What I will give Les The Miz (a cross-over between Les Misérables and the WWE) is that it’s different. It’s not good, not by any stretch of the term, but at least it’s something… different. Pretty much the entirety of that sketch acted like some random lucid dream that I was hallucinating. The Miz stole the WWE Championship belt! And then he ran off. And then John Cena started singing. And then they were in pre-revolutionary France. And there was a time wizard and some other song started up and then everyone was back in present day. Then they kept showing random people from Les Mis and then the sketch was apparently a pay-per-view that Hulk Hogan watched? I honestly have no idea what I saw, but I do know that it wasn’t funny. It was certainly random, and I applaud MAD for doing most of the sketch in song, but there were no jokes here which leads me to wonder how this sketch might have turned out had somebody who was capable of writing funny songs under a deadline been assigned it instead. What we got, though, was… something? Again, I’m still really not certain as to what on earth I watched.
Outside of that, and the total dud of the MAD Security Cam segment (which just isn’t landing this season), this episode was really funny. Both Mike Wartella segments were great ideas executed perfectly (Expect Fifteen Minute Delays) with Pillow Fight actually getting even funnier thanks to the tag (again, I appreciate a well-constructed “child violence” gag). Irish Scream Shampoo managed to get a lot out of mileage out of its one gag (which switched into two gags in the closing seconds), this week’s The Less You Know (involving the lack of air filtration in Pokéballs) made me laugh and I’m not apologising for that, whilst this instalment of Real Life Heroes was a lot of set-up for one gag designed to make me, and likely only me, laugh in spite of myself.
Two sketches, though, that landed perfectly were Cop Chef and closer The Lex Factor. Cop Chef was simply inspired, just a silly idea purpose built to send stupid pun after stupid pun in your direction. It worked a treat and got out precisely when the risk started appearing that the sketch was going to outstay its welcome. The Lex Factor, meanwhile, aside from some cheap Kardashian jokes that literally everyone has heard before (ooh, they’re the real monsters! You’re cracking me up with your insightful observation!), managed to make the randomness that usually sinks the lesser of MAD’s sketches work. The addition of Gargamel from The Smurfs as the representative of evil wizards managed to get laughs outside of the initial “hey, look, it’s Gargamel” by playing up his patheticness and mining some actual gags out of the equation (his brilliant plan to simply step on Superman is foiled because the man himself is far taller than Gargamel’s action figure of him would suggest). There were gags from the start of this sketch right up to the finish and all but a few land on target.
Throw in another great Spy vs. Spy and you have the best MAD episode in a long time. Even the MADvent Calendar was great, this time! With only two dud sketches (although I am tempted to give Les The Miz a pass because… ah, who am I kidding? That sketch stunk), the hit/miss ratio was far kinder than in most episodes of this show and the ones that hit knocked it out of the park every time. Tonight’s episode was simply MAD setting up some rather clever premises and then wringing out every last possible joke it could get from them. This is what the show’s capable of when it produces an episode where most everything works, and the results of that are why I keep watching.
- Although I will admit that Kevin Shinick’s voice is actually far more versatile than most give him credit for, he needs to stop taking roles in the extended mashup sketches. He does one voice during these. One. All the time, in every sketch, regardless of the character and the lack of effort he puts in is actually rather insulting. Get somebody else for these, please.
- The better of the two Animated Marginals this week was the David & Goliath parody although Bear In The Woods was just as good.
- Best Sketch: Really, really tough one to call this week because there are so many strong contenders. I think I’ll have to go with Pillow Fight which was funny in its own right, but the tag elevated it even higher.
- Worst Sketch: MAD Security Cam. At least with Les The Miz I could see them trying. This one assumed that you’d laugh at monkeys dancing to a public domain knock-off of Gangam Style and it’s just as wrong in that assumption here as it was when it tried almost the exact same joke two episodes back.
- “Tuesday, 9am: After Veronica Mars fans raised millions of dollars to fund the movie, fans of The Office raised millions to destroy all evidence of the last four seasons.”
- “Irish Scream Shampoo: We’re the shampoo with the little green guy on the front and the heart warning on the back!”
- The police chief in Cop Chef is at a dead-end in the case but Cop Chef has a theory. “We know that this perp committed the crime, but we can’t seem to find any evidence to tie him to it.” “Maybe someone’s been… cooking the books?”
- “Yes! I’ve destroyed the signal tower that broadcasts Whitney!” “This has been another instalment of Real Life Heroes.” Told you that I’d be the only one who found that funny.
- “I need some way of being able to find a new villain to take down Superman! Someone scary, with charisma, and cool powers, and something else…” “An X Factor?” “Yes! But something slightly different so that I won’t get sued.”
- “Welcome back to The Lex Factor, the show where contestants compete to see who can defeat Superman! I’m Khloe Kardashian. Smile and pause.” (She wasn’t supposed to read that part.)
- On The Lex Factor’s judging panel we have Lex Luthor (Criminal Mastermind), Demi Lovato (Teen Star) and Britney Spears (She was already in the studio when they got there).
- Gargamel ended up beating out Doomsday in the public vote. Never underestimate the proportion of the vote provided by Smurfs