Matthew Watches The Room #3: Lisa’s Mom Offers Romantic And/Or Financial Advice

As you may traumatically recall, Johnny and Lisa just had sex for a very long time. Johnny returns (FULLY CLOTHED!) to Lisa and asks, in his weirdly detached overdubbed voice, “Did you like last night?”

Strangely, Lisa doesn't respond to his question with feral, horrified screaming.
Strangely, Lisa doesn’t respond to his question with feral, horrified screaming.

Despite the dry delivery of their dialogue (“Did you like last night?” “Yes, I did.”), Lisa seems quite content, happily laying in bed with the rose, accepting Johnny’s tender kisses on her cheek. BUT DON’T FORGET ALL IS NOT AS WELL AS IT SEEMS. We begin to learn what’s up when Lisa gets a visit from – who you will soon discover is my favorite character – her mother, Claudette.

This is not my opinion. This is a fact.
This is not my opinion. This is a fact.

As it would turn out, mother characters are hidden gems in terrible art. If I had to guess, it’d be because “the mom” is a very easy way to include a voice of reason in an even-easier-to-write stock character, but the line between “universal” and “oversimplified” is a nuance that not all bad writers understand.

Claudette: “What’s wrong? Tell me?”
Lisa: “I’m not feeling good today.”
Claudette: “Well, why not?”
Lisa: “I don’t love him anymore.”
Claudette: “Why don’t you love him anymore? Tell me?”

That dialogue better reach the top shelf for me, because it is stilted.

Yes, it is both written and acted like a dialogue from a high school foreign language textbook. But Lisa’s cards are about to be on the table! This is the crux of the central conflict for this movie we still have an hour and a half to go through! Why doesn’t Lisa love Johnny anymore?

Lisa: “He’s so boring.”

Well. That’s a reason.

Also, acting!
Also, acting!

This is – and I cannot emphasize this enough – the crux of the movie. This is the central conflict, and Lisa’s motivation for it is because she finds Johnny boring. That is really all it boils down to. God, this would be like if Star Wars happened not because Luke got caught up in a band of rebels fighting against an oppressive empire, but simply because Luke was bored with Tantooine and for no other reason. This would be like if Rhett left at the end of Gone With The Wind not because he finally realized Scarlet would never truly love him, but because he got bored of her. I’m trying very hard to come up with an example of a “good” story where the central conflict is simply “so-and-so was bored” (although Albert Camus’s The Stranger actually counts, now that I think about it, so long as you countĀ Camus as “good”).

But I digress. The central conflict is “Lisa is bored with Johnny”. But how does our mom stock character respond? Any kind of emotion? Haha, of course not! Moms have answers!

Claudette: “Well, you’ve known him for over five years. You’re engaged.”

Is this supposed to be a counter-argument for why she shouldn’t be bored? Because it’s not off to a good start.

Claudette: “You said you loved him. He supports you. He provides for you. And, darling, you can’t support yourself.”

YEP. ACTUAL DIALOGUE. This is the point of the movie where you begin to realize, whether accidentally or not, this is a suuuuuuuper misogynistic film. Although – if you are seeing this at a midnight showing – you are also informed of this because one of the audience traditions is, following any misogynistic line of dialogue, to shout “Because you’re a woman!”

(Also, yes, they did all shout “SPOONS” and start throwing plastic spoons in the air at the end of the video. We’re… we’re getting to that. This is a deep mine in which we are digging.)

Claudette: “He’s a wonderful man and he loves you very much. And his position is very secure.”

Because in Tommy Wiseau-world, I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger, but she ain’t messing with no broke Tommy Wiseau. Except “she” is “all women everywhere always and forever”. And “Tommy Wiseau-world” is simultaneously the world’s most off-putting and endearing theme park.

Claudette: “He told me he plans to buy you a house!”
Lisa: “That’s why he’s so boring!”

Aw, man, I know! Property is a total snooze-fest! Incidentally, Snooze Fest is actually one of the more popular seasonal activities at Tommy Wiseau World.

