Smash ‘em up! From the first image of Dee sucking down a beer bong in a parking lot while dressed in formal wear, you knew it we were in for a treat. This episode doesn’t have much in the way of action, but it was a pleasure to each member of the gang descend into their own adolescent vortex of need as they attended their high school reunion. To escape the desolate pit of juvenile despair, they will do anything and betray anyone, at any cost. Which we already knew, but man, just lock all these freaks in a high school gymnasium and watch them go.
Dee, or The Aluminum Monster as her peers knew her, is the first one to throw her closest friends under the bus for a little attention. Desperate to show off how normal she’d become without her humiliating back brace (“Sir Mix-A-Lot was not talking about women whose backs had recovered from a horrific spinal disorder,” Dennis chastises her.), Dee’s plan to get in good with the cool kids then ruin them turns into, well, just her desperate need to get in good with the cool kids. “Hope you suck each other’s rotten peckers until you get mouth cancer,” she cheerfully tells Charlie and Mac to catch the attention of high school stud Adriano. “Borings!” she yells, as a cleaned-up Rickety Cricket, aka Father Mara, stops share a blessing with each attendee. As her frantic, near hysterical riffing escalates, you know the barrage of insults she’s laying out is only going to end with her complete humiliation…next week, since this guy is a two-parter.
Charlie is quick to follow into the void, reverting to his high school persona Dirt Grub, the boy who would eat or huff anything to be loved. “Do you see any spiders I can eat?,” he says in a panic when the cool kids approach. Dennis is happy to revisit his days as a golden god, until he realizes no one else is. “I’m going to stand right here and wait for my minions to swarm me,” he reassures himself, to no avail.
I momentarily assumed we were about to find out Mac had never graduated from high school (an equally likely embarrassing secret), but instead we learn his full name for the first time: Ronald MacDonald. Like scoliosis or, as we later learn, ring worm, a dumb name is all it takes to ruin someone’s life, possibly forever. “It’s been so long, it’s probably not even my name legally anymore,” Mac gasps, scrambling for time. While Ronny the Rat, as he was also known, is the only member of the gang not to openly tear into anyone else to gain social status, his struggle to maintain some semblance of dignity while everyone else reverts verges on the heartbreaking. “Don’t laugh when people make fun of me,” he quietly warns Charlie. Ugh, now my high school PTSD’s acting up again.
Speaking of names, so, is the Waitress Nikki Potnick? Having fallen off the wagon (and under it, and in front of it, tumbling drunkenly under its wheels) The Most Forgettable Girl In High School can’t seem to find her name tag. Coincidentally. Frank has snuck in with a random woman’s nametag from the check-in table. It’s been well established since season one that the here-to-fore unseen Nikki Potnick drunkenly crashed her car into a tree, which seems to fit the Waitress’s character arc. However, I’d like to suggest that the nametag issue is a red herring, and we will still be left in the dark with regards to the Waitress’s name. She is probably so forgettable; they just forgot to make her a nametag. Meanwhile I love the casual ease with which Frank kept up his ruse. When questioned why he’s a 65-year-old man rather than a lady in her 30s, Frank pauses for a second, then confirms “Ah, yeah-I’m a guy now.”
We also get a cameo from Dennis’s ex-wife Dead Tooth Maureen, who’s invested her alimony in a little bit of bling for her grayed-out chomper. “Put a diamond on anything dead and it’s still dead,” Dennis says in horror. The Waitress’s ex-fiance Brad Fisher is also in attendance, complete with horrible hornet scars, as is Tim Murphy, who Dennis still loathes for sleeping with his prom date. Seeing as how this is a To Be Continued, I’m assuming we’ll eventually see Brad forcing Charlie to eat spiders as payback, while Dennis attempts to sleep with Tim Murphy’s hot wife, only to learn that the prom-date-thing was a complete misunderstanding. Ah, such sad little games we play.
After Mac rats out Adriano for using fake drink tickets to trick bartenders The Kings of Leon, and Charlie passes out from huffing HOMEMADE MUSTARD GAS, Dee and the cool kids gleefully administer a cavalcade of atomic wedgies to Frank, Mac and Charlie. “I’m a grown goddamn man,” Mac screams in impotent rage. When Brad Fisher reaches in his waistband, Charlie’s underwear just MELTS OFF HIS BODY. Dear god, it’s like his tighty whities are made out of a soft cheese !Charlie has clean intact underwear in his hand! We know he owns them! Eventually. Cricket is revealed as the ringworm-covered grifter he is, having stolen everyone’s jewelry with his quick ferrety fingers while pretending to bless them. He also manages to blow up Dee’s spot with the cool kids by revealing their romantic past. “To think I was going to let you jack me off!,” Adriano says in disgust. To think, it’s probably only about 9:00pm at this point in the evening. There must be so much more humiliation to come. Exactly like high school.