Wednesday, March 27, 2013

5-Piece Cartoon Dinner (03/27/2013): Archer, Out There, Apollo Gauntlet, Bob's Burgers and Adventure Time

Bob's Burgers becomes the first Fox cartoon to pay tribute for an entire episode to On Golden Pond.
Al suggests to his son-in-law Bob an idea for a burger, which he calls the Rusty Trombone Marrow Burger.
Every Wednesday in "5-Piece Cartoon Dinner," I dine on five of the week's most noteworthy animated shows. The episodes are reviewed in the order of when they first aired.

99 does the old 'Savannah Guthrie trying not to appear taller than Matt Lauer' trick.When Mel Brooks and Buck Henry tried to pitch Get Smart to ABC in the mid-'60s, network executives found their pilot script to be too strange for their tastes and proposed to Brooks and Henry that they give Maxwell Smart a lovable dog to add more heart to the show. According to Time magazine in 1965, "Brooks and Henry went back and perversely put in a cowardly, mangy, wheezy dog that chased cars and bit strangers." Fang continued to bungle Max's directions for a few more episodes of Get Smart (which ended up on NBC after ABC considered the show to be too "un-American"--oh, conservative America and your idea of humor), until the writing staff (which, by this time, Brooks was no longer a part of) wrote the canine CONTROL agent out of the show because the producers fired the dog who played Fang for being equally uncooperative, just like how the new Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany's recently shitcanned a feline actor for being unruly on-stage.

This week, another spy comedy adds a dog to the proceedings, but with pukier, fartier and gorier results. In "Un Chien Tangerine," Archer sends Sterling and Lana on a mission in Morocco to extract an agent who turns out to be a giant, gun-hating dog named Kazak. His purpose is to transport on his collar microfilm that contains intel about "nukes in Pakistan or one of the -akistans." Archer, who's far kinder to animals than humans, gets the brilliant idea of feeding shitloads of kufta (Middle Eastern meatballs) to Kazak, who proceeds to frequently puke out the snack on Archer and Lana for the rest of the mission. When he's not blowing chunks, Kazak's farting up a shitstorm that's like a soundboard someone on the Web assembled out of each of the many different toots from the bean-eating scene in Brooks' Blazing Saddles.

My face reacts the same way whenever I see Bill O'Reilly criticize hip-hop.
The animation for Kazak is sublime and is the highlight of a story that's one of the more inessential ones on Archer this season, despite a climactic car chase that's probably one of the best action sequences in animation to ever involve a dog who gets to save the day by tearing apart human flesh. A far more interesting development takes place over at ISIS Headquarters, where debt-ridden Pam tries to talk Malory into making her a field agent after she aces the IFAAB (ISIS Field Agent Aptitude Battery) and overpowers Cyril, Ray and Krieger in the fighting portion of the IFAAB (and she does so naked, like Richard Roundtree in the training sequence in Shaft in Africa).

I'm dying to see Pam in the field because it's time to see another female ISIS agent in action, as well as a female agent who'd be more enthusiastic about the job than Lana has been lately (she seems to be considering getting married and settling down, as evidenced by the unspecified "decision" she was weighing in "The Honeymooners" and her thinking that Archer was going to propose to her at the end of "Un Chien Tangerine"). Is it me or is Lana's constant complaining during missions starting to get tiresome, as is the tendency to put her in situations in which she has to get rescued by Archer? We've seen enough bark from Lana this season. How about a little more bite?

Stray observations:
* Archer: "Didelphis virginiana! My second favorite animal with a prehensile..." Lana: "Tail." Archer: "Thanks, Brett Somers. Yes, a tail."

* My favorite sight gag in "Un Chien Tangerine" is a wordless payoff to a scene in which Malory tries to blow off a phone call from Lana and tells Cheryl/Carol to pretend she's not in the office, but Cheryl/Carol takes her literally, thinks Malory's really an apparition and checks her mirror to see if she's visible. During a later scene at Malory's office, Cheryl/Carol can be seen at her desk through Malory's door, slowly checking her mirror again.

* Pam, after being told by a less-than-thrilled Malory that she'll think about promoting her to agent: "Is that a real you'll think about it or a 'Pam, if your pig Leon wins a blue ribbon at the county fair, maybe we won't kill him and eat him for Easter dinner and render what's left into soap' you'll think about it?... Because I never really got over that."

