This might be the most likeable episode of Regular Show ever, at least in terms of how it handles the main characters. The return of Skips’ annoyingly joke-obsessed cousin Quips isn’t necessarily cause for celebration, but that’s really the point: Whatever misgivings Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man, and Hi-Five Ghost may have about their coworkers’ relation, the guys put them aside to ensure Quips has a suitably awesome bachelor party. I suppose this is only partially an altruistic move on their part; after all, they make do all reiterate that they’re mainly in this for the simple, giddy thrill of throwing a bachelor party, regardless of who it’s technically for. But they are also help out because they care about Skips, and they’re not about to leave their friend hanging in a situation that he doesn’t have the slightest clue about how to handle. Besides, look at how much the guys throw themselves into the task of giving Quips a wild night, complete with disturbingly impressive child disguises and a limo-oriented kidnapping. They even bring themselves to join Quips in a round of “Zingo!” That, ladies and gentlemen, is commitment.
Even Quips proves more sympathetic here than he did in his eponymous debut episode. He’s still the world’s worst teller of jokes, utterly unaware that enthusiasm alone cannot compensate for a lack of timing or talent. (I mean, he’s not completely terrible as a clown, I suppose, but he reminds me of a magician who runs through the illusion without the slightest bit of patter or stagecraft; Quips can tell jokes, but he doesn’t sell them. But, considering this isn’t Quips’ annual performance review, I’m pretty sure I’m digressing.) To his credit, he’s keenly aware of just how pathetic he is, at least on an interpersonal level, as he repeatedly explains to Skips that he needs his cousin to be his best man and his cousin’s coworkers to be his bachelor party guests because, well, he doesn’t have any friends. This is a clever move on Regular Show, taking an obvious contrivance in its plotting—after all, why would Quips spend his bachelor party with a bunch of people he’s only met once, other than the fact that it wouldn’t be a Regular Show episode if he didn’t spend it with the park staffers—and turning it into a fun little gag. Hell, it might even count as an endearing character moment, depending on how much of Quips each audience member can take.
“Bachelor Party! Zingo!!” takes its time to snap its central conflict into focus, although the general amiability of the bachelor party montage means that doesn’t matter too much. The incredible chicken wing shortage figures to be crucial from the moment it’s first introduced—as I believe Anton Chekov once explained, a chicken wing shortage introduced in the first act must inevitably lead to a visit to a insane swamp shack in the third act—but the episode takes its time in revealing just how this will play out on a character level. Skips’ mounting concern as his every phone call ends in disappointment is a good hint of how this will eventually play out, but it isn’t really until he agrees to brave the Inferno Challenge and eat that the true conflict of the story becomes clear.
I say that because, well, Quips rather plainly doesn’t matter that much to Skips; indeed, the fact that the evil killer chicken wing monsters in Skips’ fantasy are called Zingoes might just hint at a bit of sublimated resentment. Really, all that the two are to each other is cousins, and Skips is a good-natured enough fellow, but he probably doesn’t actually buy into the notion that a round of hilltop chicken wings is the only thing that can ensure the success of Quips’ marriage. Skips could be doing this just because he’s the kind of heroic figure who will do anything to help someone in trouble (or someone whining and freaking out, as the case might be), or he might just very deeply feel his responsibility as a best man, but neither of those motivations is terribly compelling. “Bachelor Party! Zingo!!” suggests a more immediate motivation when, as Quips begs Skips not to go through with the challenge, he reminds Quips that he made a promise to get a bucket of chicken wings, and he intends to keep that promise. Skips doesn’t have anything to prove to Quips or to his friends—they would all be the first to tell him that—but he does have something to prove to himself.
The chief Zingo reveals just what that is with his big taunt: “You failed him, Skips, just like you failed Desdemona!” That rather unexpectedly repositions this episode as a sequel not to “Quips” but to this season’s earlier entry, “Skips’ Story.” The Zingo’s point does make a certain demented sense. Time and again, Skips has shown himself to be a hero in ways both big and small; he can be counted on to save the day with his superhuman strength and endurance, but he’s also just a supremely reliable, dependable guy to have around in a pinch. His coworkers respect the hell out of him—I doubt they would have done all this for Quips if they didn’t care so much about Skips—but, as the recent “Skips In The Saddle” revealed, they aren’t necessarily his closest friends. The rather cruel disconnect, then, is that Skips finds himself able to help everyone he meets, yet he finds himself unable to come through for those he cares about most.
He can save his coworkers and the world as many times as he wants, but it’s all a little empty when the one person he wanted to save more than anyone else is forever lost to him. He may not feel even remotely as strongly about Quips as he does about Desdemona—that’s the understatement of the year, really—but Quips’ family member status means there’s still that sense that Skips can’t come through for those who most fundamentally depend on him. As always, Skips is too hard on himself; indeed, it’s telling that the battle with the Zingoes is positioned as a manifestation of Skips’ internal struggle, rather than a more literal surreal climax. But then, that just makes his triumphant cry of “Zingo!” all the sweeter. The world long ago learned the measure of Skips. It’s high time that he did as well.
“Bachelor Party! Zingo!!” is a fine episode, a winning blend of an enjoyable first half and a second half that offers some more vital insight into Skips. It’s also, to its credit, very funny, even when it has to devote precious seconds to Quips’ abominable stabs at humor. In particular, the proprietors of Wings For Real Men offer some tremendous laughs, as Regular Show takes the well-worn trope of rustic types disdainful of big city ways and pushes it well past the point of absurdity. Skips’ mere presence is enough to evoke pointed critiques of his fancy affectations, which include pants, running water, electricity, and special edition DVDs. Honestly, never has somebody’s place of business—and home, quite possibly—being unceremoniously destroyed felt quite so completely justified.