Normally I listen to music while I work. Today, I just opened up this episode and played it in another tab in the background on repeat. All day. I have literally listened to it 7 times (and also watched it straight through once, for the third time in 48 hours) and STILL have not gotten bored with it, or even one iota less delighted by every single second. Favorite episode of 2013, I'm pretty sure. Out of literally all the shows. I'm this close to having every line memorized via osmosis, I swear. So let me write its official love letter:
The Crazy Ones, 1x07, "Sydney, Australia"
First of all, spending this amount of time with the episodes means that the characters have officially come to life and I care about them as people rather than cartoon sketches. Not all with character names yet - I had to learn them all for this post except Danny (Josh Groban) and Sydney, actually - but still, that's an accomplishment. Now, for a list of some of the nine thousand things I loved:
-The main plot of this episode -- Simon's incessant hatred of Australia and his constant mute/un-mute for snide remarks. "If I could bitchslap a country..." Also I really enjoyed the Australians and all their unimpressed
-"That's just bad writing. Aloof and stand-offish are synonyms; you don't need both." / "Yeah, he must have really wanted to make a point about how cold you are." / "Oh, that makes sense." Amidst the Hot Bods shipping I have with her and Zach, I am also REALLY enjoying this sibling-rivalry thing she and the boys have going on.
-That first scene in Syndey's office, literally every moment where the guys are taking unholy glee in mocking her about this and making her phone call as difficult as possible. Andrew in particular is so straight-faced and thoughtful about his commentary.
-Spanish chick casually being a stalker herself.
-The flashback scene in the bathroom with the terrible hair. ("It's OK. Women can just drink more cosmos, no one knows why.")
-"Shake Your Groove Thing" (awesome on its own) and the drag queens - every time I saw that in the preview, I thought this image of James Wolk would scar me for life, but somehow it gets better every time you look at it. Much like when the Glee kids performed that "circus abomination" of "Diva" that ended up being one of my top 10 performances of the year.
-Zach's SUPER DISGUSTED "It's Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," with a look of such contempt for their ignorance that I'm almost surprised they don't turn up dead at the end, choked with showgirl feather boas.
-Everyone panicking after "I hate Australia," with the cacophony of noisy excuses suddenly transforming into THE MOST MAGICAL WEDDING OF TWO PLOT STRANDS IMAGINABLE. Even the first time, I was wondering if they were going to connect those two, but I never anticipated how.
-Zach's man crush on Danny. Oh god do I love it. Although it makes me think that if I ever use this episode as an introduction to why they should watch this show, I'm going to have to specifically spell out that he's not gay, as nothing in this episode contradicts that suggestion.
-Fanboy Zach eagerly suggesting that Danny sign T-shirts. ("Not now, sweetheart.")
-I really want .gifs of him grooving to the end of the second song with that Happy Cat grin on his face. That's basically me every time you hear a melody in this episode.
-Andrew being the worst Fake Boyfriend in the world. (I am unclear why she is not fake-dating Zach in this scenario)
-Josh Groban in general. This is a much better use of his acting abilities than we got on The Office! Just knowing how much he really loves doing this kind of goofy stuff is enough to make me happy, and I feel like his enthusiasm always comes through on screen.
Specifically: Danny is really super adorable and non-threatening and charming when he first comes up to meet her. Not doing the best job of painting him as a creepy stalker, guys, unless that's the point. She actually comes off as the crazy one for totally overreacting to everything* -- something only emphasized by the end of the episode, when he drops his interest in her immediately upon rejection. That is not how stalkers behave at all. I would imagine.
*I mean, except the lyrics in the DJ remix/creepy whisper of "gonna make you mine." But I can overlook it.
-The songs: the first one in all variations, which sounds completely un-Groban (I especially I like how the melody pops up in one way or another about every 5 minutes) - and then there's "Barely Knew You," because wow. If you leave the fast-paced synthesizer beat and Sydney's name out of it, that majesty (at least in the first verse) is straight off a typical Josh Groban album. It's like velvet and dark chocolate cascading over your ears, luxuriously rich and smooth. On second thought, I am not sure Taye Diggs did win the contest of guest stars this week. Groban is the undisputed god of music, and possibly other things as well.
I fell out of the habit of keeping up with news about him once TV became my #1 infatuation, but in 2005, I was obsessed with the "Live at the Greek" concert DVD and I watched it almost as many times as I've watched this episode. He is honestly just, like, the most genial guy. I'd forgotten, but one of the many reasons I fell in love with Darren Criss was how similar he was to Josh Groban, from personality to wild curly hair to skill sets to languages. I do miss the original version sometimes. It would still be my favorite thing in the world if I could attend one of his concerts.
That said, the glare when he sings "Sydney" is pricelessly Danny-specific and cracks me up with its intense vindictiveness.
-The nice heart to heart in the dressing/restroom. With "Roland" providing helpful commentary from the stall
-The sweet father/daughter bonding moment at the end. It does tend to drag on a little bit when you play the episode incessantly, after so many jokes, but it's probably the biggest reason the characters came to life for me. I loved the story - but the simple flashback scene sold it.
-Josh Groban + Robin Williams singing ridiculous couplets about hating Australia and/or New Zealand in the last scene. A PLUS.
-As always: the behind-the-scenes takes at the end, especially Robin Williams' singing about the little joey hopping about, followed by Sarah looking as adorable as anything in the world and not at all ridiculous like her painted costars despite wearing the same type of flashy outfit.
RANDOM LEFTOVER QUOTES
"Dumb is good. I like dumb." -- the enthusiasm with which this is spoken by the client is the best.
"We were looking for a time to hang out, and you're so busy that I just figured...bitch gotta eat!" #worst flirt ever
"That's why I hate Australians, they never say what they mean." / "I think they did, they said they don't love it." / "I hate them and their directness."
In conclusion: I'm not kidding when I say there is literally not one second of this episode I don't love. I don't know how I am going to watch any episodes after this, their inferiority will be so glaring -- oh no, there it is, Brad Garrett + "you bellowed?"
Honestly, the only thing that finally weaned me off this episode was switching over to an epic Josh Groban playlist instead. Velvet and dark chocolate, I tell you. Ohhhhh, that's it, that's heavenly. Hey, who wants to have a post where we just talk about our favorite Josh Groban songs? Everyone?