Friday, May 11, 2012

Episode 50, Part 2: Doug's Sister Act

This episode begins at the Moody School for the Gifted. Judy is hanging out with her boyfriend and a few other friends while she waits for her ride home. Her boyfriend is blabbing on and on about his mom's neo-expressionist exhibit and his dad's grunge opera when Theda drives her weird bubble car up and honks the horn. Doug and Porkchop are sitting up front and they look like they've been playing with Patti's Pulverizers. Judy quickly says goodbye to everyone and tries to get her mom to drive away before any embarrassment occurs, but her boyfriend won't have it. He follows her to the car and introduces himself to Doug and Theda as Kyle.

I guess he did this because he's a nice guy that isn't going to think less of Judy if her family is a bit square. What a dick.

So anyway, Theda invites him to dinner and Judy screams that she's never going to speak to her again. Doug just wants to know what's for dinner. At home, he's occupying his time with an awesome dinosaur puzzle in a futile effort to stay out of the ongoing argument between Theda and Judy, because "I am never speaking to you again" actually means "let's say more words to each other than we've said all year."

Pretty awesome puzzle though, Doug. Unfortunately, right after he glues the head on, Judy barges into his room and slams the door, causing the puzzle to fall to pieces. He should have used better glue. She rants at him for a minute and then asks for a little backup. He says he won't take sides, but she points out that Kyle is the coolest guy she's ever known and their mom just invited him to dinner with the most "dull, pedestrian, bourgeois, bologna-and-mayonnaise-eating family." He says they aren't that bad, but she reminds him about what happened with her last boyfriend.

In a flashback, we see the Funnie family eating dinner quietly with some goober-looking chump with a mullet. No one says anything for a while, and then Phil asks the mullet if he'd like some gravy. The mullet faceplants into the yellow mush they're having for dinner.

Doug concedes that dinner isn't always exciting, but points out everyone's family is like that. Judy says, "if only mom and dad were painters, or nuclear scientists, or hunchbacks." How would they be more interesting if they were hunchbacks, exactly?

"So, I see you are hunchbacks. How'd that happen?"
"Born this way."
"Ah, yes. Of course. That must be difficult."
"Eh, not really."
"How'd you two meet?"
"Hunchback convention."

And then what? Yeah, Judy...think through your suggestions next time. Doug is disgusted by her attitude and says, "it's like you want them to be characters in one of your stupid plays." And that's how Judy gets the shittiest idea anyone in the Funnie family has had all week.

While Phil and Theda are preparing dinner, Judy interrupts with costumes and scripts. Phil is playing a renowned poet, novelist and playwright living in seclusion after a life of piracy on the high seas. Theda is a groundbreaking anthropologist just back from a year in the jungle studying the potato worshipers of Maguano.

At the door, some of Judy's friends have brought some stage sets from the school to make the house look more interesting. Theda objects to the whole thing but Judy points out that she's the one that got her into this mess and now she has to get her out. Seems fair.

While the nameless friends are busy putting up the sets and lights, Judy has to deal with directing a couple of amateurs. Phil asks her what his motivation is and she says he's frustrated from writer's block because of the stifling boredom of small town life. She tells him to try smashing things.

They start rehearsing and the whole thing is just dreadful. Phil's dialogue is pretentious nonsense splattered with piracy references, and Theda's dialogue blatantly reflects the anthropologist back-story. I understand she only had a few hours to throw this whole thing together, but why did she even write dialogue if it was all going to be so full of clunky exposition. Tell them who they are supposed to be and maybe give them a few notes.

While they are rehearsing, Doug has a weird moment. The set designers take away the couch he was sitting on, so he leans up against a ladder.

Then they take away the ladder too and...

Good work, Doug. Practicing slapstick is the best possible way to prepare for the big performance at dinner.

While sitting on the floor, Doug has a couple of fantasies about what Judy would make him do at dinner. In the first fantasy, she introduces him as the wild boy of Bluffington. He was raised by wolves.

Then he has a fantasy where she introduces him as Agent Double-O Zero.

As Smash Adams, he immediately excuses himself to save the president, and then flies off in his jetpack. So he thinks it could go either way. It could be really humiliating, or he could end up using Judy's jetpack to fly away. Doug gets really excited when she brings him a tuxedo.

