"Cool Hand Peter"

"Cool Hand Peter"

Maybe I should give the horrible, risky failures more credit. At least they aren't boring.

 

This was a competent episode. Workmanlike. It didn't take a lot of chances, and it didn't make a lot of funny. Which is worse? An episode that dares to take chances and then fails at them horribly, or an episode that completely phones it in? It's hard to say. I certainly dislike the horrible failures a lot more, but maybe I should give them credit. At least they aren't boring.
 
There were precisely three things that I liked about this episode:
 
1. The scene where the wine-drunk wives trick Brian into coming into the living room and pontificating about the latest Jonathan Franzen novel, only to pounce and shove him into a bee costume.

 
2. A really great game of "Would You Rather," possibly the best so far. This round it was "Would you rather be a hobo with a five percent chance of being inherited by a rich guy, or Hitler two years before the end of World War II?" As with all games of "Would You Rather," the joy is in the follow-up questions and responses, like Joe's "Well wait a minute! Now how come I gotta be Cripple Hitler and he's still White Hitler?"
 
3. In the scene where Peter's phone has the "Cleveland Show" theme song as its ring tone, I love the way that Peter's voice trails off into a self-conscious mumble at the end of his line, "Well… the numbers ain't so good, so we have to do everything we can."
 
3.5. Okay, I also loved the way Peter gently moved the premature baby's hand aside to take the candy bar.
 
The setup, that the guys would get pulled over for a speeding ticket and end up in a Southern prison indefinitely is pretty weak. The show could have built on that weak premise and made it interesting, but it chose instead to coast along through the inevitable escape and return. 
 
I was reminded of the "Shawshank Redemption" parody they did a few years ago. The scene where Peter pauses with his rock held aloft, only to time his bangs with the claps in the "Friends" theme song kills me every time. That one scene is funnier than anything in this whole entire episode.
 
Much puzzlement remains from the B Plot, where the wives get together to drink wine and dish gossip. For three months? Don't they notice that their husbands are gone? Did they really go on a three-month bender? Because that would be pretty funny, you could do a whole "Leaving Las Vegas" thing with that. But all indications are that the women spent a wild night together in Lois' living room. (And for once, the show took the high road and didn't suggest any "lesbian experimentation" hijinks.)