Season three has a bunch of really great episodes, so we’ll cover this in multiple posts.
First up, we’ve got the return of the McPoyles with “The Gang Gets Held Hostage.”
The McPoyles burst into the bar and hold the gang at gun point. The guys valiantly offer to sacrifice Dee to save themselves, but it seems the McPoyles have different plans. Dee warns the guys to beware of Stockholm Syndrome, and the gang vows to stick together…immediately after which, Dennis and Dee form an alliance, as do Dee and Charlie, and Charlie and Mac. Meanwhile, Frank is somewhere in the vents trying to find his will and destroy it before Dennis and Dee murder him for their inheritance.
Dee briefly succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome before the McPoyles divide the gang into two teams (Mac and Dennis, Charlie and Dee), and order them to smash up the bar. Whoever smashes the most is immune from the first round of shootings in the face. Mac, a born smasher, goes to town, while Dennis heads to the bathroom to work his pecs and seduce Margaret McPoyle into helping him escape. Charlie vows to save Dee by smashing the back room, but escapes through the vents instead. The McPoyles herd Dee, Mac and Dennis onto the roof where they run into Frank and Charlie. Frank shoots at the McPoyles and pushes Ryan off the roof…but it’s not really that far, so he’s fine. Maybe a little bruise on the heel. The McPoyles admit their guns are fake and run off laughing with delight that they’ve just taken revenge on the gang.
Why I Like It:
I love the McPoyles and their milk-drinking, incestuous ways. They are gross, and weird, and hilarious. Three adjectives that also describe Dennis’ attempt to seduce Margaret. From his declaration that he wants her inside of him to the milky yet passionate kiss, I am cringing and laughing in equal measure.
I also like episodes where the gang is pitted against each other, and this is a prime example as alliances are made and then immediately broken. In times of crisis, we see the truth, and the truth is that the gang will sell each other out at the drop of a hat. But, we also have two declarations of love (Mac to Dennis, and Charlie to Dee), which I think are also true. Certainly as the seasons go by, it becomes abundantly clear that Mac is in love with Dennis, and although I think the Charlie/Dee thing is less obvious and overshadowed by Charlie’s love of the Waitress, there is an undercurrent of attraction there that occasionally gets brought to the fore. (Although the one time they do have sex – in “The Gang Misses the Boat” – it is apparently so terrible they both want to forget about it immediately.)
This episode also has some great “Die Hard” references what with Frank climbing around the vents in a white wifebeater, and the final confrontation with the McPoyles being a recreation of sorts of the final confrontation in “Die Hard.” Luckily for Ryan, Paddy’s Pub is nowhere near as tall as Nakatomi Plaza.
Finally, Dee’s awe at the way that Ryan is able to stab his brother without hesitation is beautiful (“That must have taken so much heart!”), and gives us another window into the dysfunctional relationship of the Reynolds twins.
Dennis (to Charlie): Dude, I swear to god if you try and give me a noogie I will yank your underwear over your head so hard your asshole will rip in half.
Ryan: If any of you try to escape we’ll massacre you in blaze of glory and then play with your bodies. Liam: Especially Dennis.
Dee: It’s called compassion, dickheads. Maybe if you guys had a little bit of it you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. And then we wouldn’t be standing here trying to figure out which one of you we have to kill, but that’s where we are so hand me that shotgun cuz I’d like to do this mess myself. Get on your knees, bitches!
“The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty Magoo”
Dee runs into Ingrid Nelson, aka Fatty Magoo (played by Judy Greer), a girl who used to be fat in high school, but is now a svelte, successful fashion designer. Ingrid claims that Dee, aka the Aluminum Monster, was a huge inspiration, and wants to know if Dee ever achieved her dreams of being a model and going to law school. Dee lies that she did (“for a little while”), and heads to Paddy’s to plot her revenge against Ingrid for daring to achieve success. She plans to design a dress that puts Fatty Magoo’s dresses to shame! Charlie offers to help, and then Dennis interferes and whips up a design for a woman of enormous boob-ular proportions.
Frank gets involved and decides that if Dennis gets a dress order from Ingrid, they will manufacture his dress design. Ingrid, however, is rightly repulsed by both Dennis and his terrible dress, so Dennis lies that she placed an order, and Frank’s sweatshop swings into action.
Meanwhile, Dee is still trying to sew her dress, but she arrives one morning to find that Mac has taken her dress and redistributed the fabric among the other workers because it doesn’t fit the prototype. Enraged, Dee leads the workers on a strike. She then marches into Ingrid’s office with the police, claiming that Fatty Magoo has been exploiting sweatshop workers. Ingrid denies ordering any dresses from Dennis, and we end as Dennis bursts in wearing the dress himself, convinced that it was his disgusting model who turned Ingrid off to the dress, and once she sees it on his beautiful figure, she will have to have it.
Why I Like It:
We get an even deeper glimpse into Dennis’ narcissism and sociopathy – he truly believes that he looks better than the model in that dress. There’s also Charlie’s crush on the big-breasted lady that Dennis draws. He gets all flustered looking at the sketch and then plots out a whole fantasy about meeting her, hitting it off, and having sex. It’s weird, but also kind of sweet.
I’m also thrilled that this is an episode where Dee actually gets a little bit of a win. The gang basically shits all over her dress design and co-opts her plot for their own ends, but in the final scene it’s Dennis who is humiliated when he bursts into Ingrid’s office stuffed into his terrible dress. Dee ends up looking like the sane one, even though it’s her ridiculous plan to shame Ingrid that sets off this whole chain of events in the first place. Ingrid gets off fairly easily as well here. Unlike many ancillary characters – The Waitress, Rickety Cricket, The Lawyer, etc. etc. – her life is not ruined by her interaction with the gang. Yay, Ingrid! You dodged the largest of bullets!
Dennis: You haven’t peaked. You haven’t even begun to peak, but you’re gonna peak today. Oh you’re gonna peak all over everybody. Make it work, Dennis.
Dennis: I’m not gonna take no for an answer because I just refuse to do that because I’m a winner, and winners don’t listen to words like “no” or “don’t” or “stop!”
Charlie: Now the dress is starting to look fantastic, you know, and she feels very excited, she feels very sensual. And I feel very sensual about her because she looks so good, and then you know we chit-chat a little bit no big deal but then she asks me back to her place. Where did that come from? I accept, you know, and then we chit-chat at her place. It’s no big deal but eventually she says, ‘Do you wanna make love, Charlie?’ And I say, ‘Are you serious? Because yes, I do.’ And then just boom we’re into it and it’s hot and it’s passionate. And then it’s just me and you, babe.
Line delivery of the episode goes to Glenn Howerton for this gem:
Dennis (To his dress model): Silence your mouth.
For our next installment I’ll cover two more of my favorite episodes from season 3!