[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “Wonderful” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
Wonderful. After getting frustrated with sick, lice-infested children, Jim wishes that he never got married.

The final episode of The Jim Gaffigan Show had so many inside jokes it ate itself. In the first scene Jim and his friend, Dave run into John Mulaney on the sidewalk and Mulaney talks about how he just “got offered another show on TVLand… what? TVLand, yeah sounds like an amusement park but it’s a TV channel.” Gaffigan, who was just saying he’s not disappointed he can’t go to an Australian comedy festival with Dave, now has yet another great opportunity to secretly envy a fellow comic. He grumbles and groans, like everybody else in line at Katz’s, turning Dave’s stomach so he loses his appetite, but Dave’ll get lunch anyway since it’s always on Jim. Then, finally, Gaffigan admits that yeah, he’s getting soft career-wise. In fact, at this point he’s “probably like half pillow.” Jim starts thinking maybe he should just bite the bullet, leave the family and go to Australia for the comedy festival. This will give him a chance to escape not only the stomach flu that’s ravaged his whole family for weeks but also the lice infestation he’s about to face entering the apartment.

Next thing he knows, Jeannie picks through Jim’s hair and says she didn’t find any lice but adds, “there might still be those invisible ones, though.” He consoles himself with a good solitary cry on the toilet a moment later and then the youngest Gaffigan trots in with Jim’s MacBook Air and dumps it in the full bathtub. THAT’S IT! Gaffigan out! Jim rages and then storms out into the street. It’s now time for Gaffigan’s out-of-body experience thanks to a group of hipsters on Citibikes and an oblivious Steve Buscemi listening to Call me Maybe on his headphones.

Bikes, Buscemis, and Gaffigan worlds collide so that suddenly we’re in an alternate version of Jim’s life a-la It’s a Wonderful Life. Here’s where we get the meaning behind the last The Jim Gaffigan Show episode’s title Wonderful. After all, he did just scream that he hated his life and wished he’d never gotten married. This is the natural next step – angels and lessons and celebrity guests, oh my!

Gaffigan returns to his apartment but now it’s a clean and empty bachelor pad that Jim apparently shares with Dave and apparently his old school full head of luscious hair. But then a gross one-night-stand and the fact that he owes Dave back rent sends Jim back out to the sidewalk where his Buscemi/Angel awaits. Buscemi explains that Jim’s been granted the wish of never having married Jeannie. He also explains that he only appears to Jim as Steve Buscemi but is actually a guardian angel. His angel could’ve looked like Whoopie Goldberg… but with her role in Ghost that might have been too confusing.

Gaffigan momentarily brightens with the news that he’s still a comedian in this alternate angel world. He’s excited to go to a comedy club where he might finally feel comfortable and at home again. But once at the comedy Jim immediately falls into a deep pit of despair because it turns out that in this world he’s a filthy mouthed douchebag comic who disses and slutshames cool women like Whitney Cummings. This Jim offends wife-and-kids Jim. At this point Gaffigan starts begging Angel Steve for his family life back. On the sidewalk a shrieking Jim yells at Guardian Buscemi (invisible to all others) for not telling him where he can find Jeannie. This draws scoffs and mockery from nearby Alec Baldwin and – who else – but the ever present Macauley Culkin, now with his hair back in a manbun.

Jim finally gets Steve to help him locate Jeannie. Turns out she owns a bar, has a David Beckham haircut with matching tattoos up the wazoo and married Daniel, her real-world gay best friend. But in this world Daniel loves Jim’s comedy and Snicker bars… a real shock and almost a letdown given that this can’t possibly be an authentic Daniel. He’s living a lie because everybody knows Daniel’s loathing for Jim is his favorite feeling. This world’s Jeannie is also an opposite. She has major anger issues and punches Jim right in the kisser for even mentioning the notion of her having children. She hates kids!

Wonderful then leaps into the clouds of TV episode wonderland and everything shifts gears yet again. The punch from Angel-world Jeannie knocked Jim out. He wakes up on the sidewalk in the real world where it turns out he’s just hit his head. Steve Buscemi is there but he actually is Steve Buscemi. We take a turn into META town now as Gaffigan returns to his apartment with a new, more grateful perspective. Jim can’t wait to get upstairs and when he does things are about to get REAL. We’re talking real life real.

In his apartment Jim’s actual wife and show co-creator, Jeannie, awaits rather than the actress that plays Jeannie. His real kids are in the apartment too hugging Jim, and we can even see the crew shooting. Gaffigan tells Jeannie, his real life wife, how he had this dream that they made a TV show about their family and actors played her and the kids but he played himself. Jeannie replies, “Yes, and they’re all here.” Then the cast of the show comes out of the back bedroom so they can all sing Auld Lang Syne together, arms around each other, smiling, and swaying with the tune. The cast and crew toast to a show well done. The episode exits Season One with a big “Thank You” onscreen from The Jim Gaffigan Show – so polite and typical of Gaffigan, the boy scout comic. Thank YOU, Jim and Jeannie, for the creative fun and endless laughter. We’re truly looking forward to Season Two.

–Katherine Recap

[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “Maria” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
Maria. When Jeannie’s baby sister goes on a date with Dave, Jeannie and Jim are determined to follow them.

