Woo! It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? But fear not! We’re back watching The Room and we return to a fantastic scene.
Johnny: I did not hit her! It’s not true! It’s bullshit! I did not hit her! (Throws plastic water bottle
angrilyin a sort of nonplussed way.) I did not. (The briefest of pauses.) Oh hi, Mark.
You know how the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster at Disney World (the one with Aerosmith) was really famous when it first opened for going from 0 to 60 MPH in less than 3 seconds? This is like that. The speed with which Johnny goes from utter indignation to an amiable recognition of his friend is almost as impressive as how Tommy Wiseau somehow manages to not actually act any differently for either of the two emotional extremes.
There’s a reason why that seven second clip is one of the most infamous moments from The Room: it’s kind of unbelievable how two such completely unrelated sentences with completely different tones transition into each other so quickly. Well, it is time to BELIEVE, because the rest of the scene is full of that.
This is the part where I’d ordinarily be screaming, “Look at this! Look at this!” but there is nothing to look at. Johnny goes from “I DID NOT HIT HER. I DID NAHT.” to “Oh hi, Mark.” without a single change in facial expression. Mark goes from watching this outburst to “Oh, hey, Johnny. What’s up?” without a single change in facial expression, as though he didn’t notice Johnny’s tantrum taking place in front of him, like he’s the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal or something. Look it up.
Watching this scene is perplexing, even by The Room standards. It’s actually kind of tricky to make fun of it, because that would suggest that the scene has an “it” tangible enough to make fun of. Johnny then explains that Lisa has accused him of physical abuse! I probably don’t have to tell you how logically their conversation flows.
Johnny: I have a problem with Lisa. She says that I have hit her.
Mark (indignation?): What? Well, did you?
Johnny: No, it’s not true! Don’t even ask! What’s new with you?
Mark: Oh, I’m just sitting up here thinking, you know?
Wow, Johnny got out of that one really easily. If it were this easy to change the topic in real life, no one would ever get in trouble for anything.
Mark tells Johnny he has a question for him, and segues into this totally natural thing to just bring up for no particular reason:
Johnny: Do you think girls like to cheat like guys do?
That… that is quite a generalization, Tommy Wiseau. Johnny asks Mark what makes him say that, not because he’s horribly offended at the implication that all men are sex monsters with no capacity for allegiance, but because suddenly he is suspicious? Because… cause? Effect? Something like that? He gives Mark a curious look, but Johnny either talks himself out of it or Tommy Wiseau forgot what the last line of dialogue was.
Johnny: I don’t have to worry about that because Lisa is loyal to me.
Mark: Yeah, man, you never know.
Wait, wtf, Mark, what are you doing? You do know! Because she is being disloyal with you. This seems like a poor choice of conversation, Mark; I’m really not sure what you’re doing here.
Mark: People are very strange these days.
Apparently adultery is a brand-new phenomenon.
Anyway, remember what I was saying about how no two lines of dialogue in this scene make sense next to each other, based on how real people use words and feel emotions? Ready to take it to eleven?
Mark: I used to know a girl. She had a dozen guys. One of them found out about it, beat her up so bad she ended up on a hospital on Guerrero Street.
Johnny: (laughter) What a story, Mark!
WHAT THE SHIT? WHERE’S THE FUNNY PART OF THAT? WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING? OH GOD, WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING?
Johnny: I’m so happy I have you as my best friend! And I love Lisa so much.
Be a little more on the nose, Tommy Wiseau. I’m not sure we understand the tragic irony that Johnny’s fiance is cheating on him with his best friend. More importantly, because I really can’t stress this enough, WHY IS MARK’S STORY SO FUNNY? Why is a story about a woman getting physically assaulted filling Johnny with a renewed love for life?
Mark: Yeah, man. You are very lucky.
Johnny: Well, maybe you should have a girl, Mark.
(Dramatic string music plays, so you know that this simple suggestion is actually ominously serious.)
Mark: Yeah. Yeah, maybe you’re right. (walks away slowly) Maybe I have one already.
MARK, THIS IS A DECISION OF VERY QUESTIONABLE QUALITY.
Johnny: Well, what happened? Remember Betty? That’s her name?
Mark: Betty? (Deep in thought) Yeah, we don’t see each other anymore. You know, she wasn’t any good in bed.
What are we even talking about anymore. I don’t even.
Johnny: That’s too bad. My Lisa is great when I can get it.
What are we even talking about anymore?
Mark: Oh, man, I just can’t figure women out. Sometimes they’re just too smart. Sometimes they’re just flat-out stupid. Other times they’re just evil.
I… what? Okay, let’s ignore the misogyny (a tall order, I know) for a second here: these don’t even make sense as categories. Too smart? Too stupid? Too evil? Look, Mark, you have clearly already set up a spectrum rather than a categorization system with those first two opposing qualities. You can’t go throwing in something that doesn’t fall on the smart/stupid spectrum now. Even if smart and stupid were different enough to be separate categories rather than just each being the lack of the other, this is not an especially encompassing system of classification. We escalate pretty hard from smart or stupid to EVIL. This would be like ordering a pizza where your only choices are pepperoni, no pepperoni, or imported artisan gluten-free crust. And that brings me back to the misogyny (…yay?): how did you escalate that immediately from smart/stupid to evil? Were there literally no other potential qualities of a person you could think of outside of intelligence and propensity for murdering puppies? Your OKCupid profile must be terrifying. Mark, I’m pretty convinced you know nothing about people, much less women. There is literally no other way a person could react to this statement.
Johnny: It seems to me like you’re the expert, Mark!
That is the opposite deduction to make here!
Mark laughs sadly and insists he is not an expert, which prompts Johnny to ask what’s “bovvering” him. Johnny leaps from his seat, repeatedly asking Mark if he has “some secrets”. Mark leaves, and Tommy tosses the football up in the air with a defeated, “Whatever”, making this the only time in the scene where Tommy and the viewer are on the same page.