Ep 18: The Goodbye Girl

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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: # Pops ~ Lucy’s ratings breakdown: Structure: 4, Comedy: 4, Romance: 4

Jenny says: # Pops ~ Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure:3, Comedy:2, Romance:2

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Movie Info:

Release Date: February 1, 1978 Director: Herbert Ross Writers: Neil Simon. More info at IMDb.

7 responses to “Ep 18: The Goodbye Girl”

  1. I love this movie and I think it’s one of those things where I love it for Elliot and if he wants Paula then fine, whatever makes you happy, Elliot.

    I agree, though, the romance really doesn’t work for me too well. One scene that really stuck out for me this time as I was watching it is when they’re lying in bed and he’s talking about how great his show was that night and she’s talking about the re-decorating and they aren’t listening to each other at ALL, and they don’t really even realize they’re not listening to each other.

    I also don’t buy that Paula’s arced. At the end when she give the big speech it just feels like words to me because she IS all freaking out and falling apart. She hasn’t grown up. I think her freak out also shows she doesn’t really see Elliot because he is not the kind of guy who would do that and she should know that and trust him by now.

    That said, I love Elliot to pieces, so I can forgive this movie a lot (even the gay Richard III).

  2. This is one of those movies where I really wonder how much better it could’ve worked with a different actress. This chick just pissed me off. If that was the point – then kudos to her. Dreyfuss had some great moments where I did laugh a few times but the story for me overall isn’t great and the whining gets really old. The redecorating thing was weird. I think Simon just doesn’t understand how to write women somehow and fell back on this stereotype because he didn’t have anything else he could say about her. I loved the ‘kid’ and the friendship she has with Elliott but I don’t understand what he sees in Paula.

  3. I guess I fall somewhere between Lucy and Jenny on the romance in this one. Richard Dreyfuss really draws me in with Elliot, but after the movie is over I’m not basking in the warm fuzzy glow – I’m too busy tweaking it with a mental rewrite to make it work better for me.

    I was in high school when this first came out and I can remember enjoying it more then. Now, as a mother, I’m appalled at Paula’s parenting which really keeps me from warming up to her. I agree with Stephanie that it seems like Simon just goes for the easy stereotype with his women characters especially.

    I guess I’m really in the minority on the disasterous Richard III production. I thought it was funny and important to the Elliot’s character development. I see it as an inside joke about theater and the difficulty of that collaborative process which every actor has experienced – you can laugh or you can cry about it. Most actors make it into the funny story you tell at dinner parties. Watching Elliot try to cope with the ridiculous premise and demands of the director was also a humanizing element for him. Up to that point Elliot had told us acting was important to him, but his disappointment and struggle over the experience really let us see his creative life and what it meant to him. And it lead to his drunken scene with Paula where they really began to see each other more clearly.

  4. I love that y’all are calling Paula out on being an idiot for doing SAHM-behavior and relying on men. Oh yeah, and pretending that possession is 9/10ths of the law in NYC. Riiiight.

    To be honest, Richard Dreyfuss gets on my nerves in general, so I did not love him. He had his moments and he isn’t stupid (I can’t say the latter about Paula), though.

    But mostly it’s just two people yelling at each other and her being blockheaded, and I like the kid best of all. She IS the adult, period. The yelling and the bitching got to me.

    Was anyone else creeped out by the carriage scene where Elliot is pretty much forcing himself upon Lucy? He asks for her approval and then he starts being really pushy when Lucy says no… it gave me the creeps. I can’t exactly say it was rape-y but it sort of gave me that vibe.

  5. I’m definitely not calling Paula out for being a SAHM – been there, done that at a few points in my son’s life. What I am bothered by is her exposing her child to these serial relationships – it’s a real issue for me when single parents encourage their children to form bonds with the people they are dating long before it becomes long-term. So I’m clearly bringing my own issues into that judgement.

    Before we started doing these movies I wasn’t really clued into how hard it is to check your issues at the door when watching a movie just to be entertained. I’ve started to believe this is harder to do with romance than other genres. Action/Adventure movies for instance I’m perfectly happy enjoying a James Bond movie for what it is without struggling over my ideas about violence and gun control. Maybe I’m looking for the dreaded MarySue in my romantic stories and I really expect too much of the heroines.

  6. It’s not the stay-at-home-mother, it’s the assuming she deserves to be supported. Also, Lucy’s at school most of the time so the whole SAHM doesn’t apply, IMO.
    I can see where the struggles with the director add to his humanity; I object to the director being a cartoon when nobody else in the movie is. Cheap laugh. Argh.

  7. There was a 2004 TV remake of this starring Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton… Jeff Daniels, though I like him, is no Richard Dreyfuss, but I wonder if any of you saw this if you’d feel differently about Paula, since Marsha Mason grated on many people’s nerves from what I’m getting. (I wasn’t there for the watching; I just listened to the podcast.) I *think* the script is nearly exactly the same, from what I remember, except for minor updates for it being 2004.