Sitting in Katz’s, the same place where they eat lunch every single day, Dave explains to Jim that he dumped his girlfriend out of boredom with the same old thing day after day. Just then, Jeannie’s younger sister, Maria, visiting from out of town, drops by to pick Jim’s baby up from him. To Dave’s delight, Maria’s his “favorite kind of girl, beautiful AND from out of town.” Just so happens that Maria also just broke up with her boyfriend and whoopsie, next thing you know Dave is breaking his cardinal rule of never visiting Jim’s germ-ridden, kid-filled apartment. So, that way he can get to officially meet Maria, who left pretty quickly with the baby at Katz’s. Maria thinks Dave’s cute and then he invites her to his show that night and things are spinning into a pheromone frenzy right before Jeannie’s horrified eyes even as she pushes Dave out the door of their apartment.

Jim makes a special trip to Dave’s pickup bar where he’s in the process of convincing an ex to give him another chance. But just as she agrees to give it a shot Jim approaches damning Dave for hitting on Maria that very morning. Thus, another one bites the dust for ladies man Dave. Then Jim gets him to agree to not ask Maria out again, for Jeannie’s sake. Dave gives Jim his WORD he won’t.

The next morning Jeannie awakens Jim with his favorite breakfast; a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese from Russ & Daughters, an iconic NYC establishment. She holds it under his nose so he can relish the amazing aroma. But just as Jim is really awake and ready to reach for it, Jeannie cuts it into little pieces and flushes it down the toilet right in front of him. Jim declares her a psychopath… however it turns out she’s responding to the fact that she just found out Dave has a date with Maria. Apparently they hooked up on Facebook overnight and will be going out to dinner this very evening. The horror. The horror.

That night Maria’s dress is ultra skimpy and Jeannie’s expression’s completely aghast. After her sister leaves for her date with Dave wearing what appeared to be only the lining of a slip dress, Jeannie bursts into action. She forces Jim to abandon his beloved Chicago deep dish pizza, now cooling on the counter, to join her in a sister-on-a-date-with-Dave stalking mission. That Gaffigans are now officially on The Mysterious Case of Maria, Dave, and the Ultra Skimpy Dress. They follow behind the tawdry couple to the restaurant, leaving Blanca behind to watch the kids along with a completely vulnerable and unprotected Chicago deep dish.

Jim and Jeannie watch the couple from across the restaurant while Jim shovels linguine into his yap and Jeannie wrings her hands that she can’t hear anything. She just knows Maria hates Dave and must be having a horrible time, though. She has to be! Suddenly, Maria and Dave leave – barely escaping detection from the crackerjack Gaffigan duo of detectives only a few tables away. Jeannie and Jim miss their entire exit and have to get the scoop from a nosy table sitting slightly closer to the couple. That table’s busybody lady dishes to the Gaffigans that Dufus Dude and Girl in the Hooker Dress went to Bowery Ballroom.

The mission now back on track, Jim gets the rest of his linguine to go so he can eat it while walking. With Law & Order transition music and location markers onscreen to note each place, the Gaffigan detective duo follow Maria and Dave to several hopping late night NYC locations. Thanks to bartenders and clubgoers with impeccable memories and professional level facial recognition, everybody remembers Dufus Dude and Girl in the Hooker Dress. These witnesses even know exactly where the couple were going next – just like in Law & Order… Then as night slips into morning Jeannie and Jim run into Macaulay Culkin making yet another The Jim Gaffigan Show appearance exiting a strip club, his incredibly long hair somehow even longer than in the last episode.

When the Gaffigans get home that night they’re deflated – failed detectives after a prolonged chase through the sultry NYC streets. But who do they find crashed on their couch in comfy PJs? Maria! Right away Jeannie’s sister confesses that she made a terrible mistake that night. Jeannie stays big sister strong and refuses to admonish but won’t let Maria finish her sentence either. She’s too busy telling Maria how she’s an adult and her choices are her own. Then Maria explains that she actually came home right after the dinner with Dave and her big mistake was that she ate Jim’s entire deep dish pizza. Jeannie’s delighted with this news but Jim screams, “Whore!” Raising a pizza cutter to the ceiling with rage, Jim’s clearly filled with a profound yearning for revenge… and then Mariska Hargitay shows up to collar the killer of a truly special victim because it appears Maria got sliced wide open at the mercy of Jim’s deep dish vengeance.

Only one more episode of The Jim Gaffigan Show left this season. It will be sad to see it go and hopefully there will be more episodes for season two – eleven isn’t nearly enough Gaffigan! The great thing about this show is how guest stars and minor characters bring the show to a higher level and make it about more than just the Jim and Jeannie story. The cool NYC locations and colorful side characters make it feel fresh and alive, like living in the city while taking advantage of its color and multiplicity. That’s the magic of The Jim Gaffigan Show, it really knows its place and makes the audience feel like we belong there too.

–Katherine Recap

[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “The Bible” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
The Bible. After picking up a large Bible for Jeannie on the way to a show, the paparazzi photographs Jim.

