This week’s memorable guest performer, Morty, appeared in a recent episode, 3.7 Ohuna (Secret). Actually, this episode is FULL of great guest performances but we’ll feature them in separate posts down the track.
Now I’m a bit biased here as I loved this episode. If you’ve read the recap I wrote for Westy’s Champ Box, you’ll see why. It had lots of the H50 elements that I love – humour, action, emo and a good crime of the week. It also provided the H50 audience with what I think is one of the best comedic scenes to date, showcasing just how talented Alex truly is – as if we didn’t already know!
Here is why. Mary, Steve’s sister, returns to Hawaii and when McG goes to the airport to collect her, he is confronted with this scene:
Mary has left her job as a flight attendant and is now carer for Morty, a feisty old bloke in a wheelchair. Hilariously, McG thinks Mary has married Morty. This scene is brilliant and the three players work so well together to ensure the comedic elements are perfectly timed, believable, and well, funny. Morty almost steals the show as he takes on McG – from his wheelchair! Morty, you killed us all. Dead.
The interactions between Morty and McG provided us with so many amazing McG faaaaaaces. Here is a snapshot:
McG is adorable in brotherly mode. Morty doesn’t know about professional boundaries and McG calls him on it, by telling Morty that he will break his hand if he touches his sister “like that” again. Not to be deterred, Morty tells McG to be “at ease sailor”. Mary tells Morty she needs to talk to her brother in private so she just takes Morty’s hearing aid out to achieve said privacy. Classic.
Here’s a bit more of Morty:
Steve breaks the news to Mary that Doris is alive and, naturally, she is having trouble processing this. Later in the episode, Mary visits her father’s grave. In this scene, Taryn Manning did a really nice job of conveying real raw emotion. This is a poignant scene – Mary’s outpouring of emotion with Morty in the background, not intruding but just being there in silent support. Just look at these pics – Mary at the graveside and Morty there too, resplendent in his pink trousers and bow tie.
Mary struggles over how she feels about Doris’s Grand Resurface. She isn’t sure that she wants to see her mother just now. This is totally understandable given the huge sense of betrayal and abandonment she must be feeling. There’s a nice conversation between Mary and Morty about regrets here. Suffice to say, Morty convinces Mary to give her mother a second chance and this such an effective way to have Mary decide to see her mother after all. Morty, we heart you so much!
So I had never heard of the actor who played Morty, Shelley Berman. According to imdb, he has one seriously impressive career, beginning in the 1940s after he was honorably discharged from the Navy. The Navy! He worked as a sketch writer for The Steve Allen Show in the 1950s and then performed one-man monologues in nightclubs. He was actually the first person to receive a Grammy for a non-musical recording, for his comedy routines (in 1959). Recently, he’s been in a number of television shows as a guest actor including Curb your Enthusiasm for which he was nominated for an Emmy. He also had a recurring role as a judge in Boston Legal.
I think Morty has a well deserved place in our gallery of memorable guest performers. In a jam-packed episode, Shelley Berman established himself as a worthy guest actor through his comedic scene with Alex and his emo scenes with Taryn Manning. Morty was nicely done in both – he was believable and gentle with Mary (lack of professional boundaries aside!) and hilarious in his verbal sparring with McG. He wasn’t just there for decoration – he had something meaningful to do without taking away from any of the other elements of the episode. I really hope we see more of Morty in the future.
(Screen caps courtesy of bookemdanno.net and mycoven.com.)