Spoiler alert: The reason he looks like a registered sex offender is that the R.S.O. in question is just Dennis with creepy face implants. Ah, the magic of television.
After two weeks of top-notch Sunny, tonight's episode felt somewhat chaotic and unfocused -- not without its charms, but with too many misfires to ignore. While there were plenty of funny lines, the absurdity didn't build to a fever pitch -- it just popped up here and there. Our plotlines summarized: (1) Dennis resembles a child molester who has just gotten out of prison and suffers the recriminations of the community; (2) Frank decides to move out of Charlie's apartment and get himself a woman who will cook and clean and whom he can bang; (3) Mac's dad gets out of prison in the same overcrowding purge, leading Mac to hope that his family will get back together.
Maybe my problem with this episode is that I prefer the gang to be the sole locus of illogic and amorality in a world that has to figure out how to deal with them. When others who are just as whack -- like the McPoyles or Mac's family -- cluster round, there's too much crazy for me. I know some of you disagree, and perhaps at base it's a matter of taste. "Sex Offender" actually convinced me that the cumulative loco has potential; the rapid-fire conversation at Mac's dinner party, with at least four separate agendas being pursued with increasing desperation by various guests, approached greatness. (My favorite line, from Mac: "Dad, maybe you want to regale us with a story from prison, or my childhood?") Charlie's attempts to get Frank to move back in, complete with impassioned homosexual rhetoric ("This is about dudes living together and sharing a bed and a home") represent the Sunny I love best -- the one that lets characters who improvise their way through life talk themselves into a corner.
So it didn't all come together. But let's celebrate the immortal phrases that were born in "Registered Sex Offender": "bang-maid," "siphoning box wine!", "eating people is awesome." And really, isn't the best part of the show savoring the promise of next week's episode title ("The Gang Gets Whacked," which apparently involves Dennis becoming a male escort to save the gang from the mob) and smiling nostalgically every time Referee Charlie rejects that kid's layup in the ads for the seasons 1 and 2 DVD?
- It's a classic Sunny cold open with Charlie holding his breath in a t-shirt and long johns, Mac videotaping, and Frank cooking "the chicken parts" on a hotplate.
- Really, Frank gets the most consistent comedy of the episode -- gesturing with the patriotic Big Gulp cup, ordering Charlie's mom around, warning Mac's dad to "stay away from my bang-maid."
- In the commercial break after Mac suggests to his dad that they get on Match.com and score a couple of hot chicks for the night, a Match.com ad aired. Coincidence or worst product placement deal ever?
- Because I become a pool of helpless giggling jelly whenever Dennis pops his shirt off, my favorite segment was Dennis giving bare-torsoed, fake-mustachioed fitness advice to playground kids while Dee informed their parents that her group was trying to reintegrate convicted child molesters back into the community, although "it's not our job to make sure they're rehabilitated."