On the way out the door to the comedy club, Jeannie asks Jim to swing by the church and pick up a gift from Father Nicholas. It’s a Bible the Pope blessed, a gargantuan book – biblical proportions, really – with shiny gold page tips. Jim has it on his lap sitting at the bar in the next scene at the club while he guffaws at Chris Rock’s naughty jokes. Then leaving the club a fan asks for a picture with Jim while he still holds the ginormous Bible under his arm. This picture ends up on the front page of HuffPo the next morning with a story about how Jim Gaffigan refuses to be “ashamed of his Catholicism.” His phone rings right after this revelation and let it be known that thus the Gaffigans are now invited to the White House’s annual prayer breakfast.

After his next show the following day, Jim’s approached by a pizza corporation looking for a spokesperson that “represents their values.” It’s a dream come true, a million bucks and all he has to do is represent values like church and family… ahem, and hating gays. Yikes. That last part sends Jim away – none the richer. But on the bright side, suddenly Jim has become THE celebrity Catholic overnight; Joel Osteen wants to take him to dinner, Richard Hawkins wants to debate him, and he even gets to make an appearance on The Daily Show. Unfortunately, Jim decides to try to “set this whole bible story straight” in the John Stewart interview. He calls his wife a Shiite Catholic, mentions that he’d asked for a garbage bag to hide the bible, and thus loses the love of all those pious red-blooded ‘Mericans in a mere two minutes of allegedly explaining himself. The Gaffigans are then uninvited to the White House, he loses a commercial he’d just booked, and uh oh, the phone’s ringing again…

The media goes tasmanian devil on Jim and he’s retreats to bed and wallows slugstyle in his own rapid deterioration of channel flipping. Even Telemundo channel is gossiping about him. His BFF, Dave gets on Rachel Maddow and deflects questions but does use the opportunity to promote his next couple shows. There’s even a rumor growing that Jim’s having an affair with his nemesis, Daniel the real estate broker and Jeannie’s best friend. “The real victim here is Jeannie,” Nancy Grace explains for us all with her usual black and white lack-of-logic. Just as his shame spiral is about to annihilate Jim’s will to live, he enters the denial stage of the grief process and decides to pretend none of this is happening – shake it off, baby. Dust off a donut and go. Jim puts on his trusty comedy cardigan and heads out to do a set at Gotham Comedy club. It actually seems like this could be working for awhile until… the crowd at Gotham turns on him. Then he’s running from the club and into the streets filled with angry mobs holding up various hateful anti-Jim signs, pitchforks, and torches. It’s a witch hunt and Jim’s the one in the pointy hat this time. The clutches of ferocious NYC groupthink villagers descend upon Jim as he backs into an alley corner, certain death and Jim-on-a-stick seems inevitably next.

But then the story shifts, the screen fuzzes a bit, and we find out the episode was all just the fantastical imaginations Jim concocted in the process of answering Jeannie’s request to pick up the Bible in the very first scene. It was all a dream – a mere vision of what could-have-been. So, Gaffigan just tells her he hasn’t got time to pick up the Bible and then leaves the apartment, whistling down the sidewalk to the club, free and unfettered. Ironically, it was the Bible that’s got him feeling grateful and happy. If it wasn’t for the good book, after all, Jim wouldn’t be so happy about not picking it up and thus avoiding the whole spectre of his own personal inferno.

Funny thing about this episode is the perfectly Trumpean timing to it. The story of a celebrity embroiled in controversy about making thoughtless remarks and thus throwing a media sh!*storm into the fan of public opinion. But here on The Jim Gaffigan Show we see the other side of such consequences – here in this TvLand it happens to a man who doesn’t get off on that kind of attention. Truth is that if all the events of this episode really transpired for Gaffigan he would sell so many books, iTunes bits, and merchandise that Jim could become whatever eccentric millionaire dude he liked. In fact, just taking that pizza sponsor deal was the beginning of just such a possible outcome for him. But Jim Gaffigan is a real person just like us, not some cartoon character crazy billionaire who lives for limelight; then will say anything to stay spotlit… and that’s exactly what we love about him.

–Katherine Recap

[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “Superdad” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
Superdad. A magazine calls Jim a “superdad”, and Jeannie is happy for him.

Time Out New York magazine features Jim on the cover this week – calling him SUPERDAD! The article sings his praises without mentioning Jeannie’s name. Instead it names all five kids but merely mentions that Jim also lives with his wife, though it’s an article about parenting and Jeannie does 90% of the work. Still, Jeannie’s genuinely happy for Jim, beaming and looking through the article. She’s proud of him for making the cover. Jim’s BFF, Dave is more envious than proud, though. At Katz’s, their usual lunch spot, Dave tells Jim being a Dad makes him the “human equivalent of cargo shorts.” In other words, he’s mainstream, bland and boring stuff, whereas Dave’s clearly edgier with a more niche audience. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have someone from Radiohead buy you lunch?” Jim retorts.

At school curriculum night that evening the headmaster calls out Jim and Jeannie as stellar parents to the whole class – holding up the magazine as evidence. But the classroom teacher, Janeane Garafolo, lets Jim know she’s onto him. She knows what he’s up to, though Jim doesn’t seem to be aware of his crime and all signs seem to point to Jim mainly being up to having an extra snack or two… or fifteen. But at this school the fact that his snacks aren’t organic might just qualify as criminal.

