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Are you kidding me? “Motherboy XXX” is legendary in nearly every single way, down to its duplicitously punned name. The costumes, the meta jokes, Carl Weathers’ return, the dolls, G.O.B.’s inability to do anything to save himself. Right here up top, I’ll go ahead and say this episode’s only true fault is a gaff, as the zipline slide that Buster was planning to take would have put him below the hotel balcony that George Michael was standing on, yet his hook ends up flying through their window. It’s a weird error that really gets under my skin for some reason. I don’t care about seeing cameramen’s shoulders and obvious ADR corrections, but this one irks me. The one thing about this series. There, I said it.
”And yet anything goes at bathtime.”
The event that this episode revolves awkwardly around – the mother-son/grandson costume sub-gala Motherboy – gives us all the family dynamics that the series’ best episodes give us. It’s family first for Michael, but he goes back on his own slogan by not wanting to hang around hook-handed Buster, who is having problems with Lucille over going to the event. George Michael is sent to hang out with Buster and then gets roped in by Lucille to do what she wants. I think the success of the will they/won’t they quasi-incest that George Michael and Maeby have going is due to it being one of the only goals that George Michael gets to work on accomplishing, and he’s happy about. But his do-good nature makes him a malleable pawn for all of the selfish people around him, and so he goes along for the ride observantly, but with no real want. His top choice for that day’s plans would not have included dressing up like a sailor, Sonny Bono or a gypsy. Also, it’s fun to watch Buster give advice on how to be Buster.
”Did you know you can get a refill on anything you want here, and it’s free?”
This episode is such a gem due to all of the ways in which it speaks to the viewers about itself and about pop culture in general. Carl Weathers comes back because he’s directing the Bluth-themed episode of the dramatization-filled Scandal Makers, and gets Tobias to sign on for the story rights. (That the TV movie ends up giving away George Sr.’s location in a later episode is amazing unto itself.) So in having Tobias be the inside source for Carl, it’s telling us that “true stories” can sometimes come from the most fucked up person involved in the story. That’s interesting. And where do they meet? Burger King, in one of the most blatant, look you right in the eye product placements ever to exist. And after that wonderful bit of hyperbolic advertising, we get one of the most iconic moments in the series: Henry Winkler (as Barry, of course) says he’s going to Burger King, and then jumps over a shark for the second time in his career. Like the Atkins diet jokes, the phrase “jump the shark” has lost a lot of its impact over the years, but considering the phrase came into existence by referencing Winkler waterskiing over a shark in a Happy Days as being the defining moment when that show went over the edge. Only the word meta is more meta than that moment there. Community can collapse upon itself.
And for that extra bit of reality – “I swore I’d not go reality.” – the explicitly stated difference between the event Motherboy and the band Motherboy was a potshot at the hip-hop group Arrested Development, who tried to hit the show with a lawsuit for having the same name.
”I had to take all the pumps out of here a long time ago.”
George Sr.’s creeping senility from being stuck in the attic begins to bloom, and his asides with the tea party dolls could never work with anyone else as well as they do with Jeffrey Tambor. Then you have Buster’s “I’m a monster!!” freak-out, which could lull me out of any depression. And then you get a guest spot by Amy Poehler and her “huge cans” as G.O.B.’s seal-loving wife. Their back and forth over marriage consummation is a well-crafted nutshell of everything wrong with G.O.B. Thinking that other people’s opinion’s matter more than the truth, and thinking that sex is more important than achieving personal success. It’s a well-rounded episode that gets better with each viewing, just like all the rest of them. Only this one ends with the Motherboy theme. Huzzah!
Things That Make The Episode Memorable
"The didn't. But it would have been."
“Stop licking my hand!”
Based on his license plate, we get to consider what Tobias’ audition for House M.D. would have been like.
Al “arm off.” I’m a fan of all the references to Buster’s hand that this show lobs out.
“Nice to see you again…Usarmy.”
Two Tobiases in the same room.
The little red-headed boy who so desperately wants to get away from his sailor-suited mother. How is he the only one doing this?
Buster winning Saddest at Motherboy is ridiculous, as is the inherent sweetness behind him and Lucille dancing after everything else went down.
“Do you know where I can get one of those necklaces with the T on it?” “It’s a cross.” “Across from where?” A regular Abbot and Costello, these guys.
“I misunderestimated you.”
The Abu Ghraib picture, because how did they even get away with that?
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