The Best Lines from The Good Place S03E06: ‘The Ballad of Donkey Doug’

 

After The Good Place shook up its premise yet again in last week’s incredible episode, it seems like the show has, for now, chosen to settle in with this new direction they’ve decided to take. With the Study Group coming to terms with their own doomed existence (after they accidentally find out about the afterlife, thus disqualifying them from accumulating any more Good Place/Bad Place points), they’ve decided to dedicate what remains of their lives to helping others find their way onto the right path and get into the Good Place. In other words, they’re being good people only for the sake of being good people. In this week’s episode, “The Ballad of Donkey Doug”, they choose to start close to home, in an episode that sees the group split in two.

Covering the episode’s title in the A-plot is Michael, Tahani and Jason, who travel to Jacksonville to help Jason’s father, who, in another twist, turns out to be Jason’s friend and the man who often sends Jason down the wrong path, Donkey Doug. They want to convince him to finish his electrician’s degree, but Donkey Doug is more concerned with his new business venture, a body spray/energy drink two-in-one combo (three-in-one if you get the 24 hour lemon musk extreme, which also serves a lubricant). Jason and his cohorts eventually agree to listen to Doug’s idea and even help him, but unfortunately getting it off the ground involves robbing up to three factories. Jason eventually realizes that his father is a lost cause, so he shifts his attention to their friend Pillboi, who is already on a decent path working at an old folks’ home. They convince him to keep working there and stay away from Donkey Doug (as part of a secret NASA conspiracy, but whatever) before they move on to reconciling Tahani and her sister’s relationship at the end of the episode.

As for group B (Chidi, Eleanor and Janet), they’re tasked with finding a way for Chidi to break up with his girlfriend Simone, since he can’t risk her finding out what he and the others know, keeping in mind that Chidi’s moral code prevents him from lying. In order to practice, Janet builds a simulation machine using her knowledge of everything, in which Chidi goes through attempt after attempt of trying to break up with Simone in the perfect way without letting it slip that he knows about the afterlife. Despite all their attempts (and even one by Eleanor) the actual breakup goes pretty badly (Chidi hilariously yells “Ya dumped!” at Simone), but he later smooths things out with her.

Along with the twist at the end, revealing that Eleanor’s mother faked her death, it seems like this is what we’re in for for the next little while, at least until the show decides to shake things up again. And I can’t say that I’m disappointed. At this point, I’m all in with whatever Michael Schur decides to do with this show. He’s proven to be infallible with the premise of this show, and I’m not going to bother speculating where it could go next, because who could have predicted that the show about four people seemingly going to heaven would take so many twists and turns on its way to being this weird, hilarious version of Quantum Leap or The Littlest Hobo or whatever other show about strangers helping new people each week. And I’m sure we’ll be saying the same thing about wherever the show winds up going in a few episodes. Still, it’s interesting to see the show blow through so much plot. I’ve seen takes that suggest how last week’s episode could have been a perfect series finale for any other show, and yet The Good Place continues to chug along, as funny and relevant as ever.

I’m not sure if “The Ballad of Donkey Doug” had any moral or philosophical purpose, as previous episodes have had, but it was still as funny and compelling as ever, and so it gets 8 secret astronaut spies out of 10.


The Best Lines from this week’s episode of The Good Place:

  • Tahani Namedrops: Sting and Elon Musk.
  • Visual Gags: Jacksonville’s airport is dedicated to Randy “Macho Man” Savage, and Chidi dumps Simone at the “French Pressing Nemo Cafe”.
  • My favourite gag from his week’s episode has to be Tahani’s incredulity towards the fact that the infamous Donkey Doug is Jason’s father, but also great is the variety of Chidi’s attempts to break up with Simone, ranging from the one where he offers her a puppy, to the one where he just randomly proposes, to the one where Eleanor takes over Simone’s projection. Also great: Michael hardly being able to contain himself when he finds out his taxi is a monster truck.
  • Sad to see Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Simone) likely gone from the show, but considering the year she’s had (also appearing on Killing Eve, Barry and Love, among others) I doubt we’ll be missing her for very long.
  • Eleanor: “I thought she was intimidating. That’s why I shoved her into that creek.”
  • Janet: “Bing! I usually appear out of thin air and there would be a pleasant ‘bing’ sound but I don’t have my powers, so I’m doing my own bings now. Bing!”
  • Tahani/Jason: “The Donkey Doug who got banned from Disney World for biting Buzz Lightyear?” “In his defense, he thought it was someone else.” “Who!?”
  • Jason: “He created a sport that was a cross between dodgeball and horseshoes and everybody died.”
  • Donkey Doug: “How about you and I go check out my jacuzzi and put stuff in each other?”
  • Simone: “Who’s Janet and why are you screaming her name into the sky?”
  • Donkey Doug: “Me and Pillboi have been cooking up something special and this time it’s not fake meth.”
  • Pillboi: “Sharks, how much do you spend on energy drinks and body spray in one week? Three hundred? Ten hundred?”
  • Donkey Doug: “I’ll finally be able to pay to have my calf implants moved back up from my feet.”
  • Jason: “Double Trouble sounds amazing. We should big fast, the other sharks are gonna want in.”
  • Chidi: “No you don’t understand, I don’t technically love you. In the same way. Because of circumstances.”
  • Tahani: “There’s an awful lot of dog hair on the furniture but I’ve not seen a dog.”
  • Tahani: “Reach for the stars, as I said to my good friend Elon Musk. And then he shot his car into space. What a weird creep, why was I friends with him?”
  • Michael/Donkey Doug: “It’s not like he’s robbing a bank.” “Yeah, it’s a factory.”
  • Jason/Michael: “I have an idea but I need your help. Will you guys help me?” “I mean, yeah, that’s why we’re here, Jason.”
  • Chidi: “Ya dumped!”
  • Pillboi: “I gotta take off cause I gotta go do a robbery. I mean, I’m sick.”
  • Eleanor: “Can I use the simulator? There’s a very specific Lenny Kravitz concert I wanna be front row at.”

 

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The Best Lines From It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia S13E08: “Charlie’s Home Alone”

After a raucous, delightful and even experimental string of four or five episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the show decided to get a little weirder than we’re probably used to with the eighth episode of this season. “Charlie’s Home Alone” is, for all intents and purposes, an experimental episode of IASIP. It mostly features just Charlie, it’s mostly set in the bar, and it goes to some bizarre places and extreme lengths to depict the events of what he went through during last year’s Super Bowl, when the Philadelphia Eagles finally won football’s top prize. What’s more, it’s only half the story, as it ends on a cliffhanger, promising to show us what Dee, Mac, Frank and some of the show’s fringe characters were up to at the same time, as early in the episode they depart on a party bus, bound for the Super Bowl, thinking Charlie is with them donning the Green Suit (the description suggests that Cricket might be the one that stole Charlie’s suit, leading to him being left behind).

