My four-year-old daughter was entertaining me tonight at my swanky birthday dinner at the local Chick-Fil-A. "Mom, I'll tell you a joke," she said. "Why was 6 afraid of 7?" "I don't know, sweetie, why?" I answered. "Because 7 ate 9!" she crowed, and we all enjoyed a good laugh.
"Hey Mom, I'm going to tell you another joke," she continued. "Why was the poop in the grass?" "I don't know, sweetie, why?" "Because the grass was covered with poop and it was all poopy!"
That was the last poop joke of the dinner -- because you don't really want to be thinking about poop when you're eating fast food. But it wasn't the last poop joke of the night. Because as Frank points out at the end of this week's episode, "poop is funny." My four-year-old agrees. Poop is the funniest thing in the world to her. As a mother, I get a little tired of poop, quite frankly. So for me, the big Agatha-Christie locked-room mystery sendup aspect of "Who Pooped The Bed?" wasn't really working.
Deadpan shots of poop, however? Very, very funny. In fact, if four-year-olds ever get their hands on digital video technology, they could rule the world of comedy just by panning to the poop.
In tonight's A-story, Dennis and Mac undertake an investigation to find out whether it was Frank or Charlie who produced the turds found in their common sofa bed two nights running. The quest involved scientific dissection by an economics major masquerading as a scientist, overnight surveillance, and one of those big bulletin boards with photos and thumbtacks and arrows connecting stuff that's always in the background on The Closer. Meanwhile Dee wants to recreate Sex In The City, but lacks girlfriends and ridiculous shoes (and valid credit cards). So she enlists the waitress and a large woman named Artemis to accompany her to bars to drink Cosmos, but the drinks she presses into the hands of the waitress backfire because of the waitress's drinking problem. And the less said about what my four-year-old would call Artemis's "booty," the better (although that certainly doesn't stop Artemis from saying it; "he was going to find out anyway," she explains).
Other than poop and serious discussion of poop and shots of poop, the funniest moments tonight came from the patented Sunny layered improvisation. As the fake scientist dissects the turd, finding newspaper, a piece of a credit card, and wolf hair, Frank and Charlie proclaim each discovery "inconclusive." "There is so much wolf hair in our apartment right now!" Charlie exclaims over the general din. I also loved DeVito's gesture as he was explaining Charlie's hole in the back of his pajama bottoms -- a kind of round shape with a little poke.
But it was the overly scripted nature of the episode that flattened it a bit too far. Hey, we're here for the gang; Artemis is a fine side character, but do we really want to watch her take center stage of the entire third act? I'm afraid that the only joke in that long Poirot monologue that got a chuckle out of me was the revelation that Rickety Cricket is known the world over for his ability to replicate any man's poop. As the creators suggested in Noel's interview a few weeks back, "Who Pooped The Bed?" might be the finest episode title of the season. It's hard to live up to such titular brilliance, as tonight's episode proved.
- Before it was overly explained in several conflicting theories propounded by Sherlock Artemis in the bar, the reasoning behind Frank and Charlie's disposal of the first night's poop -- "we threw it out because big deal, whatever, accidents happen" -- was a model of absurdity.
- You don't often get jokes integrated with the establishing shots. But check out the juxtaposition here: Statue of Ben Franklin -- Independence Hall -- poop on a paper plate. Ahhhh ... satisfying.
- The floor in Frank and Charlie's apartment smells like some kind of spice blend or pesticide.
- Dee's B-story wasn't quite up to par, but it's all worth it for the scene where she flees the shoe store in too-small stilettos and runs headfirst into a parked car.
- Thank God for the poop on the floor at the end of Artemis's parade o' deductions. "I even did one while she was wrapping up, right here!"