Episode Title: Valentine’s Day Massacre
Production Code: 0818
Reviewed By: Nitzan Gilkis
I’m a bit reluctant to admit it, but this is another of my all-time favorites. While far from being one of MWC’s more clever efforts, “Valentine’s Day Massacre” is one of those episodes where simply everything works. There are almost no weak lines, the pace is terrific (only two of the scenes last more than a minute), and for once even the physical comedy works, thanks largely to David Faustino being on top form here. All the regulars (even Buck) get some good lines, but this is no doubt his baby all the way.
Bud: Kelly, do you know who Bernice Winchester is?
Kelly: Yeah, she's a girl we went to school with who liked you, and coincidentally got kicked in the head a lot during soccer.
“tell Ms. Brooks that Bud Bundy is here at last, here at last, thank God almighty he’s here at last”
The episode alternates between two parallel storylines. The first, which can basically be summed up as ‘Bud trying to get past Crystal’s bodyguard’, is MWC at its goofy best. Faustino, with his myriad of screams and hollers, is the perfect guy for this type of cartoonish humor, which at times feels like it came straight out of some Looney Toons flick (whether it’s Bud being dragged up and down the corridor by a Rottweiler, or flying head-first into an elevator on a room service cart, or trying to sneak past the bodyguard hiding underneath one…). Derivative and unsophisticated as it is for the most part, it’s still extremely fun to watch, thanks in part to it all being so perfectly timed and paced, and in part to the very successful casting of the guests (especially Rita and the bodyguard). And above all, as I said, a great performance from Faustino that’s a delight to watch. And I’m not just talking about the goofy stuff, like his encounters with the bodyguard or the Rita incident; he also does some noteworthy ‘serious’ acting, such as his speech to Crystal’s assistant and his dialog with Crystal herself, which even gets the crowd to go ‘awwww’ at some point.
Bud: There were plenty of women in my life too. Just five minutes ago I had... group sex.
“Ooh, they sent a cute one this time!”
The other storyline has Al desperately trying to get Peg some Valentine’s Day gifts at the last minute. Lots of great satire here (as can be expected when a sardonic show like MWC tackles a soppy holiday like VD), with the highlight being the scene where Al and a bunch of guys violently fight for the last Valentine’s card at the store, with the song “My Funny Valentine” playing in the background. That’s dark humor for you! The flower-shop scene is also brilliant, while the auction scene is rather dispensable IMO.
Marcy: Valentine’s Day is degrading. It’s just another commercial holiday made up by Marlon Olson and the Hershey mob to fatten their wallets on our guilt. It’s just disgusting.
Peg: Is Jefferson getting you anything?
Marcy: If he knows what’s good for him…
“Sold to the… shoe salesman?”
What really makes this episode work is all the little touches. The bloodless man at the flower shop, the two cops that guard the bouquet of roses, Kelly’s dates, Al’s Valentine poems, everything that goes on inside the hotel elevator… the episode is just full of surprises. Other than Faustino and O’Neill none of the cast members get to do much, but it’s actually Kelly who’s responsible for the episode’s funniest moment, when she misunderstands Peg’s suggestion to hold the card up to the light to see who it’s from.
All in all, “Valentine’s Day Massacre” is 22 minutes of pure fun. It’s fluff all right, but fluff doesn’t come any better than this…