Claudette asks Lisa what she’s going to do, and Lisa responds that she doesn’t know, smiling and saying that, “I don’t mind living with him”. Claudette tells Lisa that it’s not right to stay with someone just for the material goods they have to offer, and then tries to persuade Lisa to stay with him by reminding him that Johnny makes good money.

Claudette: “And he’s getting a promotion very soon! Now he bought you a car. He bought you a ring. Clothes. Whatever you wanted. […] You should marry Johnny. He would be good for you.”

But you can’t just live with him for his house! That’s wrong!

Claudette: “I’ve always thought of him as my son-in-law.”

This line is bafflingly inserted into the middle of her account of why Johnny would be good for Lisa, despite it not really having anything to do with Johnny and Lisa like every other line that comes before or after it, possibly because Tommy Wiseau thought he wasn’t getting quite enough praise.

Lisa: “Well, I guess you’re right about that.”
Claudette: “Well, of course I’m right. I know men!”

I’m not quite sure how to get that inflection across in a text-based medium, but… yeah, I’m not sure if this is because of the aforementioned Mom Wisdom, or if the implication is she gets around a lot? In which case, fuck yeah, Claudette! Get some!

Claudette: “I’m glad you’re listening to your mother. Nobody else listens to me!”

Because you’re a woman!

See? It's that easy. Now you can play this game too!
See? It’s that easy. Now you can play this game too!

Claudette gets up and says she’s got to go. Even though she’s only been there for roughly two minutes. Characters in this movie will constantly show up and then immediately say they have to leave because the only ways Tommy Wiseau knows to end a scene are if 1) someone has to leave, or 2) the music stops.

Speaking of music, as soon as Claudette departs, Lisa is left alone on the couch, and dramatic music starts playing as Lisa slowly turns, looks dramatically into the distance, and says, “Thanks, mom,” all as though this were a scene from The Godfather.

From the soundtrack cue, it's basically this movie's "I know it was you, Fredo."
From the soundtrack cue, it’s basically this movie’s “I know it was you, Fredo.”
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12 comments

  1. bookbaron Reply

    I really feel so bad for the actress that plays Lisa. Not only did she play the worst role in the movie (a close runner up being Denny’s) but then she can even enjoy laughing with everyone else as the fans of the Room tend to be mercilessly cruel to her. šŸ™

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      It is a life-affirming experience. I’m actually talking with some friends in DC about visiting next month, timing my visit SPECIFICALLY around going to a midnight showing of The Room.

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    • scummy48 Reply

      my friends all met tommy wiseau and the guy who plays mark at a midnight showing while I was on vacation. that vacation was not worth missing this.

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      • matthewjulius Post authorReply

        Two of my friends went to a midnight showing where Tommy Wiseau did a Q&A beforehand in the city I had just moved from a few earlier prior. They texted me their sorrow that I wasn’t going with them. I texted back, “Well, you know what they say. Two’s great, but three’s a crowd.”

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  2. Manny Reply

    Someone becoming boring can be a turn off, IMO. Routine can be ok as long as sometimes the couple breaks it by doing a getaway weekend, or visiting an exhibition… something like this.
    *If* Johnny was a fun, interesting, active guy in the beginning of the relationship (let’s not consider that the actor playing him looks like he was kicked out of bed 2 minutes before shooting the scenes) and then became a potato couch, but Lisa didn’t, she has the right to fall out of love with him because he’s boring. We stay together also to be intellectually stimulated by the other person.

    Although I agree, Johnny being boring is not enough to make a movie about it…! Guess I’ll have to watch this movie…

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      Okay, you do make a very good point. Relationships do often end because people get bored with them. So I should clarify that on top of this being a less-than-interesting central conflict, we’re also given ZERO explanation for why Johnny has become boring. On the contrary, he seems annoyingly doting in the scenes we see of them. Lisa never clarifies why she finds Johnny boring now, and the reader has no context with which to infer this themselves.

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  3. Pingback: Matthew Watches The Room #10: Claudette Won’t Shut Up About New Subplots | Bad Books, Good Times

  4. Pingback: Matthew Watches The Room #4: Lisa And Mark Are Either Starting Or Continuing An Affair, I Have No Idea - Bad Books, Good Times

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