Episode Title: “The Juggs Have Left The Building”
Production Code: 1108
Reviewed By: Nitzan Gilkis
Rating: 5 out of 10
Another season 11 episode which feels somewhat rushed-through, “The Juggs Have Left The Building” contains several ideas with great potential, but they ultimately fall flat in execution due to the lazy, often-uninspired writing, courtesy of Vince Cheung and Ben Montanio (the duo also responsible for the miserable series finale and the even-worse “Damn Bundys”). Granted, the episode has a decent share of funny moments (esp. in the lobby scene), but much more could have been made, for instance, of the D’Arcys–as-the-Bundys subplot, or of Peg and Kelly’s live performance. Shame.
Bud: You’re both six months pregnant by Billy Ray Cyrus.
Kelly: Really? Then how come Mom’s showing and I’m not?
“you’ll squeal like a pig at our hospitality”
The Bundys’ final on-screen family vacation takes them to the “Deliverance Inn” in Branson, Missouri (entertainment capital of… Missouri). The inn’s name is just one of many references in the episode to what was Ed O’Neill’s first movie* - e.g. the “Ned Beatty” suite, the inn’s slogan: “you’ll squeal like a pig at our hospitality”, the gay hillbilly desk clerk, the canoe trip he offers to take Bud on, and so forth. Interestingly enough, Beatty was the actor Ed had his only scene in the movie with, which makes you wonder if all the references are some sort of an inside joke. In any case, they’re quite laughable, especially the desk clerk’s lascivious inklings to Bud and the latter’s terrified reactions, even if it’s repeated a bit more often than necessary.
Bud: …And I’ll audition all the back-up singers and learn to say: “can you try it topless?” in 40 different languages…
“he said he wanted to write, as soon as someone learnt him his letters”
Unlike its season 2 analogue “Poppy’s By The Tree”, “The Juggs…” hardly focuses on hick humor, and instead chooses to parody the country music scene, and stardom in general. To save the family vacation after Peg spends all of Al’s money in Branson’s gift shops, the female Bundys enter a local talent contest, where they perform The Judds’ “Rockin’ With The Rhythm Of The Rain”. Their live performance at the contest is no doubt the low point of the episode: for starters, it just isn’t funny, nor does it try to be; and secondly, why not use an original song, possibly with ‘autobiographical’ lyrics? Something along the lines of Al’s comment “we’re just poor simple folks, busted dreams and a broken Dodge, driving down the turnpike of tears” is simply called for here, and would’ve been a lot funnier, too. As it is, the performance scene is just a waste of time, and Peg and Kelly’s winning does nothing for the episode’s credibility, given that only moments earlier Al admits that none of the Bundys have any talent, a claim which is strengthened by the performance itself. Guess the other contestants really sucked…
Peg: [to Bud] You told me that that stupid cheap blonde was holding me back.
Kelly: You added a stupid cheap blonde to the act? Why wasn’t I told?
“The Juggs” rockin’ with the rhythm of the rain
Winning the talent contest presents “The Juggs” with a chance to be Tammy Wynette’s opening act on her world tour, but success goes to their heads and (hilarious) inner squabbling ensues. Sure, it’s entirely expectable that something like this will happen (that ol’ unwritten sitcom rule that nothing can ever change), but the scene is well-written and enjoyable, at least up to the point where Tammy Wynette walks in. Sorry, but the late Ms. Wynette just wasn’t much of an actress. Her tone and expression hardly change throughout the scene, although she is presumably supposed to become aggravated at some point, and all the while she seems to be rather amused by the proceedings (to be fair, I imagine it must be hard to keep a straight face while appearing on MWC; I know it would be for me…). And having Al and Bud hit on her is even less believable than Peg and Kelly winning the contest, given her age and looks. I suppose the writers realized this, but wanted to appeal to her ego. Al’s punch line “we can never fail, because we never try” is not as satisfying as similar lines from earlier episodes, and provides a suitable conclusion to one of MWC’s less memorable cameos.
Peg: She’s the Junior Jugg.
Kelly: And she’s the Jurassic Jugg.
“you give my girls your best shot, and I’ll give you my best shot”
The idea of having Marcy and Jefferson role-playing as Al and Peg is innovative and original, but its execution is faulty. The costumes and make-up people did a great job of making the D’Arcys look just like their trashy counterparts, no doubt about that; but once the novelty wears off, you notice the mediocrity of the dialog, and how the storyline doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere. Also, while Amanda’s Peg-imitiations are right on, Ted’s are too over-the-top, and his Al talks like a retard, if you ask me. Oh well, in Ted’s defence, Amanda had four more seasons to study her parallel’s behavior… While the subplot comes across as something of a wasted opportunity, it still produces one the funniest exchanges in MWC history, when the D’Arcys are ‘caught in the act’ by the real Bundys:
Marcy: It’s a long, boring story.
Al: Does it end with “we’re degenerate perverts”?
Marcy: Oh, so you’ve heard this one.
“we haven’t let the dog detail the D’Arcys’ Mercedes lately”
“The Juggs Have Left The Building” is characterized by the unevenness which infested most of season 11. Alongside many great lines are ones that are so weak even the cast seem uncomfortable delivering them (“Larry there would miss us” is one that stuck in my mind), and together with some very entertaining scenes are others that could certainly have been more. The good: the scenes with all four Bundys, the “Deliverance” spoofs and the role-playing idea. The bad: the talent contest, Wynette’s cameo, and not exploiting the full potential of the b-plot. All in all, a pretty mediocre episode.
* - 1972’s “Deliverance”, where Ed had a small role as a deputy. A screenshot of him in the movie can be found here: http://www.bundyology.com/deliver.html