That night after their standup set Dave and Jim unwind their rage on each other and have a sarcastic snarkfest of a fight outside the subway. They shout and accuse each other of being jealous, then each criticize elements of the other’s pathetic existence – cutting a bit too deep in both cases. Can their mutual love of smoked meats piled to the ceiling between slices of rye bread save this now tenuous friendship?

It’s Jeannie’s turn to get a little miffed the next morning when Father Nicholas completely absolves Jim of going to church and then has her take a picture of the two of them cheek to cheek. Church is her thing! She’s the one Jesus loves the most! Jeannie says nothing but her face speaks grandiloquently on her behalf. Then Daniel awaits the Gaffigans at their apartment where he reluctantly lets Jim know the 92nd St Y wants him to give a talk about parenting “because Uma has some movie to do or something.” But when Jeannie joins them Jim throws a curveball into the conversation and tells Jeannie the 92nd St Y actually wants HER to give the talk and then she lights up from her aforementioned funk – a woman with a mission – ready to roll.

Next thing Jeannie’s onstage at the 92nd St Y, looking amazing in front of a giant screen with Jim’s face on it. The host keeps showing clips of Jim doing standup to roars of audience applause and then asking Jeannie things like, “How did YOU snag Jim Gaffigan?” At first Jeannie can’t help but be honest and say that Jim’s actually not all that when it comes to parenting. But it keeps backfiring on her with audience disapproval until finally she succumbs to the Gaffigan groupthink brain wash and gushes about how he took out the trash that time. At last, Jeannie gets the audience on her side.

Meanwhile, backlit with the light shining from their respective TV sets, Jim and Dave make up nice like the good buddies they are over the phone – each horizontal in bed and late night snacking. Then Jeannie gets home from her 92nd St Y “talk” where nobody really wanted to hear what she had to say and finds Jim’s been in bed all night watching the game and drinking beer. No, he doesn’t know when the nanny left but he’s bereft about the Bugles snacks Jeannie promised and then neglected to buy for him – they really would have been great to eat during the game. Something inside Jeannie snaps just then and she rips up the Superdad copy of Time Out New York. When Jim hears her gutteral roar he comes running out of the bedroom, perhaps expecting a lion or gorilla from the sound of it. Jim sees his magazine cover in tatters littering the kitchen floor and Jeannie blames it on the kids.

Then Jeannie tells Jim she’s not jealous of how he has to get up in front of audiences all the time. That audience at the 92nd St Y turned on her, she explains, and she’s just not that needy of mass approval or into such roller coasters of emotion. Jeannie says she doesn’t even want to be on the cover of a magazine – it’s not real. But being a mom, that’s real stuff. Jim comforts Jeannie saying he knows she does everything and he’s a fraud – not really Superdad. After which Jim comforts their crying baby and even takes out the trash… but this time he locks himself out on the sidewalk in his undies. Just like in life, this is the best stuff about The Jim Gaffigan Show, the real stuff.

–Katherine Recap

[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “My Friend the Priest” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
My Friend the Priest. When Jim is finally invited to do “The Tonight Show,” Jeannie invites Father Nicholas.

Jim finds out he’s finally booked his dream gig on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show and immediately tells his best buddy, Dave who tries to place what show that is.
“Struggling a bit, right?” says Dave after pretending not to know who’s been hosting it lately. “Huge among every demographic except my bitter friends,” Jim replies. As Gaffigan leaves disgruntled Dave behind on the sidewalk he spies Father Nicholas nearby and crosses the street to avoid him. Unfortunately Father Nicholas also has crossing the street privileges and he really wants to talk to Jim. Then it turns out he’s coming to dinner – oh joy.

“I’m not interested in a bromance with a member of the clergy,” Jim attempts to explain to baffled Jeannie after she’s just gone on about how normal and everyday a person Father Nicholas is. We’ve all been in this boat where we just don’t click with the the other guy in there but he’s got the steering wheel and access to all the life preservers… such a fun day at sea. And for Jim, it’s truly a never ending showboat of an episode.

Next thing Jim knows “weird” Father Nicholas tags along to his gig that night and his mere priestly presence shuts the laughs down. All comics seem to agree that priests are audience poison. It’s apparently a universal truth – a Platonic ideal, if you will, of toxic comedy sets. So, inevitably, Jim gets the dreaded news the next day just as he’s leaving for the dream gig. Father Nicholas will be joining him on set at “The Tonight Show” and there’s nothing Jim can do about it.

Father Nicholas glows with a beaming naive sincerity through the halls of NBC. He grins and introduces himself to everyone as “famous comedian, Jim Gaffigan’s priest” then makes so many friends that by showtime he’s playing tambourine with the Roots. Father Nicholas ends up playing ping pong with Julianne Moore and the seemingly ever-present-on-The-Jim-Gaffigan-Show-these-days Macaulay Culkin. Jimmy and the audience adore having him on the show so much that Father Nicholas ends up bumping the last guest. Yes, that’s Jim, watching it all from his sad sack green room with his resident sidekick, Bitter Dave. The episode ends on Macaulay Culkin asking Father Nicholas who Jim Gaffigan is – indeed.

