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Theatre / She Loves Me

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She Loves Me is a a Broadway musical written by Joe Masteroff, Sheldon Harnick, and Jerry Bock. It is based on the same source material as You've Got Mail and The Shop Around the Corner. She Loves Me is set in a small Hungarian parfumerie in the 1930s. It centers around the relationship of shop clerk Georg Novak and his "Dear Friend," the woman with whom he has been anonymously corresponding. Shortly after the curtain rises, Maraczek's Parfumerie gains a new clerk, a young woman named Amalia Balash. When Georg and Amalia meet, it's antagonism at first sight. What neither knows is that they are each other's secret penpal love.


The musical provides examples of

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Georg and Amalia, which is something that the other clerks lampshade.
  • Beta Couple: Ilona and Kodaly, until it's revealed he's a "rat". She ends up dating an optometrist whom she met at the library and who loves to read to her.
  • The Big Damn Kiss:
    • One occurs between Kodaly and Ilona, which Kodaly then ruins by announcing he's going on a date with someone else.
    • At the end, Amalia and Georg have one when he reveals himself as the "Dear friend".
  • Book-Ends: At the beginning of the play Mr. Maraczek jokes that Georg should be going out and having fun at a cabaret while he's single. At the end of the play he takes Arpad out to a cabaret since they're both single men.
  • Brain Bleach: This is Georg's reaction when Mr. Maraczek tells him that Kodaly was having an affair with Mrs. M.
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  • Brick Joke: Towards the end of the first act, Mr. Maraczek reveals to a private investigator that he got an anonymous letter saying that one of his clerks was having an affair with his wife. In the second act, the "idiot clerk" Sipos confesses to Georg that he wrote the letter in the hopes that Kodaly instead of him would get fired.
  • ...But He Sounds Handsome: Inverted; Georg says that the "Dear Friend" that he met and who had to leave town is "well-fed" and middle-aged. Amalia is horrified to think that her penpal may be "fat" and "bald" and accidentally writes it in a letter to him, which she proceeds to toss.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: After realizing that Amalia is his pen pal, Georg has a hard time telling her that he's the "Dear Friend."
  • Devil in Plain Sight: The clerk Kodaly who has been having an affair with the boss's wife.
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  • Dramatic Irony: "Three Letters" reveals to the audience that Georg and Amalia are in love with each other while the characters are still oblivious.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While fighting with her, Georg yells at the maitre'd for not treating Amalia like a lady.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: In an unconventional version, vignettes during "Twelve Days to Christmas" show Georg and Amalia growing closer.
  • Funny Background Event: Georg's face as the waiter scolds Amalia and her "husband" for arguing at the Café Imperiale. Absolutely hysterical.
  • Happy Dance: Georg does one after his Pet the Dog moment with Amalia, complete with a cartwheel, after his Love Epiphany.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Arpad as a bicycle delivery boy and as a clerk.
  • I Have This Friend...: In a variant, during the song "Tango Tragique," Georg tells Amalia a story about a made-up friend who met a man she'd met through letters and ended up missing.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Arpad saves Mr. Maraczek when the latter shoots himself thinking he was alone at the shop.
  • Jerkass Realization:
    • Mr. Maraczek when he learns that Kodaly, not Georg, was having an affair with his wife.
    • Likewise Georg after visiting Mr. Maraczek in the hospital and realizing Amalia wasn't causing the tension in the shop.
  • Large Ham: The maitre'd at the cafe.
  • Love Before First Sight: The entire plot of the show, at least between Georg and Amalia.
  • Love Epiphany: Georg in the title song.
  • Mood Whiplash: After Maraczek attempts to kill himself, the next number is a humorous crowd song.
  • Never My Fault: Kodaly when he's busted for the affair with Mrs. Maraczek and fired.
  • Pet the Dog: Following his visit to Mr. M in the hospital, Georg goes to check on Amalia, apologizes to her for being a boor the previous night, tells her that her Dear Friend showed up, and buys her ice cream. This breaks the ice between them and leads to his Love Epiphany.
  • Quitting to Get Married: At the start of her show, Ilona expresses her dissatisfaction with her job and her desire to marry out of it, but she hasn't found the right man yet. Georg also wishes this on Amalia just before entering his 10-Minute Retirement because he finds her intolerable as a co-worker.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Georg is right that things haven't been the same since Amalia got hired. It's not because of her, though; it's because Mr. Maraczek had suspected George of having an affair with his wife.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Throughout nearly the entirety of "Ilona".
  • Villain Song: Kodaly's farewell is a rather magnificent one.
  • Villain Love Song: "Ilona"
  • Your Cheating Heart: Mr. Maraczek is heartbroken when he gets an anonymous letter saying his wife has been having an affair with one of his clerks. He's even more heartbroken when a private investigator reveals that it was not Georg Novak, as Mr. M suspected, but rather Steven Kodaly.
  • You Know What You Did: Mr. Maraczek starts the play by bullying Georg for months without telling him why. Then it's revealed that he has suspected Georg of having an affair with his wife, after receiving an anonymous letter. Following the revelation that it was Kodaly having the affair, Mr. M tries to shoot himself and in the hospital apologizes for Georg for judging him so poorly.


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