Scene by Scene with Josh & Dean: American Splendor-logo

Scene by Scene with Josh & Dean: American Splendor

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Josh Neufeld & Dean Haspiel break down Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SPLENDOR the movie (2003) scene by scene, with insight, humor, and inside information. Neufeld & Haspiel were both illustrators for the American Splendor comic book. SCENE BY SCENE is geared toward fans of indy comics and movies, as well as the rapidly growing “movies-by-minute” podcast movement. You can find SCENE BY SCENE at Support this podcast:

Josh Neufeld & Dean Haspiel break down Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SPLENDOR the movie (2003) scene by scene, with insight, humor, and inside information. Neufeld & Haspiel were both illustrators for the American Splendor comic book. SCENE BY SCENE is geared toward fans of indy comics and movies, as well as the rapidly growing “movies-by-minute” podcast movement. You can find SCENE BY SCENE at Support this podcast:
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Josh Neufeld & Dean Haspiel break down Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SPLENDOR the movie (2003) scene by scene, with insight, humor, and inside information. Neufeld & Haspiel were both illustrators for the American Splendor comic book. SCENE BY SCENE is geared toward fans of indy comics and movies, as well as the rapidly growing “movies-by-minute” podcast movement. You can find SCENE BY SCENE at Support this podcast:








AS20: What Kind of Girl Is Your New Bride?

American Splendor scene #20 (52:19 to 53:50) — the real Harvey and Joyce sit in a fake comic book store, with a pile of American Splendors on the table between them. Joyce talks about what it was like to become a character in Harvey’s stories. Tension is in the air. A machine gun sounds in the distance. The scene's cringe-factor. Doom & gloom — and finding the right balance between happy & sad moments. Creative partnerships and being each other’s toughest critic. Being willing — or not — to...


AS Bonus: World Champion JUDAH FRIEDLANDER Interview

Josh & Dean chat with comedian and actor Judah Friedlander, who plays Toby Radloff in the movie. Judah discusses how he got the role, hanging with the real Toby, being unrecognizable, and his key scenes in the film. He also talks 30 Rock, those unique trucker hats, his role on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Hollywood, politics, the life of a stand-up comic, and his Netflix specials. Nearly a full hour of Judah goodness! Shout-outs to George & Leonardo DiCaprio, thrift shopping,...


AS19: Escape (Revenge of the Nerds Part I)

American Splendor scene #19 (49:08 to 52:18) — It’s one week later, and (a strangely chipper) Harvey sees Toby sitting in his car, the dashboard covered in White Castle sliders. Toby is on his way to Toledo to see the new movie Revenge of the Nerds. Meanwhile, Harvey is on his way to Delaware to marry Joyce and help her move out to Cleveland. Harvey steals Toby’s fries. Rupert Holmes sings “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).” An appreciation of Judah Friedlander's performance as Toby. Thoughts...


AS Bonus: Genuine Nerd TOBY RADLOFF

Josh & Dean chat with Toby Radloff, a key figure in both American Splendor the comic and the movie. (Josh illustrated a couple of Toby Radloff stories.) Toby talks about working with Harvey Pekar at the VA Hospital, what the job of a file clerk was, and hanging with Harvey on weekends. He discusses what it felt like to be a character in American Splendor, and his "delusions of grandeur" after appearing on MTV and in the Killer Nerd films. Toby weighs in on his favorite moments in the film...


AS18: Skipping the Whole Courtship Thing

American Splendor scene #18 (44:33 to 49:07) — Harvey takes Joyce to his apartment, where it is abundantly clear that he has a “serious problem with cleanliness.” Joyce shrugs if off, and they sit down on the couch and begin to get… intimate. Suddenly Joyce is overcome with a bout of nausea and vomiting. A concerned Harvey offers her chamomile tea. Charmed, Joyce suggests they “skip the whole courtship thing and get married”! An extended discussion of disgusting living situations, dirty...


AS17: A Burp, a Whistle, and a Cough (with Val Mayerik)

American Splendor scene #17 (41:38 to 44:32) — Joyce travels to Cleveland to meet Harvey in person — but will he be a “hairy ape” or a “young Brando?” The real Harvey sidles into frame. His opening line? "You might as well know right off the bat, I had a vasectomy.” The date begins with a handshake and dinner at a local family restaurant. Josh & Dean talk to special guest Val Mayerik about his five years as one of American Splendor’s primary artists, his thoughts on Harvey and his work, and...


AS16: Dear Mister Pekar

American Splendor scene #16 (37:11 to 41:37) — Meanwhile in Delaware, Joyce Brabner is frustrated with her partner in the comic store, who has sold her copy of American Splendor #8 out from under her. Why does everything in her life have to be such a complicated disaster?! She writes to Harvey, he responds, and they soon discover they are kindred spirits. Phone conversations spark the beginning of a romance, and Harvey convinces Joyce to come to Cleveland to meet him in person. A short...


AS15: Alice Quinn and Jennie Gerhardt

American Splendor scene #15 (32:27 to 37:10) — The short weekend begins with longing… Harvey is picking up donuts and day-old bread at the bakery when he runs into Alice Quinn, a woman he briefly knew in college. They catch up on each other’s lives and talk about Theodore Dreiser’s novel Jennie Gerhardt. Harvey leaves their encounter feeling more alone than ever before — “life seems so sweet, and so sad…” Comics about ordinary life vis-a-vis the “TV show about nothing” — were the creators...


AS14: Jellybeans, Lentils, and Lent

American Splendor scene #14 (27:32 to 32:26) — Our most authentic episode to date! And the next thing, it’s the 80s… Harvey has published eight issues of American Splendor to critical acclaim but little financial gain. He’s still a “flunky file clerk.“ Toby stops by to offer Harvey some gourmet jelly beans. Before you know it, the film gets META as the real Harvey crosses paths with Paul Giamatti and the real Toby Radloff crosses paths with Judah Friedlander! What if there was a Harvey...


