is very excited about, especially as Lou apparently is doing it off broadway and is the perfect actor to play Lennie.
On the way to the convention hall, the pair get so caught up discussing the project that they get lost and end up getting locked in the basement, where things get worse when Wray realizes that when Lou says “off Broadway” he means a theater across the street from the Staples center in LA, and Lou plans on playing George, and having Wray play the hulking Lennie. And even worse, Lou wants to do the whole thing as a musical, and Wray cannot escape as the door to the basement can only be opened from the outside. As the convention host Bucky desperately searches for the two big stars, Wray and Lou get to work on the play to pass the time, while a slew of other workers also get trapped in the basement, and Lou manages to convince everyone to get on board the ‘I’m With Stupid’ (the actual name of his adaptation) train, and they are well on their way to putting on a production in the basement, with Bobbi and even Jerry joining in once they get locked in the basement while looking for Wray and Lou.
Eventually Wray loses his patience and tells Lou that he should be playing Lennie and that they should get the hell out of the basement, but after an inspiring speech by Lou about the nature of art, and a concession that he would indeed play a better Lennie, Wray decides to jump on board the ‘I’m with Stupid Train’ and the production continues.
With everything ready, and everyone still trapped in the basement, the show commences, while upstairs, Bucky replays a ‘Spectrum’ clip over and over again in Hall H during what was supposed to be Wray’s panel. In the basement, the musical begins and it is wacky and weird and beautifully hysterical, and really, you have to see it in its entirety to appreciate its brilliance.
Jerry playing the little dog put to death who refuses to die, Bobbi playing the wife who’s just a little too awkward to really be an actress, Wray giving himself fully into the role while reciting serious lines to musical verse, it all works extremely well and is very, very funny. The show ends as the book does, with George (Wray) killing Lennie (Lou) with a gun, just as Bucky finds them all and berates them for ruining her convention, claiming everyone is going to think the ‘Long Con’ is a sham, in one of the best set-up jokes of the season (that took two episodes to get to I might add). To save the day, the troupe decides to perform ‘I’m With Stupid’ for ‘The Long Con’ to an audience that loves the show, and it is a big hit as the show is live-streamed, and Wray even succeeds in getting hype out there for ‘Spectrum’ as he performs his role while wearing his ‘Spectrum’ shirt, and Jack calls him to inform him they got into the Shaka Con. Unfortunately for Wray though, Lou tells him the show is doing so well on the internet that they are going to actual Broadway now, and they are bringing in a real English actor to play the role of George, meaning Wray is being replaced. Lou assures him though, that they are putting a pin in him for the touring company.
JERRY: (on playing the dog in ‘Of Mice and Men’) A fella could win the Mo-cademy award with that kind of role.
WRAY: (after Lou explains that he is playing George, and Wray would be playing Lennie) I’m the hulking man who you don’t want to make angry? (looks confused at Lou) He’s the size of a grizzly bear….
LOU: (explaining the role to Wray) No one likes you when you’re…ticked off.
WRAY: Do you hear yourself?
BUCKY: (on finding everyone locked in the basement doing Lou’s ‘Mice and Men’ musical) I’m ruined! People are going to think that the Long Con is a scam!
These were, without a doubt, the best two episodes of the season so far, and that is saying something, as this season has been pretty incredible. The stronger episode was probably the lead up to the musical as Alan Tudyk’s writing and reactions to the idea of Lou Ferrigno playing George and not Lennie was absolutely brilliant, and I could not stop laughing. Loved that the show finally made its way to a convention and had a lot of fun with the location, and was glad to finally see Fillion return, even for a brief part at the end of the second episode. I am really looking forward to the next two episodes to see what else Tudyk and company have in store for us!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.