Kudos to The Jim Gaffigan Show’s Tongayi Chirisa. The actor playing Father Nicholas nails his character’s awkward sincerity so perfectly that he doesn’t just steal “The Tonight Show” from Jim… Chirisa slips in lines with comedic ease, like when Dave and Jim are fighting bombastic and he gleefully says, “You comedians are so funny all the time. It is very enjoyable!” He maintains a stilted manner that serves his character while remaining completely real and believable in sincere emotional moments like when he thanks Jim for bringing him to Jimmy Fallon and, for just one fleeting flicker of a moment, touches the Gaffigan heart buried deep beneath all those food jokes.

–Katherine Recap

[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “Go Shorty, It’s Your Birthday” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
Go Shorty, It’s Your Birthday. Jim celebrates Dave’s birthday instead of Jeannie’s, and Jeannie gets upset.

It’s Jeannie’s birthday and she says she doesn’t want anything. This is a sitcom, after all, so it appears that Jim’s biggest problem may just be that he believes her when she says this, though Jeannie seems sincere. The episode synopsis also seems to indicate this plot trajectory. So, strap yourself in for a hilarious birthday carnival ride. There’s a lot of funny here tonight.

Jim meets his BFF for their usual lunch at Katz’s and it turns out Dave shares a birthday with Jeannie. It’s a two birthday day for Jim! He’s dealing with opposites, though. Dave certainly does want a present and it turns out John Varvatos is having a sale! He also wants a party and isn’t shy about that either. After lunch Dave calls Jim over and over in seemingly two minute increments to ask about the party though Gaffigan keeps telling him nothing’s gonna happen on Jim’s account. Eventually Dave just ends up planning his own party in the Bowery Ballroom basement and inviting Jim. “No gifts! OK, well if you insist,” Dave says, not taking a breath between sentences.

The Gaffigan nanny, Blanca, brings a Dora pinata and birthday card for Jeannie when she comes to work that morning. But Blanca finds out quick that Jeannie really wants to pretend it’s not her birthday. So, they end up pretending it’s Blanca’s birthday for the sake of the kids, who pound Dora to smithereens until she’s just a giant head on a stick like a mammoth cartoon lollipop. This pushoff of her “special day” onto Blanca is an indication that Jeannie just might be sincere in her desire to pretend her birthday isn’t happening. She reinforces this antipathy of her own birthday later in the kitchen with Jim saying if he goes to Dave’s party she can more easily pretend it’s not her birthday, so he should go. Again Jim takes her at her word.

Then Daniel shows them an apartment – which Jeannie hates like always. While she’s out of the room, Daniel advises Jim to get Jeannie a gift. Daniel tells him to “Stop being the cliché of the fat ugly guy who knows nothing.” He lists a bunch of things Jeannie would love including a Cartier tank watch. Daniel knows the perfect guy to buy it from and gives Jim the info. So, Gaffigan buys it. But then when he gets home with it Jeannie asks if he “went against her wishes and got her a present.” So, Jim realizes she probably means it and decides not to give her the watch. Then Daniel sweeps in with sticky fingers and gives her that exact watch (literally taking it out of Jim’s hand) for a giftie and she LOVES it. On his way out, Daniel whispers that Jim wasn’t going to give Jeannie the watch anyway, was he? Grumble Grumble. Maybe. Possibly, OK, no. He also reassures Jim he’ll reimburse him the dinero for the present.

Dave’s birthday party bursts with tons of funny jokes and famous comics including Colin Quinn, underage girls that need rides home to Jersey, and Macaulay Culkin making yet another guest appearance. Fab one liners are dropping like it’s hot every second at the party where champagne is $100 a glass and it’s open bar – so partaking’s aplenty. On his way out Jim says goodbye to his glum birthday boy friend and finds out he’s also expecting Jim to pay for this lavish bash. Then Dave says, “This party sucked and you know what that means… the whole year’s gonna suck,” to which Jim replies, “Hey, look on the bright side. At least you’re not superstitious,” – just one of the many hilarious jokes in a fantastically fun scene.

But then Jeannie ends up bummed out at bedtime, a real crankypants McGee. Turns out, though, that it’s not because Jim didn’t get anything for her, though the episode synopsis would have us all expecting that requisite ending. No. She’s upset because her birthday signifies that they’re getting older and one day the kids will grow up and she’ll die and he’ll die… etc. It’s real truth time in the marital bed and thus on TVLand too. Then Jim cheers up his tearful wife with plans for his hilarious funeral and makes Jeannie laugh so much she forgets how sad she was. So, Jim gave Jeannie what she really needed for her birthday, a laugh.

It’s awesome that Jeannie really meant what she was saying about ignoring her birthday all along and somehow also perfect that the TV synopsis urges the audience toward a false inevitable conclusion. These things make it all the more an awakening at the end when we’re refreshed by a new way of ending this familiar tale of womanly birthday woe. The fresh and thoughtful writing on Go Shorty, It’s Your Birthday is exactly the antidote sitcoms need right now. This isn’t the same old BS sitcomland where women are manipulative beyotches that say they want one thing but really want another… and isn’t it freaking hilarious? Actually no, it’s hackneyed, boring, and misogynist to boot. And not all women are hypocrites, especially not Jeannie. She doesn’t want to die – just like the rest of us. Jeannie’s got real feelings and fears as if she were an actual human and not just some lame sitcom paper doll who wants one thing and says another. Fist pump to the Gaffigan crew for some uproarious jokes in this one too. This episode was yet another home run for The Jim Gaffigan Show.

