So I finally, after admitting my deep and dreadful shame a couple of weeks ago–I FINALLY!–got to watch season 2 of Con Man, the great show created by Alan Tudyk.
Much like season 1, we find Wray Nerely (Tudyk) struggling through his day-to-day life, trying to hide the fact he’s sleeping with his best friend’s (and much more successful former co-star) personal assistant, Faith, while also still trying to find a role that will let him break out of what he perceives to be career hell as the former star of a canceled sci-fi TV show (Spectrum) that has become a cult hit.
Between the Spectrum movie his friend Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) is hyping, doing a commercial with a hot director in an attempt to get a part in a TV drama series, being shamed (or trapped) into doing a musical version of “Of Mice and Men” for/with Lou Ferrigno, and having to audition against a “lost” Hemsworth brother (Girth, up for the role after his brother, Huck, drops out), Wray is at the end of his rope.
Season 2 is fantastic in that not only do we get back Wray, Jack, and the rest of the (severely mentally disturbed) Spectrum cast, but Mindy Sterling returns as Wray’s now everything-agent (not just convention booker), stealing scenes left and right. Felicia Day is also back as Karen, the convention helper with a (creepy, nearly supernatural) gift for impersonating those celebrities she is assisting. This time around, she’s helping Lou Ferrigno at the “Long Con” event.
With spot-on parodies of the insanely energetic pop-culture coverage offered at certain events (24/7 coverage of Shock-A-Con!), and a probably not-too-far-from-reality look at the audition room, with its team of, ahem, social media experts, Con Man, season 2, digs deep and expands outward from Wray’s personal problems, using him as a conduit for us to experience the entertainment industry in a wider sense, all while grounding it in the life of one man who is trying desperately to survive–and conquer–it all, in the face of diminishing opportunities and a changing industry.
Of some note is that we actually get to see Wray be truly happy twice this season: once during the inaugural performance of “I’m With Stupid” at the “Long Con,” right before the role in the unexpectedly well-received musical is pulled out from under him in the middle of the performance, and again after he wins the lead in the TV drama “Doctor/Cop/Lawyer” and finally stands up for himself in the middle of the Spectrum panel when Jack announces the movie and its shooting dates. A conflict with “Doctor/Cop/Lawyer” forces him to choose, and Wray chooses himself, and is, for a spectacularly brief moment, happy once more, before the option to do both projects is found, forcing him to become the snivelling, low-self-esteem person he has been fighting against.
I can’t wait to see season 3, especially after the douche-baggy text Jack sends to the director of “Doctor/Cop/Lawyer” after Wray agrees to do both it and Spectrum.
Dick move, Jack.