* Archer to Kazak: "Okay, buddy, so here's the deal. A. Scrooch down! And B. Normally in this situation, I do a pit maneuver, but if I do, the truck will flip, and if Lana doesn't die, best case she's a quadriplegic and I marry her out of guilt. But after a few years of feeding tubes and colostomy bags, I start to resent her, and the night nurse is like Brazilian and 20." Kazak: "Rrrrrr..." Archer: "Don't judge me! I have needs, man!"

* Archer, deciding to spare a Moroccan thug's life: "Nah, guy's probably got nine wives and a jillion kids and... Holy shit, that's racist, Archer. What is wrong with you?"

***

Out There pokes gentle fun at Manic Pixie Dream Girls in "Enter Destiny," when Chad, who's been frustrated over his longtime crush Sharla swooning over a jock, falls for free-spirited Destiny (special guest star Selma Blair), his egg drop science project partner and the new girl in town. This Pat Benatar headband-wearing MPDG likes to snack on sugarcubes, reads Albert Camus' The Stranger and enjoys hanging out in abandoned roller skating rinks.

For a while, Chad thinks he has a shot with Destiny, but he pisses her off when he defends his little brother Jay from a bully named Tenebres (Flight of the Conchords member Jemaine Clement, the episode's other special guest star) and makes Jay's tormentor cry, only to discover that this bully who sounds like he was named after a Dario Argento giallo is Destiny's little brother. Out There takes this moment of triumph for Chad, who's rarely this assertive (or charitable towards Jay), and gleefully flushes the triumphant moment down the toilet with the reveal about Tenebres.

To apologize for their son's rough treatment of Tenebres, Wayne and Rose extend an olive branch to Destiny's equally artsy parents--Dad's a snooty poetry teacher named Babel (also voiced by Clement)--by inviting the family to their house for dinner. Here's the point where "Enter Destiny" goes from a bland episode about the quirky love interest that got away to a slightly amusing one that has some fun with how infantile most of these inane MPDG characters essentially are: at the awkward dinner between the Stevenses and Destiny's family, the episode takes this seemingly mature, Camus-reading teenage chick and unpeels her artsy layers until all that's left is a not-so-attractive girl who still throws temper tantrums in front of her parents like a four-year-old. Babel's refined demeanor also dissipates when he winds up in a fistfight with Wayne, while Tenebres remains an asshole who deserved to get roughed up by Chad.

Jemaine Clement's character on Out There is hugely lacking in the sugalumps department.
But the biggest laugh in "Enter Destiny" belongs neither to Blair nor to Clement. It belongs to series cast member Pamela Adlon, who voices both Astoria, Babel's wife, and Martha, Chris' unpleasant lab partner (Joanie, Adlon's usual character, is absent in this episode). Martha grumbles only two lines to Chris, but the raspy voice Adlon came up with for Martha is the funniest part of "Enter Destiny." Adlon does more with a couple of gravelly, Nina Hagen-esque grunts than most celebrities do with some starring role they're phoning in during some lame DreamWorks Animation feature.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Can a really dumb, two-year-old tweet get you bounced off the "AFOS Prime" playlist? Hell yes

What the fuck is Corey Feldman doing in Spring Breakers?
(Photo source: The Playlist)

I never really cared for Skrillex's music, but I thought a couple of the score cues that the EDM DJ/producer composed for Spring Breakers were decent (the film also features score cues by the always terrific Cliff Martinez, who worked on Drive). I added one of the Skrillex cues to "AFOS Prime" rotation last week. And then while enjoying Jezebel's guide to hipster racism, a post from last year that I've seen a few blogs mention but I've never gotten around to actually reading until now, I encountered this:

The wit and wisdom of Skrillex, ladies and gentlemen.
Uh, no, you're not "aloud" to use that word at all, Skrillex.

This Milli Vanilli-haired shithead's off the playlist.

He's being replaced by the never-before-released score cues from Trouble Man, which are bonus tracks on the Trouble Man soundtrack's recent 40th anniversary reissue and were composed by someone who'd probably beat the shit out of Skrillex if he heard him use that word.

