Good day to you, loyal Substandard Sitcom fans. Welcome back to the sitcom so full of inside jokes that it only makes sense if you’re one of the “dozens of us” who listen to the podcast. And have watched Arrested Development. Seriously. My brother is a podcast listener. He likes the sitcom and told my dad about it. Dad asked to read an episode and was befuddled by the humor.
Anyway, sorry for the delay between episodes. Due to the shrinking revenue television programming generates I am forced to work a day job in addition to writing for the Substandard Sitcom. (Narrator: this isn’t a paid gig) Keep checking back looking for new episodes. You never know when the next one will be posted.
Last episode closed with Shannon discovering by a slip of Vic’s tongue that JVL has a secret stash of Lepin. You know what? Let’s do a brief flashback to last episode.
On the last episode of the Substandard Sitcom:
Sonny: Let’s hit the road. Shotgun!
Shannon: For the record, I fully support my husband in all his endeavors, no matter how far they take him from his family.
Vic: (to JVL) You should really tell her about your reserve stash of Lepin.
Shannon’s eyes narrow as she turns and glares at JVL
Shannon: There’s a reserve stash? (through gritted teeth) When were you going to tell me about the reserve stash?
Cut to one second later with a title card which reads “One Second Later.” (Couch: You used that joke last episode. And this whole “conversation with the couch thing” is Jonah Goldberg’s thing. And he is your avowed enemy. Christopher: Shut up, couch.)
Shannon has pinned JVL to the doorframe with her elbow against his throat. The area is immediately transformed into a surreal scene and Shannon’s voice is distorted. It’s pretty much identical to that scene in that movie with the hobbits and the elves when Cate Blanchett is offered the ring. JVL has never been more terrified by his wife. Interestingly, he has also never been more attracted to her.
Shannon: You’re saying you’ve been holding out on me? I may be 5’1, but I have the strength and tenacity of a thousand of your mythical creatures in the comic books that you read. You got to leave the house at 4:30 this morning and go to work leaving me with four children and no Lepin? And now I find out that we’ve had Lepin somewhere in the house all along?
JVL: (with cautious uptalk hoping to lower the tension yet not wanting Shannon to lose the Cate Blanchett-like elf qualities she is exhibiting) Yeeeeees?
Shannon: Show me where it is right now, or I swear on the grave of Dr. Robert Dwyer that I will rip that Omega Seamaster off your wrist. And I swear that I am so angry that I may take your hand off with the watch.
Vic: Um, Dr. Robert Dwyer is not dead. In fact, his doctor says his body is as fit as a healthy 25 year old.
Sonny: And he’s a doctor. A real doctor, JVL. So he could have come to that conclusion on his own. Without his doctor. Unlike you. Because you’re not a real doctor.
JVL: Stop trolling me, Sonny. I’ve got a thing going. Okay, Shannon. I’ll get the Lepin in two seconds, but could you do that Galadriel thing again?
JVL: Gentlemen, could you gives us a few minutes?
Vic and Sonny in unison: No!!!
Shannon (confused): This shouldn’t take that long.
JVL: Shannon, just. Would you come upstairs and do that Galadriel thing again?
Shannon: I have no idea what you’re talking about, but if we go upstairs and don’t come down with some Lepin in 30 seconds, I’m throwing that (bleeping) Omega Seaward into the Potomac.
Shannon: Whatever. Now go get the Lepin or say goodbye to the Seaward.
JVL: I’ll get the Lepin when I’m good and ready.
JVL pauses, considers, and concludes that the Galadriel thing isn’t happening again tonight
JVL: Which is now. I’m ready to get the Lepin.
Cut to your three favorite podcast hosts (take that J Pod, Rob Long, and he-who-shall-not-be-named) driving down some miserable, traffic-choked DC highway. I don’t know whether they’re in an HOV lane or not because, frankly, the patterns of DC traffic don’t concern me. But I’ll listen to them discuss it endlessly on the podcast because it’s a dang good podcast because nothing beats dudes chatting.
JVL: Okay Vic, get off at the next exit.
