Dearborn holds few delights and many obstructions for the Botwins. Why is Nancy's hometown their last stop before Copenhagen? Not even the script is sure. But it doesn't really matter, because everything so far is looking pretty effed up with likely more to come. Establishing a base of operations for hash sales and passport-getting means tracking down, per Shane's suggestion, the math teacher that took Nancy's virginity, Mr. Schiff. He's played by Richard Dreyfuss, works for and steals from the postal service, and while he's no longer quite the in-patient young Nancy made of him -- the first cockroach to get her zombie eggs in the brain -- but truth be told, he does have a scary secret room in his house. Overall Schiff is just sort of sweet and old and bonkers.
Nancy and Andy invent a new liquid drug using their hash and Schiff's meds, test it out on Doug, and sell it to a bar. This might be their worst plan ever, as in ever on this show, but the blitheness with which they jump into it makes me think there's a smartness to it I'm not getting: The main reason I've never done a George's Marvelous Medicine with all the drugs I could find -- which, come on, sounds great -- is because I've always just kinda assumed you would go running straight through the nearest plate glass window or shit your eyeballs.
Andy goes looking for passports and has some very fun scenes there, but lots of dead ends. We meet a family of Michael Moore's pasty sad Michigan poor people and trade them for the Jesus Is Awesome Love RV, the better to sell drugs to, and buy passports from, various ethnics.
Silas and Shane, off a tip from Mr. Holland's Opus over here, check out Nancy's high school boyfriend Lars, who also works for the PO and bears a marked resemblance to Silas. I guess. Like a craggy blockhead Lego version of Silas with muscles like a day-laborer. And anyway, no way. Judah forever.
And what's Nancy doing this whole time, besides tossing casual hipster racism around like it ain't no thing and literally inventing new ways of putting the whole family in jeopardy? Oh, she takes her half-Mexican baby to the graveyard to gloat at her horrible parents' tombstones about "You thought it was bullshit when I married a Jew? Meet Stevie." It's a pretty good scene, but not that heavy -- frankly, it doesn't really seem like MLP is that into it -- until the end:
A Klostermanesque basement-dork that Nancy doesn't even remember from high school approaches her (and even if it isn't a setup, doesn't he still represent a huge dangling loose thread, since you're on your way out of town?) in a way that is obviously a setup, she turns him down for a coffee date, and he reports the sighting to whomever he's working with. So... probably she will eat the brain out of his head next week.
Silas wants to use the bathroom, but Doug. I don't really need to say more than that, do I? Silas wants to use the bathroom, but Doug is in there smoking hash. I guess because they don't want him using up their product, but more so that he can make gross cheap jokes and invent imaginative metaphors for feces. Out at the front of the RV, Shane wonders if it's really that smart to go back to your hometown, when you're en route to another country with the FBI and El Cosa Nuestra on your ass.
Because this actually doesn't make any sense, it seems like an odd choice to point that out, but whatever. We're into the third act and Dearborn is where it will take place. And we're learning about Nancy at the same rate her children are learning about her, so it does make a bit of sense. It would make more thematic sense if this show hung together better, but this season has at least been fun to watch. Nancy and Andy's troubling explanation is that "Dearborn is crawling with Arabs," and since they sell hash and need fake passports, clearly that's enough of an explanation.
And, you know, wonderful-wonderful aside, leaving the country means leaving behind everything that caused Nancy to become what she is in the first place. Which is a handy little theme to have always going on with this show -- work for a living/kill yourself working et cetera -- because she's always scrambling to keep what she's got and then finding herself in places where what she had -- what she was trying to keep such a tight hold on -- somehow became totally irrelevant along the way. This is what life is actually like.
So in the context of saying goodbye to the Americas, it makes sense to touch base with the mermaid mailbox of Dearborn, and her parents' graves, before flying into the arms of the even-sadder mermaids of Copenhagen. Silas points out what a cheap, easy, racist joke it is, to assume that all Arabs have access to fake passports, not to mention sort of base and pointless, but because this episode is not that well-written, just cartoonish and kinda nasty for no reason, Nancy's answer is: "It's also racist to assume all Asians are bad drivers... But they are." Which, I get the concept there, and it could be funny, but whatever. This is going to be the shortest recap ever. Nancy assigns Andy to get the passports, at which he balks due to "radical Muslims" vs. "Jew face."
Nancy is all excited because her friend Lainie's house is coming up, and it's where she hid every time she ran away from home, as a kid. Only now, instead of a house it's a strip club. "Oooh," says Doug happily, "I'll put my sweatpants on!" Then there's more lazy writing about "trolling around Little Beirut in the Jesus Wagon might bring unwanted attention" and how they need a Detroitmobile, which is a much funnier joke and also the exact same joke: "We need a nice crappy American car around here, so we blend."
