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40-06-21 Hank's Job - Royal Throne Barbershop


Vic is excited.  He's just gotten off the telephone with his pal, Hank Gutstop, who informs him that he's gotten a new job at the Royal Throne 25 Cent Barbershop.

He procured the job by coming up with ideas to help improve business, plus he knows so many fellows in town that Ed Holvey, the shop owner, decided to give him a job.

But Hank, who has a bad history with holding a job, may not last the whole afternoon...
Hank has a new job as a publicity manager for the Royal Throne Barbershop. Vic shares some of his ideas.

Hank has stumbled upon yet another job opportunity that will benefit him more than it will benefit his employers (free room and board, free lunch, and free haircuts included), but he can’t even hang onto that for a whole episode. Vic’s unending faith in him, given his employment history, is touching. Hank’s ideas are intriguing, but I’m not sure how well they’d actually work. Free lunch in a barbershop seems a little unsanitary. I’m worried you’d end up with hair clippings in your sandwich.
I’m always struck by this little moment in this episode:
SADE: I had quite a little conversation with Mis’ Eapers today.
VIC: How’s she?
SADE: All right. Little leaner than she was, I thought.
VIC: How’s TJ?
SADE: I never asked after TJ. Kinda afraid to, don’t ya know. After he was in jail those four times a person anymore kinda hates to inquire. Might make it embarrassin’.
"Vic and Sade" is full of little details like this — just passing comments that help add depth to the fictional community. Often they’re humorous or idyllic, but not always. Small towns all have those little things that everybody knows about but are too afraid, embarrassed, or polite to talk about. This moment always feels a little jarring to me because Vic and Sade talk about things like this so seldom. It’s also jarring because of the actors’ line readings — it’s the kind of thing that could have been played for laughs or not, depending on how the actors read it, and it is definitely not a humorous read (because Vic and Sade wouldn’t joke about this kind of thing). Listen to Vic’s voice, low and serious and sounding as if he’s anticipating bad news, when he asks "How’s TJ?", and Sade’s concerned tone as she answers. Notice, also, that she waits until Rush is out of the room before she even brings this subject up. Much like Rhymer’s rare and oblique references to World War II, this reference reminds you that darkness exists in Vic and Sade’s world — it just stays in the background, in other people’s lives. It’s these little details that add verisimilitude to "Vic and Sade" and make it the great portrayal of life that it is.
SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Lydia Crowe)


+ Rush infers that Hank once had a job selling homemade candy.

+ Some of Hank's barbershop ideas include:
  • Free lunch - there was no talk of what this may constitute.
  • Improving the appearance of the barbershop - no details were given
  • Every 50th haircut free - Rush worked it out that it may take three years to get a free haircut.
+ Ed Holvey is always sleeping in the barber chair.  Rush says he lives there - Hank had plans to live there too (also sleeping a barber chair) as part of his payment.

+ Mr. Sludge came home crying again this day.

+ The barbershop is a hot place, according to Rush - no breeze can get in there.

+ Jim Skooner at the Butler House hotel barbershop is Vic's regular barber.

+ Sade called the shop 'dirty' and 'dingy.'

Perhaps it's a joke but a look at Google and "royal throne" brings up as many toilet references as royalty references.

Download the complete commercial-free, sound-improved episode!

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