Sonny: Next exit? We’ve got too many miles ahead of us to start taking bathroom breaks already. Didn’t you go before you left?
JVL: Oh, this is no bathroom break. There’s an REI coming up.
Sonny: Okay. So what? Look there’s a Best Buy. Are we pointing out stores now?
JVL: Are you going to tell him or do I have to?
Vic: You may have the honor.
JVL: We’re not going to the Sucker Punch thing. It was all a ruse!
Sonny: (in an old-timey voice) A ruse? What? A ruse? Brrring, brrring. Hello. Hi, it’s the 1930’s. Can we have our words and clothes and (bleepy) cars back?
JVL: No, it was all a ruse to get you to come…Vic, you’re sure he won’t jump out of the vehicle?
Vic: Yes, I put a mild tranquilizer in his drink an hour ago.
Sonny: You did what? No one’s tranquilized me before! That’s crazy.
JVL: (chortling) No ones tranquilizer you before? I think not. How did you think I took your measurements so I could get you those PrAna jeans? I’ll tell you I gave you a much heavier dose that day than Vic.
Sonny: This doesn’t make me feel any better about anything.
JVL: You know what will make you feel better? Camping!
Cut to inside REI. JVL is pushing a heaping cart of merchandise and grinning like a man possessed. Vic is shaking hands and kissing babies and basically behaving as you’d expect the class president to behave. Sonny is swaying and doing his best to stay on his feet. He’s acting pretty much like a man who has been tranquilized would act.
Sonny: I feel funny.
Vic: Don’t worry. It’ll wear off before you know it.
Sonny: Am I going to like camping?
JVL: Of course! You’re going to love it!
Vic: I’m sure it’ll be fine.
JVL: It’s a good thing you have me along. I’m hooking you up with the best camping equipment money can buy.
Sonny: Why do I need all this stuff? Can’t I just camp like a 1930s hobo? They fit everything they needed in a bandana tied on the end of a stick.
JVL: (chortles) No, Sonny. You have much to learn about camping. This display tent you’re looking at? (gestures at a display tent behind him) This won’t do.
Sonny: Question. How much RAM does it have?
JVL: Listen, that wasn’t funny when you said asked it last episode about my watch and it isn’t funny now.
Sonny looks at the display tent’s price tag.
Sonny: This is a four hundred dollar tent. What’s wrong with it?
JVL: (again, chortling) This is only water resistant and only protects you in winds up to 75 mph. Ridiculous! Waste of money.
Sonny: Why would we need a tent that is rated better than that? We are camping in Virginia, right? Not, you know, Nunavut or Nepal or whatever. And if the wins get bad we had better head home.
JVL: You see, they’ll tell you that components made of plastic are just fine, but anything short of titanium…trust me, you just don’t want it. Actually, I wonder if we can do better than titanium. I wonder if they have adamantium tent poles here.
Sonny: First of all, why would I trust you? You just tranquilized me.
JVL: That was Vic.
Sonny: (unperturbed by this correction) Second, why do you sound conspiratorial when you say “they’ll tell you?” Who’s they? And adamantium is not a real thing. It’s only found in comic books.
Vic: I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m too cool to read comic books.
JVL and Sonny shoot Vic looks of utter confusion at this insistence.
JVL: Listen, titanium > plastic. No one denies this. Would you like me to rank the types materials used in tents?
Sonny: No! I’m good. Let’s just get out of here.
JVL: Not before we purchase some non-GMO food to eat.
Sonny: Non-GMO? Why are you so anti-science?
JVL: We are not having this discussion. We left without you being able to grab your MREs, so we’re going camping with non-GMO food of my choosing.
Sonny crosses his arms, slouches, and scowls.
I’d say to be continued, but let’s be honest. I’m probably not writing a conclusion to this episode. If I were to write another episode it would probably include JVL and Vic sharing a Quip toothbrush. The quip starts at just $25. Buy one online (getquip.com/substandard) and get your first refill pack free! Wait, why am I helping them sell a toothbrush? They aren’t paying me to advertise for them! Whatever. I’m sure it’s fine.