Like “The Onion” once did with John Leguizamo’s abysmal sketch show “House of Buggin’,” we’re going to provide weekly recaps of “Cavemen” until it gets canceled.
If you watched the first three episodes of Cavemen (come on, I can’t be the only one) you know that Nick’s work ethic is a bit lacking. So, when “The Mascot” begins with him getting ready for his new job as a substitute schoolteacher, it’s a momentous occasion — one that requires the taunting by his roommates. But, as it turns out, Nick’s not the only one looking for work: Andy has put together a resumé touting his skills as an accountant and a drum major. As Nick says, he “just gets cooler every second.”
Nick bums a ride to school from Joel and, in defiance of the no-food-in-the-car rule, spews a mouthful of granola bar all over the dashboard before lamenting the lack of his own ride. He sees a guy next to them take off (at about 10 miles an hour) on a scooter, and wishes he could have one, too.
After arriving at Lake Murray High School, Nick quickly sums up World War I to his students by saying that “the big countries pimped out the little countries like skeezy little hookers” then issues a challenge: “Set your alarm clocks for now — it’s wake-up time.” Later, he shares his tap-water conspiracy theory in which the oil companies conspire to make the water from your faucet taste bad so they can fuel trucks that deliver bottled water. If that’s not enough to make you question his teaching methods, he also needs an entire chalkboard full of notes to explain why soccer will never catch on in America. Conspiracy or not, that one is simple — soccer is boring. But I digress …
While Nick is at school, Andy is being offered an accounting job by Kate’s mom, Leslie, who initially mistakes him for Joel because she thinks they look so much alike. He assures her that it’s not the first time someone has confused the two of them: “We get that a lot … from you.” While going through Leslie’s receipts, it becomes obvious that she is funneling her husband’s money into a dummy corporation — which she explains she is doing to pay for a condo and gifts for a “special friend.” Horrified by the ethical and legal ramifications of Leslie’s affair, Andy becomes extremely uncomfortable about his new position.
Nick, on the other hand, is feeling that a rush from molding young minds has left him hungry. Then, as he takes a bite of out the sandwich he stole out of the refrigerator in the teacher’s lounge, it all comes crashing down. He walks past a “Go Savages” banner that depicts the Lake Murray mascot: a caveman named Brok Brok. Nick goes straight to the principal, who assures him that she “hears him” and that the school always portrays the caveman “with dignity and respect.” Of course, she doesn’t and they don’t — more on that later.
During a game of squash, Andy passes his burden on to Joel by telling him about Leslie’s affair, which sets up my favorite exchange of the episode, in which Joel tries to break the news to Kate during lunch.
Joel: “Hey, your parents. Do they still …”
Kate: “What, have sex? Watch porn? Pee in front of each other?”
Joel: “Kate, I was just wondering if they have a good marriage.”
Unable to tell Kate the truth, Joel instead confronts Leslie, who first mistakes him for Andy, then reveals that Kate’s dad is even worse than she is when it comes to fidelity. He, apparently, is the one who bought a local weather girl her fake boobs. Joel eventually convinces Leslie to either stop what she’s been doing or tell Kate what she’s been doing — or so he thinks.
Back at school, Nick is infuriated by the big homecoming pep rally, at which a giant costumed Brok Brok makes an appearance (accompanied by a dog dressed as his pet dinosaur, Steggy). After politely requesting that the guy in the Brok Brok suit stop the act and being rebuffed by a few playful clubs to the head, Nick physically attacks the mascot. In the process, Brok Brok’s head falls off, revealing that it was actually a girl in the costume. Nick loses his job and winds up on a YouTube-like site, where 140,000 people witness him beating up a girl.
It all ends well when Leslie shows up at the apartment, this time mistaking Nick for Joel, and offers him $2,000 in hush money. Everyone is happy. Joel used the cash to buy scooter, Leslie’s secret is safe, and Joel is blissfully unaware that Leslie didn’t follow through on her promise to him. Sure, Kate is allergic to marzipan — but that’s pretty easy to avoid.
Well, this episode wasn’t as good as last week’s. But it wasn’t awful, either. Just kind of boring. My biggest complaint about Cavemen isn’t that it’s over-the-top bad like most people anticipated it would be. It’s that it’s not great, which is what it would have to be to overcome its ridiculous premise and its origin as a GEICO commercial. Having said that, the show has made it through four episodes, which is about three more than I would have expected. One of them was actually pretty good, too. We’ll have to tune in next week to see if there’s a fifth.