Once they do, and Charlie realizes he’s been left behind (actually, he believes he’s wished his friends out of existence), the first act plays out exactly like the first act of Home Alone, from the Christmas music right down to the beats of certain scenes from that film as well as lines of dialog. This is in no way a Christmas episode of IASIP, which makes it all the more hilarious that they use the exact songs from that movie, as does the fact that Charlie never once acknowledge what he’s spoofing. After rifling through everyone’s stuff and taking his turn on Mac’s dildo bike, Charlie sets up shop at the bar, waiting for the game to begin. But when a couple of locals try to get into Paddy’s, Charlie assumes they’re intruders and begins setting up a bunch of traps.

The episode takes a drastic left turn when he sets off one of his own traps, namely a bear trap. The loss of blood, the brutal cauterizing scene and everything that follows take this from Home Alone to something more along the lines of 127 Hours or The Revenant, as Charlie fights to fulfill his usual superstitions, thinking that if he doesn’t, the Eagles will lose the Big Game. He drops a green paint bucket on his head, because he has to wear green. He eats a rat, because he has to eat brown. He drinks his own pee (of course) because he has to drink yellow. And when hallucinations of Eagles players inform him how he could (easily) get out of the bear trap and he turns on the TV to see Tom Brady in possession with time on the clock, they tell him he has to get back in it as it’s part of his superstitions now.

That’s about where the episode ends, following an extended, brutal sequence of torture porn. We, in reality, know that the Eagles go on to win the Super Bowl, but the show decides to save that fact for next week and the other side of the story. Which is, honestly, a little frustrating for a show like, no less an episode like this, which is already a tad unusual. Don’t get me wrong, despite the fact that it’s an incomplete episode and that it lands on certain uncomfortable extremes with how it treats Charlie, it’s still full of laughs and has some good highs. But it also doesn’t feel like what I would have wanted out of an episode like this.

It’s funny, because it kind of reminded me a little of the seminal “Charlie Work”, the seminal season 10 episode rightfully lauded as one of the best of the series, in large part for its experimental, precognisant parody of Birdman and other movies with long tracking shots. But that episode was written by Charlie Day, Rob McElheney and Glenn Howerton. This one was written by first timers Adam Weinstock and Andy Jones, likely part of the show’s effort to diversify and rejuvenate its writer’s room as those three co-creators took a step back, thanks to their increasingly busy schedules and, notably, Glenn Howerton’s teased semi-absence from the show. Howerton in particular is completely absent from this episode, as it takes place during a time where his character would have been away from Philadelphia and The Gang. I don’t want to blame it specifically on those two guys, because the makeup of the show has been completely different and other combinations of new writers have paid dividends this season, but it does feel like the failures of this episode could probably be pointed to a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes experimental episodes like “Charlie Work” so special. And what makes them special is that while they’re trying something crazy, something new, they still feel like the core of the same show. Charlie Day does his best to make that work here, and I don’t exactly mean to say that the stuff his character is doing isn’t stuff we’d think he’d do, but something feels off about it, or missing, and it’s more glaring when there’s only one character to carry the plot and the comedy.

“Charlie’s Home Alone” isn’t a terrible episode. It’s an incomplete episode, and unfortunately it’s probably the worst of this thirteenth season, so it gets 6.5 sticky bibles out of 10.


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The Best Lines from “Charlie’s Home Alone:”

  • Goddammit Count: unless I missed some during Charlie’s wailing, I didn’t hear any this week.
  • Dee: “First of all, how is ‘salmonella’ the only word you spelled right?”
  • Charlie: “I made my friends disappear. I made my friends disappear!”
  • Guy: “Well, which one is it? Is it closed for salmonella or is it closed for Super Bowl?”
  • Charlie after doing the aftershave bit from Home Alone: “I don’t know why I’m screaming, this doesn’t hurt at all?”
  • Charlie after getting a nail in the shoulder from his own trap: “Why would anybody do that to anybody?”
  • “You bought the trap, Charlie. I only know about the release lever because you know about the release lever. You get that, right?”
  • “Every single thing a fan does, at home or at the game, has a direct impact on the game.”

The Best Lines From The Good Place S03E05: “Jeremy Bearimy”

Probably the best thing about this week’s premise-altering episode of The Good Place (other than Chidi’s newly-revealed abs) has to be the fact that, prior to blowing up the plot for the umpteenth time, the show seems to make an earnest attempt to do the thing that most other sitcoms would do to slow things down. At the end of last week’s episode, our study group catches Michael and Janet opening the portal to the afterlife. Eventually, Michael is forced to reveal all to the group, as he’s done many a time in the past, but first comes an ill-fated lie, rebranding himself as Special Agent Rick Justice of the FBI’s paranormal activity squad, tasked which chasing demons ghouls and attempting to convince the four that they’re somehow part of it.

Eleanor et al instantly see through it. On any other show, they might not have. But on The Good Place, it’s totally in line with their characters to deny it, even though, a moment later, Michael is forced to give them the truth and they instantly believe it. A big fat important part about Michael’s character is that he’s bad at lying. Even the best, most finely-tuned lie, like the original Neighourhood, is going to get turned on its head, because no matter how hard he tries, it’s never convincing enough. Making up a terrible, amazing alias on the spot isn’t going to trick these four, whether they remember his previous lies or not. And yet, when he explains the truth – that they’ve died and spent hundreds of years in hell, and that the afterline’s timeline looks like the English cursive representation of the name “Jeremy Bearimy”, which also happens to be this week’s episode title – there is no objection.

This is a perfect encapsulation of The Good Place’s earnestness, and why the format works so well. The characters are consistent and have incredible chemistry with one another, no matter what crazy situation the writers inevitably place them in. What really puts it over the top, however, is the quality of the writing and what the writers choose to do with those situations, and those finely tuned characters. It’s kind of shocking how such a critical episode chooses not to be plot-driven, but instead make a point about the show’s philosophical and ethical questions. Especially since it chooses to do so without reverting back to the often-used contrivance of the show of having Chidi serve as the group’s professor.

Instead, faced with a life meaningless existence, expecting thereafter an eternity of suffering, the group is left to their own devices, as everyone chooses to take a completely different path. Michael and Janet are writing a manifesto of their experience (and based on how much the episode focuses on this you have to imagine something will come of it, like maybe the manifesto getting leaked to the public and breaking the entire system). Tahani decides to give away all of her money while Jason, in her tow, aims her towards giving it to the people he perceives might need it the most. Eleanor says she’s going to play by her own rules, as she did before her original death, but finds that she’s suddenly bound by the rules of society she was previously keen on ignoring. And Chidi, faced with irrefutable yet irreconcilable proof that his life is a lie and his lifelong struggle with indecisiveness was ultimately pointless, is merely broken. He strips down, spends hundreds of dollars on groceries, makes a disgusting chili and has an episode in front of his classroom.

And yet, while he’s having his breakdown, he winds up summing up exactly what everyone in the group is doing. Tahani’s actions are proof of virtue ethics, as she chooses to be a good person regardless of the consequences as she donates anonymously (but not the way another Ted Danson character did on Curb Your Enthusiasm). Jason chooses consequentialism, steering her virtue towards those who need it the most. Eleanor sticks with deontology, a.k.a. the actions themselves and the rules of society. Chidi simply disregards all of these options and opts to go with nihilism, since nothing matters and actions are inconsequential.

