Tuesday, August 28, 2007

“I like your verbs that are things. I think I’m going to sandwich after I sofa here for a little bit.”: My Boys

[Note: This picture obviously isn’t from the actual episode. But isn’t it nice? – C.]

Last night’s episode (“D...in the City”) was a wonderful showcase of what works in this series and what doesn’t. My Boys is at its best when dealing with the core group of friends and their interactions with each other, as exemplified by the Brendan storyline. Much like the How I Met Your Mother gang, this cast has a wonderful and believable energy together which elevates sometimes mediocre stories into something special. My Boys is at its worst when it tries to branch out beyond this world, bringing in guest stars or stories that isolate the characters from one another, as exemplified by the P.J. storyline.

Let’s start with the story that works. The crew is gathered together for their usual poker game when Brendan shows up late with a friend, and is obviously about to completely blow them off to go somewhere with said new friend. And this is where my notes devolve into capital letters and exclamation points, because OH MY GOD THAT’S RYAN REYNOLDS PLEASE TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRT!!!!111!!!

Ahem. Sorry.

Reynolds plays Brendan’s friend “Hams,” and he’s the inspiration behind Brendan’s sudden downward spiral into douchebaggery via overly styled hair, ridiculous clothing and the reduction of his vocabulary to words like whatevs (whatever), vods (vodka), show show (shower, maybe?) and waffs (waffles). Bobby: “That’s…annoy.” Much to P.J.’s chagrin, Hams spends his three minutes of screen time on his cell phone dissing her apartment, rating her “a 6, 6.5 tops” and asking to get online “ASAP.” I spend the next 27 minutes of the show wondering why they would waste Reynolds in a throwaway cameo. Not to say I didn’t like it, because oh, how I did.

After Brendan ditches the gang's plans for a midnight showing of The Simpsons Movie (“I’m playing laser tag with Jeremy Piven”) and screens Mike’s call at a trendy club, they realize he needs an intervention. A douchebag intervention. The brilliant thing about this intervention is it allows the actors to say various forms of “douchebag” over and over again. Man, douchebag is a funny word. They take the intervention very seriously, reading letters they wrote about what a douchebag Brendan is and how it has affected them. My favorite is Kenny, who says “when you tried to get me to buy the new Fergie album it made me feel so lonely.” But Kenny, don’t you know big girls don’t cry? Brendan denies he’s changed at first, but when P.J. forces him to really look at his insane belt buckle, he finally snaps out of it and realizes what a jerk he’s become. It’s sudden, yes, but funny and funny forgives all transgressions in my book.

Now for what doesn’t work. At all. P.J. is excited because her college newspaper editor, Lissa, is visiting from New York City. P.J. obviously looks up to her, but when she arrives, she does so with three friends in tow and they so clearly are meant to represent the four women on Sex and the City that it’s insulting. When the bus splashes Not!Carrie! just like in SATC's credits, I want to cry. P.J. tries to act like nothing has changed, but at brunch Not!Charlotte! uses the word “champers,” Not!Miranda! is rude to the waiter, and Not!Samantha! makes so many double entendres that P.J. almost commits seppuku right there at the table. I know the writers were probably trying to do a “we are not a Sex and the City retread, look at what Sex and the City really was” thing here, but it is completely unsuccessful on almost every level. The first problem is it’s not funny. The second problem is it’s not clever. The third problem is it made me think about the fact that I watched every episode of Sex and the City even though I sort of hated it most of the time. Why did I do that?

Peppered throughout is an amusing gag about Andy’s new suburban neighbor “Fritzy,” who is so overly friendly that Andy resorts to driving his car down the driveway to get the paper in order to avoid seeing him. The best part is how Fritzy keeps pawning zucchini and zucchini-related foods off on Andy, including some sort of zucchini spread that Andy threw out of his car window onto the highway because it smelled like “hot pond.” This is so hilariously on point because everyone with a garden knows that if you grow zucchini in your yard, you will be eating zucchini every day for the entire summer. That is one bountiful vegetable. It also nicely sets up dynamics for next week’s episode where the gang goes to the suburbs for a get-together at Andy’s house.

Until then, my friends.


Bianca Reagan said...

The picture is lovely.

I liked the "and the City" part of this episode. The "Samantha" one made me giggle.

I wasn't so into Shecky, er, Fitzy. But I do enjoy grammar humor like Andy does.

I loved at the end when Bobby and Mike hugged each other just because, and held on for a long time. So cute.

Sarah said...

I thought the episode was the best one so far. I agree that the whole Sex and the City got a little annoying.

I got a little excited when I saw Ryan too! Mmm mmm mmm! Since watching the episode I catch myself saying douchebag a lot more than usual.

Anonymous said...

About half the reason I watch this show is because PJ went to Northwestern, so I got all excited for an Evanston location shoot only to be let down. (Do they film any of this show in Chicago?) That bookstore PJ kept referring to? Not a real place, at least not when I was there. And I kind of resented the suggestion that anyone with the intelligence and savvy to become editor of the Daily Northwestern could turn into PJ's pathetic friend.

The Sex and the City parody was made even weirder by the fact that TBS aired a rerun of the show immediately after My Boys.

I did like the other stuff, though. I probably laughed hardest at the intervention, when Andy walked in and said "Kenny, when you act like you're on The Sopranos..."

Carrie said...

Anonymous, they actually film the show on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. I work on that lot and see their golf carts tooling around sometimes. Unfortunately, I've never had an actor sighting.

The best part about that Sopranos line was that it made no sense. When does Kenny do that? I wonder if that was an improv from Gaffigan.