–Katherine Recap

[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “Super Great Daddy Day” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
Super Great Daddy Day. When Jim mixes up a drawing with a school application, he and Jeannie hope that no one notices.

Jim wants to have a special Super Great Daddy Day with the kids but it turns out that means eating a fudgsicle in bed alone with the door shut. Then Jeannie gives him a list of errands entailing a variety of kid item dropoffs: birth certificate to the priest, cupcakes to a teacher, and a school application to fancypants academy.

Working his way slowly into the realm of responsibility, Jim stops off at a cafe with barista Macaulay Culkin to help his buddy Dave get out of a girlfriend jam. Yes, that was Jim’s girlfriend at the club last night with Dave. Yes, he is married with tons of kids. Yes, his wife is an abusive drunk who beats him. Yes, that’s why his face is so puffy. An eavesdropper at the counter nearby tries not to be horrified and Jim puts her in her place. Yes, it IS actually none of her business.

Then Jim brings cupcakes to Janeane Garofalo, his son’s teacher, and she gives him a drawing from class. His son drew Jim’s penis and though he’s resistant to even taking it, Garofalo tells him to “display it with pride” at home. So, he dutifully tucks it into his jacket pocket. Afterward Gaffigan drops off his daughter’s elite school application with a doorman who saw him perform once at Gotham Comedy Club. The doorman tells Jim how his wife had been insulted at the show when Jim didn’t respond kindly to her heckling. Jim explains that heckling is frowned upon but the doorman insists it’s a prerequisite for comedy shows – like the two drink minimum.

Gaffigan drops off the birth certificate with the priest and then, happy he’s finished with Jeannie’s errands, Jim returns home to another fudgsicle. Then Jeannie figures out he actually gave the drawing of his penis to the school rather than their daughter’s application. It’s an all girls Catholic school… the most prestigious one in Manhattan. Jim’s penis won’t exactly fit right in.

So, Jeannie brings the application over to the school with the hope that the drawing somehow won’t be noticed or mentioned in their interview at the school the following day. At least they have the application now, she figures. The interview is cooking along well until the interviewer probes Jim’s declaration about loving paintings and he starts to spiral out of control rambling about how he prefers “the blurry ones”.

The interviewer mentions a perplexing extra tucked into the application, sending terror up Gaffigan spines, but it’s actually just the birth certificate Jim had accidentally dropped off. So, no biggie! Just the birth certificate! Yay! Then as they’re riding the peak of their relief wave, Jim gets worried when the assistant to the interviewer happens to be the horrified eavesdropper from the cafe earlier. But the interviewer tells them they’re golden and their daughter’s getting in. So, when they leave it’s totally high five time.

Just as they step out the school door the doorman’s wife is suddenly there at the school entrance – ready for vengeance – or at least an apology from Jim. It’s time for a beatdown, baby! A serious scramble of cursing and flailing arms ensues… Unfortunately, the Catholic school interviewer watches from a window above and her assistant now knows it’s time to tell her boss some real truths about why Jim’s face is so puffy.

This episode of #GaffiganShow was already the best ever at this point in the story. Major zingers landing every minute and hilarious hijinx crammed out the wazoo… but still more laughs await because remember there’s still the missing drawing of Jim’s member… where is Jim’s penis now? In the last scene of Super Great Daddy Day the Gaffigan family is at church where the priest raves about a drawing he received from parish member Jim Gaffigan. It meant a lot to him – such a touching and symbolic portrait that depicts a tiny tower at the the center of a brown wheat field. The priest loved the picture so much he made it the front cover of the church newsletter, to the horror of his teenage acolyte, starts handing it out to the parish – as Jim swiftly flees out the back doors of the church.

Super Great Daddy Day is packed with such tightly woven wisecracks, it definitely ranks as the best Jim Gaffigan Show yet. Every season TV shows select one episode to send to the Emmy committee and this would be Gaffigan’s perfect pick. There’s a fantastic one liner or gag every minute. This is a show that really satisfies, a classic in the making. Feel like laughing? Get this one on your DVR.

–Katherine Recap

[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “In the Name of the Father” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
In the Name of the Father. Jim and Jeannie agree to dine with Daniel and his father in order to act as buffers.

Jeannie’s best friend, Daniel enters Jim and Jeannie’s apartment with a still warm cronut for Jim. It may just be a plea to get Jim to go to dinner with Daniel’s Dad – where he’d make an awesome buffer. So, Gaffigan resists the temptation of the cronut – a mighty feat – and is even about to walk out in a self righteous huff …how-could-you-etc. But then Daniel mentions that the Dad dinner is at Smith and Wollensky’s and next thing you know Jim’s negotiating how many sides he can order at the meal. As many as he wants….

