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

The Sarah Silverman Program: "Fetus Don't Fail Me Now"

Illustration for article titled The Sarah Silverman Program: "Fetus Don't Fail Me Now"
Illustration for article titled The Sarah Silverman Program: "Fetus Don't Fail Me Now"

In episode seven, the SSP continued its most ambitious season yet, at least when it comes to production values. The two preceding episodes were layered with animation–CGI in one and cell in the other–and this one continued the trend, with what looked like stop-motion animation. To give it that Sarah Silverman touch, it was gargoyle flying out of her vagina. Naturally.
The episode opened with the gang watching Cookie Party in Sarah's apartment, but there's an elephant in the room: Sarah's giant belly. She's clearly pregnant, but she of course denies it. "You ever feel like there's just a whole bunch of water like kicking around in your stomach?" she says.

But a home-pregnancy test proves otherwise. "I thought I was missing my period because I was ballerina thin!" Sarah exclaims. But no worry: Sarah, a noted abortion enthusiast, will just pop on down to the clinic, terminate that shit, and be home in time for dinner. Again, no dice: She's too far along. This baby's coming out.
We've seen Sarah attempt parenthood before back in season 1, when she coached a tween girl (who turned out to be her long-lost daughter) to victory at a beauty pageant. She wasn't the best person for the job, but she wasn't the worst, so could Sarah conceivably be a good mother?
The answer, of course, is no, no, and again no. At brunch, when Brian confessed he felt "kinda sad" for Sarah's baby, Laura gives Sarah an egg to care for, as so many high-school kids have done, for 24 hours. She immediately breaks it. At her baby shower (yay cameo by Mr. Show alum Jill Talley!), Sarah is sad all the presents are for her baby, then hangs a baby seat on a tree branch outside her window when a baby's crying interrupts her story.

Although Sarah's baby would undoubtedly perish under her care even for a day, maybe it'll be okay: Sarah's cleaning lady, Dora–making her first appearance since season 2A, where she ran for mayor of her hometown in Mexico–has been promoted to nanny (in title, not pay). "It does take a village to raise a child, and that's why I have a MEXICAN VILLAGER!" says Sarah, beaming. One of the bizarre highlights of the episode was Dora doing an awkward impression of Chris Farley's Matt Foley character from SNL. She mangled his catchphrase with awkward pauses–"I live in a van………..down by the river!"–which only heightened the hilarity. I also loved that Dora's impression is apparently a tradition at Sarah's parties.
But even Sarah's plan to pass off her kid on Dora fails when Dora injures herself crashing through Sarah's coffee table a la Matt Foley–turns out it wasn't breakaway. And now Sarah must decide: give it away for adoption? Keep it? She goes back and forth as the episode progresses–first opting to give it away (via a funny interview scene with couples in her apartment), then possibly keep it, then settle the matter with a go-kart race.
Just before Dora did a face-plant on the non-breakway-wood coffee table, we had the belated arrival of the Steve-Brian B-story. I seriously thought we were going to miss it in this episode, but I was delighted when it arrived, and it centered around Steve throwing his back out while taking a monster shit. I, like Sarah Silverman and the team behind her show, have the sophistication of a fifth grader when it comes to poop jokes. When Brian comes to the rescue, the situation only escalates.


Another one of my favorite lines from this episode: "The mystery was over once you showed me how you can make your balls looked surprised!"
Meanwhile, after Laura confronts her about who the baby's father is ("No, I don't keep track of every single thing that goes in and out of me, Laura. Oh a burrito, oh a penis."), Sarah realizes it's God's baby, because He's the only one she's "done it with in the front." This is another callback to the "first half" of the second season, when Sarah briefly dated God, played by Tucker Smallwood. Alas, Smallwood sadly wasn't present in this episode, even though some kind of mulatto Jesus was coming out of Sarah's not-so-virginal vag. (When the young'un comes, he should check out this website for support.)
After winning the go-kart race to decide who gets her kid–a disappointed Laura came in second–Sarah ends up in the hospital, where none other than Eight Is Enough's Dick Van Patten is her doctor! Swiping a cliché from cop shows/movies, Van Patten is retiring after 40 years of delivering babies right after Sarah gives birth.
If we didn't already notice the SSP's production values going up this season, Van Patten's Raiders Of The Lost Ark face-melting drove the point home. Turns out the sun does shine down in Sarah crotch, with lethal force. And here's where the episode took a whimsical trip off the rails: the face-melting preceded the birth of a winged gargoyle (gremlin? Monster? Dragon?), rendered in what looked like Claymation, to the horror of everyone in the room.
As it flies away, Sarah asks Laura for feedback on a potential name, "What do you think of Seth?"
Grade: A
— More Mr. Show in this episode: Bob Odenkirk originally wrote the character of Matt Foley for Chris Farley when they were both at Second City in Chicago. He also wrote the Superfans sketch on SNL–you know, "Da Bears!"–which continues to grate on Chicagoans' nerves more than a decade later.
— Steve was all zingers this episode. First there was the "This is not an away-game situation, dude" when Brian asked why he didn't just shit in Sarah's bathroom, because they were there. Then there was my favorite, as he and Steve lay sprawled on the bathroom floor, immobile: "If we don't eat soon, we're gonna die here like two gay Elvises!"
— Sarah's hope for the life of a child: be a bigshot CEO or a "revered trumpetist."
— Every time I see that guy from The Mustangs in Cookie Party, I think "Who's gonna train me!?!" Bring back Acceptable.TV!!


— The SSP blog has a video clip showing the behind-the-scenes special effects that went into giving Dick Van Patten the Raiders treatment: