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The Sarah Silverman Program: "Vow Wow"


The Sarah Silverman Program

"Vow Wow"

Season 2 , Episode 16

Community Grade (4 Users)

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Your Grade


So this is how the "second" season of the SSP goes out: with a fart joke. Hey, I like fart jokes. And yeah, maybe I'm being unfair, as episode 10 specifically goes out with Laura singing with a gospel choir. But the mundanity of fart jokes in general (even the good ones) typifies how meh I felt about this episode overall. Of the 10 that composed the second half of season two, this is the only one that didn't make me laugh out loud at least once. I mostly watched the whole thing with a half-smile that said, "Hmm, I recognize that Steve farting into a jar a decade ago is comical. Yes."
Oddly this episode was simultaneously better than I had hoped, but also a letdown. Let me explain the paradox: The previews for it had me worrying about the SSP's standard send-up of hot-button issues. She marries her dog, Doug! It had me semi-dreading a goofy riff on gay marriage–"dreading" seems awfully strong, but I wasn't looking forward to it. Luckily, the episode didn't frame its conceit that way. Sarah's decision to marry Doug was her attempt to steal the thunder at Jay and Laura's engagement party–she says their getting married is "ristupidiculame"–not some boring attempt to be outrageous. (I should say, though, Jay's home-invasion method of popping the question was pretty awesome.)

The Sarah Silverman ProgramThursdays 10:30p/9:30c

Date Crash

Black God
Alternative Comedy

Abortion Song
Stoner Humor

Sarah admits her little prank was all for show, but that changes when she inadvertently sticks her head in the oven while looking for the source of an odd smell. "Wait a minute, am I in an oven?" she thinks just before she passes out. "Is that good? Yeah, yeah, my great-grandparents in Europe did something like this. I think they said it was like fashionable or something." Doug saves the day by alerting Steve and Brian, and Sarah decides she really is in love with the dog and wants to marry him. Cue another Sarah Silverman song–with a gospel choir!–about their potential life as a married couple. We've discussed Sarah's songs before, and this one just didn't do it for me. Like this episode in general, it just felt a little by-the-numbers.
Then there was all the farting. Brian and Steve's subplot in this episode didn't involve Steve being mad at Brian–just their newfound glee in farting on various objects. It gets them in trouble when they nearly kill Doug (via "acute pulmonary toxicity") after they send him into a room of farts.
The show tries to have its cake (hey, fart jokes are funny!) and eat it too (we're aware of their inanity!): "I don't know what it is about farting," Steve says to Brian. "I know it's cheap, but it just makes me laugh really hard. I love The Daily Show and 30 Rock, but you can't smell those shows!" The SSP wants us to realize they know those fart jokes are cheap laughs, but they're still funny anyway.
Well, sort of. The sequence of the duo farting on things–baseball, toaster, Ziploc bag, French horn, shovel, cape, garden ornament–was funny. They all end when little Doug nearly dies, and the focus shifts to Sarah's attempt to marry the dog. "Look, I'm no idiot," she says in her vows. "I know there's almost nothing going on in that brain of yours. Even for a dog you're not the brightest. And maybe you love me because I feed you, and maybe I love you because you're incapable of judging me. But the point is that we love each other, right? And that's the greatest gift of all."
It doesn't happen the way she plans it, and then the episode ends at Sarah's place, where she fulfills Laura's lifelong dream of singing with a gospel choir. I don't think anyone saw that coming, but it contributed to the overall haphazard feel of this episode. The central plot was even thinner than usual for the SSP; it's like they didn't have enough to sustain the Sarah-Doug idea. Instead of a "finale," this felt more like the episode everyone knew was sub par, so they just tacked it onto the end of the season. Granted, it did have a couple of good bits, but the it ended this season on a forgettable note.
Grade: C-
The rest:

— I love Jay Johnston. His delivery of lines like this just slays me: "If they had a device that I could plug into the wall that would be able to detect the amount of love in the air, I think medically we'd all be choking to death." And "Well you know what they say: If you cough often, it's a coffin they'll carry you off in!"
— There aren't a lot of videos for this episode on the Comedy Central site, but here's a behind-the-scenes one for the wedding scene:

The Sarah Silverman ProgramThursdays 10:30p/9:30c

Odds 'N' Ends - Wedding Scene

Black God
Alternative Comedy

Abortion Song
Stoner Humor

— So you tell us: Should we cover the SSP next season?