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Eagleheart: “Little Dude”

Illustration for article titled iEagleheart/i: “Little Dude”
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Eagleheart uses gruesome violence to great comedic effect, and is adept at using gruesome elements in episodes like “Bringing Up Beezor,” but it’s not often that I feel as grossed out as I did tonight. Putting Maria Thayer in increasingly ridiculous makeup and prosthetics, and seeing her rip apart animals in a lycanthropic frenzy is a little hard to watch.

Susie is Eagleheart’s least reliably funny character. Brett is a nutcase, and Chris is a murderously violent marshal, but Susie is levelheaded and in control. Tonight’s episode is an attempt to balance things out and make Susie an equally comedic figure prone to the same kind of surreal turns as Brett and Chris—and it comes close to succeeding.


A hermaphrodite assassin keeps getting into the courthouse to shoot judges because he/she can’t go through one of the gendered security lines to get frisked. Monsanto is too macho to undergo hormone treatment to become a third guard, and Brett is too busy cleaning up one of Chris’ messes on the floor, so the task falls to Susie. But after receiving testosterone and easily dispatching the assassin with a few quick machine gun rounds to the back, she’s invited out drinking along with the rest of the boys, and quickly becomes the popular “Little Dude.”

Brett gets insanely jealous of Little Dude because of how much Chris likes Susie’s alter ego, and that sends him over an edge he seems to fall over nearly every week—I’m not complaining, since Brett Gelman earns laughs with those actions every time. It’s clear that Brett isn’t just a simpleton—he’s mentally unhinged—but seeing him at his bathroom mirror, trying to settle an argument between his competing split personalities, or voices in his head, was another great moment in what is shaping up to be an even better season for Gelman. He plays Brett with just the right combination of insanity and lovable dope, akin to Parks And Recreation’s Andy Dwyer if he always had a loaded shotgun in his hands.

In a desperate attempt for Chris’ affection, Brett shaves his dog, glues fur to his face, and takes credit for Susie’s random attacks on animals around town. Apparently lycanthropy is an increasingly uncontrollable side effect of taking so much testosterone, but Susie eventually owns up to her crimes and takes her punishment of exile in a freak community. In a nice little twist that’s pretty obvious, once the effects wear off, the freaks judge her for her normal appearance just like the marshals judge her for being a woman, and soon enough Eagleheart subverts logic (but not the its internal comedic logic) and springs Susie from her prison, and gets Little Dude back to the marshals.

I found myself raising an eyebrow at the strangeness of “Little Dude” more often than I was laughing, but that isn’t necessary a marker of quality. This is a surreal show with bizarre tendencies, and when it chooses to focus on Maria Thayer as Susie, it occasionally stalls with Gelman and Chris Elliott on the outskirts of the plot. But this was a decent Susie-centric episode, even if it is weaker than the past few weeks. Susie doesn’t get to make as many jokes or deliver as many one-liners as Brett or Chris, but at least laughs come out of a situation with her at the center.


Stray observations:

  • The bar everyone goes to still plays the shitty blues music that Deke And The Growlers played live. Nice touch.
  • He/She and Boy/Chick aren’t very inventive, but “shim” made me laugh as a ridiculous combination pronoun.

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