We open this can of worms with Mike and Ed strolling down the happenin' streets of Stuckeyville. They run across a man in a chicken suit standing in the town square with a sign hawking a local restaurant's fried chicken. Mike bets Ed $6 he won't go hug the chicken. Ed reminds Mike that the time-honored traditional wager is $10. Mike sheepishly says that he only has $6 in his pocket. Ed asks him if he's Boxcar Willie, King of the Homos. Oops...sorry...he said "Hobos." I thought that was kinda odd, because I didn't remember Boxcar Willie being particularly obsessed with the gentlemen in his day. The two banter back and forth as Ed clearly will not hug a chicken for anything less than ten bucks. Ed -- quickly realizing that, as a successful bowling alley lawyer, he does in fact have $10 to his name -- performs a never before seen twist on the $10 bet and turns it around, betting Mike that he won't go hug the chicken. Maybe this was Mike's idea all along, because the large-foreheaded lummox approaches the chicken and puts his arms around the chicken's head, holding it close to his chest. You know...if I'm not mistaken...it almost looks like Mike is...choking the chicken. I'm wondering if Mike has ever choked the chicken in public. I bet he has. I bet he's gripped that chicken in his hand and choked the life out of it before. Probably right there in the town square. Mike's weird that way. Ed starts laughing as the chicken tells Mike to please stop touching him. Mike really should have choked the chicken. Now I'm going to be preoccupied with a missed opportunity for the next several hours as I write this recap. God help me.
Opening credits. The theme song from Hell begins. This week, I can't decide if it sounds more like somebody having his ribcage sawed open with a rusted chainsaw while strapped to a gurney in a haunted house, or if it sounds more like Shelley Winters screaming for help while trapped in a bathtub with rats crawling out of the faucet. I'll get back to you on that.
Commercials. Hey, it's a new Disney video just in time for the holidays: Mickey Contracts Spina Bifida Like That Creepy Sister Chick In Pet Sematary! Woohoo! An instant family classic!
We return from commercials to find the staff of the Stuckey Bowl sitting near a fishbowl full of gumballs and doing some calculations on calculators -- except Phil, who's using an abacus. They've all come to the conclusion that there are 1,389 gumballs in the fishbowl. As it turns out, Phil has decided to run a contest which would find customers guessing the number of gumballs, with the closest guesser winning a free month of bowling. You can tell this is Phil's idea, because Ed's head is shaking like Katharine Hepburn on an antique tractor. Phil writes the number down on a piece of paper and puts it inside a clear plastic box hanging over the shoe rental desk; he describes it as an "impregnable box of mystery." He gives Ed the key and names Ed the Keymaster, which is a step up from Ed's previous position as the Cockmaster, but only Kenny, Shirley, and Phil really know about the promotion. Carol walks in with an illegal immigrant under her arm. You know, in this day and time, the last thing we need in Stuckeyville is one more potential terrorist, Ms. Vessey. The gal's name is Sonia; Carol is tutoring her in English. Sonia's got that whole Sonia Braga look going for her. Carol needs Ed to talk to her about some legal issues. You know...whatever happened to the original rule where you had to bowl three games before the bowling alley lawyer would even look your way? Are those days over? Has that stipulation been dropped? What this show so desperately needs (besides a theme song that doesn't make your lungs bleed) is more bowling. Phil decides to turn his Sleaze-o-meter to 11, and starts babbling softly to Sonia in a language that's part Spanish, part French, and all ignorant. He slowly goes to kiss the back of her hand, and she recoils in horror as though he has spiders in his mouth. Phil opens up the neck of his shirt to see if maybe the sight of his pale and hairless chest will turn her on. It doesn't. Ed guides Sonia into his office, and Carol stops to make pissy eyes at Phil for acting like an idiot. Phil shoves that same look right back at Carol. I smell fireworks between them. I'll bet by the end of the season, Phil and Carol will have done the nasty at least once.