When I first read about this episode, I thought it sounded very reminiscent of the Roseanne episode. Speaking of Roseanne, on Ethan Suplee's blog, somebody asked about the "Who Jackie" line that's been used several times. He's got a funny anecdote - go here to read it. Then I thought that this show might be coming down with 30Rock-itis - Too many guest stars. But how can you not love Betty Friggin' White?
Her credits include the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Golden Girls/Golden Palace, Boston Legal, Bold and the Beautiful. My all-time favorite Betty White quote is from Lake Placid: "If I had a dick, this is where I'd tell you to suck it!" And not too coincidentally, she was on an episode of show-runner Garcia's Yes, Dear in 2002. Let's get to recappin'!
It's a slow day at the Crabshack. Just right for Earl and Randy to wager on who comes through the door next. Pregnant pause for suspense... And it's the Spanish Inquisition! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Oops, sorry. It's not the Spanish Inquisition, but that old scary Crazy Witch Lady (CWL), Griselda Weezmer, played by the great Betty White. Catalina silently genuflects as if to ward off the evil entity once known as Sue Ann Nivens , the "Happy Homemaker."
(Blogger's notes - Coupla Betty White trivia bits... Betty is her actual name. It's not short for Elizabeth or anything else. She's from Oak Park, IL, a short skip and a hop from my old stomping grounds. She is a major on-air spokesperson for PETA. And she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next to the star of her late husband, Allen Ludden.)
And that reminds Earl of # 186 - Was Mean to Crazy Witch Lady.
As a punkish teen, Young Earl tormented and terrorized his entire neighborhood, and CWL was no exception. He used to ride his bike through her garden and she used to try to thwack him with her broom. But Young Earl was a clever imp he was. He came up with a devious and resourceful scheme - even by Earl standards. He put green dye in her face cream and Super Glue on the handle of her broom. So the very next time she moisturized and took out after a garden-trampling Earl, she was the very spitting image of Margaret Hamilton in the Wizard of Oz sans flying monkeys. (God, I hated those flying monkeys.)
So now Karma-appeasing Earl has to make it up to her. He gives her the Karma-spiel we've come to know and love, and asks her her name. Since nobody ever bothered to ask for her name before, she's immediately smitten and invites Earl over for tea.
Next day at CWL's house, Randy refuses to go in. He doesn't want to be turned into pudding, and he especially doesn't want Earl to be turned into pudding because he simply can't resist pudding. Who can? Well, maybe vanilla pudding with little mustache hairs in it I could resist, but chocolate? No way.
Earl and CWL are having a lovely tea party when the roofie kicks in and Earl passes out like a co-ed at Spring Break. CWL chains Earl to a post in her basement. Earl would like an explanation. CWL tells Earl that his apology brought back all of her repressed feelings of anger and now she wants revenge on everybody who's ever wronged her. You little scamp, she tells Earl, you'll never see daylight again. Cue dramatic dum dum dum music.
Eventually Randy gets worried because Earl hasn't come out yet so he knocks on CWL's door, visions of pudding dancing in his head. CWL invites Randy in, tempting him with video games, wrestling action figures, dirty movies and peanuts. He is just a man. Moments later, Randy tumbles down the basement stairs, enshrouded in a burlap sack, his shoes sticking out, and soon finds himself chained to Earl's post. CWL just loves the look of terror in a fresh victim's eyes. It's very much what she imagines an orgasm might be like.
What was Randy's crime against CWL? He threw a bucket of water on her and yelled Melt, Bitch! One of those things that I'm sure seemed like a good idea at the time...
Joy is mad at Darnell for taking her to task about her being mean to CWL and pretty much everybody else she's ever come across. A Crabshack patron confirms her worst fears when he describes her as "Mean" and he describes Darnell as "Great, no marvelous, no nice, no great..."
Randy has devised a plan to free the Hickey boys that's only slightly less complicated than digging three tunnels named Tom, Dick, and Harry then fleeing to Switzerland. All they have to do is capture a mouse, teach it sign language, and toss it up the chimney. Methinks Lassie and Mr. Turtle have nothing to fear.
