OK, that's more like it. After the loose-feeling two-part season opener, we're back to good old-fashioned chaos in "The Gang Buys a Boat," which had no real plot but gave every character something silly to do and ended with a big fire. The episode felt like a shaggy, cheap version of an epic episode: the gang buys a boat, Mac and Dennis try and live the high life of yacht-owning socialites, while Charlie and Frank begin fishing for shrimp and catfish and Dee takes up dancing like one of those used car store things. And, of course, it all ends in fire.
It's hard to write about an episode so silly but I heartily enjoyed it so let me give it my best shot. The bar dynamic was basically just moved over to the boat for this episode, with Dennis and Mac treating the other three like peons, but they sort of had a right to seeing as they bought the boat with their Dicktowel money. It's Charlie's money too, but his primary interest appeared to be in a boat that could haul in "a Forrest Gump-sized amount of shrimp," whereas the other two guys wanted to party. The boat salesman quickly realizes they want a "P. Diddy-style shrimping vessel" and they get stuck with a dump of a houseboat.
Dennis and Mac's adventures among the upper crust were verrrrry thinly-sketched and really didn't make a whole lot of sense. The gag where they went to a boat mixer on a fancy yacht, only to find it full of derelicts with missing hands playing cards, but then lots of sexy ladies arrived, didn't seem to have an explanation outside of just being two bait-and-switch gags. But that didn't matter, because I was still on the floor from Dennis' explanation to Mac as to why he wanted a boat in the first place, which was basically so that he could terrify ladies into allowing him to rape them because of fear of the open ocean.
"They can't refuse, because of the implication," he says. "You've said that word implication a couple times, what implication?" asks Mac. "The implication that something would go wrong if they didn't have sex with me," Dennis says, pitching him on all the "terrible, terrible things that have happened in the ocean. That's what's rattling around in her head." "It sounds like she doesn't want to have sex with you…" Dennis' increasing frustration at Mac just not getting it, coupled with Mac having a modicum of respect for humanity (aw, Mac!) was just priceless. Watching that debate grow (while the pair wore ridiculous yachting outfits) meant it didn't really matter that the rest of that plot was extremely aimless.
Charlie, Dee and Frank each got their own little thing to do on the boat and even though it was just a collection of one-joke gags (Dee's wacky dancing, Frank smashing things, Charlie being disgusting) it was fun to watch them all, as an unorganized group, create a little tornado of chaos that eventually brings down the whole boat. The best was Charlie's diving expeditions and his increasingly outlandish ideas as to what caused a horse's tooth and a bullet to be underwater ("There was this whole horse massacre in revolutionary times, right?"). It was too bad his obsession with shrimping was quickly set aside so that he could look for the keys Frank threw in the water but they made it work.
The one running gag of the episode that had any kind of through-line was who was patronizing who at what point, or, on a more simple level, who won the episode, really. I was definitely rooting for Charlie and the gang most of the time. Sure, Dennis and Mac are living the high life, but it's a high life shaded with the implied threat of rape. Charlie, Frank and Dee's adventures seemed more like the easy boat life we all imagine (doesn't everyone have that fantasy of casting off and living off the ocean?). They could have worked better as a team, though, especially in how Dee threw everything out the window into the river and Charlie dutifully "found" it and put it right back on the deck.
Anyway, this is what I was looking for in an episode: dark sex gags, chaotic smashing of things, Charlie being both fanciful and gross at the same time, and it all ends in utter destruction. Sunny's definitely back now, guys!
"I have the need for speed. It's very important, it's inherent, there's nothing I can do about it."
"Picture tiny shrimp crawling all over this boat. Every inch!"
Dennis, well-aware of Charlie's bad diet, warns him in advance not to eat the barnacles on the side of the boat or mistake them for oysters. Of course it doesn't work.
Frank can't look for things in the water because he just bobbles around like a cauliflower.
Charlie needs some SCUBA equipment, but it's ok, "just rent the cheap stuff!"
"No, I heard you, you said a bunch of words, right?"
I liked Dennis and Mac having the implied threat of the ocean turned against them, if only for a second. "Yes, we're the tasty treats in this scenario."
Charlie likes the toxic catfish, too. "You can taste this sort of endangered tang!"