[WARNING – This Con Man Review Contains SPOILERS!]
It’s Shock-A-Con weekend! The biggest fan gathering ever since the last one! But it is a big event for Wray Nearly and in more ways than one. Not only is Wray’s best friend and Spectrum co-star, Jack Moore, ready to officially announce his producing a full-length Spectrum movie at the Shock-A-Con Spectrum reunion panel but Wray is one step closer to clinching the lead role in Doctor Cop Lawyer.
The decision for who will get the role now lies in the hands of actress Finley Farrow, who was cast as the Doctor Cop Lawyer’s romantic interest. Somehow she was given final approval of her leading man as part of her contract and Finley is at Shock-A-Con promoting her new movie. It’s a golden opportunity for Wray to network, play nice, and secure the role of his dreams.
Now, the only thing standing in Wray’s way is everything. Stuck babysitting his utterly insane Spectrum co-stars while Jack is securing the last of the film’s funding, Wray also has to contend with the presence of his last competitor for the lead in Doctor Cop Lawyer. This would be Girth Hemsworth – a long-lost member of the Hemsworth acting clan, whose abandonment in the Australian Outback twenty years ago did not prevent him from becoming a world-class actor with a perfectly chiseled jaw.
This pair of Con Man episodes throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Actually, they throw in the kitchen-sink AND a Stan Lee Cameo! Everything in this episode works perfectly. From the opening send-up of fandom-focused convention coverage (featuring a cameo by Riki Lindhome of Garfunkle and Oates as the anchorwoman) to the closing jokes about paid photos with celebrities being run on an assembly line with no regard for quality of product, there are a lot of loving stabs at convention culture in this episode. My favorite gag involved Wray’s discovery that even the VIP badges for the guests have multi-level tiers and there is a VVIP lounge with an accountant, pedicurist, masseuse and complementary cardboard stand-ins for the REAL celebrities.
It’s impossible to single out any one member of the excellent ensemble cast – they’re all so good! There’s a lot of character humor to go with the jokes about conventions. Yet there is also some genuine pathos, as Jack has an unexpectedly honest moment with Wray that builds to one of the best moments in the series to date. That honest emotional energy sets this show far above other series of its ilk.