We must be returning to a Golden Age of silent performances in film and television because the guy from The Artist won Best Actor at this year’s Oscars, and “Jon” delivered an Emmy-deserving silent performance in last night’s Delocated.
But only one of those productions included a scene with a silent marriage proposal and a surrogate reading a love letter that includes the line “led me to your vagina.” I’ll let you guess which one.
“Sample” was perhaps the strongest Delocated episode to date this season. It had everything a fan could ask for: sex, violence, inspired sight gags, “Jon” inventing an incredibly dumb but hilarious contraption, and Todd Barry humiliation.
The silent theme sets in at the outset after “Jon” starts hearing his voice blaring from car stereos in the form of some weird hybrid Bone Zone/Russian techno song (Bone Zone was #7 on the charts). It turns out Network Head Susan has been licensing clips of “Jon’s” voice and selling them to mash-up producers to make a little extra cash for her employer. “Jon” wants a piece of the action, but Susan says no since the network owns the rights to anything “Jon” says. Under protest, “Jon” starts a silent strike, and refuses to speak until his demands are met. But once that thread is established, “Jon” takes a backseat and lets a secondary character carry the episode’s plot.
By its very nature of being a reality show about one guy on the run from the Russian mob, “Jon” has to be the focal point of every episode. But Delocated has such a talented supporting cast as well, and the show does a great job of figuring out when it’s time to push the side players to the forefront.
This time, it’s Trish’s turn. Trish (Amy Schumer) is Yvgeny’s thrill-seeking slutty girlfriend. After she admits to a friend that sex with the dim-witted Yvgeny is getting boring, the diabolical Sergei hatches a plan to get Yvgeny to break up with her so he’ll abandon his ill-conceived plan for a Mirminsky vodka brand and get back to his mafia roots.
The plan is to get Trish to have sex with “Jon” and film it. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t require much convincing on either’s behalf.
“Jon” and Trish begin a forbidden affair, and Trish is immediately smitten with “Jon’s” speaker suit, for lack of a better word, that recreates all his catch phrases electronically by pressing one of its many buttons. The suit is “Jon’s” communication mechanism in light of his silent strike, and one of the best sight gags the show has produced, right up there with the puppy suit he wore in Season 2.
One of the best things about Delocated is that although it’s an unabashedly ridiculous comedy, it also contains elements of gripping suspense. We get a glimpse of that in “Sample” when Yvgeny reaches out to the Wang Chos to see if they’ll murder “Jon” and his traitorous girlfriend. The menacing Sergei halts this plan, but not before a Wang Cho member is tortured for being disloyal. The way he is tortured, of course, is entirely aburd.
And what Delocated episode would be complete without at least a sliver of Todd Barry humiliation? The writers seem to thrive on this. The example in “Sample” comes in the form of Yvgeny apologizing to Trish for being unfaithful after the two get back together (Trish also apologizes for sleeping with “Jon”). Yvgeny tells Trish that he got a Todd Barry.
“What’s a Todd Barry?”
“It’s a euphemism for when you get mouth sex from a desperate woman in a comedy club bathroom.”