Mulaney: “In the Name of the Mother, the Son, and the Holy Andre”

(Episode 1.05)

TV Reviews
Mulaney: “In the Name of the Mother, the Son, and the Holy Andre”

Let this review begin where this (and every) episode of Mulaney begins—with John Mulaney’s standup act. Much like Seinfeld, the show that Mulaney will apparently never escape, Mulaney will begin with a bit of standup that is relevant to the plot. Occasionally, it’s material he’s done before on TV specials, but that’s fine, because it’s just a way to sort of ease into the show, and to score a few laughs independent of the story. John Mulaney, the real one, is a very funny standup, so, if nothing else, the first moments of every episode of Mulaney tend to be funny.

So, why start by mentioning these openings for the first time in my reviews? Well, because there isn’t really a ton to say about this particular episode. “In the Name of the Mother, the Son, and the Holy Andre,” an exceedingly long title that will not be typed out again within these walls, was pretty by-the-books situational comedy. John’s mother (played by Nora Dunn) shows up, and he’s been lying to her about stuff, and now he must face his lies head on. Or, in this case, with prayer, because Catholicism plays a big part in this episode. Meanwhile, Jane is on birth control, and experiences zany side effects.

Now, in the past, Mulaney has done some original stuff within these parameters, but that’s not necessarily the case here. Basically, John has been pretending to go to church, and also that he has a priest friend named Trey. Up against the wall, he prays, a priest named Trey more or less magically shows up, and John is safe. Except that the reason Trey is there is that the regular priest died, and so now John is worried he may have prayed a priest to death.

Let us toss aside the moral issues that would derive from worshipping a deity who would kill one of his foot soldiers just to do some random dude a solid, because that’s not really pertinent, and also probably isn’t what happened, even if John may have also killed one of Oscar’s ferns with his mighty death prayers. There just wasn’t really much funny with this story. Sure, there were funny lines here or there—and this is without even considering the whole subplot of Lou falling for John’s mom, which also didn’t add much spice to the sitcom stew. It was all fine, and serviceable, but nothing more.

Alas, Jane didn’t get a ton of great stuff to work with either, although at least her storyline had some of that trademark Mulaney weirdness. Well, to the extent a show that has aired five episodes can have a trademark. It turns out that she and Andre take the same birth control. Naturally, Andre stops taking it when he realizes that he’s taking birth control, and Jane finds herself acting more and more like Andre due to medical side effects, while Andre cleans up and becomes a super buff and successful dude. Nasim Pedrad remains the standout performer on the show, but she’s not magic… unlike Mulaney’s prayers.

So yes, at times, this episode bordered on bland. But there was enough funny going ons to make it at least reasonably entertaining. Plus, any episode of television that features anybody, let alone a priest, quoting the theme song to Saved by the Bell: The College Years can’t be all bad. There are only so many stories you can tell in a traditional sitcom. It would just be nicer for the stories to be told in a more interesting fashion next time.

Chris Morgan is an Internet gadabout who writes on a variety of topics and in a variety of mediums. If he had to select one thing to promote, however, it would be his ’90s blog/podcast, Existential Parachute Pants. (You can also follow him on Twitter.)

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