Gaffigan then meets his BFF, Dave at Katz’s, to discuss their next show. It’s set to happen right after the dinner with Daniel’s father. Dave’s nervous because his hyper critical mother will be there, a real treat for Jim who enjoys a healthy dose of schadenfreude now and then – being human and all. Meanwhile Jeannie expresses her concern that Daniel’s Dad always gets everyone tanked on scotch at these dinners and Jim can’t succumb this time with the standup show falling right afterward, “Just one beer,” Gaffigan promises.

Then it’s dinner and everything goes just as expected. Jim plays pleasant buffer and laughs uproariously with Daniel’s Dad while swiftly downing three scotches. After dinner Gaffigan orders four pieces of cake before asking the others, “And do any of you guys want dessert?” So, Jeannie’s already got her horrified wife pants on at the point when Daniel’s Father calls her Jim’s “designated downer.” She does what people do when they can’t beat ‘em and starts sucking down scotches.

By the time they get to Jim’s standup show with Dave everybody’s plastered and Jim, who was just introduced as “The King of Clean Comedy” takes a hard right into F bomb town even though Dave specifically asked him to stick to safe material with the boatload of little old ladies watching. But then it turns out Dave’s never-satisfied-mother and her friends thinks Dave did the best out of all the comics and that completely makes his day. Jim and Jeannie are too drunk to care. Daniel’s still safely in the buffer zone with Dad. Everybody’s a winner after dinner.

They go drinking and dancing at Sardis, where Dave picks up a Hot Old Lady, then ride a ferry past the Statue of Liberty. Everybody’s still having a smashing-smashed good time, Jeannie most of all even though she’s barfing over the side of the boat. “She’s been pregnant five times; throwing up is her second language,” Jim explains.

In the end things get slightly more serious when Daniel’s Father appears to have an actual heart attack after pretending a multitude of times for the sake of laughs. There’s Father/Son bonding at the hospital when Daniel’s Dad suggests maybe they’d connect more if there weren’t always so many people around every time he comes to town. Oh, SNAP, Daniel’s Father! You noticed.

Jim and Jeannie wake up the next morning still wearing night-before-clothes and on top of the covers. Their kids stand at the door shouting to wake them, “Who’s the strange man in the tub?” they wanna know. Turns out, it’s Dave curled up and still wearing a Statue of Liberty foam visor. He asks if anyone remembers his Hot Old Lady’s number. “I think she was seventy,” Jeannie says. It’s a perfect ending to this episode which is the first to focus more on peripheral characters than Jim and Jeannie. Yes, they’ve got the too-much-scotch story and are present at all the evening’s events but essentially this episode proves that The Jim Gaffigan show doesn’t just serve as spotlight on one man’s life. It’s a true NYC story where many characters matter and that keeps things interesting. In other words, this show’s got legs, baby!

–Katherine Recap

[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “A Night at the Plaza” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
A Night at the Plaza Jim plans a romantic anniversary that includes a Broadway show and a hotel stay.

It’s wedding anniversary time and Jim even remembered this year. Sure it’s the day before and what he actually remembers is, in fact, a dentist appointment but in his defense those can be milestones too. Like the one when you find out you’re grinding at night… and not in the good way. Turns out Jim’s friend, Dave has a new girlfriend who works at the Plaza Hotel and Gaffigan gets the idea to score a tad cheaper room with this connection. Amazing anniversary gift! What could go wrong? Maybe Jim’s dentist won’t be the only one drilling this week after all.

Then Gaffigan decides to tack on a Broadway show just to make this occasion super special for Jeannie. It’s a banner year for wedded bliss! Especially given that last year they celebrated with a visit to Shake Shack. To save money on the Broadway show, Jim gets in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square. It’s a time-honored NYC tradition exclusively for those who love standing for hours among the riff raff with fantasies about Book of Mormon tickets while maintaining expectations of seeing something like Aladdin. A khaki-jacketed big fan offers Jim some tickets claiming he can’t use them anyway. At first Jim declines but then, impressed by the choice seats and show, he accepts the offer and insists on paying the guy for the tickets. Turns out a few minutes later when Jeannie takes a moment to really look at them, the tickets were for the day before when Jim was at the dentist… having a much better time.

But being TV main characters and all, they get over it like champs and decide to hit the Plaza early. Upon arrival Jeannie’s friend, Daniel is in their room romancing the mood with rose petals and champagne, like ya do. Then Jeannie realizes she left Jim’s gift back at the apartment and leaves to go get it. Daniel immediately spills chocolate on himself and has to strip down to fix the problem. Jim then accidentally pulls the door knob off while Daniel’s in the bathroom and hijinx ensue. Part of the shenanigans result from Gaffigan’s multitude of front desk requests: a bigger bathrobe, a burger and fries, someone to fix the stuck-on-a-porn-ad-TV, and maintenance to fix the doorknob. One by one the variety of service people attempt to fix the mayhem and, of course, nobody has change for a twenty.

Having Daniel stuck in the bathroom creates hilarious Three’s Company style tomfoolery. The silly misunderstandings escalate to eventually include Dave and his girlfriend Gigi as well as Gigi’s “real” boyfriend, a real bruiser. His Hulkean temper finally scares the returned-at-last-Jeannie and still-in-a-tiny-robe-Jim back to their apartment. That’s where the heart is, guys!

