SUPERIOR DONUTS opened this week with a lot of jokes about balls. Some private school girls pranked the shop by unplugging letters on the sign, making it read SUPER NUTS, which Fawz gleefully declares could refer to massive balls. If that’s not your type of humor, this is not your type of show. Despite its occasionally lofty aims of teaching social lessons, the humor is decidedly low-brow. You don’t need to think to enjoy the jokes on the show, which makes it an easy half hour of television to digest, but also makes it feel very disposable.
Arthur gets out his ladder to fix the sign, but Franco insists on doing it himself. He thinks Arthur’s too old for that type of work and could hurt himself, but Franco ends up being the one injured. He falls off the ladder and breaks his foot. He doesn’t have health insurance and can’t afford to go to the doctor, so he resolves to fix it himself. Arthur feels bad that he can’t afford to give his employee health insurance–he’d have to raise the price of donuts from 89 cents to $1.20, which doesn’t sound too crazy, but his customers balk at the suggestion.
Arthur does have worker’s comp insurance, so he brings in the claims adjustor, played by Jim O’Heir of Parks and Recreation fame, to see if Franco will be covered. Unfortunately, the state of Illinois requires a drug test to process the claim, which Franco knows he won’t pass. Arthur smokes weed too, so he decides to just cancel the policy. Franco makes do with his homemade cast comprised of old newspapers and a soup can lid, but Arthur still wants to help him.
With the help of Maya, he takes up a collection around the store. They raise a sizable amount, enough to cover the expenses of a hospital visit, x-rays, and a real cast. However, Franco is too proud to accept their help. He commits to fixing his foot himself, getting a ridiculous tricycle to scoot around on when the pain becomes too great to walk. He manages to injure Arthur by ramming into him with the tricycle, causing the old man to collapse on the floor in pain. Randy calls an ambulance, but both Franco and Arthur refuse to go to the hospital.
Arthur hasn’t been to see a doctor in eight years, when his last doctor died. He’s afraid that at his age, he’ll go to the hospital and never be allowed to leave. Randy decides to get Arthur to go by claiming that Franco really needs the hospital, but he’s too stubborn, but he might go to keep Arthur company. She encourages Arthur to play up the frail old man act, which is admittedly pretty funny. Judd Hirsch moaning about his brittle bones and the Grim Reaper coming for him is hilarious.
She does the same thing with Franco, telling him that Arthur really needs the hospital, but he’s afraid, although if he sees Franco go he might go along to accompany him. Both of them get the medical help they need, with Franco admitting that the reason he was reluctant to take money to pay the bills was because when he was growing up, he couldn’t rely on anyone, so he became very independent. Arthur reassures him that he now has a room full of people who care about him. It’s a sweet ending, but the show still struggles to mix its more emotional subplots with its low-brow humor.
Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)
Superior Donuts airs Monday at 9PM on CBS
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor