Sunny capped what's been a terrific season with the natural climax of Dee giving birth, an episode that threatened to maybe get a little too gooey at the end and then pulled back masterfully, not turning the whole think into a twisted joke but letting the gang realize the limit of their powers and for once not be mad about it. I'm sure there'll be fans out there who think Rob McElhenny has gone a little soft in marrying and knocking up Kaitlin Olson and producing a child (Axel), and some of this season's episodes have felt less dark, maybe. But we still have Rickety Cricket lighting up a crack pipe in a hospital waiting room and Dee being revealed as a manipulative mastermind who makes men with low self-esteem have sex with her. So I'm happy to have a nice little photo of Axel the baby at the end of the episode, as long as there are bridge people in Sunny's future.
I actually wasn't anticipating this episode that much, because I was worried that the guys waiting in the hospital/the guys trying to figure out who the baby daddy is was a very generic way to wrap up the season. I shouldn't have worried and remembered who we were dealing with here. Dee's utter irresponsibility was a great plot engine to get the guys actively interested in her pregnancy again, after they initially stopped caring when they realized one of them wasn't the father. But Dee is being so ridiculous (standing on wheelie stools to use the hospital TV, ducking out to get a sandwich) that Dennis, who is stuck with her, is compelled to make a modicum of effort so that she doesn't die. "God, what an irritating thing babies are!" he whines.
But soon enough Dennis is impressing himself with his parental acumen. He stops Dee from harming herself, he removes a presumed-dead guy from her room in a Weekend at Bernie's gambit, and he banishes a nurse (played by Cleo King, who plays this role in so many shows) by invoking the hammer of Thor. "And I never reference the Nordic gods!" he excitedly tells everyone later. Dennis' parental qualities are really just slightly softened versions of his natural arrogance, and his jape with the presumed-dead guy shows off his ability to gloss over a horrifying situation, this time by putting sunglasses on the dude. "Without the sunglasses, Weekend at Bernie's would have been a very dark, strange tale," he notes.
Meanwhile, by virtue of where they stood when they made the decision, Charlie, Mac, and Frank summon Dee's many past loves, from the Korean busboy to Bill the coke-snorting sex addict to Ben the sensitive soldier to Rickety Cricket, whom Frank deems "a wild card." Frank, who shows the least interest in Dee's situation despite her being his daughter, mainly uses the event as an excuse to invite his bridge friends over, so we get the delightful return of Dennis Cutty, I mean Chad Coleman, who likes Ben's jean shorts. He had a pair, but he kept wearing them and "blew out the crotch," so he insists that Ben "gotta take em off, SON!"
I liked that in their interrogations of Dee's boyfriends, we're reminded that she's just as bad as the rest of the gang, despite her sometimes loftier ideals. She procures sex from this horrible band of misfits mostly through belittling them and other such mental warfare. It's enough to make Ben start crying ("You're a soldier, should be tougher") and get Cricket sucking on his crack pipe. At the same time, Mac and Charlie realize that only they will be able to rear a truly awesome child, through a mix of terror, nerd-bashing, and keeping them off the Internet. "Parenting is pretending you know what you're talking about, then jamming it down their throat!" Once again, it's nice in a way that they've decided to intervene after hating the idea at first, but really it's just their simple-minded arrogance at work again (they seem most concerned about smashing nerds, and why shouldn't they).
So it boils down to Dennis and Mac/Charlie deciding to blend their parenting concepts together. "Instead of doing a My Two Dads kind of thing, we'll do a Three Men and a Baby type of thing!" "Both equally effective movies!" The montage of Dee being wheeled down the hall, baby in hand, set to some sort of nice song was where things threatened to get a little too sweet for my liking. I was at the same time worried that, in looking for a shocking reversal, the show would go too far and make some cheap gag, where the gang's looking at something else or Dee tosses the baby in the trash or what have you. I was very happy with the actual resolution: The baby daddy is the tranny (you're outta luck, Mac!) and Dee was serving as their surrogate. When the gang asks why she didn't mention that earlier, since then they would have ignored the pregnancy altogether, she points out, "You DID ignore my pregnancy!"
Really, it was the final shot of the episode that sold me on the whole thing. Dee seems to be getting a modicum of respect from the guys for a change, and everyone realizes that, exciting as the baby thing seemed, it's probably best not to mess with the perfect, delicate balance of chemistry they've got going on. But, it was a nice idea while it lasted!
Oh, and they definitely need to continue the discussion of the sewer. I could listen to that for a whole episode.
- Didn't pick up what the song at the end was but delightful as ever to hear Snow's "Informer" playing in the background at the party. "A licky boom-boom down!"
- The baby "ruined my transmission, it ruined a perfectly good sewer conversation, I still want to get to the bottom of that one … "
- "Just keeping a log of the party, we like to do that."
- Dee's two major insults appear to be "jerk" and "turkey."
- Nice to see the return of Lil' Kev, the maybe-retarded rapper from season three's masterpiece, "Sweet Dee is Dating a Retarded Person."
- "Crazy-ass white boy dressing up folk and talking about Thor."
- "Don't get knocked up again Dee, it's getting old."