It's the last Thursday of double-sized Sunnies; next week the sniggeringly-titled Testees takes over the second half-hour. I haven't been a big fan of the two-at-once approach, which I hereby suggest we rename the "Three's Company type deal." But the gang gives us at least three-quarters of a classic in "Mac and Charlie Die, Parts 1 and 2." Take out Dee on the bus, and you've got solid gold.
We begin at Luther's parole hearing, where Mac and Charlie's plan to testify that Luther threatened to "quote, rape you so hard the room would stink" doesn't impress the board. Parole granted! (I want one of those stamps, by the way. My birthday's coming up.) So Mac and Charlie formulate plan B: Die. Or maybe plan C: "let's pick the second one where we don't actually die." They'll fake their own deaths by crashing Dee's 1997 Dodge Neon and leaving a suicide-note video near the scene. The car will explode in an badass way, and since they've scattered Charlie's surprisingly detachable teeth around the car, the authorities will assume that they've been consumed in the blaze. Then it's time to live a hobo lifestyle, mostly on the roof of Paddy's Bar.
Meanwhile Dennis becomes obsessed with the glory hole they've discovered in the bathroom. (The hole gets some duct tape for safety and the bathroom is promptly declared unisex, although Frank isn't particular: "supposing the other guy is picturing a chick, also!"). Craving anonymous sex, he accompanies Frank to an Eyes Wide Shut-style orgy ("the password is ooorrrrggyyyyy") that turns out to be more of a half-nude buffet with paunchy, uncostumed guests. But finding himself suddenly free to seek new roommates, he happens upon European Jan who hooks him up with hot chicks, of whose names Dennis attempts to remain ignorant.
And Dee has a tough time on the bus because she doesn't have a car anymore, but as I said above, let's not go into that -- it was a dead spot in an otherwise stellar evening of comedy. For your consideration as best scene of the season so far: The sequence where Dee comes to Mac and Charlie's door yelling "we got a dick hole in the bar and I need you to come fill it in," followed immediately by Charlie panicking and throwing chairs at the window they've already opened, the better to make their blaze-of-glory escape. It's paced at a dead run, with no pauses for us to regain our composure before the next escalation.
Or what about the pawn shop, where Charlie and Mac, fresh from a car crash that failed to ignite the gas tank as planned, try to buy car-blowing-up equipment? Mac reels from his head wounds and becomes briefly incoherent, fixating on a wedding dress that he finds integral to the faking-death plan, while Charlie finds rationality all of a sudden. Actually, he finds it a little earlier when he realizes that he does not need to be in the car as Mac accelerates for the wall. But then after Mac comes around with the aid of poppers, Charlie loses his edge; he counsels Mac to go right up to the car to shoot the gas tank and make it blow, hypothesizing that "it'll blow you to safety."
I could go on and on about the brilliant invention and utter crudity of "Mac and Charlie Die," and I'm sure you all will do so in the comments. But let's just mention The Shadow before we're done. The Shadow is fall-down-funny by itself. Paired with the twisted incomprehensibility of Frank's Charlie-mannequin relationship in the next stall, The Shadow approaches transcendence.
- In Charlie's far-too-small bindle: olive oil, hot sauce, and what appears to be shortening.
- "You wanna go down by the bridge? Could be cool!"
- I wouldn't burn that duster either. Maybe the sleeveless t-shirts that Mac "retired" and hung around the bar, but not that awesome duster.
- Hobo drifters live in the present. No American judgments here.