The truth winds up being somewhere in the middle, as Eleanor winds up rallying the group with a plan to do good and help people because trying is better than not trying. However, before they can get started on their new path, Larry Hemsworth shows up, unaware of what’s transpired. I kind of hope they never address his appearance and everyone just assumes Tahani dumped poor Larry offscreen.

All of this makes “Jeremy Bearimy” one of the best episodes of The Good Place and of TV this year, good enough for 9.5 wings and atria out of 10.


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The Best Lines from The Good Place S03E05:

  • Tahani Namedrops: James Cameron, “The Bodyguard’s” Kevin Costner.
  • Michael Aliases: Special Agent Rick Justice, FBI, and for Janet, Lisa “double nickname” Fuquois, AKA “Frenchie”, AKA “Janet”.
  • Seriously though, damn Chidi. And I’m not talking about his shirt that reads “Who What Where When Wine”.
  • Eleanor winds up at a bar called “Drinking Nemo.”
  • Tahani: “What’s The Good Place and, what are afterlife points and, who has the most and is it me?
  • Michael: “But you’re forgetting one crucial piece of information… right?”
  • Michael: “I could kill them all right now, it would be easy. Their bodies are very poorly made. They’re mostly goo and juice. You just take the juice out and then they’re dead.”
  • Janet/Michael: “So sorry for eternally dooming you.” “That’s our bad.”
  • Michael explaining the dot above the I to Chidi: “How do I explain this concisely… this is Tuesdays. And also July. And sometimes it’s never.”
  • Tahani: “I need you to act as my bodyguard, like my friend Kevin Costner in that movie where he was a bodyguard, ‘The Bodyguard’.”
  • Jason: “In Jacksonville, I got a flu virus named after me because I kissed a bat on a dare.”
  • Drug Dealer to Chidi: “I was just trying to sell you some drugs and you made it weird.”
  • Eleanor: “Rule number two, no more Spider-Man movies. There are way too many Spider-Man movies, so many dorky little twerpy Spider-Men.”
  • Eleanor: “In America everybody does whatever they want, society did break down, it’s terrible and it’s great. You only look out for number one, scream at whoever disagrees with you, there are no bees because they all died, and if you need surgery you just beg for money on the internet.”
  • Tahani: “Hello madam, are you poor?”
  • Jason: “I could have gone to a real doctor instead of pretending I was a big dog so I could go to the vet.”
  • Banker: “We’re technically supposed to shut down the bank if anyone from Florida even walks in.”
  • Jason: “If it’s any easier you can just put it on a GameStop gift card.”
  • Man/Eleanor: “Are you alright?” “No, YOU shut up.”
  • Chidi: “Imma eat all this chili, and/or die trying.”
  • Chidi: “And now I’m gonna eat my marshmallow candi chili in silence and you all can jump up into your own butts.”
  • Michael: “I know it’s Thursday but I’d really like to visit a LensCrafters.”

 

The Best Lines from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia S13E07: “The Gang Does a Clip Show”

One of the best things about It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is how much they can create out of so little. This has never been a high budget show. It’s seldom been a show that ventures outside of the handful of its established sets. And yet, those episodes, even the ones confined specifically within the walls of Paddy’s Pub, often wind up ranking among the show’s best.

The show has been on a helluva run in this thirteenth season, and a lot of that has to with this aforementioned efficacy. The last three episodes in particular have been incredible, starting with The Gang tackling the #MeToo movement, all within the confines of a hotel conference room, followed by an episode of classic shenanigans that ends as absurdly and as dark as we’ve ever seen on this show, and culminating with last week’s politics-infused bottle episode. The streak continued this week with “The Gang Does a Clip Episode”, another bottle episode, this time featuring clips from the show’s past before things get weird and meta and inspired by Inception. Like last week, outside of said clips and flashbacks, the action largely takes place within the confines of the bar. Hell, all five characters barely move from their seats, and the episode even comes in a little shorter than usual. And yet, remarkably, the show and the episode’s writers (Dannah Phirman and Danielle Schneider, the duo who also wrote the Wade Boggs reboot episode earlier this season) still find ways to cram it full of great jokes, unexpected twists and things we’ve never seen from the show before.

“That’s what you do when you start getting old. You start reliving the glory days because you can’t think of anything new to do.”

Those words are uttered by Dennis at some point in the episode, which features the gang sitting around reliving their memories while they wait for their phones to update to the newest version of the software, so they can go back to ignoring each other. It’s obviously meant as a self-referential dig, as IASIP is archaic as far as modern shows – especially sitcoms – are concerned. But nothing could be further from the truth about this episode, since it finds something new, something unique to do with a sitcom format that’s been around for ages.

The meta clip show has been done in and of itself. Community did it a couple of times and shows like How I Met Your Mother and New Girl even baked it into their formulas, but I don’t think I can remember a show that took actual clips from its past and changed them in order to do an Inception-style “what reality is this” bit. The way they peppered in fake clips with the real ones was great. The way reality started to change around them was hilarious; people are already talking about Frank with hair and creepily long legs, but Charlie peaking into his own memories is possibly the funniest thing I’ve seen on TV in a while. Not to mention the word-for-word Seinfeld “The Contest” recreation, complete with two Jerrys. And the best part is that it ends implying that the show going forward is ostensibly taking place within Charlie’s mind (although you could have said that about the show for the past few years, to be honest).

This feels like the kind of episode people will either love or hate. It’s both a little too meta and a little too confined, but I thought the show found brilliant ways to elevate the shortcomings of the bottle/clip episode in perfectly IASIP ways, with perfectly IASIP gags and jokes.

I truly have trouble wrapping my head around how It’s Always Sunny manages to stay this good and this consistent after so many years, no less how it’s managed to put out four bangers in a row. “The Gang Does A Clip Show” gets 9.5 software updates out of 10.


The Best Lines from S13E07 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:

  • Goddamnit Count: I didn’t hear any this week! That said there were a bunch of uncensored “fucks” (and a censored R-word, curiously enough).
  • I won’t throw in any lines from the clips but my favourite is probably a tie between Wildcard/the Implication.
  • Frank: “Do you remember when I sowed myself into the couch naked?”
  • Charlie: “The way you tell that is like I was there, and I was not there.”
  • Frank on Dee’s accents: “You’re remembering the time you burned a Mexican’s house down.”
  • Dennis on Dee’s accents: “We decided that isn’t funny anymore, as a society.”
  • Dee: “Yeah, what was that, I am not an ostrich.”
  • Mac/Frank: “Wait, you went to North Dakota?” “I don’t remember Dennis leaving.”
  • Charlie: “Now I’m getting confused because I was remembering the time I spoke Chinese. They gave me a magic pill and now I speak it fluently.”
  • Frank on Seinfeld: “So Jewish.”
  • Doctor/Dee/Doctor: “Your penises have suffered severe abrasions. The skin has been all but been removed from the organs. I’ve never seen anything like it.” “And my vagina?” “I’m afraid it’s been obliterated.”
  • Dennis: “For Christ’s sakes we can’t even sit around having memories without things getting out of hand.”
  • Dennis/Frank: “Frank, are you tall and handsome with a full head of hair?” “I’d like to think so, but no.”
  • Charlie: “Dennis, everyone knows that the most annoying person in the world is Mac. So why would you want to live with him?”
  • Dennis: “I love having a roommate who spends three hours a day on a dildo bike.”

‘Arrow’ Returns with a Refreshingly Entertaining Season 7 Premiere: ‘Inmate 4587’ Recap

I didn’t really think I’d be watching Arrow anymore in 2018, yet alone writing about it. A lapsed fan of the show, I slogged through the first half of the season around this time last year before finally giving up on it around the midpoint of season 6. Slow, repetitive, poorly written and overall uninteresting, it really felt as if the show had no more runway. There are only so many interesting things you can do in a show about an underpowered, more colourful Batman-type hero with limited access to D.C.’s Rogues Gallery. Over six seasons of Arrow, we had seen it all. Personal grudges, flashbacks, unnecessarily elaborate plans to destroy Star City, copycat vigilantes, even more personal grudges… and yet, on Monday night, after some effective advertising and a severe lack of anything to watch on that night (now that Better Call Saul has wrapped its fourth season and the only remotely interesting new Monday show, Manifest, turning out to be a dud), I sat down to watch the season 7 premiere and I was pleasantly surprised!

To put it briefly, season 7 feels fresh, exciting, and willing to open the show up to some interesting places that could breathe new life into the show for the long term. While it’s still rough around the edges and still suffers from some questionable writing, the premiere, “Inmate 4587”, is entertaining and interesting enough to rope me back into the show.

But before getting into what I liked so much about the premiere, let’s recap how we got here… I left the show when Michael Emerson’s Cayden James was still toiling as an under-used generic villain plotting to destroy Team Arrow as revenge for his dead son. As, for some reason, the mayor of Star City, Oliver Queen was having trouble balancing his job, his duties as the Green Arrow, his relationship with his wife Felicity and the estranged son he was now responsible for, so he decides to build a team. Only problem is that they were all mostly greener than his uniform and also largely untrustworthy, so they split up, get back together, split up, etc. Also, the true villain of the season turned out to be one of Cayden James lackeys, Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), who was orchestrating everything in order to take over Star City. Yadda yadda yadda, Oliver defeats Diaz by turning himself in and admitting he’s the Green Arrow, in exchange for help taking Diaz down and immunity for his friends. Diaz’s empire crumbles, the allies he hasn’t murdered turn against him and he winds up in the wind, running from Argus but also plotting to destroy Oliver.

So, season 7 begins and Oliver is in a prison filled with people who he took down, and incapable of helping the people he loves on the outside. He’s keeping his head down, minding his own business and counting the days, trying not to rile up the likes of Derek Sampson (Cody Rhodes), Brick (Vinnie Jones) and others who are jonesing at the opportunity to mess with him now that he’s vulnerable. However, he winds up getting into a series of confrontations with other inmates, one at the behest of Diaz, who wants to send him a message that he’s coming after his family. Along with what they did to a wrongfully convicted man who was asking for his protection, he decides that even as Oliver Queen in a prison jumpsuit, he is still the Arrow, and he stakes his claim as protector of the innocent in this prison and the big dog in the yard.

Just about everything in these prison sequences is great and the main reason why I’m back on the Arrow train. I love that they’re using it as an opportunity to bring back underused villains from the show’s past. I love Oliver’s arc and what he has to go through to realize who he truly is and what he must do even while incarcerated. I love his look with the buzzcut and the beard, and I love that the show is going back to its roots with the topless working out. And the fight scenes are great. They’re trimmed down, simple, but still feel raw and brutal the way Arrow has often been good at doing. There’s even some symbolism in the scene where he fights people naked in the shower. On top of being obvious eye candy, it feels like the show is telling us that it’s willing to parse things down and get back to its roots.

That being said, it’s also willing to go some crazy places, because underscoring all of this is a series of scenes set in Lian Yu which turn out to be flash-forwards, showcasing a grown up William finding his way onto the island with his father’s arrowhead (given to him by Felicity in the episode) and encountering an old Roy Harper, talking about Oliver in the past tense. Arrow has never shied away from comparisons to LOST, but to see it dive head-first into that territory with a flash-forward and a return to the island opens things up to all sorts of possibilities. We can only guess where all of this is going, but moving forward in time while keeping the old format of sideplots through flashbacks/forwards might help breathe new life into a show that seemingly lost its way when those flashbacks caught up to them. There is a legacy in the comics for an older Oliver Queen, there are things they can do in an advanced timeline, and I would be totally down to seeing them get crazy with that kind of thing.

Those two storylines are what I choose to focus on here, what I enjoyed and what is exciting me the most about this season. That being said, “Inmate 4587” isn’t devoid of problems. Everything else about the episode feels like it’s still suffering from all the things that turned me off from the show in the first place. Without being too much of a downer, here’s a recap:

  • Felicity is in witness protection as a flannel-wearing emo barista for some reason, and she’s being hit on by an IT guy whose computer she fixes and who is clearly working for either Diaz or Diggle at Argus.
  • In a sequences that felt as if it was missing a scene before and after, Diaz somehow finds Felicity, tries to kill her, fails despite the fact that he’s supposed to be a cunning criminal mastermind, and then just leaves.
  • Rene and Dinah continue to be the worst, despite the fact that I haven’t seen them for the lion’s share of a full season. Rene is training some kids in self-defense and Dinah is the police captain now (why they’d promote a former vigilante is anyone’s guess, then again the DA is freaking Evil Laurel…).
  • Their paths cross when a new hooded archer appears in town. Rene thinks he’s protecting the city, Dinah doesn’t want to mess with her immunity agreement and is also, you know, a police captain, so she tries to take him down, only for Rene to get in her way and help him escape. The new Green Arrow gives the money from a drug bust to the poor, but Dinah is not convinced. She and Rene continue to be the worst.
  • Funny enough, I could care less about who is under the new hood.

I really hope the show doesn’t wind up getting bogged down with the worse aspects of its storytelling. The show has one or two too many characters, those characters are no good and completely uninteresting and detract from the things that the show has figured out about itself. I understand that changes can’t be made overnight, so let’s hope that those are just growing pains as Arrow figures out its new self and not the bullshit that will seep through like it seems to always do.

While the premiere may seem like kind of a mixed back, the good stuff is good enough for me to be fully back on board with the show for now. They managed to make a superhero-in-jail storyline that we’ve seen a million times before (The Flash freaking did this last season) interesting and even having me hope they stick with it for a while, and while the flash-forwards could go either way, for now, they’re providing an exciting wrinkle to a show that desperately needed that kind of thing. While I won’t be writing about the show every week this season, I will certainly be watching and I’m excited to see what comes next. “Inmate 4587” gets 7.5 prison yard pull-ups out of 10.

The Best Lines From The Good Place S03E04: ‘The Snowplow’

Among the qualities which help make The Good Place one of the best shows on TV is its impeccable timing. In this age of Peak TV, it’s no longer enough to simply be really funny (but disjointed in terms of plot) or offer mind-bending twists that feel unearned. The Good Place doesn’t have this problem because it’s checks every box. It’s funny on the speed of a show like 30 Rock, it’s twisty akin to a LOST, and it’s well-structured and has weight to it like any number of prestige dramas, despite being a network sitcom.

