Kevin, Signs & A Trip Shakespeare

I’ve watched the first two episodes of the new Fall show ‘Kevin Probably Saves The World’ starring John Ritter’s son, Jason, who is eerily similar to his dad in so many ways. That’s a good thing by the way.

Kevin, formerly, painfully self immersed, selfish and ‘not a good person’ as he confesses in episode one, has come to a crossroads. A life that seemed so perfect and successful to others from the outside had him dead on the inside leading to him eventually attempting to be actually dead. He has a sister who adores him but has also come to her own crossroads with the loss of her husband, leaving just she and her teenage daughter. Kevin, who’s selfishness had him not being there for her loss, has moved back home and into his sister’s house with she and his niece to try and piece things back together. Throw in an angel of sorts who thinks Kevin can save the world as long as he “listens to the Universe” and you’ve got the gist. (as long as this doesn’t stray into “Touched By An Angel” territory I’ll stick with it).
One of the final scenes of the second episode was an absolutely wonderful bit where Kevin calls his ex last High School girlfriend. You know, that relationship you had as you went off to college that just kind of, after a few painfully sincere ‘miss you’ letters, just  floated off to nothing with no finality, usually for at least one of the parties? That party in this case is Kevin’s ex who, after they run into each other and hook up, reminds him of such with a basic ‘thanks for the wham bam, but you never called back then, so see you later’. The beauty of this scene is that when Kevin calls her, he calls to ‘break up’ that High School ‘floating’ all these years later.
So, playing under this scene is “Closing Time” from Semisonic circa 1998. As I’m watching and listening I immediately flashed back to a weekend, while at WVU, where a couple of guys and I from the college radio station went to DC, at the invite of a record rep, to have dinner with and catch a show from a band called Trip Shakespeare who were promoting their new album “Across the Universe”. This was 27 years ago and that album became really obscure, really quickly.
Why did I remember this? One because I had never eaten at a Mongolian Restaurant before and two, because when Trip Shakespeare disbanded a couple of years later two of the band members formed Semisonic and had that one hit. Me even remembering this connection of the two bands is probably even more obscure than that album.

Fast forward to the morning after and I’m sitting at the unoccupied, but messy, cubicle next to the cubicle of sales guy Eric to talk to about a couple of spots. Sitting on the desk of that messy unoccupied cubicle I’m sitting at, under a pile of papers? A copy of Trip Shakespeare’s “Across the Universe”. The obscure come back to life all these years later. 

I shared this story with a good friend who, believing in such, said she thought this might be “some sort of fabulous sign for you!” and I thought, maybe she has point. A selfish guy (I can be such) who is supposed to change the world by listening to the universe? A tune I remember fondly, playing under a wonderfully written and played scene from a band, who in a former incarnation were named for a famous writer and had an album called “Across The Universe” that somehow was sitting in front of me 27 years after it’s now pretty much forgotten release? Mongolian restaurants? Maybe it was a sign. So I took the CD with me, excited to re-listen all these years later in the car on the way home and maybe glean some sort of ‘sign’ as my friend exclamation pointed.

Then I realized, as I ever quickly hit next track, next track, oh Jesus, next track! that there were no ‘signs’ to be garnered from my weird moment watching “Kevin Probably Saves The World”. Besides suddenly flashing back to that very cool ‘in the moment’ excitement of being part of a dinner and a show with a big label’s new band and their record rep and their new album I also remembered one thing. BOY, did this album suck. And it sucks even more 27 years later. Sigh. I’m sure more signs will come at some point. I’ll just keep searching the universe. In the meantime though….**googling closest Mongolian restaurant**