Real World
Neil's Organ

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Gustave: D | Grade It Now!
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Neil's Organ

B-roll of London at night. At the Notting Hill Gate Manse, Mike wants to watch the Super Bowl with Neil, Sharon and Jay so he can "show [them] about America." Maybe he forgot that Jay is American, or maybe he just figured that anyone into musical theater needed an update on "real" American culture as well. Neil decides to be difficult and starts challenging Mike on every last detail of the game, trying to get Mike to admit that American football is stupid by making fun of how one team is dumping water on the other team. "Why would they do that at all?" asks Neil. I don't know, Neil. Why do the English streak during their Soccer games and build crappy arenas whose stands collapse and kill spectators? Sharon has a sit-down where she explains that Neil is into pushing buttons and provoking people. That's a bit generous of Sharon. If Neil were really interested in having a stimulating conversation, why would he be "pushing the buttons" of the dumbest person in the entire house? I mean, can you say, "shooting fish in a barrel"? Neil explains in a sit-down that Michael "typifies the aspects of America" that he's "not too happy about." You're not exactly selling us on English people either, Neil.

This reminds me of these guests we had two summers ago on Cape Cod. When we lived in England, my father had an English colleague who I'll call Dr. Doolittle who became close friends with both my parents. His wife, Mrs. Doolittle, was a really sweet but frumpy woman who gave me piano lessons. After we moved back to the states, Dr. and Mrs. Doolittle got a divorce and Dr. Doolittle took up with an English woman not much older than I. I went home one weekend to visit my mother and my stepfather at their house on Cape Cod, and Dr. Doolittle and the new girlfriend were visiting as well. As soon as I arrived and got introduced to the new girlfriend, the new girlfriend pulled me into the kitchen to tell me how fabulous Dr. Doolittle was in bed. "Uh..." I stammered. "Mrs. Doolittle was my piano teacher." I really couldn't think of anything else to say.

Later that night at dinner with my step-grandparents (who have a house next door), everyone had been drinking a lot of wine and having separate conversations. New Girlfriend, apropos of nothing, made everyone be quiet so she could ask us all a question. The question? "How do you Americans justify spending billions of dollars on a space shuttle while there are homeless people all over your country?" There was like ten seconds of silence -- not because we're all patriotic people who are horrified by this bit of information and never think about homelessness, but because we were just all having a nice dinner and all of a sudden this girl we barely knew -- who we were wining and dining -- was forcing us to defend the space program, which, as mere citizens of this country, we have very little to do with. I mean, it's not like when we pay our income tax we get to tell the government to feed the homeless with it and not use it for the space program. "Oh, that's right!" I said, buffered by about three glasses of red wine. "England doesn't have any poverty. That's because they take all that money they saved by not having a space program and they just give right to the poor." At this point everyone applauded and my stepfather turned to my mother and says, "Next time there's an argument, I want to be on Gustave's side." New Girlfriend didn't back down. I'm not sure what her argument was for why England was different, but she had one. Finally I was like, "Two words, New Girlfriend: Royal. Family."

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