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