Despite the convenient resolution in Golan’s favor, “Shell Raiser” proves beyond a doubt that Dylan is absolutely the diabolical mastermind in this show. Golan has all the trappings of a fearsome dictator—the bravado, the horns, the leather diaper—but he’s a frat guy. He’s not going to shy away from death and destruction or anything, but he’s also not going to be bummed out if he just gets to lounge around, yell at Carol about space heaters, and creep on ladies just in general. Even in his home dimension, Golan was more about making sure Golan had an awesome time before he turned to screwing with the natural order of things. (This is also probably why his home dimension had no problem moving on after he left, but that’s for another day.)
Dylan, on the other hand, is constantly compelled to destroy things. She brings acid with her to birthday parties in case of nosy clown emergencies and nurses fantasies of poisoning the entire town through its ill-advised chili gorgefest. Her plan to contaminate said chili with a poisonous turtle might have backfired, and spectacularly at that, but at least she’s actively trying to bring Oak Grove to its knees. Most of the episodes so far have ended in a blaze of pure chaos and accidental obliteration, some of the most purely fun and demented sequences are the ones in which Dylan becomes a scary efficient little assassin. Whether it’s destroying the evidence of possible bedwetting or chasing a speeding van before it gets away with a precious bacteria ridden turtle, Dylan has a laser focus when it comes to evildoing. Meanwhile, her so-called “godlord” Golan posts up in his treehouse lair and fails to resist weed from a peer-pressuring frankenturtle (…what a strange and delightful show this is).
Even if Mackenzie B thinks Golan’s lame, though, Dylan only became a credible threat to Oak Grove with the demonic Golan at her side, and so she’ll continue to be his loyal acolyte until the day she realizes she’s probably better at this whole supervillain thing than he ever was.
There is a downside to a show having such a strong dynamic at its center, though. The secondary plot with Alexis trying to keep Carol from getting sucked into the dangerous world of modeling (she saw it in that hit documentary Gia) is significantly weaker than Dylan and Golan’s misadventures. This isn’t because the characters aren’t interesting in their own ways. Maria Bamford’s Carol continues to be hilarious, thanks to the disparity between her sweet as Midwestern pie demeanor and the side of her that curses her head off when she’s in pain, or that led her to have sex with Golan. Alexis—also a Golan conquest—is basically an older member of Teen Girl Squad, so there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that the dynamic of Dylan and Golan’s twisted friendship is so strong and specific that it makes it more obvious when the other relationships on the show—like that between Carol and Alexis—are so much thinner. For now, they would both do better to interact with Golan and/or Dylan more directly.
But hey. For now, “Mr. and Mrs. Insatiable” are doing their level best to keep the show afloat with their codependent relationship, and so far, it’s working. One of this episode’s best moments is when Golan goes to rescue Dylan, but still does it by grabbing her by the tongue—and she just talks through this indignity all sullen, like he caught her not doing her homework. Subtitles translate her annoyance for us as a bouncing Golan head—a direct perversion of Disney style sing-alongs—helps us follow along. As with all the show’s best moments, it’s childish, uncomfortable, and hilarious—and rooted in their deep friendship.
Now, this isn’t to say that all the best moments are directly related to Dylan and Golan. There are still offhanded and bizarre runners to keep everything in Oak Grove truly weird, like a herd of carnivorous refrigerators or veterinarians to committed to putting down turtles with broken legs that they have tiny turtle-size guns on standby for shootouts. Really, if Golan and Dylan looked around Oak Grove for more than target practice once in a while, they might realize they have much more in common with the twisted citizens of Oak Grove than they thought.
- Hark! A reprise of the smash electronica hit from last week’s house party, “Minnesota’s The New California”!
- “All the cool kids, you say?”
- Dylan, to the broken turtle: “Come on! Helen Keller never gave up, and she was a turtle, for all she knew.”