Life issues: Grieving Las Vegas
Tommy Love is every inch the Vegas star. His persona is charismatic and charming. Initially, Jess is impressed by Tommy’s talents and his ‘gift of the gab.’ During the episode, however, the penny begins to drop as he scratches beneath Tommy’s glamorous exterior.
Tommy usually thinks of himself before anybody else. His first priority is his music career. He loves the applause and, to a certain extent, his own image and rates it as more important than the people around him, those who really love him.
Tracey is a victim of Tommy’s ego and his desire to be loved by everybody. April is very aware of her father’s vanity and realises the price that Tommy has made Tracey pay. This is one of the reasons why she is so cool towards Diane. April is perceptive and realises that Tommy spends time with Diane only because she pampers his ego.
Actions speak louder than words
Tommy talks about songs coming from his heart during the episode. Tommy writes and sings about love but has difficulty when it comes to the real thing – what is actually in his own heart is clouded by his own ambitions and vanity. Tommy’s new song, ‘Immortality,’ is dedicated to April, after she has her accident. However, in some ways he uses his daughter’s misfortune as a platform to rekindle his flagging his career. He goes on nation wide television and spouts the tragic story before singing the new song.
Everybody is impressed by Tommy’s sentimentality but it is really all just a façade. Actions speak louder than words, and April is tired of the pretence. What April really wants is to spend time with her father and for him to open up to her. Tommy keeps putting everything else before her and making excuses why he cannot spend time with her. Tracey was probably treated in a very similar way.
It is consistent with Tommy’s behaviour, when at the end of the episode Tommy tells the media that he, Tracey and April are all getting back together. He wants the story to have a happy ending and for everybody to see him as ‘Mister Nice Guy.’ The media wait expectantly to report the reunited family but Tommy does not show up, instead just sending a signed photograph.
Tommy has let April and Tracey down again, putting his career first and shying away from responsibility and commitment.
April genuinely loves her father. She knows his faults but feels sorry for him. She can see the trap that he has fallen into. He believes everything that Diane tells him and has built his own persona in his own mind so much that he has trouble separating his reality from his pretensions.
Tommy is likeable and many of us can sympathise with him. Do you recognise some of Tommy’s characteristics in people that you know or even in yourself? Everybody is flattered, after all, and why not – it is nice to receive complements. When does flattery become a central obsession though – you certainly can’t impress all of the people all of the time. Perhaps it is more important to be true to yourself and the ones close to you than always trying to be everybody’s hero.
What do you think?
Over time it is likely that Tommy will come to realise the shallowness of his choices. There is a satisfaction in knowing that you have people around you that care for you and that you reciprocate their feelings. This is ultimately more fulfilling than the applause that any audience can give you. I read somewhere that the rock star Freddie Mercury died with one major regret, and that was that he never really loved. He had all that fame and success but one vital ingredient was missing. It is important for us not to get to caught up in ourselves, to put others first sometimes, and to dedicate time to the people that we really care for.