IFC

Dinner For Five On The Pitfalls Of Being Lord Of The (Onion) Rings

Kevin James returns, and the show begins to find its footing.

Kevin James is back for S01.E06, and seems more comfortable this time; it gets un-comfortable when Jon Favreau and Bonnie Hunt have to hash out why he didn't end up in her directorial debut, but it leads to some good insights about getting the "fat scripts," taking too many chances below the line, and how to get through a pitch meeting that's obviously going nowhere.

A marginally dated episode, but shows Sean Astin's smarts to good effect, and is probably the best one yet, finally hitting what it's trying to do on the sweet spot. How Dinner-ish is the episode? To the table!

Dinner For Five-esque Element Present?
The guests Astin, Hunt, James, Ray Romano
Rocky Marciano reference? Brought up by Astin.
Mrs. Parker reference? Oh, she'll be back.
Swingers/Made reference? Mostly Rudy, for obvious reasons, but Romano does mention Swingers. No Made.
Booking bust Romano runs the risk of seeming a bit grand, but he and James together are greater than the sum of their parts, IMO.
Were we ever so young? Favs's cigar; Favs's...whatever is happening with this collar narrative, which thankgodfully went out of style a few years ago;

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a time when any non-Mennonite over the age of 12 needed pilot season explained;

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a time when one might still quote Bill Cosby in a positive way (and it is a good line; it's just off-limits now).

Industry dish Astin talks about the union "rules" in New Zealand, and how they had a non-existent "turnaround" (the amount of time an actor has to get off between shooting days; SAG specified 12 when this aired); how acting was "the thing that [Patty Duke] could give" him, and the psychology of trying to talk your kids out of becoming actors; and having to follow River Phoenix, who made himself AND Rob Reiner cry, into a Stand By Me audition. Later, clocked by Hunt for turning down a role in her movie because he'd worked hard to be "the leading man who kisses the girl," and didn't want to step back to play her husband, Favs goes on a rant about the wardrobe people giggling at his outfits in Rudy and how, "when you're fat," you always get the script where you're a cop who comes into the squadroom with powdered sugar on his rig and asks, "Are you gonna finish that sandwich?" I don't know how realistic it ever was for Favs to style himself for leading-man consideration (in films, anyway), but there's real pain there, and real regret as Astin remembers Favreau asking him for advice on the Rudy set, and Astin telling him to lose 70 pounds or he wouldn't work.

Meanwhile, Romano reminds us he had the Joe Rogan role on Newsradio but got canned after one rehearsal, and seems to give zero fucks.

Lissen lissen lissen [hic] Everybody's loose, but not tight, if you know what I mean.
4 / 7
Final Score
57%
Dinner For Five
43%
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