He thinks he really is going to be a secret agent, but she crushes his hopes by informing him that he'll be the butler. Her boyfriend might have believed her parents' back-stories, but there's simply no way he's going to be convinced that Doug is a butler, or a secret agent. Doug tries to convince her to let him be a secret agent, but she says he's way too dull to fit into the family. It doesn't matter though. Kyle is going to look at Doug and see an 11 year old kid and nothing more.

When Kyle finally arrives, Doug opens the door in his butler costume (complete with a thin mustache) and Kyle excuses himself. He thinks he has the wrong house. Doug drags him inside and tells him Judy is waiting in the drawing room. He asks her who the butler is because he looks familiar, and she replies that he's Yancy. Finally, Judy introduces her parents. It's weird like you'd expect, and they use a spotlight. I don't know how Judy thinks this is going to work.

Before Phil and Theda finish the first scene, Doug interrupts to say there's a phone call for Kyle. He takes Kyle into the pantry to tell him his life might be in danger. He takes off the fake mustache and hands Kyle a sponge.

He says, "if you need help, just call me on the sponge." Doug Funnie is awesome. Judy interrupts this rogue scene and Doug secretly puts his mustache back on and returns to his butler character.

So now they're all sitting down to dinner. I don't know how many of you come from parents that were anthropologists and pirate writers, but just so you know, they do indeed insist on sitting on pillows like this. Theda starts the conversation by saying, "and as I bid goodbye to the tribe, Chief Tater Tot presented me with this ceremonial totem."

Clearly confused, Kyle says the totem is neat, and Theda offers him some peas from a communal bowl. Meanwhile Doug has poured him some water and given him the secret signal.

Phil starts wailing about his writer's block while Kyle starts to eat a pea. Doug makes a choking signal to keep him from eating the peas, then falls over, making use of his slapstick practice earlier. Judy says he hasn't been the same since the alien abduction and escorts him from the room. Phil screams about his writer's block again and Kyle drinks his water to find a note.

You know how this goes. Kyle reads it out loud, and Doug pops back in to say, "a bomb in the lasagna!?

And then...

Doug acts out a great death scene. Kyle starts laughing, then Phil starts laughing, then Theda starts laughing and Judy doesn't understand. Everything is ruined. She stomps out of the room, almost crying, and Doug thinks he might have gone too far. He finds her sitting quietly on the front porch and asks if she's okay. My favorite part of this scene is that he made no effort to clean the lasagna off his face.

It falls off while they're talking, but I can't get over the fact that there are still large chunks of lasagna on his face when he walks outside. Anyway, she asks him why he did what he did and he says she made him mad by saying they were all boring and stupid and he was upset that she made him the butler. She starts to tell him how much she likes Kyle, but Kyle comes out and asks if she wants him to leave.

"NO! I mean...if you want to. I mean...I guess you can decide after I tell you the truth about..."
"What? The performance piece?"
"You knew it was a performance?"
"Yeah! Wasn't I supposed to?"

Obviously he didn't think any of this shit was for real. He says there were a few problems, but it all came together when the secret agent dove on the lasagna.

Doug writes in his journal that Judy's act didn't fool anybody but Judy, but he's wrong. It clearly fooled Kyle. If he'd known the truth about that night, I hope he'd feel insulted that Judy thought he would buy this crap. What were her long term plans here? If she liked this guy as much as she told Doug she did, at what point was she going to tell him that her mom runs a recycling center, her dad is a department store photographer, and her butler is actually her brother? Even if her plan had worked like she wanted, she just stuck herself with the most ridiculous, shitty lies. What happens when Kyle asks to read some her her dad's writing? Or her mom's research? What if Kyle just wasn't cool with child labor and reported them for employing an eleven year old butler?

And what does Doug get for saving the show? If his absurdist sabotage hadn't happened, the whole night would have been an awkward affair with a man loudly weeping about his writer's block, a woman constantly bragging about her potato-worshiping friends, and an eleven year old butler. There would have been no climax except for Kyle breaking up with Judy because there's no way he could possibly recover from such an awkward night.

And so it seems Judy might be crazier than Doug. Doug's not crazy at all in this episode, but maybe that just proves Hunter S. Thompson was right; "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."


  1. "There's a Bomb in the Lasagna" is one line that most people think of, when they fondly remember this show. I'm surprised it hasn't become a meme yet (much like "Beeyou").


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