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The Mop and Lucky Files Review

on Tue, 05/07/2013 - 00:00

What’s a girl to do when she’s over 30, has no current romantic interests and no longer has the tolerance to work as a waitress? Answer—form a personal espionage business with her equally bitter and unemployed best friend. That’s the premise, at least, for The Mop and Lucky Files, a comedy web series that has won multiple awards from the Best Shorts Festival in Southern California and the Indie Gathering Film Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. Although the narrative may share similarities with the HBO comedy Bored to Death, in which an unlicensed private detective finds his cases on Craigslist, The Mop and Lucky Files uses its storyline for more than just laughs as it also explores the differences between men and women as well.

The first season of The Mop and Lucky Files is divided into five episodes, ranging from 9-to-12 minutes in length each, that relate the beginnings of the under-the-radar agency started by the two main characters in addition to their first case together. The idea of “personal espionage” is the brainchild of Mop (Chloe Taylor), who develops the scheme when her former roommate leaves behind a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating. The bunkmate in question had suspected her boyfriend of cheating and bought the book in order to spy on him. Rationalizing that there must be others questioning the fidelity of their own love interests, Mop convinces Lucky (Jennifer Erholm) to go into business together and offer a cheap, unofficial way to keep tabs on wandering boyfriends.

Starting such a venture isn’t as easy as it sounds, and Mop and Lucky first encounter difficulty when they attempt to find office space despite having no money and bad credit. Eventually they decide to operate from a storage unit, but even that option doesn’t quite pan out until the manager of the facility agrees to rent a janitor’s closet to them instead. The wait for that elusive first client is likewise a long, frustrating process, although an e-mail does finally arrive and a subsequent meeting is soon arranged.

Mrs. Myronius (Judith Scarpone), however, is not the type of client that Mop and Lucky expected. In her 50s with an Eastern European accent, she does not believe that her husband is cheating on her—she just wants to know if he truly loves her not. “He never tells me he loves me,” she explains. “He’s always so busy, I get the feeling sometimes he doesn’t even know that I am here.” Despite the impossibility of the task, as well as Lucky’s astonishment, Mop agrees to take the case.

But how exactly do you go about determining if somebody truly loves someone else? There is no clear-cut answer, and the only hope that Mop and Lucky have is proving that the negative is true by catching their prey in the act of adultery. Many stakeouts thus ensue—including one in which Mop sports a Charlie Chaplin hat and mustache—but it also offers the opportunity for the two single girls to reflect on their own romantic relationships. Lucky, for instance, turns to the 1992 best-selling book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus for help not only with the case of Mrs. Myronius but insight into the “battle of the sexes” as well. Being a single woman who just had her last relationship end badly leads Lucky to eventually conclude that men and women are simply not compatible. Mop, meanwhile, has a musician boyfriend who is constantly on the road, and her current “espionage” assignment convinces her that he is likewise being unfaithful.

In the end, it turns out that Mr. Myronius (Judd Laurance) is not cheating on his wife, and Mop and Lucky are even able to uncover concrete proof that he does indeed love Mrs. Myronius. The revelation allows Mop to sleep a little easier at night, and gives Lucky hope for her own romantic future. This turn-of-events also makes The Mop and Lucky Files more than just an amusing comedy. Yes, the web series is funny, and well deserving of the many honors bestowed upon it. The true brilliance of The Mop and Lucky Files, however, is that co-creators Jennifer Erholm and Chloe Taylor have found a way to examine the difficulty in finding the right romantic partner and then learning to trust them within the confines of a detective story.

Many fictional narratives have set out to examine the often humorous differences between men and women only to end up regurgitating overdone stereotypes and falling into redundancy. The Mop and Lucky Files, on the other hand, is a fresh and original web series that not only provides laughs but finds a way to offer the uplifting message that although members of the opposite sex may indeed come from different planets, it really doesn’t matter on Planet Earth.

Anthony Letizia (May 7, 2013)

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