Everytime Denis Leary says “dope,” an endangered animal in some remote part of the world dies. They must be dying — there’s no way this man can just get away with it. If he is “dope”ing it up without consequences, then somebody reading this should go find an endangered animal, kill it, and then let FX know so they can cryogenically freeze or dispose of the master tapes for the show I recap every week: Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, Thursdays at 10 on FX. It’s also known as the show on which Denis Leary says “dope” all the time.
This week’s episode, I have to say, was a new milestone, either the show’s best or worst episode, depending on how you look at it — how steely your soul is feeling today. The conflict of the episode is based around tattoos; they are the central metaphor, the gauge of how committed the characters are to their interpersonal relationships. The episode is even named “Tattoo You,” after the album where the Rolling Stones jumped the shark.
First, let me try to run through the plot of this episode, which — as usual — is the least important part. S&D&R&R is essentially an episodic sitcom of the worst order, though it clings to the idea that it is doing something else by preserving a harebrained excuse for character development. This week, Gigi’s mother Kat shows up (played by recognizable face/Wire McNulty wife Callie Thorne). The reason is to woo Flash — who is revealed to be her former flame — away from Gigi, because Kat wants to save her daughter from making the same incestuous sex mistakes (or whatever) that she did as a New York rock chick in the golden days of the Heathens.
Ultimately, she fails. Flash files off part of the previously-unheard of “Gaga” tattoo on his right ass cheek to spell “Gigi” and they commit to a weird-ass future together (why, practically, Gigi is so obsessed with Flash, again, has still not been sold to us in any convincing way). Gigi and her mom sort of make up — well, you know how it is, moms. You’ve gotta be tough with your kids sometimes, and say words like “vaj-ecting.”
As a half-assed (no pun intended) way of continuing the main “conflict” of the show, Johnny — a man with no tattoos, and therefore (of course) afraid of commitment — gets very painful ink spelling both Gigi and Ava’s names on his ass, to prove his devotion. Gigi is touched, so that’s all good for now. Why all the men of the show are obligated to get their tattoos on their asses is a question to which, I can safely say, we will never get the answer.
Another really important note: In the course of this heartfelt Gigi conversation, Leary inadvertently quotes the titular phrase from Coldplay’s “Fix You,” a song off of the band’s 2005 album X&Y. Just another joke that offers strong evidence in favor of my theory that this show was written in 2007-08 and then just patched into FX’s programming block out of pity when a spot opened up.
Okay, now the nitty gritty: we can run through the worst phrases and terminology of “Tattoo You. ” The rest of my obligations have been fulfilled.
“Muffcuff,” “twatswat” and “bitchswitch”: these are all synonyms introduced by Gigi and Kat when Gigi accuses her mother of coming to New York to “female cockblock” her from sleeping with Flash (why hasn’t this happened already, again?)
“Mrs. Twatinson”: a reference to the character of Mrs. Robinson in the film The Graduate and the Simon and Garfunkel song; also, a term Gigi ascribes to Kat, while accusing her of trying to exert her seductive MILF influence on fickle Flash.
“sackjack”: a term used by Flash, to Gigi, to describe the operation he underwent to make his aging testicles look like those of a 17-year-old.
“dogballs”: Flash’s pejorative for the standard in 50-year-old-man balls
“You playing that piano, or are you playing me?”: Flash to Kat, while the latter is performing a romantic piano ballad she wrote — in the vein of Melissa Etheridge trying to rewrite the opening section of “November Rain” — and looking at him seductively.
“Gigi is my song, and you’re getting all the royalties”: Kat to Ava after Ava stupidly claims that she’s Gigi’s “surrogate mother.”
This is shit that even the Californication writers would quake at. Dig in, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, become all you’ve been hinting at becoming; you only live once. Become the great Unwatchable — a mind-melting universe unto yourself. Blow the bloody doors off; I’ll still be here, every week, watching your magnificent flame burn bright — chafing, but with eyes wide open.