Fuck off, Skrillex. Make way for a legend.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

5-Piece Cartoon Dinner (03/20/2013): Archer, Green Lantern, Young Justice, Apollo Gauntlet and Bob's Burgers

This Archer episode was actually a discarded Undercovers script, found by a writer's assistant in a dumpster next to a spot where Vicki's human brother from Small Wonder once got blown by a hooker.
Lana puts a ring on it. And by "it," I mean her sausage finger.
Every Wednesday in "5-Piece Cartoon Dinner," I dine on five of the week's most noteworthy animated shows. The episodes are reviewed in the order of when they first aired.

Most love triangle storylines on sitcoms bore the shit out of me. But the triangle storylines on Archer never do because they're accompanied by always hilarious and sharp dialogue and the batshit crazy Greek chorus of Cheryl/Carol and Pam, who, respectively, expound on aphrodisiacs ("The ultimate's doing it on top of a tranqed-up tiger") and break into impressions of Lana that sound more like Fat Albert than Lana while they join Cyril in spying on Lana in "The Honeymooners." Cyril has gotten back together with Lana, whom he dated in the show's first season, and Pam's belief that Lana's latest undercover surveillance mission with Archer will rekindle whatever lust she used to have for Archer spurs Cyril to grab some binoculars and check if Pam is right about Lana and Archer.

Not since the first American Pie has a piece of food been sexually violated so badly.
(Photo source: Entertainment Fuse)
Lana, the agent-in-command on this mission, and Archer must pose as newlyweds at a luxury hotel (which happens to be owned by Cheryl/Carol's family) to identify the terrorist who's about to sell some enriched uranium to North Korean agents at the hotel. Archer is, of course, easily distracted by honeymoon suite amenities like pedicures and $300 scotch, and for a while, it seems like the espionage material in "The Honeymooners" is on the tepid side. But luckily, it doesn't take a turn towards the tepid when Archer and Lana wind up captured by the North Koreans they've been trying to keep tabs on, and Archer gets to remind viewers of his resourceful killing machine side--which can easily get lost underneath all the immaturity and dickishness that make him and MacGruber such entertaining comedic action heroes--as he fights his way out of his captors' handcuffs and leads Lana to escape.

However, Lana and Archer fail to ID the seller, who, in a great twist, turns out to be Krieger, whose possession of uranium explains recent experiments like his attempt to attain the proportional strength of an ant. In another twist that borders on disgusting--nah, wait, it is disgusting--Krieger apparently enjoys sex with his irradiated pig Pigley Three. I'm looking forward to the inevitable Krieger/Pigley/Holographic Anime Lover triangle. Judging by how well it handles usually tedious triangle storylines, Archer will hit that one out of the park as well.

Stray observations:
* Current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles voice actor Hoon Lee played the leader of the North Korean spies. On Cinemax's original series Banshee, Lee has been fun to watch as transgendered hacker Job, Lucas Hood's partner-in-crime and the toughest Gaysian character to ever F-bomb--and building-bomb--his way through TV.

* "Relax, it's North Korea, the nation-state equivalent of the short bus."

* Cyril, mortified by Pam going to town on an order of ribs: "Oh God, were you raised in a barn?!" Pam: "No. I just slept out there a lot."

* Archer sometimes gets slammed for containing not-so-great animation. I'd like to submit as counter-evidence the really good animation for both the sequence where Archer rescues Lana after she loses her grip on the suction cups she's been scaling the side of the hotel with (the foley artists also did terrific work during that sequence) and Archer and Lana's reflections in the hotel window during the conversation afterward. The latter must have been really tricky to animate.

* While arguing about the sizes of their ISIS bonuses, Archer's lines to Lana about his brushes with death rival all those lists of comedic irritations Neil Simon characters would rattle off in the kind of monologue Simon once referred to as a "fingerprint" of his own writing: "Since I started working at ISIS, I've been shot, stabbed, set on fire, poisoned, shot, sexually assaulted, partially chewed, shot and declared legally dead. Twice on the same day!"

* Archer to Lana, in regards to North Korea: "It's not democratic, not a republic and definitely not glorious. Jesus, watch Frontline once in your life!"

* Pam and Cheryl/Carol, commenting on the smoke-covered fight between Lana, Cyril, Archer and the North Koreans: "Are they bangin'?" "They will be. Raves make everybody horny."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5-Piece Cartoon Dinner (03/13/2013): Bravest Warriors, Archer, Out There, Bob's Burgers and 5 Second Day

Archer prepares to assassinate the writers in charge of Smash this season.
Here we see Archer at his latest assignment, which is to sabotage the making of yet another "Harlem Shake" video.
Every Wednesday in "5-Piece Cartoon Dinner," I dine on five of the week's most noteworthy animated shows. The episodes are reviewed in the order of when they first aired.