Pace and timing has a lot to do with making all of this work. I’ve talked a lot in the past about how creator Michael Schur and his troupe of writers have no problem blowing through plot that would be drawn out over multiple seasons, but it’s not simply enough to be fast-pased and forward thinking, because you run the risk of giving your audience a bad case of fear of missing out. The Good Place works because even though you want more of the stuff they leave behind, the path forward manages to be even more compelling.

“The Snowplow” is the latest example of why the show is so good at all of this, as is blows up the premise once again, even though we’re only four episodes into this third season and the new normal of the show after Michael resets the timeline and puts Chidi, Eleanor, Jason and Tahani back in their old lives, as if they never died and spent thousands of years being psychologically tortured by his former, overzealous demon self. Last week, we saw Michael and Janet dispense of Trevor and his attempts to set Michael’s plan ablaze, but in the process they burned their bridge with The Judge, forcing them to go on the run down on earth, devoid of their powers. But they’re still laser-focused on their goal of making sure their four friends tally enough points to make it to the Good Place, so they spend the next year holed up in the abandoned journalism department of the university where Chidi is conducting his study on the rest of the group, spying on them and occasionally interfering in order to put out fired and set them back on track. Unfortunately, their interference backfires when Tahani gets engaged to Larry Hemsworth and vows to leave Australia for London. Michael and Janet try to interfere again at the engagement party, but none of it works and it only helps usher Eleanor down her usual path of destructiveness.

This is where I start to annoyingly sing the show’s praises again, because what follows is kind of beautifully tragic. While Michael panics, thinking the group can’t achieve what they need to unless they stay together in Australia, the gang of four vows to reunite at least once a year at one of their respective homes, signalling that all hope isn’t necessarily lost. Unfortunately Michael isn’t around to see this. Flustered, he devises a Hail Mary plan to break into The Judge’s chambers and reset the timeline, much like he did when the gang first found out they were in The Bad Place (and the hundreds of times they found out thereafter). Unfortunately, they see him open the portal, leaving us with a cliffhanger where the group might suddenly become aware of their sinister situation.

Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, if Michael manages to reset the timeline, if everyone goes up to try and help them or if he somehow fools them, but knowing what this show is capable of and what it’s done in the past, it’s likely to be something good and something crazy, turning everything we know about the show on its head once again. And here I thought we were in for an episode of yearly group meet-ups.

Like I said, the twists alone aren’t enough, the show is brilliant on all fronts. Janet spends the episode using the ubiquitous knowledge she still has before she left the afterlife, Michael comes up with yet another persona (Nathaniel Cookswell, caterer to the stars), there’s a debate about Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock, we were introduced to Superboard, and the show even pays off a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gag from last week’s episode featuring an Australian version of AUS Weekly (not to be confused with TMZed) revealing a fake, worthless Hemsworth brother, who immediately pays dividends in this episode as a self-loathing baby surgeon who barely even has an eight-pack.

This is a show that’s been firing on all cylinders since late in its first season, and I see no sign of that stopping. “The Snowplow” gets 9 lesser known Hemsworth brothers out of 10.


All The Best Lines from “The Snowplow:”

  • Tahani Namedrops: Giselle Buncheon and, without actually naming him, Tom Brady.
  • The Judge: “I have never been this angry in my life. Which is the age of the universe.”
  • Michael/Judge: “Sorry Judge I think you’re breaking up.” “That’s impossible, it’s a magical key you dick.”
  • Janet: “Not a great star, Eleanor farted and then she blamed it on her chair.”
  • Chidi reading Trevor’s email (which is really from Michael): “I’m sad to inform you that I’m too ugly and stupid to be part of the study and I’m going home to my mommy.”
  • Jason: “Your chair smells bad.”
  • Eleanor: “I try to avoid pointless group activities. You know like office Christmas parties or jury duty.”
  • Eleanor: “Well I’m really good at marketing and I can usually tell how long to microwave food without looking at the box. I would say those are my two main skills.”
  • Janet: “Also that bathroom key that you lost nine months ago slid under the register. And the woman who you think is your aunt is actually your mom.”
  • Tahani after Eleanor wins $18,000: “Better luck next time. Yes, sorry, from context I see that’s actually a large sum of money.”
  • Jason: “Everything here is in a… I don’t know how to describe it, like a different zone of time? No, that sounds stupid. A different clockland!”
  • Jason: “If you want to watch with me you have to learn my Jaguars cheer. It goes, ‘let’s go Jags! Kick their ass! Yeah!’ Do you think you can learn that by the weekend?”
  • Larry Hemsworth: “Stupid Larry stop talking about rocks!”
  • On the Superboard’s news: “Koala exhibit at zoo overrun by extra koalas who just climbed in and won’t leave.”
  • Larry/Chidi: “Still can’t believe she wants to marry me, a dumb old pediatric surgeon who barely has an eight pack.” “Do you not know what you look like?”
  • Eleanor: “Is that why you came out? To scold me about the metric system?”
  • Eleanor: “We hate The Rock because he went Hollywood and Stone Cold keeps it real. So The Rock’s fans are the real jabronis.”
  • Eleanor: “I’m not really an I’m sorry type girl. I’m more of a it’s your fault your car got keyed in the movie theater parking lot because you wouldn’t stop talking through John Wick type girl.”
  • Jason: “We should meet up in Jacksonville. My house is right on the water. It didn’t used to be but the whole city is a swamp and it’s sinking into the ocean.”

The Best Lines from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia S13E06: “The Gang Solves The Bathroom Problem”

The funniest thing about yet another hilarious season 13 episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is that the debate that The Gang is having about who should be able to use what bathroom isn’t that far removed from reality, at least in terms of the scope if its ridiculousness. In “The Gang Solves The Bathroom Problem”, they never venture too deep into the actual crazy arguments that most conservatives lean on in this debate, but the idea that one’s identity needs to be tied to where they poop, that one’s safety is in jeopardy if we change the current status quo, is a big part of what’s at stake in the episode, as well as a lot of other more generic political and social topics that The Gang tackles, as the show returns to its more meta format after taking a week off for some more classic Sunny style shenanigans.

In the episode, The Gang, and Dee in particular, are horrified when they see Mac coming out of the women’s bathroom, using his homosexuality as an excuse for why he should be able to use it. The guys first decry his argument to be silly, but when they venture into Dee’s bathroom and realize it’s much better and cleaner than theirs, they all want a piece of the action, leading to a bar-confined debate that spans all of the topics mentioned above, and that winds up going to some truly depraved places as everyone’s poop secrets are revealed.

It’s a classic Sunny bottle episode, akin to the classics “Charlie Work” and “CharDee MacDennis” (although, to be fair, almost every episode this season has veered pretty close to bottle episode status). The entire episode is confined within Paddy’s Pub in order for The Gang to have it out, in this case over politics, which seems to be the new normal for the show. Lining that discussion is a wonderfully ridiculous premise of this being the day of The Gang’s yearly pilgrimage to go see one Jimmy Buffett in concert. Adding to the brilliance is the fact that they never once play Margaritaville or any other Buffett songs, opting instead to score the episode to Rupert Holmes’ Escape (The Pina Colada Song), which many confuse for a Buffett joint. The premise is that half the gang’s disinterest with Buffett himself and the arguments they usually have the night prior always detract from the Buffett experience, and Dennis is desperate to avoid the same trap. Of course, it doesn’t quite pan out that way for him, as The Gang spends the night debating potential changes to Paddy’s bathroom policy, shifting alliances and revealing scatological secrets about one another, all whilst getting into the petty argument they wished to avoid.

