After I spent all that time complaining about the season opener not drawing its plots together very effectively, Sunny had to go and make me eat my words by producing an extremely amusing episode with two basically separate storylines that didn't merge much at all. On the face of it, "Mac's Big Break" shouldn't have really worked -- it felt like a lazy way to bring in favorite guest stars and the crowning joke was a slightly cheap dream sequence gag that ended with Mac just falling flat on his face. Then again -- Mac falling flat on his face! That was pretty funny, right?
I'll start with the radio show though. Frank's sudden interest in his kids' amazing banter was somewhat incongruous with his usual feelings towards them, but who cares, it's Sunny, and Frank's character is especially malleable. "They've got great banter. They jib jab! Jib jab, jib jab!" I'm not sure what his eventual goal was in this episode if he had one, but once he got Dennis and Dee recording a podcast, he seemed far more interested in dragging in past conquests of theirs and humiliating everyone involved. Which was fine by me!
Ben the soldier was the guest I probably missed the least (although Travis Schuldt rocks that vacant, goofy smile) so his appearance relied more on Dennis' voice being funny. "We're in the midst of TWO wars? Now, the United States of America is engaged in BOTH wars?" Frank was more interested in Ben banging Dee, and if they used any "tie-ups." It's always great to see Cricket and the waitress, though -- the poor waitress was treated especially cruelly. One day Sunny should do an episode about the waitress' miserable, miserable life, played totally straight, just to freak us all out. Because even though every character on Sunny is kinda sad, the waitress' situation really sucks when you think about it for five seconds.
And that's even including Cricket, who's voice has gotten all squeaky because of his infected trash-can wound. He's been abused so hard over the show's course, I don't know if the writers have any idea where to take his character but they're making the right move having him not be interested in Dee anymore. Keep it fresh! Him squeaking non sequiturs like "Does my scar look like a dog's vagina? Maybe!" and "I don't believe in God, not since that Chinaman took my kidney" worked pretty great for me this episode. The radio show plot could probably have been done well without the guest stars (Dennis and Dee's moron-talk chemistry is good all on its own) but their appearances kept things from getting too static, I guess.
Back to Mac's big break -- nice to see Sunny has checked another Philadelphia sports team off its list with the Flyers, and that final scene sure looked like it had been shot in front of a real crowd at the Wells Fargo Center (god, sports venues have such depressing names these days). Having Mac learn how to skate and shoot a slap shot was a great opportunity to have Charlie be the less moronic person in the relationship and poke fun at Mac's skewed thoughts on what a macho man looks like. Wielding a hockey stick like nunchucks, he says, "All of my instincts and my training tell me to use this like a weapon."
A lot of the gags were obvious ones -- the inevitable montage spoof, replete with raw-egg drinking (and vomiting) but the little jokes really worked, like the adorable sight of Mac skating for his first time and Charlie's peculiar advice to glide the puck like a dish of cream. The episode's climax (Mac dreams success, but he actually fell on his face immediately and Charlie shot "wide right by about a mile") worked because throughout Mac's training, we were shown so many ways things could go wrong. The mullet wig, Mac insisting on wearing a duster, Dennis and Dee insisting that they give the radio hosts their podcast (recorded on a Luther Vandross mix tape) -- how would it all build into one big hilarious climax?
But it was all misdirection, and we were all the better for it, because Mac fell flat on his face. It's like the podcast -- sure, Dee and Dennis yammering on was funny, but those sound effects made me laugh even harder! Sometimes, simple is best.
I was at first baffled by the repeated use of the word "jabronis" (it has no correct spelling, I assume, so I'll just make one up) and then Mac explained. "I think it's some kind of dago word…" They should start peppering that into the show, like Dennis' laser beam sound effect.
Charlie and Mac calling into the radio show was Sunny's moron humor at its absolute finest. "I gotta think like that guy…that guy on the rock!" "The Incredible Hulk!" The overlapping dialogue, a new layer to the joke thrown in every five seconds like Mac complaining about putting Charlie in charge of research, or telling the hosts "You guys can't censor me, OK? I'm a bit of a badass!" -- that's what makes Sunny great (and hard to take notes on!)
Cricket was promised a rotisserie chicken, but he'll settle for a bag of lemons. "Well, they are good for scurvy."