After two weeks off, SON OF ZORN returns with a thoughtful episode examining the party scene and what happens when it becomes too much. Just kidding. While this week’s episode was all about ragers, it was dumb as hell and hilarious as we should all expect from the show by now.
When Zorn hears his old friend Headbutt Man (Rob Riggle) is coming to town, he can barely contain his excitement. Fed up with boring Orange County’s dinner parties and cheese tastings (which is exactly what Edie and Craig were planning for the night), Zorn can’t wait to relive the old times with ‘Butt and watch him destroy the place when they go to a work party for Sanitation Solutions at a local restaurant. Meanwhile one of the popular girls at Alan’s school, Shannon (Giorgia Whigham), is having a house party and Alan suggests to his crush Nancy (Emily Wong) that they go together. Unfortunately, right before he’s about to leave, Headbutt Man suggests his daughter, the gruff Headbutt Girl (Ashley Padilla), join him. Alan tries to get out of it but Edie makes him take her. Alan reluctantly obliges and takes her, where she doesn’t exactly fit in. Zorn’s party gets pooped as well when Headbutt Man brings his girlfriend Linda (Alex Borstein) and reveals that with her help, he no longer parties, or even drinks. After Zorn throws Craig’s fancy cheese and crackers across the room and storms out, Headbutt Man consoles him by offering to let Zorn buy him a club soda at the work party.
It’s a nice compromise until Headbutt Man lays eyes on all the alcohol at the party. He immediately falls off the wagon and starts pounding booze. Zorn couldn’t be happier that his friend is born again alcoholic until Headbutt Man reveals that he’s actually in California to see a neurologist and that one more headbutt will likely kill him. Of course, right after this admission, Linda approaches Headbutt Man and dares him to headbutt her truck. He goes outside and despite Zorn’s efforts to save him, decides to do it. Fortunately, right before he tries to throw his last headbutt, Linda shows up and stops the truck, saving his life. At Alan’s party, he and Nancy are spending some quality time together until Shannon says they should all go swimming. Self-conscious of his Zephyrian legs, Alan sits out while Nancy swims. After the swimming, Shannon goes back inside to find Headbutt Girl eating her deodorant. She calls her a freak and Alan stands up to her, defending Headbutt Girl as Nancy watches. Alan still ends up getting headbutted by Headbutt Girl despite his efforts to help but gets to spend the rest of the night with an impressed Nancy.
While it was hard to beat the Thanksgiving episode from a couple of weeks ago, “Return of the Drinking Buddy,” still cleared the bar. The “old friend in town” and “high school party” scenarios are classic sitcom plots and hardly original, but still plenty ripe for ridicule. Son of Zorn did a great job as always of parodying these sitcom stereotypes with over-the-top plot lines and finishing off with a heavy helping of clever but dumb jokes. When I look at the series as a whole, it really is a giant caricature of the traditional sitcom, figuratively and literally, considering it’s a cartoon.
So maybe it’s not so dumb. I mean it is, as it’s hard to argue BM jokes are purely intellectual, but overall I may not have been giving it enough credit. Perhaps that’s its secret to success as well. The show is based on well established TV tropes that both serve as a reliable structure and fodder for ridicule. Combined with the Hanna Barbera animation/live action mashup, Son of Zorn becomes a refreshing take on the tried and true dysfunctional family sitcom. In the past I’ve been worried about the show’s future because I thought on the surface it was so weird. But now I see it’s rooted in tradition and I feel much more confident that the show will be able to strike a chord with many types of fans. If that fails, they can always just add more BM jokes.
Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)
Son of Zorn airs Sunday at 830PM on Fox
Max Ouweleen | Contributor