Shane suggests that they all bed down at Mr. Schiff's house, reminding everybody of how he molested Nancy in high school and how funny it was and how she drove him to commit suicide but that eventually he got out of the mental institution. There's literally no reason for Shane, of all people, to suggest this, or everybody in the van to immediately get onboard with that idea, or for Mr. Schiff the mentally ill postal worker to still be living in that same house, but whatever. Apparently Nancy remembers the guy's address, apparently proving that he fucked children and that one of them was Nancy. Isn't this hilarious?
Though Nancy assures herself and them that Schiff won't remember her, of course he does, and he gets all slobbery and sexy all over her, and the boys are totally fucking grossed out about it because it's fucking gross, and apparently being good at playing a pathetic child molester is a skill you can have, so my hat is off to Mr. Holland Krippendorf for that. He Humberts around about his sciatica and schlepping and plantar fasciitis and finally Nancy's like, "Hey, can my whole family -- plus a large stinking masturbating fart machine who has no real reason to be on this show -- can we all come live with you? This is my Mexican baby." And of course Schiff is like, "Marvelous!"
Schiff gets everybody's name wrong because he's decrepit, and nobody cares because he is irrelevant and clearly exposure to rads of Nancy, in her early days when probably her zombie venom was much stronger, has caused irreparable damage to his brain. The only rules are: Don't touch the giant telescope, and don't go in the mysterious room at the end of the hall, which is locked. Also, he sleeps on a massage table with his face in a little hole, for his cervical nerves. Also, he loves everything from Skymall and gets everything from Skymall. Doug gives this whole speech about Skymall that is marginally funny only because of Kevin Nealon but is sort of like if Jerry Seinfeld were holding auditions to be the next him and then he fell asleep in the middle of your audition. Jokes about Skymall. 2010, jokes about Skymall, this is the situation.
Finally they tell Doug to shut the fuck up, but still let him be on the show some more. Somewhere Celia's like, "Listen: When that show is rockin' nobody can keep up. But when that show is shitty, damn is it shitty. So you tell me." Schiff wonders about the SS Awesome Love and Andy assures him that they "lost [their] faith a long time ago," in a weirdly dark tone as though it's meaningful and not just some more passably dark humor. Schiff makes another joke about how he raped Nancy as a child, possibly causing her to be into spankings and hair-pulling and all this, the occasional rape over a table, and it's "hilarious" some more! Schiff asks if they are as sketchy as they seem to be, and Nancy's like, "No, we are on the up and up, but if anybody asks, I'm Nathalie, Shane is Shawn, Andy's Randy, Doug is Ted, Silas is Mike, and the baby's Avi. Clear?"
Hooman is the name of the hot bartender Nancy is meeting with, and he explains to her that she is racist for coming to Dearborn to sell hash to the Arabs, but mostly a dipshit because that is some leftover assumption she's served herself. Nancy swears that hash is the new hash and that these things are cyclical and that hash is retro and retro is cool and I dunno, viral and search-optimized, and finally he puts her out of her misery, because please don't tell Bobby Bottleservice what the kids are into these days, Old White Lady: "Look, I promote three of the hottest nights a week out of this space, and trust me, no kid comes here to smoke hash and get mellow. They all want to get cranked up, fuck like dogs. So, unless you're packing E or blow, you're shit out of luck, Mommy. I need up. Not down. Hash? Belongs in a fucking museum!" Nancy, feelings hurt, ageism run amok, leaves with a like "okay okay" tone in her voice, grabbing her giant purse on the way. We have not seen the last of that one, thank God.
Andy disrupts a Muslim service, and it's gross and stupid. There's envelope-pushing, and then there's the white trash Teabagger guy, Kid Rock or Axl Rose, going "How come only black people get to use the N word?" Like he's the first person to think about that. Like he's not just using this entire process of "inquiry" and "deep thought" so he can give himself permission to use the N word. If there's no other level to it, you can't imagine one out of thin air no matter how hard you try. A smart asshole is still an asshole, and this show treads on that side of the fence more than is okay. This episode is for shitty unhappy people.
Shane plays with one of those brainwave things where your telekinesis moves a ball around a maze thing using EEGs, which are not only super fun but also something Shane is probably amazing at. While he's doing that, they discuss what Nancy was like in high school. Besides enthusiastically getting sexually assaulted by their host, of course. She was an A student in math, a great gymnast, a wonderful dancer, star of the talent show. She made her own costume and stole the show, but since this ep