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Cupid: The Great Right Hope

When Marshall, product of a sperm donation, hacks into the donor bank to find out about his dad, he learns about and then meets up with Clint, a boxing instructor, who he begins to take lessons from (without telling him who he is). He decides to set up his mom with Clint, in the hopes that they will hit it off together. Unfortunately, just about everything Clint is and stands for -- his political beliefs, his profession, etc., is at direct odds with her pacifist, leftist ideals. In the meanwhile, Claire has an unpleasant and unexpected house guest in her rather ditzy mother.

Episode Info

Episode number: 1x3
Production Number: 103
Airdate: Tuesday April 14th, 2009


Guest Stars
Anna ChlumskyAnna Chlumsky
As Josie
Lee TergesenLee Tergesen
As Clint
Colton JamesColton James
As Marshall
Brian McCormack (1)Brian McCormack (1)
As Bully's Dad
David LavineDavid Lavine
As Meek Man
Eric SaietEric Saiet
As Mr. Roberts
Paul UrcioliPaul Urcioli
As Ronni
Main Cast
Bobby CannavaleBobby Cannavale
As Trevor Pierce/Cupid
Sarah PaulsonSarah Paulson
As Dr. Claire Allen
Episode Notes
We learn that Claire has a younger sister.

Episode Quotes
Felix: Trevor! Why is there a teenaged boy in my office?
Trevor: I figured you wouldn't want him sitting at the bar.
Marshall: My mom's on her blind date. We're spying on them.
Felix: (with a sort of 'Ohhh,Kay!' look) Things are picking up, I need you back behind the bar.
Trevor: C'mon, can you cover for me? Marshall went to a lot of effort to find the perfect guy for his mom.
Felix: What's so perfect about this guy?
Trevor: She manages a public TV station, he coaches boxing. (they look at each other quizzically...then, to Marshall) Remind me again, why this guy's so perfect for your mom?
Marshall: She picked him. There was a catalog
Trevor: There's a Guy Catalog? I didn't know it was even an option.
Marshall: Sperm bank catalog. My mom doesn't know it, but down there, that's my dad!

Marshall: I'm a hacker. Getting into the sperm bank files was cake. I got Clint's name, googled him, found out he owned a gym. I pretended I wanted to learn how to box, so I could get to know my dad.
Trevor: And she has no idea?
Marshall: Are you kidding? My mom's a total pacifist.
Trevor: NO, that you tracked down your dad!
Marshall: No, no way, dude. She's really sensitive about her ability to raise me on her own.
Trevor: Well, when do you plan on telling her?
Marshall: My deathbed, her deathbed? I still haven't decided. I guess, if it works out, I could mention it in the wedding toast...

Lita: ...then she uses this expression which, I'm not going to use in front of a minor, but it's the same thing that I say to Felix every time he butts into my personal business.
Felix: If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's not particularly friendly.

Claire: Trevor, why do you have a teenaged boy with you?
Trevor: Him? That's my inner child. I don't know how he got out, I'm a little freaked out.

Trevor: Marshall's mother is a Democrat. She's on a date with this great guy, it's going like gangbusters. It comes out, he's a Republican. BOOM, she's out the door. I don't get it. Democrat, Republican, who cares?
Claire: Political beliefs are core issues for a lot of people, and, when making a relationship work is so hard, why start one with a gigantic obstacle?
Meek Group Member: Because you could end up with something wonderful. (pause) Sorry, am I allowed to cut in like that?
Claire: Of course, please.
Meek Group Member: My parents were on opposite ends of the political spectrum. For forty years they cancelled out each others' votes but they had a great marriage.
Trevor: How'd they manage that?
Meek Group Member: They found something they cared about more passionately than politics... The Yankees.

Trevor: Look, this isn't just about me making my matches, it's what your people would call a "mitzvah"
Claire: I'm not Jewish.

Liv: It's over with Hector...
Claire: The Flamenco Dancer?
Liv: That was Rinaldo...(long pause) Hector's a playwright, a...an undiscovered genius.
Claire: They're always undiscovered, yet you always manage to find them...

Liv: I got caught up in I Love Lucy. Do you know why everybody loves Lucy? Because everything she does is out of love.
Claire: No, everything Lucy does is out of ego and insecurity. She has no regard for Ricky's professional life or the hard work and talent it took to get there!