In "Catbug," Bravest Warriors concludes its first season with a nifty--as well as somewhat frustrating--cliffhanger involving the heroes' missing parents, who have been trapped for two years in another dimension, the See-Through Zone. The Warriors' animal sidekick Catbug (Sam Lavagnino), who's been jumping back and forth between dimensions, frequently brings the teens presents from their parents.

This time, Wallow receives peanut butter squares and the pocket-sized ponies that he used to raise as pets and are known as Pony Lords (a nod to the Bronies, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's male fans). As for Chris, he's given his baby pictures, Will Rogers commemorative stamps, a sinus irrigator and a note from his parents that they're still alive, while Danny is given an expired lottery ticket and a knife. His folks must adore him. My favorite gag in "Catbug" also involves Danny, and it's the sight of him cradling a chainsaw while asleep, so that he's ready to attack any interdimensional or extraterrestrial threat that shows up at the Warriors' Invisible Hideout.

Stargate: The Clearasil Years
Meanwhile, Beth, who's never received any sign from her parents that they're alive, is saddened to find she's wound up empty-handed once again. But as the brain of her cherished and super-intelligent pet horse (who's been in a catatonic state since she was six years old, due to the awe--and I assume mental stress--he experienced from discovering the meaning of the universe) points out in the finale's bizarre concluding voiceover, Beth isn't aware that she's received a gift greater than any of her friends' presents. It lies behind the locked door to the See-Through Zone that materialized in front of the Warriors after microbes that were embedded in their parents' gifts fused together--and here comes the mildly frustrating part--we have to wait until next season for the Warriors to unlock the door with a mysterious key that a note from the See-Through Zone refers to only as "Ralph Waldo Pickle Chips."

The "Paralyzed Horse's Log" is a doozy of a voiceover, and the horse's mind is voiced by '80s Transformers announcer Victor Caroli. He's a little older-sounding, but he's still the same ominous voice that let viewers know that the beef between the Autobots and Decepticons will be briefly squashed for more toy ads, during a show that was one big 22-minute toy ad. In addition to revealing that Bravest Warriors officially takes place in the 31st century, the horse's mind describes Beth's gift as "an octave of death" and "a tentacle of time." Beth's item might not even be a gift. Perhaps it brings about the end of the universe.

Mister Ed still hasn't quite recovered from HBO's cancellation of Luck.
(Photo source: Bravest Warriors Wiki)
What about the Emotion Lord's cryptic hint to the Warriors that "It's always been Wankershim"? How does that--as well as all those visions of the future Chris briefly glimpsed--tie into this tentacle of time? And why am I glad this show is airing on Cartoon Hangover and not on a kids' cable channel where execs who are perplexed by the show's material decide to bounce it around the schedule so that viewers won't be able to find it and that gives the suits an excuse to cancel it?

***

I had no idea that the sloshed veterinarian was voiced by Charlie from Deadwood. All these Deadwood stars showing up on FX is making me wonder if Deadwood would have lasted longer if it were an FX show instead of an HBO show. On second thought, working for commercial TV again would have driven David Milch back to heroin. Shit, I guess Deadwood was better off on HBO.
I was dreading how Archer's "Coyote Lovely" episode would turn out when I first learned that it involved Archer ferrying a pack of illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border. "Oh great," I thought, "Archer turns into a white savior movie this week. I fucking hate those movies." Luckily, "Coyote Lovely" prevents itself from earnestly fawning over Archer like so many of those annoying movies do with their white heroes by letting Archer be Archer and having him totally Jack Burton his way through this cause he's taken up because of his hard-on for Mercedes Moreno (Carla Jimenez, who plays Rosa, Virginia's boss at the cleaning service, on Raising Hope), the lovely titular people-smuggler.

In other words, Archer's a buffoon--a la the memorably bumbling trucker protagonist from Big Trouble in Little China, perhaps the most enjoyable upending of white savior movies Hollywood never realized it made--for most of the episode, especially after he gets shot in the back by a pair of incompetent and gay border patrol agents (one of whom is voiced by Justified's Nick Searcy). Archer's life has to be saved by both a drunken veterinarian (Sons of Anarchy's Dayton Callie, another FX star guesting in this episode) and Mercedes, who, as the episode's twist ending revealed, arranged to be captured by Archer (who was assigned to apprehend her mother, the woman in charge of the coyote system) so that her feminine wiles could lure him into helping her get the Mexicans across the border.

