Sunny checked another item off the list of “Philadelphia things it needs to spoof” tonight with a rather batty extended M. Night Shyamalan spoof episode. There were crazy twists, shocking violence and a lot of mentions of Dolph Lundgren. One fatal flaw, however: even the shittiest Shyamalan movie always has an appearance by the director himself, and I was sad he didn’t show up to pay tribute to Philly.
You could view “Mac and Charlie Write a Movie” through meta-glasses and see it as a bizarro take on Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, years ago, trying to write a project to make themselves stars (I realize Glenn Howerton also developed Sunny; it’s a weak metaphor). I mean, the last time M. Night Shyamalan was even remotely cool was what, nine, ten years ago? Anyway, Charlie and Mac, rebuffed by Dennis for telling a boring story about getting locked in a stairwell, set about writing an awesome movie to pitch to M-Night, because Dee’s a “featured actress” in his new flick.
Problems arise pretty quickly, though. Charlie’s concept of storytelling is predictably warped; he thought the fact that Bruce Willis wore a hairpiece throughout The Sixth Sense was the big twist. Things get off on the right foot when they decide to resurrect Dolph Lundgren’s career (it never took off, because of his spiky hair) and cast him as a scientist (in a mesh tank top, not a silly lab coat), but Charlie, as he does with all his creative endeavors, keeps sidetracking things. What if he can smell crime...and he runs on all fours...because he’s a dog, VOICED by Dolph Lundgren? Barring that, what if his head is a giant nose?
The script-writing scenes were good, but I especially appreciated that next to Charlie’s madness, Mac’s still-awful ideas about a muscular scientist who can smell crime (and fights it with his brain AND his brawn) seems like a workable movie. The two then follow the general pecking order the show established last episode and take the idea to Dennis, but he’s much more interested in a film where Dolph performs outrageous sexual experiments on a lab assistant’s supple body. "Now here's the twist...we show it. We show all of it," he crows. That’s right, full penetration. Hopefully not from his preferred angle, which focuses on the balls, if you remember.
Dennis’ ideas are even more avant-garde than Charlie’s: Dolph cracks skulls, bones the assistant, cracks skulls, etc., until the movie just sort of ends. Charlie thinks audiences will be uncomfortable at Dolph's naked penis going into the young girl, but Dennis does not care. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to hear Frank’s ideas – instead he got cast as the Ari Gold of the episode, except he didn’t really do anything funny, or anything at all, except eat sausage links out of his front pocket. I don’t like it when Sunny wastes Frank in an episode that focuses so clearly on sexual peccadilloes.
A further scene where the guys call on the talents of a Pakistani kid from Baltimore to help them write the script didn’t really work for me either. I liked Charlie calling the workhorse secretaries of the world “judgmental” but the joke about the kid seemed to be that he was South Asian, like M. Night Shyamalan, which wasn’t particularly original. Maybe they just didn’t give him enough funny lines (although he dug the penetration!)
Dee’s story was pretty much your typical Dee B-plot, and thus somewhat substandard. She thinks she’s a featured actress in Night’s movie (which is apparently about Serbian genocide, much more serious than his actual next project, Avatar: The Last Airbender) when she’s really a featured extra. Second unit director Lex Medlin wants to cover her in blood and place face-down in the scene; Dee’s not into it. The sight of her screaming “BRAAAAINS” with all the fake gore was funny, but apart from that, it felt padded.
The whole episode was a little padded, but the denouement, spoofing Night’s increasingly ridiculous twists, kinda worked anyway. Dennis, who had been nonchalantly tapping on his (thankfully never-mentioned, no product placement) cellphone the whole episode reveals he’s actually stolen Mac and Charlie’s boring stairwell story and written a whole screenplay on it. And, in an even more shocking twist, Dee can be the star! Or, she can’t. You gotta watch out for all the twists.
I laughed, but a lot of this episode was very a half-hearted, apart from the terrific scripting scenes and Frank’s sausages, which had the last laugh when they ruined Dennis’ touch-screen. Oh, and Dee, covered in blood, screaming “BRAAAAAINS.” That’s definitely funny.
Charlie was wearing an Adirondacks shirt in the opening scene. Respect, Charlie.
Dee doesn’t want Frank as her agent. "You are abusive and you smell like warm meat."
Mac says he hates women, before clarifying that they ruin action films. But I think it’s another hint that Mac might actually just hate women, period.
Loved the poster for The Fifth Sense, or “He Nose The Truth,” with a giant nose on Dolph Lundgren’s head.