Trevor: (sniff) Rookie! Look, you're Rocky, I'm Mickey. I want you to chase that chicken!
Marshall: What?

Claire: Trevor! What are you doing?
Trevor: Is voy-eur-ing a word?
Claire: No.
Trevor: Well, then, I'm not doing that.

Hallie: Oh, my God, it's everyone I've ever... known... and... a bunch of people I don't.
Clint: So you don't know my neighbor, Phil, or my roommate freshman year in college, or my... brothers?

Ronni: Eh, I think our brother was right -- You're extremely cool for a liberal. If he starts drinking soy lattes and driving around a car that runs on eggshells and dirt, we may have a problem.

Josie: You seem like a really smart guy!
Clint: Thanks.
Josie: How can you be a Republican?
Manday: I think what she means, is, when people are educated about the issues, they, usually, end up Democrats.
Clint: Tragic story, actually. I was a Democrat. Then, I was in a car accident, sustained a head injury, and since then I've been all about small government and a strong military.
Manday: Hm. (taking him seriously)
Clint: I was kidding, ladies. Excuse me.

Hallie: ...But honestly. Nearly six years after "Mission Accomplished"? How can they still believe the Iraq War was a good idea?
Clint: Nnnnnnnn... Because it was a good idea?

Hallie: Did you tell my son to hit another child?
Clint: "Child"? The kid Marshall clocked has a beard.
Hallie: I was willing to deal with the boxing, but attacking another child is unacceptable.
Clint: Marshall was getting picked on. He needed to learn to defend himself.
Hallie: That's not your decision to make. I'm the parent.
Clint: You may be the parent but you've never been a 15 year old boy. I'm sorry, but... 'Get the teacher', doesn't solve this particular problem.
Hallie: So, you know what's better for Marshall than his mother.
Clint: In this case, yeah.
Hallie: Violence as a solution... How very Republican of you. (walks away)
Clint: (following) Maybe we should act like Democrats, offer the bully milk and cookies, get him to talk about his feelings...
Hallie: We're through!
Clint: You think?

(Hallie's made boxing with Clint off limits, so Marshall is not talking to her)
Hallie: Marshall, come on. Let's just talk this out, OK? Just say something. (he walks away, she follows) Anything?
Marshall: (looks right at her) I think Dick Cheney gets a bad rap (closes the door in her face).

Claire: (talking about her ditzy mother) I keep thinking that she's going to, I don't know... grow up. Someday -- see the world as it is.
Trevor: She sees the world filled with love and beauty. She sees the best in people, what's wrong with that?
Claire: It's selfish.
Trevor: Selfish? How's it selfish?
Claire: She wears her heart on her sleeve, and it gets crushed. I mean, who do you think picks up the pieces? She leaves her sixteen year old daughter to take care of her little sister, while she follows some glass-blower to Peru? "He's a Grand Master, Claire!" I looked it up, Trevor. There's no such thing as a "Grand Master Glass Blower"!

Hallie: We'd break Marshall's heart if we tried and it didn't work out.
Clint: Y'know, I try to instill this mindset into the kids who train with me. Nothing worth having comes easy. Marshall came into my gym overweight. And there were days he'd leave soaked in sweat, and I'd pushed him so hard I thought, he might not show up the next day. But he kept coming back. We got hit, and we just threw in the towel. We owe Marshall some real effort.

Cultural References
Title: The Great Right Hope

The Great White Hope is the title of a 1967 play (later made into a film) that tells a fictionalized version of the life of boxing champion Jack Johnson. Johnson, arguably one of the greatest boxers of all time, was the first black heavyweight champion. The term "white hope" is usually taken to refer to the racism inherent in a desire for some white man to come along and be shown better than Johnson. The playwright, Howard Sackler, certainly intended to confront racism as a part of the play, did not intend for it to be taken as the whole of the play. Sackler once stated in an interview: "Some people spoke of the play as if it were a cliché of white liberalism, but I kept to the line straight through, of showing that it wasn't a case of blacks being good and whites being bad. I was appalled at the first reaction." In a clearly very trivial sense, the prejudice of Marshall's mother against Clint's right-leaning beliefs makes the White/Right connection. The show makes an even-handed effort to show how both the Right and the Left are both humans -- and that the views of both sides have often become as stereotypical and inaccurate as stereotypes of blacks used to be.