Moments later, and kuh-thump kuh-thump there's two more sacks tumbling down the stairs. It's Gay Kenny and Stuart Daniels, Camden County's poster children for same-sex marriage. Gay Kenny knows he never did anything to CWL, but Stuart can't exactly make that same claim. While he was a deputy, he just may have called CWL a "whack job." Yeah, I could see how that might be tough to sell as anything but a put-down. Trying to chill out his life partner, Stuart tells Kenny, Be strong Bear Cub.
At the Crabshack, Joy is explaining her inner niceness to the lovely Catalina. Catalina couldn't agree more saying, Niceness is always best when nobody can see it. Joy feels a tappy-tap on her shoulder, and turning around she sees CWL. Witch! escapes Joy's lips before she can bite back on it. But CWL just wants Joy to come to her house to do her a favor. Okey dokey, says Joy, because that's what nice people do. And the next thing you know, it's kuh-thump kuh-thump down the stairs and there's pink sneakers sticking out of a burlap sack. Hey look, says Randy to Earl, it's Joy.
The imprisoned Camden County Brain Trust has yet to come up with an escape plan, well, a workable escape plan, and this comes as no surprise to Joy. Hmmmm...maybe my cell phone might come in handy, she says. She tries to call the Sheriff, but hey, it's after 3:30 on a Friday, and they've all gone bowling. So she calls Darnell. And the next thing you know, it's kuh-thump kuh-thump down the stairs and there's Darnell's cell phone ring tone emanating from out of a burlap sack.
Since everybody else had done something mean to CWL to get themselves into this predicament, Joy is convinced that Darnell aka Mr. Nice must've done something mean too. Best Line (Joy to Darnell) - "Who's the black calling the kettle pot, now?" But Darnell's transgression was strictly a Three's Company-esque miscommunication. A patron at the Crabshack asked Darnell Who's that lady? And seeking clarification, Darnell asked Which lady? Well, CWL thought Darnell said "Witch Lady" and hilarity and a ceramic rooster to Darnell's cranium (he wouldn't drink the tea) ensued.
As the chained gang swims in collective misery, the door at the top of the stairs opens, and it's the lovely Catalina! She floats like an angel down the stairs and chains herself to a pipe. See, a superstitious Catalina had told a very sad story to CWL, and when CWL wept a tear of sorrow, Catalina scooped up that Witch's Tear in a little jar to gain immortality. Since Catalina had been roofie-ed so many times, CWL's drugged tea had no effect on her. But the lovely and sympathetic Catalina was smitten by CWL's resemblance to her aunt, so click-clank and Catalina voluntarily chains herself up, coming awfully close to fulfilling one of my fantasies.
Moments later and there's another kuh-thump kuh-thump down the stairs and it's Patty the Daytime Hooker. What's she doing there?, you might ask. Well, after all, she did take dad's side in the divorce. Yup, CWL is her mom. She's CWL's daughter. Didn't see that coming. That's what she said.
But this latest development presents a problem, CWL explains. She's running out of room. Somebody is going to have to die ("I'm going to stab and stab and stab...") to make more room. She lets her prisoners decide who it's going to be. The inmates resort to labels to make their choice and de-humanize the intended victim: Joy = Bitch, Stuart = Kenny's Bitch, Patty = Whore, Randy = Dumb Guy, Catalina = Stripper (that was particularly harsh), Darnell = Nice Guy, Earl = Friggin Karma Zombie.
Earl recognizes that labeling people like this is exactly what they did to CWL, and that's why she's crazy. So he stands up and volunteers, knowing that CWL won't kill him. He couldn't've been wronger. CWL sticks a kitchen knife in his gut. Turns out CWL actually is homicidal crazy. Patty flings an eff me pump, knocking out CWL ("Sorry, Mom!"), and the gang is freed.
CWL, I mean Griselda, finally gets the psychiatric help she needs, and is soon a friendly, harmless, and contributing member of society once again. The rest of the chained gang has taken her lesson to heart. Joy tries to be nicer, Darnell tries to be meaner, Randy tries to be less dumber, Earl sticks his Karma list in a drawer, Patty tries to be a good daughter, and Catalina puts out a sexy calendar.
Earl tries to cross off # 168 but finds his shirt pocket empty having put his list in a drawer. Oh well, he says, I'll do it later. Roll credits.