There’s a reference to Gaffigan’s classic Hot Pocket joke in the middle of all the antics and then right after on TVLand a real life Hot Pocket ad airs. Further evidence of the Trumptastic phenomena that any mention in the media that’s then followed by another mention is always good for business.

This episode delivers a classic comedy of errors with spot-on jokes, mistaken identities, and Jim in a miniature bathrobe that matches his skin tone. It’s over far too soon for the audience but perfect timing for Jim and Jeannie, who are happiest chillin’ on the homestead anyway. Although they don’t get to see their Broadway show or enjoy the fancy hotel room they invariably paid for anyway, Jim and Jeannie did develop a profound appreciation for the simple joy of being together. After all gratitude is life’s easiest ticket to joy… that and, for Jim, a Diet RC Cola to wash the burgers down.

–Katherine Recap

Red Velvet If You Please

[For The Jim Gaffigan Show‘s “Red Velvet If You Please” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

TVLand Summary:
Red Velvet If You Please. Jim tries to stop eating junk food; Dave is hung over and shows up at a kid’s birthday party.

Jim returns from a Las Vegas work trip to Jeannie’s psychic abilities spinning in high gear. He walks in the door and she dispatches the kid cadre to the bedroom. Apparently he reeks of guilty wrongdoing, though Gaffigan appears to be regular sweet Jim to our unknowing audience eye.

Gaffigan sits with her on the couch and unwinds his tawdry tale of Las Vegas debauchery. Was he drinking? Jim says of course not but we see the flashback and Miller Lite was downed in abundance. Perhaps he’s just ashamed of drinking a beer that tastes like watered down backwash… but either way – he lies. We gotta forgive him right away, though, because it couldn’t have been that pleasant anyway.

Jim then explains to Jeannie how he turned to the Bible – Book of Job, specifically, to relieve his insomnia. Though his bible study actually turned out to be video gaming on the hotel TV, I think we can all understand how they’re essentially the same thing.

It’s at this moment when temptation literally knocks on the door. We hear a sexy lilt of music and there’s an entire red velvet cake set before him in the hallway without a person in sight. Jim tells Jeannie there was a waiter who explained that the cake was a gift from a group of nuns who saw his show and thought he seemed Christ-like. His initial rejection of the cake is true. At first he shuts the door to place a whistful cheek against it in Red Velvet longing. But we all know this is only to make the cake taste better later. You gotta play hard to get first.

Jim tells Jeannie how he ate half of it… slept off the hard work with the rest of the cake back out in the hall, then ate the rest in the morning. “Red Velvet is my Kryptonite,” he defends.

“Yeah, but you’re not Superman!” Jeannie points out in a telltale moment of family sanity. This leads to a hilarious tirade of rationalization jokes with a shout out to Big Gay Ice Cream, making any New Yorker’s heart melt for Jim. But then Jeannie brings it all down to earth when she reminds him he has a baby daughter and doesn’t he want to be at her wedding?

“Sure but will there be cake there?”

Then Daniel (Michael Ian Black), their real estate broker comes over and it becomes evident he’s actually more Jeannie’s BFF than their broker. When he leaves Jeannie gives Jim the delightful Saturday morning choice between taking four kids to swimming lessons at 8:30 AM or his daughter to a Central Park birthday party at eight AM. She suggests that maybe he should do the lessons since there will likely be cake at the party. Challenge accepted, Jeannie!

Leaving for the party his hungover friend, Dave pleads to tag along desiring to see the “yummy mummies” that might be there and because this is a TV show, he’s not disappointed – they’re all hotties, even the hugely pregnant one. This leads to that awkward mistaken-for-homeless problem for Dave, a dire predicament faced by many a NYC hipster after a bender. On the plus side, he does score some extra cash.

But Jim doesn’t notice Dave’s predicament because there’s a much more enticing party attendee, a red velvet cake – Jim’s Jezebel. He avoids her by crashing another party where for some reason they have a full spread of delicious dinners laid out at eight in the morning. But Jim’s distracted when he spies some kids messing with his velvet lady love, trailing grubby fingers in her perfect icing. He saves the day and smooths her out, like lovers do. But his lick of the knife registers Jim’s fatal flaw. There’s gonna be a showdown in cake town. Later the birthday girl notices her cake’s vandalization and Jim gets fingered as the Spartacus of icing, he’s got it in his beard, and the day is done.

When Gaffigan gets home Jeannie confronts him again. She got a call about his morning park antics. The confession couch makes Jim admit he’s got a real problem. He admits all. He ate the whole Las Vegas cake in one sitting for one. But it gets worse… Jim’s airport tale of overeating woe is so horrifying you may laugh until you wet your pants. I nearly did.

So, we have two things to thank Jim Gaffigan for tonight; introducing us to a channel with a serious identity crisis TVLand/Nick at Night… or is it just Nick? Hey guys, picking a name is the easiest part of having a TV channel! And more importantly, he made us laugh and – given the torrential tirade of fast food ads running with this show… we could all use that ab workout.

–Katherine Recap