Trevor: Look, this isn't just about me making my matches, it's what your people would call a "mitzvah"

A "mitzvah" is a specific reference to the Jewish Torah (holy writ) commandments regarding law and ethics. The term has come into general usage to refer to any act of human kindness or decency.

Claire: The Flamenco Dancer?

Flamenco refers to a Spanish(more specifically, Andalusian) style of music, guitar, and dancing, all slightly related. Flamenco Dancers are noted for using taps and other devices to substantially increase the audibility of their footwork to make it more obviously a part of the music and rhythm keeping of the dancing.

Liv: I got caught up in I Love Lucy.

I Love Lucy is a classic American TV sitcom. It is essentially one of the first, if not the first, major sitcom, and became the prototype for them for a decade or more. For four of its six full seasons, it was the #1 top rated show on television. It made the careers of Lucille Ball and then-husband Desi Arnaz. On the show, Lucy Ricardo is wife to a well-known Cuban bandleader named Ricky Ricardo. Lucy is determined, somehow, to become well-known herself, and the comedy mostly derives from her screwball ideas attempting to do so getting her into (or making) a huge mess, which usually she attempts to fix while hiding it from her husband until it's become completely out of hand. This has led to a classic cultural meme, of a man with a slightly hispanic accent saying "Luuuucyyyyy!! You got some explaining to do!!!" applicable upon observing a huge mess. The show also involved a number of production techniques which have become fairly standard, including the usage of three cameras and recording using a live audience as opposed to canned (i.e., recorded and played back) laughter.

Trevor: (sniff) Rookie! Look, you're Rocky, I'm Mickey. I want you to chase that chicken!

In the boxing movie Rocky, the boxer's name is Rocky (played by Sylvester Stallone), and his boxing coach's name is Mickey (played by Burgess Meredith). In one scene, Mickey has Rocky chase a live chicken around trying to catch it. Rocky wound up winning three Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Hallie: I'm sorry about all this. Apparently my son is a secret yenta

Yiddish is a form of vernacular German which is associated with Judaism, and, unlike other Germanic dialects, is written using the Hebrew alphabet in place of the standard Latin one. Unlike German it is not linked to the nation of Germany but is more closely associated with Jews from that overall region of the world (including parts of Eastern Europe and northern France). The yiddish term yenta refers to a busybody or gossip, which includes the sort of matchmaking which Marshall has done.

Felix: Heyyyy, in case you were wondering... the sound of you pacing back and forth for the last hour is in fact annoying.
Trevor: This is how I think.
Felix: Can you try sitting on a slab of marble and leaning your chin on your hand?

An obvious reference to Rodin's classic sculpture, The Thinker.. It is probably one of the ten most recognizable sculptures to come out of European Culture.

Trevor: I don't know if you can toast with a Roy Rogers, but, salutee!

A Roy Rogers is a non-alcoholic drink made with cola and grenadine (cherry syrup), making it equivalent to a homemade sort of Cherry Coke. It, along with the Shirley Temple (ginger ale or 7up, plus grenadine and orange juice) are the two most common different "kiddie cocktails" which are usually offered for children in adult drinking situations, such as bars or lounges.

Trevor: Look, this isn't just about me making my matches, it's what your people would call a "mitzvah"
Claire: I'm not Jewish.

What Claire is missing here is that Trevor, as Cupid, may be referring to "your people" as all humanity, not just the Jews. If Trevor really were the Roman god Cupid come to Earth, then he would have that sort of attitude towards humanity as something not "of himself".

Hallie: ...But honestly. Nearly six years after "Mission Accomplished"? How can they still believe the Iraq War was a good idea?
Clint: Nnnnnnnn... Because it was a good idea?

While the show doesn't take the time to defend Clint's statement, let's point out a couple facts which make it not quite so clear-cut as Hallie's comment makes it out to be:
1) VJ Day was September 2, 1945. The occupation of Japan ended April 28, 1952, more than six and a half years later.
2) VE Day was May 8,1945. The offical allied occupation of Germany (and Austria) ended on May 5, 1955, ten years later. Furthermore, full and unrestricted sovereignty was not granted to any German government until March 15, 1991 -- almost 46 years later.
3) The armistice in Korea was signed July 27, 1953. We still have troops there.
In all the above cases, clearly the "war was over" long before everything was restored to normal, and the people became fully self-governing again. This is not intended as an argument in favor of Hallie's position being wrong, but a defense of Clint being able to make a case for his own position: It's simply not as clear-cut as it appears to Hallie.

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