After a week of fun and sun down at the Jersey Shore, this week’s Sunny episode, “Frank Reynolds’ Little Beauties,” kicks off back in the familiar dregs of Paddy’s Pub, with a cold open that encapsulates pretty much everything that Sunny has come to stand for.

  • Frank falls over, bloodies up his nose (graphic violence, gore)

  • The gang laughs at his tumble (delight in the misfortune of others)

  • Frank explains how he met a man at a titty bar who convinced him to invest in a beauty pageant, which he did, only to find that the pageant is embroiled in scandal due to sexual harassment allegations (failed or troubled harebrained get-rich-quick scheme, indicative of consistently bad decision-making)

  • The “contestants” enter the bar, at which time we find out that it’s a pageant for little girls, and that the man who sexually harassed them is clearly a pedophile (the depraved reveal)

And we’re off.

This episode has all the trappings to really revisit what the gang is made of. Less than two minutes in to the episode and I’m giddy with excitement over the opportunities this storyline presents. Sunny lies pretty far away from “satirical” on the spectrum, but the show absolutely thrives when it is tenuously tied to a social issue. Perhaps it’s the over-the-top actions of the gang that reveal the absurdity of both the characters and the principals at hand, but, for whatever reason, it’s episodes like “The Gang Gets Racist,” “Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City,” “Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare,” and “The Gang Exploits the Gas Crises” all have proven to be among the show’s elite half-hours.

Off the bat, we see the factions start to form. Frank wants to salvage his investment without forfeiting his already-dicey reputation. Dee begins to reminisce about her modeling days, to the predictable mockery of the rest of the gang. Charlie cracks an egg of knowledge on us about how child pageants are woven int the American fabric (God, I love Charlie). Dennis is creeped out by the whole affair. And Mac…well, Mac’s really fat, and that’s plenty for now.

Remarkably, Charlie’s speech wins over the whole group, who decide that parading little made up girls in an exercise in “freedom” as much as it is anything else. So, as quickly as it began, it’s over. The gang, in the name of patriotism, will host a children’s beauty pageant.


The gang seems unsettlingly unified at this point, which is perhaps the most ominous aspect of this whole plan. Let’s see where the hell this united front takes us.

With Frank and Dee speaking to the contestants and their parents, Charlie, Mac, and Dennis are working on a musical number, with Charlie leading the show. Before the trio of composers can agree on a note, they decide that their involvement in the pageant and presence on-stage is a foregone conclusion. Like there was any doubt.

After a visit from child services, the gang realizes they have nothing to fear or hide, and the show must go on, so we immediately cut to Charlie in “musical director” mode, which is easily one of the 13 best modes Charlie can be in.

Dear God, I could fill up the whole recap with quotes from this scene, but it simply wouldn’t do them justice. Suffice it to say, when Charlie sides with Samantha, much as he did with some of the teens in “Underage Drinking: A National Problem,” we get gold.

Ok. One quick exchange:

“Samantha’s mean!”
“Samantha gets to be mean! Because Samantha is a star!”

At this point, it’s pretty clear that the big payout is going to be the pageant itself, so until that time, it looks like we’ll be killing some time with some set-up scenes that serve to tell us where we are headed, but are pretty funny nonetheless. We’ve got:

Dee getting schooled by Samantha during lunch;

Fat Mac wheezing his way through lunch;

The dandy boy who, contrary to the fellas’ first impressions, isn’t being forced into the competition at all,

And, after getting served by Samantha, Dee takes ugly duckling Justine under her wing to dethrone Samantha.

The scenarios are set-up, so let’s go to the back half of the episode to watch the gang knock them down. They arrive at the school theater for the pageant to find Frank done up in corpse makeup (compliments of a creepy mortician) to hide his battered grill. With Artemis sternly and stoically asking the audience to “give me a beat” during “America, The Beautiful,” the pageant is underway. And how!

With Mac, Dennis, and Dee busting moves onstage, and what we can only assume is a white-shoed Charlie a-tappin’ his foot, it becomes pretty clear what this pageant is really about. The gang wants to put on another musical. After a variety show-style intro from Charlie, Frank painfully oversells the innocence of the whole affair, introducing the contestants “that he isn’t attracted to at all” while wearing the previously mentioned corpse makeup. Of course, all the good-behavior from the gang begins to get squandered the moment Frank unintentionally broadcasts a private conversation he has about banging corpses.

The audience’s attention is quickly shifts from Franks desire to be “filled with cream” after he dies when the cops bust in to arrest Walter, who is, as we assumed, a pedophile.

The gang hastily decides that although pageants are an American tradition, they aren’t a proud one, names Samantha the winner, then storm out the door, having learned no lessons and built no bonds.

Kudos to Sunny on this one for reminding us that the Dee, Mac, Dennis, and Charlie don’t have to be total assholes in order to be funny.


  • Caitlin Olsen’s improv and acting chops really come out in select few moments and the 180 she turns when asked if she is “in charge” by the child services representative is one such moment.

  • At what point did you realize that Frank was going to spend the rest of the episode with a mangled and bloody face? I got it at 6:48 when they told him to lay down and put some ice on it.

  • The entire episode, I felt like Walter, the child services guy was a looming pedophile. Turns out I was right. Kiss the ring!

  • I’m pretty bummed I’m already used to Fat Mac.

  • Franks dry-mouthed buddy backstage almost had me raising my hand with the gang, wondering what the shit that was about.

  • Artemis!

  • Fat Mac is pretty awesome in a tight turtleneck.

  • The gang seems to have an uncanny knowledge of Vaudeville and pageantry. I would hire them if they weren’t such bastards.

  • Since I can’t single out one thing, I enjoyed every single f*ckin’ part of the boy’s performance. It was like Usher meets Gaga meets gay little boy with fake abs sketched on him.

  • I love the cut to Frank, face down ready to be cuffed when the cops enter.


  • “You just loaded up that train with coal, and now it’s ready to tear down the tracks. That was inspiring as hell.”

  • “I’m not gonna diddle your kids…I met that guy in a titty bar.”

  • “I don’t see professionals. I see amateurs. I see trash. Little pieces of trash.”

  • “You’re the meanest girl in the world!”

  • “She’s a stupid shitmouth bitch.”

  • “I’m gonna go get high before the show.”

  • “A big humongous pain in my vuhhhhh-gina, MOMS ARE UGLY!”

  • “Mr. Gorbechav, tear down this wall!”

  • “If I was dead you could bang me all you want.”