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.
Sweet Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson! Cavemen is back (after a one-week layoff so that ABC could air It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown) and so are we. Given the current writers’ strike, I can’t imagine that the show will get canceled any time soon, either, despite the fact that ABC has yet to order more episodes as it has done for Samantha Who?, Private Practice and Pushing Daisies. No matter what anyone (myself included) has said about Cavemen, it is still better than dead air.
This week’s episode, “The Shaver,” begins with Nick and Andy sitting poolside, watching the new guy who has recently moved into their apartment complex. His name is Jake and he does seem like an utter tool, but that’s not why Nick dislikes him. Nick suspects that Jake is a shaver — a caveman who shaves his body and tries to pass himself off as a Homo sapien. The most famous shaver of all, Nick claims, is the “king of adult contempo,” John Tesh. That news comes as a revelation to Andy, who, it turns out, is a major Tesh fan: “I always knew his music got inside of me. I just didn’t know why.”
At Norskbild, Joel has applied for an executive training program, only to be passed over in favor of someone else. As luck would have it, Jake is the leader of the local “Bob Mob,” a group that follows the teachings of Bob Anthony’s Network Your Way to Success program — something Joel discovers when Nick involves him in his plan to out Jake as a shaver. Joel joins the group, hoping to tap into his full potential. After all, if you’re not networking, you’re not working. The secret to success is to not keep your success a secret. You have to connect to collect. And so on.
Elsewhere, Andy runs into Kate, Thorne and Leslie, who are waiting for the auto club to come and fix their flat tire. Andy offers to change the tire himself, but Leslie has been using the spare as one of her regular tires, so he instead gives Kate and Thorne a ride. As he starts to pull out of his parking space — while sharing his recipe for Chicken a la Andy — another vehicle almost hits his car, and Andy yells at the other driver before calmly continuing with his cooking tips. Kate is slightly alarmed by Andy’s surprising road rage, while Thorne is aroused by it — so much so that she calls him later to ask for a ride to a fake doctor’s appointment. Andy’s busy glazing a ham (could the next Great Ham Craze be on its way?) but agrees to pick her up.
Meanwhile, Joel is out at lunch with Kate — or at least he’s supposed to be — but he spends more time trying to network with a table of a random group of businessmen than he does with his date. Kate is concern that Joel has become part of a cult, but he assures her that’s not the case, despite the fact that Jake is a very charismatic leader and that there is some chanting involved. Joel is sure the group’s motives are pure. “They ask nothing of you but a single-minded dedication to achieving your own personal growth — and a small fee for margarita fixings.”
As Andy and Thorne drive to the doctor, Andy’s road rage is slow to surface — but his love for Hall and Oates isn’t, as “Kiss on My List” comes on the radio and he enthusiastically sings along. To Thorne’s delight, a hatchback cuts them off and Andy is furious. After a woman pushing a baby stroller through a crosswalk sets him off even further, Thorne suggests they pull into the parking lot of a cheap motel to “wait out the traffic.” After Andy yells at an older man blocking his path, Thorne suggests they get a room. Andy’s into it, until the old guy he’s just yelled at knocks on the window and Andy wusses out at the prospect of a confrontation. And just like that, Thorne decides to get a cab home and Andy gets none.
Nick finally decides to confront Jake about being a shaver, choosing one of Jake’s seminars as his forum. Jake rejects the accusation, saying he couldn’t be a caveman because he’s good-looking and successful. That’s enough to snap Joel out his networking trance, and he ends up kicking Jake’s ass before retreating to the apartment to rock out to some Tesh with his roommates — although Nick only agrees to do so ironically.
Not a bad episode, but not a great one either. If anything, it at least proved that jokes at John Tesh’s expense are still kind of funny, even though most people stopped making them about 10 years ago. I’m pretty sure Cavemen won’t get canceled before next week, so be sure to look for next week’s recap when we try to answer the age-old question: What could be more relaxing than closely examining another man’s features?