Episode 4(11/30): The Importance of Being an Earner
I Hate My Job Episode 4 (11/30): The Importance of Being an Earner
I taught part time for several years. I can tell you that as a teacher, nothing is more annoying than specifically explaining something to students and then having them demonstrate that they didn’t listen. Imagine a teacher silently weeping over a blue book. Okay, imagine a teacher sighing in frustration and shaking her head.
As the episode opens, Art tells us that everyone has been enjoying their rewards from the first individual challenges to the fullest. Art looks like he’s in his element riding his bike with Jerry’s group. Josh takes Jim with him to the Maxim party. Josh declares that the best thing I could ever get as a prize would be this. Frank’s personal trainer mocks his fitness. Nonetheless, Frank is excited about getting to work out properly. We also see Frank eating an enormous piece of what appears to be mud pie at one point. I’m not sure Frank’s got the supermodel two carrot sticks and a glass of water diet down yet. Jim tells us that the comedians at the comedy club were really great. Jim is most impressed with how experienced they are. Experience is what Jim thinks he sorely needs.
Stephanie and the Rev enter the house and summon the guys to the living room. Al asks them whether now that they have had time to settle into the house, get to know their mentors, and gain some experience this is still a dream rather than a nightmare. No one leaves. In fact, no one appears to have said anything. Perhaps the question was rhetorical. Al then tells the guys what their second challenges are.
Jim’s challenge is to attend a class on improvisation and character development. He is then to develop three original characters and take them into a real life situation. Josh’s task is to plan, promote, and throw a party while giving the client what the client wants. Frank’s challenge is to go to Universal Studio Walk and use his talent to generate business to help the store to which he is assigned. Art has to go to Memory Lane Junkyard and design a “throne of speed.” He’ll be judged on his ability to put a creative design together using the materials provided.
The next morning, Jim is sitting up in bed looking like he ran into a wall the night before. He explains that the I Hate My Job House is truly occupied by four guys. The night before, after consuming the only thing in the refrigerator, the guys decided they wanted to throw something on the grill. Jim volunteered to go to the store. Because he was a few beverages down, he called a cab instead of driving. Unfortunately, an SUV ran into the cab. Jim wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and got thrown around in the cab. He ended up with a messed up face and had to go to the hospital. As Jim tells us, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
Jim and his less than pretty face, go to his first improv class. Jim meets the teacher, Karen Maruyama and the other students, all of whom have experience with improv. Karen explains that they are going to do some improv games and exercises to help Jim try to find his characters. Karen asks Jim to play a real life person. Jim chooses to be Josh. Karen isn’t too impressed because Josh is just way too easy to imitate. We see Jim do several exercises. I agree with Karen that he does pretty well. He seems to be quite comfortable adopting other personas including an extremely insecure, shy person, a Midwestern salesman with a wife and three kids and a high powered attorney.
Kids Say the Darnedest Things
A nervous Josh goes to meet his client. He tells us that “I never actually had to plan a party where I got paid to do it.” I think our friend Mr. Foreshadowing is at work. Josh says that this will be “a little more easier” once he’s met the client. He got the little part right. The client turns out to be an eight year old named Flynn Leslie. The task is to plan his birthday party. Flynn demonstrates that he is more mature and articulate than Josh specifically telling Josh that first off he wants a really special experience. Flynn’s ideas include a chimp trainer, Hummer limo to a go cart place and a catering truck with normal American food like burgers and hotdogs. I want to know why an eight year old knows about Hummer limos. Did the last birthday party Flynn attended include a trip on a Lear jet? Flynn also has a list for the party bags to be handed out at the party. His friend Sam will have a remote control car and his friend Brandon an ESPN NBA 2005 X-Box Game. Josh finally asks Flynn what his budget is for the party. Flynn calmly replies $1000. One thousand dollars for a birthday party that is going to be attended by 5 other kids? What the hell? I think even adjusted for inflation my eighth birthday party cost $50.
We next see Josh at the house sitting at a table outside with the Yellow Pages open in front of him. Jim and Frank are also at the table. Josh is explaining to Jim and Frank about the Hummer limousine. Josh complains that the hardest part is the monkeys. As Josh leaves a somewhat inarticulate message inquiring about the availability of monkeys, Frank and a mysteriously undamaged Jim crack up. Josh goes inside telling them, “You guys are done.”
