This week’s episode was big for me because it confirmed a long held theory of mine: Jason Sudeikis is extremely talented and being held back by his stint on Saturday Night Live playing the straight man to a variety of Keenan Thompson and Kristin Wiig characters. Since he had a chance to work with Charlie Day in “Going the Distance” last year and show off some good comedic, scene-stealing (and yes, stealing a scene from Justin Long is a relative feat) ability, the two of them decided to work together on this episode. Tonight, Sudeikis had a chance to play Schmitty, the long-lost fourth member of the gang. On paper, this looked like a terrible set-up that left me with questions: why would the group have lose a member? Is it that hard for townies to lose touch? Did Schmitty keep in touch with the Ponderosas?
Rather than create an elaborate back story, it was simple. It was a four member crew ten years ago, but Charlie was jealous of him and convinced the group to push him out… of a moving car. The reunion works because Schmitty seems to be a smarter version of Charlie. Then, they slowly unravel him and show he’s not fit for the group: he lives at home because his Mom has MS, he questions all of the weird games Charlie played when they lived together — including “Night Crawlers” — and he even reworks Charlie’s butt dance. It’s early, but election returns are showing Butt Dance 2.0 may become a staple in my household.
I complained a few episodes ago that the action has not been taking place in the bar. Well, last week (BTW sorry about not reviewing what I thought was a great episode on Dee’s pregnancy) reintroduced hanging out at the bar as the center of the show. The show works best when Paddy’s is part of the action and not just a call back to sell t-shirts on FX.com. Hopefully we’ve moved past the constant zany setups and back to a world where the gang sticks together.
Dee has a side plot that you’re not going to believe. I won’t spoil it for you, but she realizes that she missed her dream of being an actress, finds an avenue to try to reclaim that glory and ultimately fails miserably. This brings her to helping her old drama teacher with his current class, but the big giveaway is she convinces Charlie to become a high school janitor to help cope with Schmitty replacing him. You’ll see the quotes below, but this one of the best scenes this season. Charley explains that he’s not a proud man, but he’s willing to degrade himself. Also, the principal is Dave Foley. If there is not a bigger use of him next week, I will be one sad panda.
Meanwhile, in Interesting Land, Schmitty starts to react to how weird the gang is the way that any normal person wood. He questions his sterling silver clover ring but really stops down once he learn that Dennis orders food for the entire group because he “has the most refined palate.” Like a modern day R.P. McMurphy, Schmitty leads Mac and Frank to also question their superiors and even go as far as to order ginger ale. It’s simple, it’s stupid and it’s funny.
Things finally fall apart when Schmitty shows up to his 3 p.m. initiation late and not wearing his ring. Under the guise of a promise of a hot air balloon ride, they gang again tries to once again throw him out of a moving car, but Frank is not able to push him out, so he just politely says goodbye once they pull over. The group then goes to the school to ask Charlie to rejoin the group, but he declines to stay a janitor and also setup a promising second act next week. Word on the street is we finally get to watch some more of “Lethal Weapon 5,” which is more than enough for me. What can I say, I’m easy.
QUOTES! (lots of good ones this week):
- Dee: Rise and shine, dickwad.
- Charlie: Hey, you’re stilling living with your mom? That sounds kind of lame.
Schmitty: Well, it’s the M.S. that’s really lame, you know.
Dennis: Oh, your mom has Multiple sclerosis?
Schmitty: Yeah she’s doing alright. I moved in with her to take care of her; really get to know her before she moves on.
Charlie: That story is kind of a downer.
- Principal: I’m a little confused, are you telling me this photo of Bruce Jenner is your resume?
Charlie: Well, when I showed up this morning I didn’t have a formal resume on me so I was sort of hoping the photograph of Mr. Jenner could represent the standard of excellence I’m hoping to bring to his position.
Principal: And you’re looking for a job as a substitute teacher?
Charlie: Substitute janitor.
- Charlie: I’m serious I will eat that eraser whole.
Principal: You don’t need to eat the eraser to prove your point, you have the job.
Charlie: Are you serious?
Principal: I love your attitude.
Charlie: Sir, I’m not gonna let you down. I’m gonna start cleaning immediately. But, first, can I eat the eraser?
- Mac: What’s weird about this? This is a men’s ceremony. They have ceremonies for all sorts of men’s club. Ya know, the mafia, the Free Masons, The White House…