Study Guide

Lost in Translation Dissatisfaction

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MAN #1: You see that guy?

MAN #2: Yeah.

MAN #1: You know who that is?

MAN #2: That's not him. It looks like him, but it's not him.

MAN #1: Can you believe it?

MAN #2: Okay, maybe it is.

These two bros unintentionally hit the nail on the head. We're pretty sure Bob thinks "That's not him. It looks like him, but it's not him," every time he passes a Suntory billboard, catches one of his old flicks on cable, or shaves in the morning.

FRED: I think you should do it.

BOB: No, hear this, Fred—I gotta be on a plane Thursday night.

FRED: We're looking into it, Bob. They really want you to stay to do that talk show. Apparently, he's a really big deal.

BOB: "Johnny Carson of Japan," yeah.

FRED: Bob, these people are paying you a lot. Would you please consider it?

BOB: I already have, you know. I gotta get out of here as soon as I can.

We get the sense that Bob thinks he's too big for the "Johnny Carson of Japan," but that both he and Fred know deep down that he's not. (Okay, so it’s not really "deep down" for Fred.) Of course, once Bob meets Charlotte, he's more than willing to stick around another day, even if it means appearing on a show that he doesn't want to do because he thinks it's beneath him.

NAKA: You want a whisky?

BOB: This is not whisky. This is iced tea. If you gave me real whisky…

NAKA: I need mysterious face. Can you show us mysterious? Mysterious.

BOB: I think I know what you want. You want this, right?

Bob places his hand over the side of his face, fingers parted so you can see his eye.

NAKA: I need more mysterious.

BOB: More mysterious, yeah. I'll just try to think, "Where the hell's the whisky?"

Sometimes, Bob puts his dissatisfaction with his career trajectory right out there in the open. Like when most of the people on set don't speak English, so he can vent without seeming like a prima donna.

NAKA: You are a movie star, yes?

BOB: Yes, I should be doing movies, but—

NAKA: And the Lat Pack. Lat Pack. You know Lat Pack?

BOB: Rat—Rat Pack?

NAKA: Rat Pack. Yes, please.

Here's another quick and tidy example of Bob acknowledging that this isn't where he thinks he should be (and nobody cares).

CHARLOTTE: So what are you doing here?

BOB: Couple of things. Taking a break from my wife, forgetting my son's birthday, and getting paid $2 million to endorse a whisky when I could be doing a play somewhere.


BOB: But the good news is, the whisky works.

Boom! Here's Bob in a nutshell: He's unhappy with his marriage, with never seeing his kids, and with being a sell-out instead of a serious actor. He buries it all beneath a silver-tongued veneer of sarcasm. To quote esteemed medical professional Dr. Phil: How's that workin' out for ya, Bob?

Sorry. We promise to never quote Dr. Phil again, buuut clearly, this whole glib, aging actor thing isn't paying spiritual dividends for Bob. The fact that he's so honest with Charlotte is a step in the right direction, though.

BOB: What are you doing?

CHARLOTTE: Um, my husband's a photographer, so he's here working, and I wasn't doing anything, so I came along. And we have some friends that live here.

Here we have Charlotte's motto: "I wasn't doing anything, so…" Charlotte's transitioning from the guarded bubble of university life to real-deal adulthood, and it's not going smoothly. She doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, and she doesn't appear to be in any rush to figure it out.

CHARLOTTE: You're probably just having a mid-life crisis. Did you buy a Porsche yet?

BOB: You know, I was thinking about buying a Porsche.

Is he having a mid-life crisis? Is it that easy, or is there more to Bob than realizing he's not a young sought-after actor anymore and freaking out about it? What do you think? Want us to stop asking so many questions?

CHARLOTTE: I'm stuck. Does it get easier?

BOB: No. (beat) Yes, it gets easier.

CHARLOTTE: Oh, yeah? Look at you.

BOB: Thanks.

Charlotte laughs.

BOB: The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.

CHARLOTTE: Yeah. I just don't know what I'm supposed to be, you know? I tried being a writer, but I hate what I write. I tried taking pictures. They're so mediocre, you know? Every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, like horses? You know, taking dumb pictures of your feet.

BOB: You'll figure that out. I'm not worried about you. Keep writing.

CHARLOTTE: But I'm so mean.

BOB: Mean's okay.

Wow, Charlotte sure sounds like a kid. Because she is a kid. Bob gives her a great piece of advice here: Stick with it. Charlotte seems to think she's "supposed" to be something, like a nurse's uniform is going to fall from the sky, and she's going be all, "A-ha! I'm supposed to be a nurse." In reality, Charlotte needs to stop trying on hobbies and make a real push to figure out what she wants, not what she's supposed to want.

LYDIA: Look, your burgundy carpet isn’t in stock. It's gonna take 12 weeks. Did you like any of the other colors?

BOB: Whatever you like. I'm completely lost.

LYDIA: It's just carpet.

BOB: That's not what I'm talking about.

LYDIA: What are you talking about?

BOB: I don’t know. I just want to get healthy. I want to take better care of myself. I would like to start eating healthier. I don't want all that pasta. I would like to start eating like Japanese food.

LYDIA: Well, why don’t you just stay there, and you can have it every day.

Let's approach this one from both angles. First, it's hard to get ticked at Lydia for lashing out at Bob here. Remember, she's stuck at home in the states, taking care of their kids by herself again, and has no context for Bob's sudden desire to eat yakisoba for dinner instead of fettuccine alfredo. It probably sounds pretty self-indulgent to her.

Bob, meanwhile, is trying to communicate to his wife that he's been unhappy for a long time, and he wants to make some changes. He's being honest with her for once. The best part? He wants to make these changes with her, not independent of her.

Now, let's just hope she never finds out about Sausalito. Ew.

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