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Reunion: A Mid-Life Romantic Crisis

The second half of this review for “Reunion” picks up where the last one left off. While the story is easy to follow, there was nothing keeping me going on. Nothing that made me want to listen. Like watching a 3-hour movie at home vs in the theater, the one you watch at your leisure is easier to pause. When in a theater, it’s a blend of money and how much you’re liking the movie. If you’re not enjoying the movie, the chances of you falling asleep or leaving outright are increased no matter how much money you spent. “Reunion” has the same problem where everything from the music to scene breaks were getting in the way of the story I think it was trying to tell. That being a romantic comedy involving Beatles music

From Book to Film to Audio Drama

According to the writer, “Reunion” had several different versions in a variety of mediums including a theatrical play and translations to different languages. This “bandaged approach makes the final product feel put together with straw or sticks. Audio drama is its own medium. Going from a book to a film and ending with a fiction podcast, details are going to be lost or added unintentionally. It’s Locard’s exchange principle for fiction. Each time you rework a story, evidence of the previous version has the potential to remain hidden underneath.

If I had to sell a person on this audio drama, I’d give them “Ocean’s 11” (2001) and “Yesterday.” One of them is obvious as it’s about a story with heavy Beatles references. The “Ocean’s 11” requires a bit more explanation. Both “Reunion” and “Ocean’s 11” are both heists with a romance subplot that ties in nicely at the end, at least for the movie. I say “Reunion” is a heist because there’s a plan of getting a band back together. While not as inherently engaging as robbing a casino, it would be hard to argue that “Reunion” on some level isn’t a heist because it follows the same plot points. More on that below.

Greek Romantic Comedy or Tragedy

More than likely, the ancient greek playwrights started the trend of “there are only an x number of stories” found all over the internet. For them, there were two: tragedy and comedy. While comedy could have elements of tragedy and vice versa, the thing that separated them was the ending. If a tragic comedy ended on a happy note, it was a comedy, no matter how dark the story was up until that point. It’s why “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy and not a romance in the marketing sense.

I bring up this short history lesson because “Reunion” flip flops between being a story about three different equal and potential ideas for a story. Those master plots are a romantic comedy, a midlife crisis and grieving. In practically every configuration, one of them feels like the third wheel. The romantic comedy and a midlife crisis can work. Movies like the “40 year old virgin” come to mind. “Lethal Weapon” is another example, albeit one not obvious at first glance. In at least one of Brandon Sanderson’s YouTube lectures, he states that a Buddy cop movieand romantic comedy share the same plot points as they are both relationship plots. The overcoming of grief plot feels neglected and you’re not sure why it’s included at all.

Come Together

Episode five had a better sense of closure than episode six. That episode felt like a forced epilogue where only one subplot gets tied up. It’s as if writer remembered the band plot/subplot in the story and hastily tied it up without looking it over. For someone who enjoyed episode five, the additional goofy post-credits scene coda left a bad taste in my mouth.

A story Frankensteined together from various media forms is going to have a problem with its identity. People say ideas are cheap. They also claim trying to make something fundamentally bad look pretty isn’t worth it. That’s up to the individual whether they think there’s a reason to start or keep going. The ideas in “Reunion” were aiming for gold, but the execution dulled that sheen to a simple yellow — like a certain song about living in a submarine.

7/10 Stars

Note: After trying and retrying to listen the way the creator intended, I gave up and simply skipped the song portions from Spotify. The music ranges from 70s classic rock to heavier tunes from more modern artists. It’s a very mixed bag. I thank the creator for paying for a one-month Spotify premium membership. Obviously it didn’t go as planned, but I think I enjoyed and understood the story better this way.