< "You Can't Miss" review

Episode Title: "You Can't Miss"
Production Code: 0717
Reviewed By: Nitzan Gilkis
Rating: 9/10

   Here we go, Bud appears on a dating gameshow. Kinda inevitable, I guess; matter of fact, I wonder what took him so long to come up with the idea. He's certainly done more desperate stuff in his efforts to get laid... But after gyrating shirtless under a lamp post at the Chippendales parking lot yields all the wrong results ("a face full of mace and a spinning back kick to the groin"), Bud finally decides to go down the road many a dateless loser took before him, and turn to the small screen for salvation.

"Dad, look where I am"

Adam: Eugene, tell us how many times you've done the deed.
Eugene:  One and a half, Adam. But I'm not sure about the one.

   Dating gameshow for the scoringly-challenged... what'll they think of next? Doesn't sound like something I'd wanna watch... (or anyone else, for that matter). But MWC - season seven in particular - was never about being realistic/plausible; it's all about laughs, and "You Can't Miss" (the gameshow... well, the episode too - how incosiderate to reviewers to give them both the same name *g*) certainly delivers the goods. This is actually MWC's second shot at parodying gamshows, the first being season two's "Just Married... With Children" (an episode where the writers did have the decency not to use the same title for both episode and gameshow, haha), and there are some similarities between the two. For starters, Bill Maher's Adam Gold bears a striking resemblance to David Leisure's Bink Winkelman - wry, cynical, conceited... (wonder if this is the show's way of subtly poking fun at how these gameshow hosts are all alike?). Blonde bimbo Candy Lapinsky, who is constantly made fun of by the host ("the rules to our show are as easy as Candy") only to continue smiling blankly, also gives you instant Lovely Zelda flashbacks; but while the actress who played Zelda had the vacantness down perfectly, Candy's Chantal Dubay* makes a rather unconvincing airhead. Bad casting there. The casting people did a superb job, however, when it comes to the two other contestants on the gameshow, Eugene and Henry, who are both among the funniest non-regular characters to have appeared on MWC. Wish they'd been given more lines... the few ones they did get certainly leave the viewer with a hankering for more. Alas, the gameshow's, well, implausible format, which includes only one round of Q&A, doesn't allow much room for that. Yep, the whole thing lasts less than five minutes - introductions, a single question, and Candy makes her choice, and the script doesn't even try to pretend there's any more to it by using timeskips and such. Pretty sloppy. Oh well, maybe this is just an example of MWC being ahead of its time; I mean, with commercials' ever-growing share of air time on network TV, pretty soon shows will be reduced to five minutes' length anyway... ;-)

"I wanna be rubbed by you"

"You're drifting..."

Peggy: Al, give Bud a high-five.
Al: Nah, Peg, can't do it. If I could fake it that good we'd be upstairs right now.

Peggy: We haven't been to bed at the same time in ten years.
Al: And you notice we haven't had any more children in ten years, so I must be doing something right.
Peggy: Honey, just because we had kids, doesn't mean you were doing anything right back then, either.

   Hilarious as Bud's two appearances on the dating gameshow may be, the episode's real strength lies in the connective living room scenes, which revolve around Al and Peggy spending their nights on the couch, as Peggy insists that they go to bed at the same time and Al (naturally) refuses. On the surface this might sound like the type of storyline that screams 'creative writing block', but it's saved by two things. The first is some of the best dialog the show has seen in its ten-year run, with a plethora of highly quotable lines that gave me a hell of a time choosing the quotes for this review. Quite impressive, considering the fact that the episode was written by two 'outsiders' (i.e. non-staff members)... The second is the sheer chemistry between O'Neill and Sagal, which is always a joy to behold and comes into full expression in their joint scenes here. Just watch the one where they're trying to lure each other to sleep, humming Brahms' "Lullaby" together and all, and you'll see what I mean... I wonder what is it with Peggy in the seventh season, though. First she wants them to 'talk their marriage alive' (0702), and now this... Guess someone's been reading too much "Cosmo" *g*. Poor Al. Next thing you know, she'll want to cuddle!

Says Sunday better than skipping church

Kelly: I got suspicious, so I went to church. Nobody was there. Which makes me think I'm right. It is Sunday.

   The D'Arcys make their (slightly longer than usual) routine appearance on the episode's second Saturday night (it takes place over three consecutive ones), in a rare instance of Amanda Bearse appearing in an episode directed by her. Al and Peggy, actually caring about what goes on with their son for a change (I suppose hearing what he did the previous Saturday night would disquiet even the most negligent of parents), invite them over to help them pretend it's a Sunday night so Bud won't feel bad about not having a date ("because everyone stays home on Sunday, even cool people like us", haha). But the plan backfires, as it's actually Kelly that's fooled by Al's changing of the hand in his pants. [The nitpickers among us (and as you all know by now, I certainly am one) will most likely point out that we've seen Al put his right hand down his pants almost as many times as the left, and it's hard to believe that all those times it was Sunday. It's still funny as hell that this is what throws Kelly off, though...] If there's a weakness to be found in the episode, it's this "wrong day conspiracy" subplot that Kelly is dealt with. With the exception of the church line quoted above, it's just a waste of screentime. Oh well, at least we get to see Christina in that sexy top...

Kelly has Magnesia... so must I - I can't remember what the hell she said

Marcy: Some people are just late bloomers. I myself was a late bloomer.
Al: Well, whatever bloomed must've got picked, 'cause I'm looking at some mighty arid country.

   Drooling aside, another reason this episode doesn't get the full ten points from me is Bud and the nerd girl's "wrong choices" speeches towards the end. Not that they're badly written or anything - some would even say they're touching - but their somberness just doesn't fit in with the episode's fun, frivolous nature. I'm willing to forgive that, however, as they do provide the grounds for another one of those classic "if you thought the episode was gonna end like this, where have you been for the last seven years?" endings (a la "Go For The Old" and "The Worst Noel") that I love so much. So give this episode a try - it may not be the deepest thing you'll ever watch, but if 22 minutes of almost nonstop belly laughs are what you seek, you needn't look further.

* - Interestingly enough, Dubay later became a model on the well-known American gameshow "The Price Is Right". Who said life doesn't imitate art?