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505/The Gym


Show Outline

Paul has joined an exercise gym and not only has it become a haven of privacy, but of anonymity. In fact, it's the secret hideout of "Mystery Man". This desire is revealed when he and Jamie are browsing at a bookstore. It's a new chain store which has recently (ok, 6 months ago) put a local store, with a better selection (Weatherby's), out of business. Jamie, of course, doesn't understand Paul's desire for privacy - to the point of inadvertantly giving away a 10-day free pass to a homeless person, Virgil. (Virgil used to work at Weatherby's) This alarms Paul 'cause not only does he want to remain anonymous, but it's a high-brow gym. The guy running the place (Dante) doesn't really like folks who don't "measure up". But Dante likes Paul because he's so mysterious. Paul tries to get the pass back, but he can't. In the process he comes across as an unsympathetic person. He eventually makes up for this by letting the Dante know that Virgil is his guest, even if it means blowing "Mystery Man's" cover.


Commentary

This episode moves at a tepid pace and there are undertones of frustration - meaning sometimes the narrow-mindedness of Paul (and Ira, and Dante) towards the homeless guy (played by Bruno Kirby) is frustrating to me, personally - but it still has enough humor to remain a pretty good episode. Ok, what really makes this episode funny is Paul's "Mystery Man" persona. His "scuzie" whenever someone talks to him is perfect. And in the tag, where Paul is reflecting on who "Mystery Man" is, is great. Also, Jamie's confontation towards the end is good. But as funny as "Mystery Man" is, it's not enough to make this episode much more than an enjoyable watch. It's enjoyability earns it a comfortable 6.5.