Mercedes realizes that Archer is far from the ideal savior she expected. She becomes frustrated--like Lana, Cyril and Ray so often do in the field--with both Archer's boorishness ("You think I am some kind of whore?!" "No, but... Chuy, back me up here. Was there not, like, a cock-hungry vibe?") and the fact that working with this man-child from ISIS turns into babysitting (which Lana realizes her job at ISIS has basically turned into at one point during "Coyote Lovely"), but ultimately, Mercedes is won over by him.

Jimenez, Searcy and Callie are better guest voice actors than the slightly wooden Anthony Bourdain in "Live and Let Dine" last week, and their performances are highlights during "Coyote Lovely," in addition to the usual hilarious dialogue. The story of how Archer creator Adam Reed got Searcy and Callie involved in "Coyote Lovely," as told by co-executive producer Matt Thompson, is amusing as well, even though this story of recruitment doesn't feature a hot Latina flaunting her cleavage.

Lana's hands were too big to fit in this scene.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

5-Piece Cartoon Dinner (03/06/2013): Archer, Gravity Falls, Bob's Burgers, Regular Show and 5 Second Day

'Hey garcon, I've got a headache this big, and it's got your dead goddamn body in the freezer written all over it!'
Kitchen Confidential tanked as a network sitcom because nobody in the kitchen was allowed to curse like Anthony Bourdain did in his original book and during his guest shot on Archer. A kitchen without cursing is like Sunday mass without the flask in your pocket.
Every Wednesday in "5-Piece Cartoon Dinner," I dine on five of the week's most noteworthy animated shows. The episodes are reviewed in the order of when they first aired.

Anthony Bourdain is reportedly such an Archer fan he reached out to its producers for a guest shot on the show. So how does he fare as a guest voice actor in "Live and Let Dine," the latest Archer episode? As a voice actor, Bourdain is a great culinary expert.

But as Lance Casteau, a bastard chef who berates and belittles Archer, Lana, Cyril and Ray while they're undercover as workers at his ritzy restaurant Seize (as in the French word for "16") to protect the Albanian ambassador from an assassination threat, the famously outspoken celebrity chef/author/travel show host/reality cooking show judge fits in well with the "be an asshole to everyone and hurl an insulting nickname at someone" milieu of Archer. Bourdain even has the honor of delivering such a nickname in his first scene, when he calls Lana "giraffe lady."

Bad actor and failed actress
"Live and Let Dine" is initially told from the point of view of the off-screen camerawoman for Lance's reality show Bastard Chef. The little reality genre touches that the animators replicate are dead-on, particularly the camera lens' motion blurs as the camerawoman zooms in on her subjects. However, I'm glad that Archer abandons the show-within-a-show structure early on in "Live and Let Dine" to basically turn into a swinging-door farce, but Archer-style rather than Frasier-style (which means it doesn't contain any actual swinging doors, it's got a body count and characters get to curse without violating FX's ban on F-bombs). Episodes told entirely from a documentarian's point of view are such a tired and overused gimmick (although I liked Raising Hope's recent episode-long Modern Family spoof--mostly because it mocked the ABC smash hit's sappy and forced end-of-episode voiceovers and had Lucas Neff do a dead-on Ed O'Neill during its climactic voiceover--and "The Office Job," Leverage's Jonathan Frakes-directed Office homage from about a couple of years ago, which I happened to rewatch in its entirety on YouTube right before "Live and Let Dine" aired).

The last seven minutes of "Live and Let Dine" are Archer at its farcical best, with the funniest bit of comedic business being Malory and Ron sharing a table with Cheryl/Carol and Pam, both clad in their socialite costumes from the dinner party in last season's "Lo Scandalo." I could watch an entire episode of this faux-family at the table, with Malory as the uptight mom, Ron as the fun dad and Cheryl/Carol and Pam as the mischievous kids whose behavior he encourages (Ron embarrasses Malory with his propensity for smuggling juice boxes and packets of crackers or grape jam in his tuxedo pockets, due to the slow arrival of food during the high-society activities he takes Malory to). Judy Greer is on fire in "Live and Let Dine," whether she's pretending to be an older socialite at the table or hooting and screeching like a monkey a couple of times earlier in the episode. (Speaking of Greer's fearlessness as a comedic performer, I liked how Miss Guided, Greer's short-lived guidance counselor sitcomwould always cap off its five-second opening titles with a hysterical shot of Greer's real-life high school yearbook photo. Letting such an embarrassing photo turn up in every episode takes muchos cojones.)