Some fans of the show (probably ones who come to it largely for the dunking they do on the one female character) might be growing wary of the show’s bleeding heart liberal stances on big issues this season, but I think it’s been a breath of fresh air for a show that’s been on this long, and it certainly hasn’t detracted from IASIP’s ability to be hilarious. “The Gang Solves The Bathroom Problem” hits all of the checkmarks needed for the show and continues it’s impressive streak in this unprecedented 13th season, so it gets 9 gender fluids out of 10.


The Best Lines From “The Gang Solves The Bathroom Problem:

  • Goddamnit Count: A healthy four this week. More impressive is Mac dropping almost as many F-bombs in this episode, all at Dee’s expense.
  • Mac/Dee: “The whole men’s a women’s bathroom thing is antiquated.” “Maybe, you’re antiquated.” “MAYBE I’LL FUCKING CHOKE YOU OUT.”
  • Frank: “This is all confusing. Why do I have to keep learning new things?”
  • Mac describing his dick mosaic, to the stunned silence of the rest of the Gang: “There’s also pictures of roadkill and roast beef sandwiches to accurately depict what a vagina looks like.”
  • Dee/Frank on the religious symbols on Frank’s sign: “I assume the dollar sign is meant to represent the Jews?” “Well it ain’t the Mormons.”
  • Dennis/Charlie: “We’re talking about evolution, all of a sudden we’re arguing about racism or whether or not ghouls exist.” “They do though, cause I’ve seen one.” (Charlie proceeds to try and choke Mac)
  • Mac/Frank on soundproofing the bathroom: “Some noise to cover the sound.” “Loud noises, like screaming.”
  • Frank, reading the constitution for the first time: “This is wild stuff. There’s a part in here that says that freed slaved are only three fifths of a person.”
  • Dee/Frank: “How do you use three fifths of a bathroom?” “Piss in the sink.”
  • Dennis: “I beg you to stop using the constitutions in the way you’re using it.”
  • Frank: “We outta take (pineapple) off pizza too. Hawaiians are savages.”
  • Dennis to Frank: “I hate when you’re on my side.”
  • Charlie‘s vote swings one way or another based on how the people who are talking are dressed (much like real swing voters): “I like the hat. I was focused on that most of the time. I’m kinda leaning towards you, I don’t know why. Might be the shirt.”
  • Mac: “We need to change out attitudes. And we need to change our latitudes.”
  • Dennis/Mac: “Are you more gay than Catholic?” “I don’t know, they’re at war!”
  • Dennis: “Finally! A win for straight white men.”
  • Dennis: “As a straight man I actually love Pina Coladas. But I don’t like getting caught in the rain, flattens my hair.”
  • Charlie/Dee: You know, as a man who poops transgender-” “You gotta let that go.”
  • Dee/Charlie/Mac: “If we’re all the same then why don’t we focus on treating other people the way we want to be treated?” “Dee… we were just talking.” “Yeah, shut the fuck up. SHUT THE FUCK UP.”

Better Call Saul S04E10 Recap: ‘Winner’ [Season Finale]

Juxtaposition.

I’ve probably sounded like a major rube uttering that word in most of these reviews reviews this season, but it bears repeating; as much as Better Call Saul is a show about people with good intentions beaten down to the point where they feel compelled to turn to the life of evil they seem accustomed to when we see them in Breaking Bad, it’s also a show about varying scales of such descents into depravity.

This show has always been about propping up the bad things that Jimmy McGill does for comparison against the bad things that are happening in the world of New Mexico’s drug cartels that he will eventually be introduced to. For we know Jimmy to have that aura of a slimeball within him, resorting to doing bad things when life pushes him down one too many times. But bending the law and, as was the topic of discussion in his arc in last night’s finale, “Winner”, feigning sincerity, is still a far stretch away from the moral bankruptcy of his eventual employers. So it’s not enough to merely explain how the mild-mannered, fast-talking, sometimes two-timing brother of a respected lawyer can go from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman, it also has to be explained how things on the other side of the spectrum get so crazy and dire that they need to drag a Saul Goodman into things.

Last night’s finale ends with Jimmy quite literally becoming Saul, after four years of fans wondering when and how that was going to happen. And the funny thing is that it happens so subtly, with little fanfare. After successfully appealing the bar’s decision not to give him his law license back by pretending to be moved by a letter his brother wrote him before his death, Jimmy nonchalantly tells the clerk who gives him the good news that he wants the form needed to change the name under which he’ll be practicing law. When a confused Kim asks him what’s going on, he merely responds “S’all good, man,” much to her dismay, just moments after shedding legitimate tears at what turns out to be his phony sincerity.

It probably isn’t the big, crazy moment that some might have envisioned. Jimmy isn’t forced into becoming Saul because of a deal gone bad or a threat on his life or anything like that. Life merely chips away at him enough that he decides to shed his persona and the name attached to it and become something else in order to flourish. In his eyes, being in the shadow of his brother Chuck has never given him an advantage (even though, as we saw in the cold open, Chuck gladly stood by his side when he first got his license and even carried him home after he had one too many to drink at his karaoke celebration later that night). Obviously the point is that Jimmy isn’t 100% in the right here. Chuck was a dick, and he probably didn’t care for Jimmy as much as you’d expect a brother to, but Jimmy was a fuck up regardless of Chuck (just as Chuck’s problems weren’t sourced to Jimmy). In “Winner”, Jimmy uses his brother’s name one last time and chooses to fully divest himself from it and go his own way. Like I said, not a big, crazy moment, just another inch forward on a long road. Still, the show manages to stick the landing on this moment with grace, as it always does, rendering yet another gut punch to an unassuming Kim and to the audience.

Things aren’t so subtle, however, at the other end of of the spectrum, as Mike races to find a recently escaped Werner before Gus does, in hopes of saving him from certain death. Mike does his thing, and it’s wildly entertaining. But unbeknownst to him, he’s being followed by Lalo, who is a welcome wrench thrown into this show’s works. He doesn’t have the kind of grace that the writers have had us grown accustomed to with Mike. He’s sloppy, unpredictable and crazy. When Mike first notices him following his car, he drives into a parking lot and breaks the ticket machine. It distracts Lalo just enough, but like I said, he’s crazy, so he plows through the car in front of him and the barrier in order to make his escape. He then returns to the money wire store where the hunt for Werner first began, and instead of appealing to the clerk the way Mike did, he simply crawls into the vents, comes crashing through the ceiling and takes what he wants. He proceeds to deliver the nail in Werner’s coffin when he calls the resort Werner is staying at, waiting for his wife, and pries some information out of him regarding the meth lab. It’s not much, but it’s a leak that very much convinced Gus that his agreement with Werner cannot be salvaged.

