“Bobby’s Big Break”
At this point in the show, even as early on as it still is, it feels cruel to give Bobby Wheeler breaks in his acting career when it’s so clear the show is only doing it to slap him back down so quickly. Briefly: Bobby gets a big acting break, his first real acting job. He quits the garage, tells Louie to fuck off, and doesn’t look back. It works out for a while, but then his soap opera character is killed off, and he’s back where he started, and has to crawl back to the garage.
The episode directly addresses something that’s usually just implicit in every episode of Taxi: This place sucks, and I can’t wait to never see it again. Not one character on the show is what anyone would reasonably call “happy” (though it’s not like happy people make for great sitcoms), and the first chance any of them can get to ascend up the class ladder, they will. Bobby yells that he’s getting out of the garage when he gets the part on the soap opera, only making it more painful when he has to come back. At least his impending return gives us this incredible Danny DeVito gesticulating:
Bobby obviously needed to come back to the garage, but the way this episode handled that is so inelegant compared to “Louie Sees the Light,” which is a perfect circle of television. Maybe it’s just that Bobby is an inherently uninteresting character, played by an actor who isn’t really interested in him in the first place. Let’s not even talk about Bobby’s rehashed impression of Louie, dredged up from earlier this season, that hews closer to Frankenstein’s Monster than Danny DeVito.
So…what’s going on in this episode? If you haven’t seen it, I recommend that you do. I’ll wait.
Right, so, this is the episode about Alex fucking Latka’s mom, Greta. No two ways about it. The writers of Taxi got together one day and decided to have Latka’s mom visit the show — but only to fuck Alex and talk in Andy Kaufman’s Latka gibberish. Greta is dressed like the adult version of Heidi, from that children’s book Heidi, and is played by Broadway actor Susan Kellermann, who is five years older than Andy Kaufman.
Unfortunately, the route the show chooses to go after Alex fucks Latka’s mom is for Latka to call Alex “papa,” and that is really absolutely everything you have to know about this episode of Taxi.