Versions, Vol. 2: “The Temp and the Receptionist” by Kooman and Dimond
This week, I thought it best to go from my first ever brush with NMT, Kerrigan-Lowdermilk — to my latest obsession, Kooman & Dimond. Comprised of Michael Kooman (music) and Christopher Dimond (lyrics), the two met while at school at Carnegie Mellon University and have since then collaborated on various projects, one of which being their debut album, Out of Our Heads: The Music of Kooman and Dimond, a“compilation of self-contained songs that blur the line between musical theater and pop.” I stumbled onto their work around this time last year when I was maybe-not-so-randomly YouTubing videos featuring Phoebe Strole one day and caught a performance of her singing K&D’s “Beautiful Mistake” at a release party for their album. Of course, as all YouTube vegging out sessions usually go, I ended up turning my attention to other videos by the songwriting pair, which eventually led to my discovery of a version of “The Temp and the Receptionist,” as sung by Broadway actor Anderson Davis (he played Marius in the last Les Mis revival, natch) and internet sensation Natalie Weiss:
The song itself, a send-up on intra-office romance, immediately won me over with its quirky charm and soon enough, got me listening to another rendition of the song — this time with Mr. Davis singing with non other than Tony Award-winner Patina Miller herself!
Rather than have this be a “I-Like-This-Version-Better-
In the song, we meet the titular Temp, Wendell, as he tries to muster up the courage to finally confess his true feelings for the so-called “statuesque” Receptionist at the front desk (which, I have to say, is one clever rhyme). Davis is consistently awkward as the lovelorn Wendell, and in both versions his pauses and stumbles in the intros, while different, are equally delightful in execution. In his rendition with Weiss, it’s Davis’ expressions that make his exchange with Weiss’ Eleanor perfectly awkward, especially as he struggles to even finish a sentence, finally just simply uttering “um…words?” when at a loss for, well, words. Weiss, for her part, gamely brings on the quirky as Eleanor. Her vocals, with a more classic musical theater arrangement (with just a piano for accompaniment), still manages to keep the dorkiness in full effect all the way to the song’s crescendo.
With Miller, the nerdy vibes juxtaposed against the flirty arrangements are what give the song here, well…a whole lotta funny. From the moment the two meet and greet, with Davis saying “Morning, Chandrell,” you know you’re in for a hilarious musical treat, indeed (this is especially amusing considering Ms. Miller sings another Kooman and Dimond tuner, “Random Black Girl”). Here, the lyrics to the first verse are different, with Wendell proclaiming the following:
Cubicle of LoveI’ll love you everyday from 9 to 5Cubicle of LoveInsert my big hard disk into your floppy drive!I’ll fill your coffee cup with cream, ’cause it’s you I’m dreaming ofTight as a paper jam in our Cubicle of Love
With the innuendos slightly stronger in this version, it definitely makes it funnier to see it coming from these two characters, who eventually break out of their office gear and thickly-framed glasses at the song’s, er…climax. As both tweed jackets and hair grips alike are flung and the space between them increasingly gets smaller, the two finally come together in a barely-contained, excited handhold. While both endings are definitely enough to give me the ooey gooey feels, I really love the ending with Weiss, in which they each gradually inch their mic stands closer until they meet in the middle. So awkward. SO cute. Can you ask for anything more?! (Hint: no, you cannot, dear readers. If you could, your head would explode from the sheer musical theatre awesomeness of it all.)
Whatever the lyrics and arrangement, it’s clear that this song definitely blurs more than a few lines between theater and pop. In fact, it’s a perfect blend of both, mixing an array of Double-Entendres-Which-I-May-
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