AS13: From Off the Streets of Cleveland

American Splendor scene #13 (23:46 to 27:31) — This episode opens with a montage of classic Pekar quotidian moments and culminates with Harvey proudly showing off American Splendor #1 to his co-workers. It concludes with the real Harvey talking about how he comes up with his stories. Mr. Boats returns and Toby Radloff appears for the first time… The joys & challenges of getting “professionally” published. A fuller discussion of “semi-auto-bio” and the choices required to form real life into...


AS12: Words and Pictures (with James Urbaniak)

American Splendor scene #12 (20:21 to 23:45) — Inspired, Harvey stays up all night writing. At a diner with Crumb, Harv makes a pitch for a new kind of comics. He shows Bob the scripts he’s been working on — and Bob offers to illustrate them for him! Plus: an interview with actor James Urbaniak, who plays the role of Robert Crumb in the film! A discussion about the pros & cons of creative collaborations. Do Harvey Pekar’s artists get enough credit? The great lunchroom fight of 1984!...


AS11: Standing Behind Old Jewish Ladies in Supermarket Lines

American Splendor scene #11 (17:51 to 20:20) — Harvey is doing some grocery shopping when he is confronted with a conundrum about which line to wait on — the long but speedy one, or the short one with the old Jewish lady in front? Out of nowhere, Harvey’s animated subconscious — drawn in an R. Crumb manner — pops up to help guide his decision. “Are you going to stand there in silence, or are you going to make a mark?” Another new wrinkle in this unusual film! How Harvey’s artists did the...


AS10: Give It Up!

American Splendor scene #10 (16:24 to 17:51) — a sobering moment in the VA hospital’s “deceased” files section leads Harvey to try drawing his own stories. Short on ideas, he flips through some old comics, including an issue of Dr. Quake. But the message he receives is… “GIVE IT UP!” Dino’s art featured this scene! “Did you really believe brass and brawn could derail your destiny with fate?” — more behind-the-scenes details about how Dino connected producer Ted Hope with Harvey & Joyce,...


AS9: Back to '75...

American Splendor scene #9 (14:32 to 16:23) — The flashback is over, and a famous but disillusioned Crumb is back in Cleveland for a visit. He and our man hang out at a random bus stop while Crumb sketches. His marriage over, Harvey is lonely and frustrated — he wants to leave a mark on the world. Harvey doesn’t buy all this “growth crap” — he’d be glad to trade some growth for happiness! An appreciation of Urbaniak’s Crumb. The revelation that Pekar had actually written a few “underground”...


AS8: Bob and Harv

American Splendor scene #8 (12:27 to 14:32) — It's still 1962, and Harvey and Bob are chillin' at the Pekar pad. Scratchy jazz tunes play on the turntable. Harvey admires Crumb's Big Yum Yum Book, but grows frustrated with Crumb's apparent lack of ambition ("It's just an exercise"). Still, a friendship is formed over a shared love of jazz and comics. Pekar & Crumb as friends before they were artistic collaborators. The simple pleasures of reading and listening to music with friends — when...


AS7: A Rare Find, 1962 (with Eli Ganias)

American Splendor scene #7 (11:11 to 12:17) — Flashback to 1962. A fateful encounter: while searching for old records at a yard sale, Harvey meets shy greeting card illustrator (and comic book collector) Bob Crumb. Special guest: actor Eli Ganias, who plays the role of Pahls in the film! Marty Pahls and "Marty & Pahls" — the real man who introduced Pekar to Crumb (and married one of Crumb's sisters). Bits from "The Young Crumb Story"... Eli Ganias' juicy behind-the-scenes stories:...


AS6: Demon Record Hustler

In American Splendor's sixth scene (10:00 to 11:11), the real Harvey Pekar sits at a fake yard sale, talking about his years as a used-record collector / salesman. Harvey's transition from collecting "sides" to collecting stories. It's talk therapy for Josh & Dean as they discuss family issues related to collecting/hoarding. The pros & cons of collecting stamps, baseball cards, comics, and music. Creating an industry from your own collecting. From collecting to creating— collecting as...


AS5: Jack the Bellboy and Mr. Boats

In American Splendor's fifth scene (8:00 to 10:00), it's a few months later. A depressed and lonely Harvey is at his flunky file clerk job at the V.A. hospital. Mr. Boats comes by to offer some poetic advice about women. The conversation turns to music, and then to Harvey's side gig as a used-record dealer. Mr. Boats accuses Harvey of not "turning loose the good stuff!" Collier’s Disease, hoarding, “cat hoarding," and Harvey's tendency to “collect” misfits. The recurring character Mr. Boats...


AS4: His Vow of Silence Begins

In American Splendor‘s fourth scene (6:06 to 8:00), Harvey's wife decides this "plebeian" lifestyle just isn't working for her anymore. Without being able to speak, our man is powerless to prevent her from leaving him. Poor Harvey! Harvey's apartment sparks a conversation about "collecting" versus HOARDING. An appreciation of Paul Giamatti. The original American Splendor story — illustrated by Sue Cavey — that contributed to this scene, and its similarity to a singles ad ("Harvey on...


AS3: Voice Trouble, 1975

In American Splendor‘s third scene (4:49 to 6:06), Harvey visits a throat doctor and exhibits a little hypochondria. Plus, he's having marital problems. The boys correct an error from the previous episode. They talk about the original American Splendor story that inspired this segment, and the differences between the comic and the film. A discussion of the early issues of American Splendor and notable Pekar illustrator Gerry Shamray. Josh talks about his early artistic influences and how...