And because Mike has come to know and like Werner, he offers to be the one to kill him, a development that’s paramount to where this show is headed. We know that Mike’s killed before, but we’ve never seen him do it, and certainly not yet for Gus. There is a tangible difference between the stoic, grumpy man who wants to do right by the family his son left behind, and the cold-blooded fixer we came to love on Breaking Bad. Being forced to murder his friend in cold blood (no less to fix what could be perceived as his own mistake or lapse in judgment, for getting too close to someone on the job) makes up a lot of that territory.

Killing Werner is a huge, character-defining moment for Mike, and paired with a smaller moment with larger implications for Jimmy as he takes the official steps to become Saul, it spells massive change for Better Call Saul in its inevitable fifth season. The way these two move in parallel is very important to all of that. And what’s so interesting about it is that Mike and Saul only shared one scene together this entire season, and it very much felt like a breakup. I’d need to rewatch the season before saying for certain if Mike’s refusal to help Jimmy steal his Bavarian Boy had any tangible impact on either of their paths, but it’ll be interesting when they meet again, Jimmy now practicing as Criminal Lawyer Saul Goodman, Mike now fully in Gus’s grasp as his killer/fixer. Maybe it’ll even be in the fallout of the whole mess with murder.

And let’s take another moment to highlight how awesome Tony Dalton has been as Lalo Salamanca, making a huge impact in his first few episodes of the show, and truly upping the ante of the craziness that will eventually fill out the environment which creates Walter White and enables everything that he does. Lalo brings a certain flair to the show that some might say was missing. At the very least, he’s an unpredictable, combustible element that makes everything around him more dangerous likely to burst into flames. I can’t even imagine the impact he’ll have next season.

Thus, two, now three very different aspects of the show begin their convergence. Jimmy is now officially Saul, Mike is a newly-minted killer, and the cold war between Gus and the Salamancas will only continue to flare up in unique, unexpected ways. Season 4 of Better Call Saul has been about revving up that convergence, and it did so in a way that never really felt boring or improperly paced, as the stakes consistently rose and as its main characters found their way to that point of no return so brilliantly depicted in the season finale. With “Winner”, and with season 4 as a whole, Better Call Saul continues to prove why it’s one of if not the best show on TV, and it gets 9.5 watermelon pickles out o 10.


Notes & Quotes:

  • I’m so happy this show found a way to get Chuck freaking McGill to sing some ABBA at karaoke.
  • To show how much Jimmy has changed, think about how he goes from singing karaoke with his brother to desecrating his grave for personal gain from basically one scene to the next.
  • Also boasting about his anonymous donation reminded me of that great episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
  • My only worry about the show going forward is all the characters it seems to be leaving in its wake. Nacho and Howard are basically non-factors at this point. What does Kim have left to do now that she’s helped usher in a new era of Goodman?
  • I just want to point out one final time that Lalo is the best.
  • “We can get by on one nipple, am I right?” – Jimmy

 

The Best Lines From The Good Place S03E03: “The Brainy Bunch”

 

Having spent the first two episodes of its third season setting up its latest delightfully convoluted conceit, The Good Place‘s latest episode, “The Brainy Bunch” felt like something akin to a proof of concept. There probably wasn’t anything you could label as a big twist (although there were certainly some interesting plot developments) and it felt as if the show was trying to show us how this idea of the group continuing their efforts to better themselves in a new setting could work over the long haul. Of course, anyone’s who has watched The Good Place from the beginning knows that nothing it does is meant to last for a long time. This is a show that is constantly on its heels, constantly evolving, growing, bettering itself the same way it tasks its characters to do in the story. We can probably be reassured that anything set up in any given episode probably won’t apply for very long, and that’s a big part of the beauty of the show.

And yet, if one is to review the show on a weekly basis, it has to be pointed out that “The Brainy Bunch” feels like more of a letter move than you would expect from a show with all the accolades I gave it. Not much of consequence really happens, and yet the episode is still extraordinarily funny, and the plot developments at the end of the episode signal that the next round of change is probably around the corner.

The episode follows the efforts of the group to bond, while their newest member, the evil demon Trevor (Adam Scott), tries to undermine them and break them up. He not-so-subtly starts to annoy Eleanor and tries to push her away from Chidi and he tries to have Tahani and Jason hook up, which will certainly be problematic for the group’s dynamics. Michael and Janet arrive to thwart his efforts, but Michael, while convinced that the group’s magnetic attraction cannot be stopped, is not his usual self, incapable of lying and coming up with any decent comebacks, and Janet is having trouble adjusting to life on earth without her powers. In the end, Trevor’s meddling has mixed results. Tahani and Jason didn’t hook up, but there is clearly something budding between then (again). Eleanor almost quits the study but Chidi, as he is wont to do, stops her and brings her back.

More intriguingly, however, the Judge catches up with the efforts of our three eternal beings. She flicks Trevor out of the picture (literally) and informs Michael and Janet that while the experiment can continue unimpeded, they will have to be returned to The Bad Place. Luckily, all the stuff that Janet couldn’t materialize on earth suddenly appears and they’re able to escape back to earth with the one and only key that the Doorman lets them take.

All that tells me that more change is around the corner. Michael and Janet can’t be running around on earth without their abilities for too long, at least not without eventually revealing themselves and their intentions to the group, which further changes the group dynamics and moves the story forward. In that sense, the episode feels like it might be doing a little more table setting than you would want from this show. And yet, it’s still incredibly impressive that these four characters have such good chemistry and such an interesting dynamic even though, technically they have no knowledge of their prior interactions and are meeting each other for the first time yet again. The show doesn’t miss a beat and doesn’t repeat itself in the slightest in spite of this.

And, like I said, it’s still incredibly funny! Tasking myself to write down my favourite lines from a show like this has been a daunting task, but it’s worth it, because on top of being super original and really good, it never forgets that it’s a comedy, which is something that a lot of the higher quality shows in the half-hour format have trouble with.

So “The Brainy Bunch” feels somewhat transitional, but still really funny and compelling, and for that, it gets 9 devastating Dick Tracy burns out of 10.


Notes & Quotes:

  • Tahani Namedrops: I only caught two this week, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.
  • The “Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet” Mount Rushmore has replaced its presidential faces with David Hasselhoff, Paris Hilton, Judge Judy and Hulk Hogan.
  • Stuff that happened because Michael and Janet went to earth: Brexit, The Greatest Showman’s success, the Jacksonville Jaguars are good now, Byron Allen owns The Weather Channel.
  • Eleanor: “It’s so nice to hear someone say ‘Eleanor, you’re the reason this is all happening’ who isn’t a judge in small claims court.”
  • Trevor: “Eleanor, do I have the right number for you? Because you haven’t responded to any of the dank memes I’ve sent.”
  • Jason, holding a spider: “Mrs. Teacher, for my turn is there any way to get, like, extra radiation?”
  • Trevor: “Dick Tracy called, he said you’re a buttface and he’s been plowing your mom.”
  • Michael: “Well Dick Tracy called me too, first, and he said he was about to call you and say a lie about me that was actually true about you instead.”
  • Trevor: “What did you think, we were just going to sit around in the Bad Place blowing beefers while you’re down here boning us in the meathole?”
  • Michael: “First of all, I’m currently formulating a better comeback to your Dick Tracy burn and it’s gonna devastate you.”
  • Michael: “Dick Tracy called you back on his watch phone and said you better watch out.”
  • Jason: “Optimus, Bumblebee, Jazz, Megatron. That’s what you can each call me, now we need nicknames for you guys.”
  • Michael: “Every part of my body is either too dry or too wet.”
  • Chidi: “We could be colleagues, associates is pushing it. And by even having this conversation you’re becoming my confidant.”
  • Michael: “It’s me, the librarian. From the library. I’ve been in every situation. Because I’m a librarian.”
  • Trevor: “I like putting my hands on the toilets so everything I touch gets a little bit of poop on it.”
  • Jason: “Crazy story, after you got out of the cap I forgot where I lived, but I looked across the street and there was a motel. And behind that there was a dumpster. I slept in a dumpster!”
  • Jason: “You’re the fanciest person I know. Next to my friend Ronnie who drives a limo. He’s in limos all the time. What a life!”
  • Michael/Trevor: “Hey, Dick Tracy called. He said that I was right about Eleanor and Chidi having an unbreakable bond.” “I don’t think you understand how that joke works.”

