Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Golan the Insatiable: “Golan the Impregnable”

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Golan the Insatiable was never going to have a traditional season finale. How can you have anything approaching normal when your show stars a giant disgraced warlord, his devoted goth child acolyte, and all the assorted chaos think Greek upon a Minnesotan suburbs unsuspecting citizens? If anything, I was prepared for an episode that tackled things completely out of the realm of expected television, but what we get in this season finale is so much more interesting exactly because it takes existing tropes for season finales and puts its own demented spin on them.

First there’s the opening flashback, which acts as an origin story for how Dylan became the bitter and constantly revenge hungry girl she is today. The usual laws of origin flashbacks apply; Dylan of the past is completely different than what we know of her terrifying present. She answers the door with an adorable pink bow on her head and eyes wide with innocence, which is almost as startling as the person who turns out to be on her doorstep. Waiting with his dopey hockey jersey, present, and teenage lisp is Alexis’ current boyfriend Keith. It’s clearly for some sort of extracurricular activity, the kind that teenagers do when they need something to pad out their resume and/or keep them out of trouble while their parents are at work, but there’s definitely some kind of affection between the two, and it’s only a matter time before it crashes and burns. Enter Alexis, and her tube top and in all her stereotypical teenaged girl glory, her bug eyes set on becoming popular. She immediately seizes Keith from Dylan, and thus an incurably vengeful tween is born.

From there it helps to another finale cliché: the big school dance. But the show makes a smart choice by tying the homecoming (i.e. “pre-coming”) king boat into Golan’s quest to get something resembling the power he had in his old dimension back. If he can’t be king of a random falafel cart in a Minnesotan mall, he might as well be king at a high school dance. His campaign to be homecoming king could easily take up the rest of the episode, but the show is more ambitious than that. Instead, it unleashes a furious Dylan unto the world as she pulls out all the horrifying stops to keep her sister from luring yet another important person from her life into the gross world of high school popularity politics. First, Dylan takes a cue from her mother, who let slip that a teenage pregnancy kept her from finishing high school. Dylan casts a pregnancy spell on Golan who, to his credit, takes his sudden third trimester pregnancy in stride. “Am I normally nine months pregnant?!” he asks, before essentially shrugging and carrying on with it. It helps that these teenagers end up thinking his teen pregnancy is cool, because really, Dylan should have known better than to anticipate what teens might value at any given moment.

Even aside from all the glorious unpacking of tired clichés, though, Dylan and Gollens codependent relationship is so well-defined even just six episodes in that them fighting really is pretty upsetting. Then it straight up terrifying, as Golan draws upon his monstrous powers, and Dylan reveals an actual literal arsenal strapped to her chest. It’s another example of how this show can take something like friendship, turn it into an all out war, and still make it weirdly touching. For Dylan, Golan represents something much more exciting and valuable and stupid Keith with his foam finger ever could be: a kindred spirit. For Golan, Dylan is a real ally who, for reasons unknown to him and pretty much everyone else, is completely devoted to him. Neither can afford to lose the other, but each is also just about the most twisted, and so they express their gross feelings with firefights.

From there, it’s actual chaos. Dylan kidnaps Keith so she can stack the homecoming king election against Golan. This turns out to mean forcing Keith into a “persistent vegetative state” in hopes of securing the all-important sympathy vote. And she’s right! Even dumb pregnant Golan can’t fight a pretzel shaped Keith crammed into a wheelbarrow like a Picasso draft. Then, to round out the season finale and teen dance clichés, Golan gives birth on the dance floor. But again, this is Golan were talking about, so the baby turns out to be a horrifying hybrid of both him and Dylan. The creature has a melted face, legs like a spider, and an insatiable appetite for Minnesotan teens. The holy unnecessary bloodshed bonds Golan and Dylan back together, as it always has and always will, and as they gaze at their twisted offspring “President Penis,” there’s no doubt that the two of them are made to be partners in crime and superfluous gore. If you turn off the part of your brain that knows right from wrong, there really is something touching about that.

Stray observations:

  • I know there was some drama about the voice cast as the show transitioned from ADHD to Fox primetime, but as of this season finale, the Fox crowd did just fine. Aubrey Plaza is particularly fantastic at flipping the switch from diabolical to naive.
  • Also, shoutout to Maria Bamford’s mom Carol, who’s alternately the sweetest and the most unstable, but pretty much always has solid advice. (“What did I tell you two about battles to the death in the house?”)
  • Getting wasted in a rock quarry is a perfectly teenage thing to do. Also, followup: why did I never get wasted in a rock quarry?!
  • The science teacher trying to dissect Golan only to have fireworks go off in his face is this episode’s most unexpected and biggest laugh.
  • “May I tzatziki your order?” Yes of course you can, Falafel House.
  • “Too bad I’m not gay, everyone says it gets better for them.”