Considering the rank grotesqueness of recent child pageant shows like Dance Mom and Toddlers & Tiaras, it’s both fitting that the It’s Always Sunny gang should find themselves in charge of one, and hard to imagine of how they could possibly make them more off-putting. The answer is, of course, to declare child pageants the greatest tribute to patriotism this side of the Pledge of Allegiance. “We can do whatever we want with our kids and that’s our right as Americas,” Dennis declares when Frank reveals that he kind of, sort of, maybe got himself embroiled in the child pageant circuit with a known “kid diddler” for a partner.
Because they can smell stage time, the gang loses their shit planning what turns out to be a fantastic song and dance spectacle. “I see amateurs. I see trash. I see little pieces of trash on my stage,” Charlie snarls at the tiny contestants. It also goes without saying that the gang will be performing as well. “I’m glad you said it, because I am desperate to be in this thing,” Charlie sighs in relief. Dee singles out Justine, the disinterested older sister of the show’s stuck-up star Samantha, after Dee’s attempts to brown-nose Samantha fail to work. “Your hair looks like it’s dead,” the little girl hisses. The hurt and rage that flashes across Dee’s face when she gets rebuffed by an 8-year-old is so priceless, and so true to the character. Kaitlin Olson was killing it this episode, particularly in the musical number she performs with reluctant Justine entitled “Moms Stink,” which concludes with a description of how moms are “a big gigantic pain in my vaaaaaagina.”
Mac, Charlie and Dennis throw their considerable weight behind the lone male contestant, turning his mediocre yet enthusiastic performance of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” into a laser-light rave-stravaganza, complete with sparkly Uncle Sam costume and drawn-on kid abs. Much like the blood vomit in the season premiere and the crime montage in “The Gang Visits the Jersey Shore,” retrospectively this episode seemed to build toward this core joke. I’d say the pacing really paid off, because the image of those lasers hit me like a ton of bricks. Plus, it was without a doubt one of the most American things I have ever seen. Could we just be honest about where we are headed as a society, and make a gif of his performance the new American flag? I know I’d salute. Artemis (who stopped by to get high and to run the soundboard) can be on the $1 bill.
By now the parents in the audience start to get nervous (when they should have been nervous all along), so of course it’s time for things to get even worse. God bless Danny Devito. From his initial gushing nosebleed to his lurid mortician-applied stage make-up to his frantic denials of pedophilia, that man deserves all the Emmys. While the gang shoots down his suggestion that they write an anti-kid-diddling song (Sample lyric: “I wouldn’t do it with anyone who was younger than my daughter”) and the presence of the dry-mouthed mortician fails to prove his innocence (“He’s a cretin. Why would I have a cretin like that near me if I had something to hide?,” he declares), Frank’s increasingly bizarre logic turns him into the embodiment of creep, coming to a head when his live mic accidentally broadcasts him talking about necrophilia. And eating corpses. Specifically corpse butts. The whole episode was so tight over all, they can be forgiven for making it overly obvious that the Child Protection Services agent was secretly a kid diddler. Given the world he lives in, what else could he have been?