Art meets Jerry at the junkyard. Jerry explains Art’s challenge to him. Art has to use two 1954 Chevy fenders with red flames, a late 1930’s black split hood, the front seat of a Buick Special with deluxe blue upholstery, and 1957 Cadillac bumpers which Jerry describes as mammalian to create his throne. Jerry leaves the list of parts with Art who has four hours to complete his creation. Art wanders off in the junkyard complaining that there is no filing system and the parts are mixed everywhere.
Tomiko greets Frank at Universal Studios. Frank’s challenge which seems to have the least to do with his dream job is to use his personality and charm to sell a product. Tomiko lets Frank know that this time the product isn’t him. He’s going to help a client sell a product. Tomiko introduces Frank to Ryan Carrillo from Saddle Ranch. Frank’s task is going to be to act as a host and get as many people as possible to ride a bull. Tomiko voices over that as a model you have to be a chameleon and put on outfits and clothing that may not feel right to you but you have to sell them nonetheless. Ryan returns with Frank’s costume for the day which is a hokey cowboy outfit. I’m pretty sure Compton Frank didn’t dress as a cowboy for his eighth birthday. Frank gets into the spirit of the thing and even takes out his earrings to appear more authentic.
Jim checks in with his mentor, Barry. Barry offers Jim a little wisdom telling him that in the most basic sense, a comedian is a salesman. You have to sell the fact that you are funny and confident. Barry encourages Jim by saying that he thinks he’s in great shape to succeed in his task.
Josh R. arrives at the house where Wannabe Josh is again sitting down with the Yellow Pages making calls. Josh R.’s outfit is, well, ridiculous. He’s wearing basketball shorts, a police t-shirt, and a backwards baseball cap and carrying a cane with an 8 ball as the knob. Josh R. is pretty harsh on Jersey Josh. When Jersey Josh tells Josh R. that it went pretty well, Josh R. questions why he’s not on the internet. Josh R. wants to know whether Wannabe Josh has any price quotes yet. Next we see a somewhat desperate Wannabe Josh in front of the computer unsuccessfully trying to arrange things for the party. Josh tells us that his life is riding on this and that if he gets booted, he’s got nothing.
Charles in Charge
Jim tries out his first character. He is wearing a suit and tie to play Charles, a conservative attorney. Not exactly a stretch for Jim the attorney. Jim’s goal is to stay in character all day. He goes to get his hair cut and after he sits down in the chair, he tells the hairdresser that “I take it from your décor that you’re homosexual.” Jim essentially spends the entire haircut sounding like he has a stick up his butt. In other words, he was a success in his role. We hear Jim confessing that he felt awful being that big a jerk.
Art continues wandering through the junkyard. Twenty minutes in to his task he lucks upon a Special Deluxe with a blue front seat. Unfortunately, it also comes complete with a pair of previously worn panties. As Art explains, someone has already had fun on the throne. That really was too much information.
Frank has changed into his outfit. When asked by Tomiko what his character’s name is, Frank pauses and comes up with the highly original Buck Wild Bill because the bull is bucking wild. Tomiko asks Frank how he feels. He says he’s a little hot. Tomiko thinks this is good because sometimes as a model, you have to wear fur coats in the summertime. You still have to make it work. Frank is satisfied when he adds a toothpick to complete his outfit.
Jim finishes his haircut and stiffly tells the hairdresser that “I’m not bleeding so I suppose I owe you a thank you.” Jim is pleased that he was able to stay in character but feels lucky that he wasn’t stabbed in the neck with scissors. It was uncomfortable to play Charles because the guy cutting his hair was so nice.
Tomiko informs Frank that he has two hours to fill the Saddle Ranch. Frank flails around trying to entice customers. One woman tells him she wants to see him naked on the bull. My ears perk up. Tomiko and Ryan then come to Frank’s rescue. Tomiko tells Frank that he needs to stay in character the entire time. Calling out “Help me out my brother” doesn’t conform to Wild Bill’s cowboy image.
We see Josh filling up water balloons and scurrying out the front door with a cake and a full backpack. Josh is confident he’ll be able to handle the party. As he is headed to Flynn’s house, he tells us that he has a nice record of getting lost every day. Josh finds Flynn’s house and feels he has everything planned to the tee. Diana, Flynn’s mother, greets Josh at the door. Josh lets us know that the monkey was a no go. Monkeys apparently cost $1000-$1300 a pop to rent. Who knew?
