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