by: Douglas Grant
Our weekly recaps continue discussing the adventures of five of Philadelphia’s most depraved underachievers in ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’. Pull up a stool at Paddy’s Pub as we let you in on “The Gang’s” adventures….
Charlie’s Mom Has Cancer
It was never my intention to give Puff Daddy any credibility as an actor. Seeing him as nothing more than an oversampling producer who wanted a shortcut into Hollywood, I wasn’t going to give him a chance. But much in the same way as Justin Timberlake grew on me movie by movie, starting with Alpha Dog, I reluctantly began to give Puffy his just dues as he proved himself a true thespian. And the funny thing is that he was carrying these nearly unwatchable movies, from the farce prequel that was Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power to the very unfunny Get Him to the Greek. But it wasn’t until a guest appearance on Charlie’s Mom Has Cancer that Puffy showed us his true range as an actor. Some people might argue that Patrick Swayze’s role of a lifetime was Johnny Castle, Dalton, Sam Wheat, or Bodhi, whereas a friend of mine would say that he was born to play the role of Jim Cunningham in Donnie Darko. Much in this same fashion of unpopular belief, I would argue that Dr. Jinx was P. Diddy’s role of a lifetime.
The main theme of this story is scamming. Dr. Jinx offers to cure Charlie’s mom for a mere $4,200. When the scam-wary guys walk into the doctor’s office, run out of a garage, and adorned with houseplants and absolutely no medical equipment, all to the tune of “The Right Stuff” by New Kids on the Block, they find it very off-putting. When he diagnoses the rash on Mac’s arm as sailor’s rot, he sprays some pesticide—one of his “homeopathic” remedies—on the infected area. When Mac complains of a burning sensation, Dr. Jinx responds, “Mother Earth don’t play.” Dennis is worried that he hasn’t felt anything, good or bad, in quite some time. “Oh, you want feelings? Well I have something for that. Dr. Jinx got something for feeling.” Apparently he thinks that “The Right Stuff” strummed on a bass guitar will arouse more feeling in Dennis than N.K.O.T.B. singing the same song will on the stereo.
At Paddy’s Beef and Beer benefit for Bonnie Kelly, Dennis persuades the crowd to give it up for “Dr. Jinx: the man with a band . . . named after himself.” Once again I saw possible tributes to classic cinema, in this case Dr. Jinx’s band playing subtle homage to Coming to America’s fundraising band Sexual Chocolate. The lukewarm applause from the elderly crowd as Jinx sang lines such as “Let’s turn this cancer out” definitely perpetuated this line of thought in my mind.
On a side note, this episode is true Dennis. We all know he has absolutely no empathy, but when he gets the news about Charlie’s mom, he offers a more forced and insincere condolence than most of us would have thought possible, all while popping peanuts into his mouth. “I’m sorry, for whatever reason, the cancer thing is just not . . . it’s just not grabbing me right now.” And expanding upon the idea that the church is nothing more than one big scam, he comes up with the idea for the Beef and Beer.
I don’t know why the writers brought back Artemis or Mr. Juarez this episode. They weren’t really funny, and they contributed very little to the episode other than to indirectly say to the viewer: “Hello! Remember us?” But hey, we have Dr. Jinx now, a possible recurring character who turns out to be nothing more than a church gardener. I was worried that we were going to find out that Dennis and Dee’s mom actually had been alive all this time, the writers needlessly throwing yet another redundant character at us. But no, when the gang exhumes her coffin we all see her dusty skeletal corpse rotting away. This experience definitely gets Dennis feeling things again.