Let's face it, Mendel Weisenbachfeld Deserved Better
The 2016 revival of Falsettos brought a whole new generation of thespians and theatergoers into Falsettoland to meet the tight-knit family we have come to love. However, one of them who doesn't get the love he deserves is Mendel.
While it may be true that Mendel isn’t the best psychiatrist, he deserved so much better through the course of the musical. The musical suggests Mendel hasn’t had a serious relationship before Trina, and frankly, Trina is not good enough for Mendel.
Mendel’s love for Trina is so pure and wholesome. One instance where this is supported is during “A Marriage Proposal” when Mendel is so nervous that he starts singing about biblical brothers killing their biblical brothers back in biblical times.
During the whole song, while Mendel keeps telling Trina all the things he loves about her, she just sits there. While she does agree to marry him, not too much later during “Trina’s Song” she literally groups Mendel in with “stupid charming men”, and “silly childish jerks”. If this is how Trina feels about Mendel, why would she agree to marry him? That’s no way to talk about the person you’re about to marry.
In the reprise of “Trina’s Song,'' she discusses her doubts about marrying Mendel, but how she’s just going to ignore those doubts. That sounds like a good idea…. Right? A few lines later, she gleefully remarks “I’ll have good sex!” as if that’s the only good thing she can think about in regards to being Mendel’s wife.
When Trina and Mendel move in together during “Making a Home” we learn that Mendel loves his new life, but Trina only likes hers. This isn’t surprising considering the doubts she had about marrying Mendel. One could argue that the audience should feel sympathetic towards Trina, but it can also be argued that Mendel not only deserves for Trina to be honest with him but somebody who loves their life with Mendel.
Trina is very clearly still hung up on Marvin. This is understandable considering she is a newly divorced woman, but it's almost as if Mendel has to compete with Marvin. Trina is so obsessed with Marvin and who he is in a relationship with and doesn't seem to care about the man who actually loves her that she is married to.
During “A Day in Falsettoland'' Trina tells Mendel of her frustration that Marvin and Whizzer are back together. Mendel tries to make her feel better by talking about their own relationship, Trina just laughs and shrugs it off.
Throughout the musical, there are some moments where Trina expresses excitement about she and Mendel being together, but they do not appear genuine. For instance, during “Marvin Hit’s Trina”, she says that Mendel is sweet, warm and that he loves her. However, Trina’s delivery of this complement is said in a tone that suggests she isn't actually complimenting Mendel but is insulting Marvin.
Perhaps being a woman in the 1970s and being brought up and raised in earlier years made her feel like she had to be with a man, and settled for Mendel. This isn’t fair to Mendel, because he clearly isn’t settling for her. Perhaps after the divorce, Trina should have taken more time for herself to heal. Then maybe she could have loved and appreciated Mendel the way he should have been.