Wedding episodes are boring. There, I said it. It’s predetermined that something will go wrong (Marshall shaving his head in How I Met Your Mother), or someone will get cold feet and run off (How I Met Your Mother… twice). These kinds of episodes can be painfully boring and formulaic. On sitcoms they’re an inevitability, and on dramas—especially procedurals like Castle, Bones, and Psych—they seem like the logical series finale, and it makes me fall asleep from lack of interest.
Very few shows approach weddings in a way that interests me. Arrested Development is the clear-cut example of one that worked, for Michael’s disastrous wedding in the third season, though Parenthood had a very tender wedding episode last season, and the Jim/Pam wedding on The Office is one of the last great episodes of that show at this point. NTSF, meanwhile, took a shot at the drama-procedural wedding episode by injecting a heavy dose of Kill Bill into the proceedings. Unsurprisingly, given the success of the season thus far, taking a formula to outlandish extremes breathes some life back into a tired trope.
Piper’s boyfriend Tucker—played by NTSF executive producer Curtis Gwinn—is a blowhard who doesn’t treat her particularly well, but with him she feels like a normal person instead of a government agent. So when he proposes by hiding a ring in a cup of bleu cheese dressing with an order of buffalo wings at a sports bar, Piper immediately says “Yes.” The only problem? Her ex, samurai sword-wielding Dragon Shumway, who’s out to win her back and slay anyone in his way.
But the wedding comes later. Piper’s bachelorette party may only include Jessie and Kove, but damn if they don’t have one hell of a good time. Kove has been married 11 times, so she knows a thing or two about having one last crazy night before committing to one person. A bottle of fluorescent-green, ultra-powerful, government-grade Appletini mix—that J.D. from Scrubs would kill to get his hands on—lands the three of them in the drunk tank after a joyride that leaves Jessie screaming, “Please be my mom!” Kove is a total badass, and it’s Rebecca Romijn’s best scene of the season so far, surpassing her brief friendship with Ellie Kemper.
As Dragon Shumway, Rob Huebel gets more screen time than Rob Corddry’s cameo appearance as a paranormal detective a few weeks ago, but he still didn’t get many great lines. He does look absolutely ridiculous in his gray wig, and the inspired kung-fu flashback sequence told via Taiwanese animation is a great way to provide some quick backstory. Mostly Huebel just has good chemistry with June Diane Raphael, and their fights have some of the best dialogue in the episode, as Piper reveals that Dragon killed her entire family to reap insurance money to buy her a yacht for Valentine’s Day. So he’s a psychopathic stalker, but the cowardly Tucker manages to save the day while delivering a Schwarzenegger quote.
For an episode that pushes Paul Scheer to the fringes, “The Return Of Dragon Shumway” isn’t too bad. The one scene with all three female cast members is the funniest they’ve ever had together—reminiscent of the best “Ladies Night” scenes from last week’s Childrens Hospital—and even if some of the rest didn’t quite click, the wedding episode got a well-deserved send-up as a Kill Bill-influenced comic revenge tale.
- There will be a third season of NTSF:SD:SUV::! This is great news, since it’s a natural pairing with Childrens Hospital and has grown to be legitimately funny in its own right in this second season.
- The title card was probably either a reference to the Childrens Hospital Emmy or the fact that Rob Huebel is the second actor from that show to appear on NTSF this season.
- Are we assuming Kove yells “I am your mom!” back at Jessie to acquiesce to her request or because in a twist she’s actually Jessie’s mom?
- Erik Adams made a great point in What’s On Tonight?, even if he was joking: What if Dragon Shumway isn’t played by Rob Huebel, but by the actor who plays Dr. Owen Maestro, his character on Childrens Hospital?
- S.A.M.’s outfit at the wedding was wonderful.
- “Wow. If you mean it, that’s amazing.” It’s always fun when the President of the Navy shows up.