Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Well, Flowers for Charlie was the worst episode ever

at 6:30 PM
Come on. That was terrible. Please, if there was a single joke in that episode, I beg of you to post it here. Sunny wouldn't be Sunny if it wasn't a roller coaster ride of quality, but "Flowers for Charlie" plunges miles below this season's former nadir, "Mac and Dennis Buy a Timeshare", into the ranks of the absolute worst slop the series has ever produced. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that "Flowers" is going into the dumpster of episodes I will never watch again, along with "The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell", "Frank's Brother", and "Pop-Pop: The Final Solution" - and consider that this is a series I've watched from beginning to end at least three times now. What the hell happened here? I'll tell you what happened: guest writers. But I don't really want to talk about that, because I don't know shit about Dave Benioff and DB Weiss of Game of Thrones fame, except that I pray to god they never touch another comedy series I belove. 

What really went wrong is a Flowers for Algernon parody. Seriously guys? A Flowers for Algernon parody? Boy, what an original idea! Why hasn't anyone thought of that one before? You'd think The Simpsons, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Futurama, Family GuyNext Generation, Angel, or thousands of other shows would've already come up with that one... oh wait. They did. But hey, it's such a common trope that we could consider it a sort of rite of passage for a show, like the episode where one of the characters gets herpes and has to get a sex change operation to forget. That'd be an okay excuse if this episode involved any semblance of Sunny flavor or any original spin on the Algernon parable. But it didn't - Charlie was busy getting super-arrogant (his arc was word-for-word identical to Meatwad's from ATHF's "Dumber Days", except Sunny tried too hard to make Charlie's brain-growth believable, robbing us of any comic absurdity), Frank was busy getting jealous (played extremely straight and kind of just sad) and the rest of the gang was mostly sidelined, spending a few moments getting high and stupid for the second fucking time this season and the way too manyth time in the show's history. 

Getting characters high is always playing with fire, but "Mac Day" just barely pulled it off for me because High Frank and Dennis were so exactly what High Frank and Dennis should've been ("yes"). But why are Gassed-Up Mac, Gassed-Up Dennis, and Gassed-Up Dee all the exact same character? I get that they're turning into Charlie/retards or something, but shouldn't they retain some aspect of their original dynamic or represent different aspects of Charlie? (I'm not even going to get into the fact that characters have 'turned into' Charlie before in much funnier ways). WHY PUT THREE CHARACTERS IN A SCENE IF THEY ARE ALL GOING TO BE THE SAME CHARACTER? Jesus fucking christ, that's not how you write comedy. Ever heard of this thing called interplay? But Dave Benioff and Dave Benioff Weiss aren't comedy writers, so the only people to blame are the creators for letting this episode happen. How could they have thought this was funny? That gas-huffing scene wouldn't have passed for a joke even on The Big Banger Theory

Anyway, that was merely a minute minute-long montage. The biggest problem (did I already say something was the biggest problem with this episode? It was so terrible I can't even keep track of all the things wrong with it) was that the hackneyed "Dumber Days" ripoff was the entire plot. Sunny has successfully spoofed specific books and movies before, but it was always as a side bit, a kind of nod for those paying attention. Perhaps the most memorable example is Frank's trip through One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in "Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack". It wasn't jammed in our faces, it was just a silly absurdist aside, as if Frank had somehow stumbled through the rabbit-hole into the fictional world of the novel. The rise and fall of Charlie's faux-intelligence (and don't act like that's a spoiler, because if you actually believed Charlie became smart... maybe you would prefer jingle keys to reading) wasn't fun to watch because it wasn't Charlie, nor was it a unique spin on Algernon, nor was it outrageous in a Sunny way, nor was it at all unpredictable. "Let's take the funniest character on the show and write him as a totally different, completely humorless character!" Brilliant work, DB and DB Weiss. It's like you mathematically calculated the most uninteresting, unpleasant plot imaginable, and then decided that it was so stupefyingly pointless that you wouldn't even supplement it with subplots for the other four main characters on the show. 

And what the fuck was that scene with the Waitress? That went nowhere. I can't even imagine how bad the entire take was that that's what made the edit - what was I supposed to gather from that? What did she walk away thinking, what did Charlie walk away thinking? Goddamnit Smart Charlie was just so obscenely unfunny.

Wait, are Dave Benioff Weiss and DB actually what became of the protagonist of the classic short story after his intelligence began to plummet and he decided to vanish so as not to force his friends to witness his demise? That may actually explain all of this. Their inability to write humor, their obsession with inane plots, their complete lack of consciousness of the comedic timestream. All I can say is that if you think this episode is even remotely close to Sunny's standards (for the (excellent) ninth season or at all), then I assure you that a whole lot of jokes are going over your head every week (see last week, when I felt compelled to write my own review because not a single critic picked up on the fact that "The Gang Gets Quarantined" was a blaringly obvious Walking Dead parody).

Ah well. I realize I'm kinda being a huge arrogant prick here (not unlike Charlie in this episode), but it really makes me cringe to look around and see people eating this shit up after lambasting the layered brilliance of episodes like "The...Desperately...Award", "...Gang Saves...Day", and "...Quarantined". It's almost as if Sunny fans are as oblivious to the show's intelligence as are its critics, which is probably why - despite its middling popularity - no real following/advocacy has congealed around it in the same way as has around Arrested Development, Community, or Louie

1 comment:

  1. Remember how they introduced the Algernon-esque rat in the first scene and then we never saw it again? One of Charlie's bigger character traits is his relationship with rats. How the writers never put 2 and 2 together and made this a plot point in the episode based on a story about a man and a rat is beyond me.