Despite the fact that cowboy is a bit of a stretch for him, Frank starts to have some success in attracting customers to ride the bull. His first customer is a woman who is quickly thrown off but seems to have enjoyed herself. Next, we see Flynn helping Josh set up for his birthday party. The two of them hang up balloons and put a tablecloth on the table. The guests arrive followed shortly by reptile guy, Steve Harding, from Cool Critters Animal Show and his son. Josh is a little concerned about what will happen if one of the kids is freaked out by the reptiles, but Steve says the space is perfect. The show includes a giant hissing cockroach from Madagascar, a millipede, and a Chilean tarantula. The kids seem to be suitably impressed although the birthday boy rejects the suggestion that Steve put the tarantula on his head. The critter show ends with the boys having their picture taken sitting next to each other on the couch with a giant snake spread across all of their laps.
We return to Art who has succeeded in finding all of the required parts for his sculpture. He is excited to get on to the fun stuff, the actual fabrication. Jerry hovers in the background as Art tells us that he doesn’t have much time.
Jim is on to his second character, John Smith, a painfully shy guy. John goes to buy sunglasses. Jim feels sorry for the woman helping him. He tells the saleswoman that one pair of glasses he tries on is too cool for him and that he’s never bought sunglasses before because “my nose is like too big.” As he’s saying this, shy guy keeps covering his eyes. At the end of his time at the shop, Jim tells us that John Smith was really hard for him because he has the least of Jim’s personality of any of the characters.
With 48 minutes to go, Frank has gotten five people to ride the bull. The next thing we know, he’s up to 12 riders. Jerry announces to Art that he has only three hours to go. Stephanie doesn’t appear to be enjoying standing in the middle of the junkyard watching Art at work.
Josh is serving the boys pizza when Josh R. shows up. Josh R. and Diana go out on the balcony where Josh R. asks Diana if they’ve gotten pretty much all the things they’ve wanted. Diana tells Josh R. that Flynn was a bit disappointed he didn’t get his Hummer limo, but it was too expensive. Diana then criticizes Josh by telling Josh R. that he’s not as thorough as he should be. He needs to think more about who the client is and what Josh has to offer.
Jim is on to his third and final character, Gary Sandusky, a salesman for Milwaukee Plastics. Gary’s friends call him “Gar.” Gary goes into a florist shop to buy flowers for his wife Candy. He chats with the floral workers about the plastics tradeshow he is supposedly in town for. Jim tells us that the florist was laughing at him like he was a jackass. Playing Gary wasn’t easy but Jim pulled it off despite being a little guarded at first. Stephanie watched Gary’s performance from outside the shop. Jim/Gary exits the shop saying “Alrighty.” He hopes that Stephanie will report to the Rev that he did well.
Jerry shows up to torture Art by making ticking noises and telling him that “the clock is ticking Clarisse.” Silence of the Lambs freaked me out enough that I cringe. Art gets frustrated. He tells us that there are two problems. First, the saw horse is expletive deleted. Second, he has no safety glasses on. Art then flings the saw horse across the junkyard.
After lunch, a regular limousine arrives to spirit the kids away to go carts. Everyone seems to have a blast riding. Josh has a piñata and water balloons and takes the kids to the park next. There are a lot of smiles and running around. The kids scramble for the candy when Flynn smashes the piñata. Josh looks greatly pleased in the background.
Jim finished with his third character pretty early so he decides to go see how Frank is doing. Frank’s success has increased greatly. He’s started to fill the house up. He convinces Jim to ride the bull and announces to the crowd that Jim is an attorney at law. Jim is the 23rd rider. Frank tells us that he started out rugged. By the end, Frank is awkwardly jumping around announcing that he’s Wild Bill Frank and whooping.
Jerry approaches Art like the grim reaper to tell him that he has an hour left. Art breaks his third drill bit and grumbles to the camera that next time he wants better drill bits. Frank talks to a guy in the audience who challenges Frank to ride the bull and turn up the speed a notch. Frank takes him up on it and we see his serape wildly flopping around before Frank falls off. Tomiko informs Frank that the challenge is over. Frank actually appears to be a little reluctant to give his cowboy outfit back. Frank is confident saying that “I think I did an excellent job. If they don’t think I did, they didn’t see Buck Wild Bill Frank Pace.”
Art is down to 20 minutes. We see him spray painting as he explains that he could spend three days on this project. Art says that with this sort of project you need to be really disciplined. You have to get done first what you need to and then what you want to. When Jerry comes to tell Art his time is up, Art is lounging in his creation. Jerry seems to be suitably impressed and tells him he’s done it. Jerry then rewards Art with a “fine Chop Shop Ale.” I wouldn’t be looking for it on my local grocery store shelves. Art and Jerry settle in to drink their beers. Art tells Jerry he’s going to have to drive for awhile because Art needs a nap. Art then voices over that he’s physically exhausted and needs to go soak in the hot tub.
Josh says goodbye to Flynn at the end of the party. Josh hopes Flynn had a good time. Josh is confident that everything went absolutely fantastic. He feels he planned for every detail, big and small. Josh thinks this proved that he’s not just full of crap.
Three Cracker Jack Boxes and a Two Minute Minor
It’s time for the guys to face Al and Stephanie in the Judgment Room. Jim and Barry go first. Stephanie tells Al that she thought Jim’s performance was pretty flawless. Barry concurs that Jim was able to go in and out of character flawlessly. The word of the day is flawless. Jim thought it was hard to stay in character sometimes because of people’s negative reactions to the characters. Al says that’s where persistence comes in.
The Joshes step up next. Josh R. tells the Rev Josh took care of a lot of detail and did quite well in that at the end of the day, the child was happy. However, Josh R. is a little torn. He reminds us that it’s still a business and his first question is how much money did Josh make. Al asks Josh directly. Josh is clearly thrown and says I had about $50 left at the end of the day. Al then lectures Josh and reminds him that Josh R. made it clear you have to strike a deal at the beginning of any task. Josh then becomes really defensive and makes the mistake of saying my goal was not to make any money. His goal was to plan a party and deliver what the client wanted. Al jumps all over him and Stephanie adds to the Josh roasting telling Al that Flynn asked for hamburgers and Josh instead served pizza at the party.
Frank and Tomiko sit down. Tomiko says that Frank did extremely well. The area was pretty empty when Frank started. Not only did Frank get people to ride the bull. A lot of families sat down to eat. Stephanie puts a bit of a damper on the love fest saying she wants to see more of Frank letting go without needing to be guided and directed as much. Stephanie thinks Frank still needs to let his old Compton self go. Al and Tomiko somewhat disagree. Al tells Frank that where he’s from should define him not confine him and that his roots should launch not limit him. Frank should always be himself. When Frank finally gets a chance to talk, he says that he thinks he took the place by storm. Frank is proud that he had people riding the bull who didn’t even speak English.
Art and Jerry go last. Jerry praises Art. He tells the Rev that Art has the mechanical intuitiveness to make a creation his own. Art knows how to use his hands and has the necessary welding ability. Art probably wasn’t quite as pleased when Jerry says that Art’s skills “surprised the hell out of me.” Art looks pleased with himself and says to the Rev that it hardly seemed like work. The rest of the world just disappeared while he was working on his task.
Jim, Frank, and Art all receive prizes from the Rev. Jim is given a chance to work with an improv company in front of an audience. Frank gets a day at a spa and a wardrobe makeover. I guess the overalls and rubber boots are going to go. Art gets a $500 “shopping spree” at Snap On Tools. Josh is the recipient of the first penalty. Josh has to go to the Dragon Fly Club at three a.m. and clean the club after everyone is gone. I’d say that’s definitely a penalty. The Rev tells Josh that he likes him but reminds him one more penalty and he’s gone. Al’s final speech this episode is all basketball. Something I continue to find odd in a man who probably has a vertical leap of two inches. He says that some of you have a feel for the ball, some of you are still searching for your stroke but you are all still in the game. He then finishes with his tiresome rebound line.
The guys all react to the penalty. Jim wasn’t surprised someone got a penalty. Art fuels Josh’s feelings of being picked on by saying that his mentor threw him under the bus after both challenges so far and he’ll do it again next week. Frank tries to encourage Josh using himself as an inspiration. Josh finally tells us that he learned you can’t fail at any part of the job. We’ll see how well Josh learned that lesson.
Our Next All New Episode
The challenges get harder. The Joshes have it out. Josh R. says “That’s it. He’s gonna be off the show.” I take this to mean Josh won’t get a penalty next week. Art has to try to put together a bike without instructions. Frank’s cheesy mustache is an endangered species. The show may or may be on Tuesday night. Stay tuned for future developments.
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