On this "painfully special" episode of
Strangers With Candy:
Mr. Jellineck holds auditions for the upcoming Flatpoint High production of "A Raisin in the Sun". He casts Craig Snow, Susan Cream, and Jerri Blank (the three white students) in the lead roles and casts the remaining students (all African-American) as trees.
Later at home, Jerri is so thrilled that she'll be playing the leading role of "Mama" that she shares the news with her stepmother. Sara had just been leafing through her own high school scrapbook and was reminiscing about her own performance as Mama and the thought of Jerri's budding acting career obviously sparks feelings of jealousy in her.
Sara starts to drown her sorrows in booze. In the morning she enjoys a glass of rum cake for breakfast: "We ran out of flour". Sara is so out of it that she neglects the laundry, the dishes, and the cooking. Derrick has to resort to wearing a bed sheet and eating uncooked lasagna noodles dipped in a jar of sauce.
Jerri dreads Sara's appearance at school for Parent-Teacher Day. A slurring Sara makes suggestive comments to Mr. Noblet and insults Jerri in front of parents, teachers, and students.
Jerri's "Raisin" castmate, Craig Snow, accompanies her home after school that day so they can run through their lines together. They find Sara passed out on the kitchen floor, but Jerri just tries to gloss over the situation with some good old-fashioned denial.
Jerri's newly-acquired emotional baggage affects her performance at rehearsal the next day so Jellineck threatens to replace her. Craig tries to convince Jerri to attend an Alá Coholics meeting that night in the basement of Tippler's Lounge, but she says that she'll deal with her stepmother's drinking problem the same way she dealt with her own drug addiction and alcohoism, "...with lies and delusions." When she gets home, though, she finds Sara passed out on the livingroom floor, dressed in a Peter Pan costume. This inspires Jerri to attend the meeting.
Misters Noblet, Jellineck, and Blackman are all attendees at the Alá Coholics meeting and Onyx tells the sad tale of how his father had come home with the demon on his breath that morning and set the porch on fire. Jerri is flattered by the attention she gets when she stands to speak and she uses the opportunity to invite everyone to witness her upcoming stage debut.
Jerri decides to confront Sara after seeing her load dirty dishes into the washing machine, but her stepmother claims that she can stop drinking whenever she chooses. To prove this she dumps all of her mixers, but not her booze, down the kitchen sink.
The night of the play, despite the fact that Jellineck has to feed her just about every line, Jerri's performance garners a round of hearty applause. Sara steals the spotlight, however, when she staggers up to the stage to present Jerri with a ham wrapped in a ribbon. Jellineck orders the curtain to be closed, but inadvertently causes Sara's clothing to get caught on a hook dangling from a cable. Sara is hoisted high above the audience and relives the glory of her long-ago portrayal of "Peter Pan".
The next morning, Sara brags about a newspaper review that cites her impromptu stage appearance as being the highlight of the evening. Craig tells Jerri to just allow Sara to drown her sorrows with alcohol.
Ultimately, Jerri has learned that sometimes it's better to be a happy gin-soaked grape than an anguished raisin in the sun.
Episode Title: "Dreams on the Rocks"
Original Airdate: 4/21/99
Production Number: 1-03
Directed by: Peter Lauer
Writers: Paul Dinello, Amy Sedaris
Additional Writer: Randolph Heard
Regular Cast: AS, DR, GH, LS, PD, SC
Featuring: Jacob Pitts (Craig Snow), John Eddins (Actor playing Zobo on TV), Sandra Reaves Phillips (Actress playing Mama on TV, right), Diane Lang (Susan Cream, uncredited), Miss Pretty (Leslie, uncredited)
Extra, Extra: Neil Fagan and his son Tim are attendees of the Alá Coholics meeting.
hobgoblin (hŏb'·gŏb·lĭn) n. a frightening apparition; bogy; bugbear
|Additional Episode Information|
· Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote the play "A Raisin in the Sun", also wrote the autobiographical "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", which inspired the title of episode 1-09, "To Be Young, Gifted and Blank".
· Geoffrey's line, "On stage, this is THIS," was a Michael Caine acting tip.
· None of the Raisin in the Sun dialogue used in this episode actually came from the real play.
· After this episode was written, but before it went into production, Stephen Colbert learned that there was a small town in Maine that was staging an all-white production of Raisin in the Sun because there were no black people in the community.
· Sara tells Noblet that when she went to Flatpoint she was Queen of the Honor Roll.
· In her younger days Sara starred in "Peter Pan" and also staged a one-woman production of "12 Angry Men". Other shows mentioned in her scrapbook were "Annie Get Your Gun" and "The Sound of Music".
· Guy Blank is on vacation in Greece.
· Jerri's albino python, Leslie, was the only one of Jerri's first season pets to avoid a disastrous fate. Leslie was portrayed by Miss Pretty.
· During his college days, circa 1984, Stephen Colbert had seen a framed embroidery that said, "I cried when I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet," which inspired him to add, "and then I laughed, really hard." He'd waited about 15 years to use that line.
· Jellineck feeding lines to Jerri onstage was inspired by the fact that Paul, Stephen, and others often had to do the same for Amy.
· The Alá Coholics meeting was opened with "The Obscurity Prayer".
· For Noblet's reading of the Langston Hughes poemat the end of the episodeStephen Colbert was originally going to use more of a Maya Angelou cadence and vibe.
· When this episode originally aired, the Comedy Central website listed the episode title as "She Drinks More Than I Do".
· Among the names on the Honor Roll in Noblet's class are the following members of the Strangers crew: Dale Johnson (Production Assistant), Lyle Gamm (Art Department), Avery Kaufman (Art Department Coordinator), Susan Ogu (Art Consultant), Kioka Abbott (Production Assistant), Albino Marsetti (Best Boy Electric)
"ABC Afterschool Specials" Parallel: I've been told that this episode spoofs "Francesca, Baby" (1976), but site visitor Ryan informs me that our SWC writers borrowed heavily from "She Drinks a Little" (1981), aka "First Step." Many details from this show were incorporated into the SWC episode, particularly the line, "Why are you telling this to Leslie (actually "Cindy")... and me?" as well as the scenes in which the drunk mother insults her child while speaking to teachers at school and, later, makes a complete fool of herself while attending her daughter's school play by going up on stage to take a bow.
On The 'Flatpoint High School' Sign: "RAISIN IN THE SUN AUDITIONS TODAY"
The Best Things In This Episode:
· When Jellineck is selecting the cast for "A Raisin In The Sun" and he overlooks a multitude of African-American students for the likes of Susan Cream, Craig Snow, and Jerri Blank, then he tells everyone else that they'll be playing "trees".
· We get a brief glimpse into Onyx's personal life at the Alá Coholics meeting.
· Deborah Rush's bravura performance as a drunken Sara.
· Jerri can't remember a single line, yet she still gets a standing ovation:
Jerri: "He finally come into his manhood today, didnít he?" (to Jellineck) "Line?"
Jellineck (whispering): "Kind of like a rainbow."
Jerri: "Kind of like a rainbow. Line?"
Jellineck (whispering): "Of magnificent colors."
Jerri: "Of magnificent colors. Line?" (Jellineck hands Jerri a script)
Jerri (reading): "Blossoming like a raisin in the sun. The end."
Closing Credits Dance Sequence: As the episode closes Mr. Noblet gives a reading - and grooves to - Langston Hughes's poem "Harlem" (aka "Dream Deferred").What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Then he, Amy, Paul, Greg, and Jacob Pitts do a robot-like dance that Paul and Greg used to do as members of The Yardstick Boys comedy troupe.
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