The Best Lines From It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia S13E05: “The Gang Gets New Wheels”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been the recipient of much praise on my part for the changes made over the course of the season, changes necessary following the (very temporary) departure of Glenn Howerton and the increasingly busy schedules of all its stars/creators. Instead of sunsetting a show that clearly still has a ton of life left in it, The Gang used it as an opportunity to inject it with new life behind the scenes, stacking its writers’ room and director’s chair with a bunch of new talented people, many of whom are women, such as Megan Ganz, one of TV’s best writers.

The result has been a lot of meta commentary about equality, the patriarchy, trump-era politics, etc., all culminating in last week’s brilliant, raucous episode, in which The Gang attends a sexual harassment seminar (from which, of course, they learn nothing, as it turns out it was all orchestrated by Dennis in an attempt to gain a leg up in the group’s confusing political structure). And that’s great. But that’s a high concept and it really isn’t a sustainable format for this show. Eventually, The Gang has to wrap up all the sexual harassment seminars and  Wade Boggs flights and whatever else have you and return to their normal array of despicable hijinx.

Luckily, that’s exactly what happens in “The Gang Gets New Wheels”, a hilarious return to form for the more standard style of IASIP episode and the second straight uproarious, perfectly lecherous episode of the show, especially in its final act.

The episode sees Dennis looking for a new car after he finds his Range Rover suffering the effects of being left on the streets of Philadelphia for an extended period of time. When Frank opts to get the new 2018 model for himself instead of financing Dennis’ schemes as he usually does, he’s forced to get a Prius, a more economical car, which leads him to making what he deems to be economical choices with his lifestyle, such as playing fantasy football. While Dennis is losing his Golden God powers, they wind up transferred to Dee, who is drying around in Frank’s new car while he gets his license renewed. She Gangs up with a couple of other Range Rover housewives, who eventually slight Dee to the point where she resolves to cuck one of them. Meanwhile, Charlie and Mac revisit their inner child by buying a couple of bikes, only to find themselves in trouble with a gang of young bullies, one of whom happens to be the kid of their own childhood bully (played by Tyler Labine).

A lot of that is setup, and it plays off that way in the episode, but it’s utterly necessary for the Curb Your Enthusiasm way it winds up weaving together in the final act. You see, Dee thinks she’s having sex with her foil’s young husband, when in fact it’s her teenage son, whom Frank promised he would get laid. Charlie and Mac decide to, in their words, take back their identities and confront their antagonists, it just so happens that this means beating the shit out of a bunch of kids in a scene as funny and unexpected as when Mac grabs Dee by the pussy last week. As for Dennis, he gets lucky when he finds that his new economical buddy owns a ’93 Range Rover, which he acquires for a modest sum. On his peaceful way home, listening to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, he finds the rest of the Gang running from their respective problems (aka the cops), and picks them up, declaring everything to be fine now that they’re back in the Rover.

It’s no surprise that the episode ends with everything returning to normal (despite the various manhunts likely being staged for most of them) but it plays so beautifully over the course of the episode. Every string they lay pays off. It’s a ridiculous episode that shouldn’t make sense when you think about it, but it’s also the product of a show that’s spent 13 years building that seasoning, ensuring that they can pull of a brazenly ridiculous, offensive episode such as this with effortless precision. As much as I love how meta this season has been so far, to see a return to the classic style of Gang hijinx and to see it be as good as the show’s always been is incredibly impressive and refreshing.

“The Gang Gets New Wheels” will compete with the best episodes in recent seasons, and it gets 9.5 bowls of chili out of 10.


The Best Lines from “The Gang Gets New Wheels”:.

  • Goddamnit count: I only counted 1 this week!
  • Frank license picture is clearly an old still from Danny DeVito’s Taxi days, which is amazing.
  • Nothing makes me happier than the fact that they used “On Your Bike” as the song choice for when Mac and Charlie are riding their new bikes.
  • Mac: “Radical!”
  • Mac: “Well, I am gya, but he’s not my boyfriend. I could do much better than him.”
  • Charlie: “Don’t push your agenda on them, Mac!”
  • Dee: “Brenda, you gotta upgrade you stupid bitch. Don’t be a dumb idiot.”
  • Frank: “What you wanna do is you lurch into the intersection. It’s kinda like a game of chicken. You lurch and then you lurch some more and whoever doesn’t flinch gets to go first.”
  • Frank: “You can’t be PC on the road and expect to live. You will die. If you go to a four-way stop and you think the rules of the road are going to apply to an 80-year-old Asian woman, you’re going to get blasted.”
  • Dennis/John: “You got a good economy face on you too.” “What?”
  • Dennis: “It always seemed foolish to me before, but this economy car is starting to make me think I can enjoy economy activities.”
  • Charlie: “I got a Chuck Knoblock, that’s like pre-yips, man!”
  • Dee/Nail Lady: “You probably don’t speak English.” “I speak English, it’s just not funny.”
  • Dee: “Oh Karen, you bitch. You dumb idiot. You stupid savage. You’re not the alpha you crusty-ass fool. Oh, I’m gonna cuck you so hard. Your boy-toy, he’s mine! I will destroy you! I am a 2018 Range Rover woman! I am a Golden Goddess! Who are you? Idiot! Savage! Idiot!”
  • Dennis: “I don’t suck. Dude, I’ll suck YOU.”
  • Dennis on chili: “It makes me fart, and I don’t wanna fart right now. My sister farts a lot.”
  • Dennis: “The Minnesota Twins, you know what I’m saying?”
  • Mac/Charlie: “Are you drinking the Fight Milk?” “It makes me so sick.”
  • Tyler Labine: “What are you gonna do about it?”
  • Dee: “I am a Golden Goddess! You idiot! Savage! Idiot! And I banged your man!”
  • Dennis: “Clutch!”
  • Dennis: “Begone from me you soyboy beta cuck, the transaction is complete!”
  • Frank/Dee: “We almost got t-boned by an Asian. It was totally my fault, she did everything by the book, very surprising. Also Dee banged a kid.” “No, I was trying to cuck a bitch!”