Fortunately, the stunt-casting of Bourdain isn't completely superfluous like so many celebrity guest shots are on other sitcoms, and Bourdain's character, a parody of two other celebrity chefs, Gordon Ramsay and Rocco DiSpirito, turns out to be a pawn in Katya and Barry's continuing plot to embarrass and ruin ISIS (the bionic couple's killing of Lance must be a delightful visual for viewers who have grown irritated with Bourdain's cantankerous shtick). However, Katya and Barry are unaware that ISIS is headed towards falling apart without their interference--most likely due to the inevitable power struggle between Malory and Lana, who's miffed over the corrupt things Archer's mom has been getting away with as the head of ISIS, like faking the threat against the Albanian ambassador to get back at the Seize staff for cheating her out of a reservation. Malory could be the real antagonist of the fourth season, not Katya.

Stray observations:
* Archer and Cyril's exchange about the former's past credentials as a restaurant manager ("I used to own a restaurant." "It was a burger joint.") is a nice callback to the Bob's Burgers crossover scene in the season premiere. Speaking of Bob's Burgers, Cheryl/Carol and Pam were especially Gene and Louise-like at the table, acting out their clichéd, Marx Brothers movie-style idea of how socialites speak, which is funny because Cheryl/Carol herself comes from money.

* Archer to Lana: "Do you know how TV actually works? They're not gonna broadcast this episode in the restaurant tonight! [Turns to the camerawoman.] Wait, are you, guys?... Like a closed-circuit deal or... Because come to think of it, I actually don't know how TV works either."

* Archer: "He's a master chef, Lana, which turns out is not nearly as gay a job as I thought it was. I mean, it's no secret agent, but it's way above architect."

While the Star Trek uniforms are always ridiculed as being too much like pajamas, the modern Battlestar Galactica uniforms are basically cooking smocks. Re-color these smocks as blue, and this could be a scene from Galactica.
* Archer's sudden hero worship of Lance echoes his search for his dad, and when his latest surrogate father figure trashes his abilities as a chef at the end of "Live and Let Dine," he takes it pretty hard. Could he be starting to grow bored with the spy life he's returned to and could he be longing for his quiet and unassuming life back at Bob's Burgers? And because Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal have been announced as future guest stars (Gene and Louise were atypically mute in the season premiere), is that a hint that Archer will be making a return visit to the seaside burger joint he left behind?

* Cheryl/Carol, as Pam urges her to give requisitions officer Rodney a handjob in exchange for equipment to decode Seize's well-hidden phone number: "Great, so it's give him a handjob or change up my Sunday routine?... Ugh, this is so unfair! Okay, but I am not spitting in your face."

* Lance's comparison of a sheep's blood-stained Cyril to "a dinosaur's tampon" brings me back to another great gore-related gag involving another Chris Parnell character, 30 Rock's Dr. Spaceman, in which the doctor arrived at work in a bloodied lab coat and said, "I was at a costume party earlier this evening. And the hostess' dog attacked me, so I had to stab it."

* I love both the sound FX and animation for a hungry Pam quickly digging in to a plate of tave kosi. Another standout bit of sound FX in this episode is the cold open gag of the prolonged ringing noises of the metal bowls Archer drops on the kitchen floor.

* Cheryl/Carol's off-screen reactions in her hoity-toity voice to Lance's poisoning of the Albanian ambassador kill me, no pun intended ("I'll have what he's having!" when the ambassador keels over, "Then I don't want what he's having!" when the attaché discovers the ambassador's pulse has stopped and "Oh Teddy! Ever the scamp!" when Cyril emerges from the kitchen in only his underwear).

* Lance: "I coated his glass with cyanide, you idiots! For the toast." Ron: "Ooh, there's toast?"

* Lance: "Six million bucks, which I'm gonna use to deficit-finance a new show where I travel, so I can insult people's cooking all over the globe!"