The ass dance returns
The Story So Far...
The focus is mainly on the one-offs this time around,with no overarching or multi-episode arcs floating around (though "Georgie is now poor" and vampire bits make repeated appearances, including a two-segment True Blood parody and tons of Twilight references.) More than in previous seasons, the show embraces silly sitcom plots, especially when involving Mitzi, like her getting a toothache, her wanting to make new young friends or her taking Shin and his friends to a movie. Mitzi's not the only one having sitcom adventures, as Hiro gets himself locked in the bathroom and Georgie's mom gets to enjoy the embarrassment of taking Shin to her country club,.
The show's trademark dark jokes return, including Penny's overwhelmingly creepy family background (and the welcome return of the much-abused Happiness Bunny) and the disturbing personal lives of Shin's teachers. "Bringing Up Man-Baby," in which Shin's neighbor Yoshiren role-plays as a baby, is possibly the creepiest thing in the entire set, to the point where it edges into the unfunny. This ink-black humor ties into the best part of the show, which remains the throwaway lines throughout, which are sometimes so quick and underplayed that you don't get the joke until a moment later. These quick-hit gags far outshine the plot-driven comedy, which can be a bit forced, especially when it comes to Shin, who is just overexposed at this point. It's all too clear when you watch a Boo-focused episode like "All the Boo That's Fit to Print." As simple and quiet as it is, thanks to Boo the last scene is as funny as anything in this entire series.
It seems that the creators understood this unbalance, using characters outside of the Noharo family in key roles in these short stories. The teachers at Shin's school get quite a bit of focus, including several stories about their dating lives, though the hilarious Principal Ench doesn't get nearly enough spotlight. Hottie Nanako and Shin's rich schoolmate Ai are back for a few appearances, while some one-shot characters make strong impressions, like the porn stars Hiro meets on the beach; the "Meghan McCain Republicans" looking to hook up with Shin and his boys; and the Crimson Scorpions, a schoolgirl gang that is brilliantly fun.
One character doesn't get much attention though, and that's Shin's superhero idol Action Bastard, who is barely in this set, which is a shame, as he tends to be fun when used correctly. It'd be unfortunate if his absence is due to the introduction of The Flamer, a super-powered lunatic who becomes a part of Shin's life after gaining powers from environmental pollution caused by Ench. A fire-powered fan of genocide prone to fits of emotion, he is abrasive and annoying, and mostly unfunny, and thankfully he only makes two appearances, but that's two too many.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio tracks remain the same balanced, center-focused mix as in the previous sets, with clear, distortion-free dialogue and good, solid music. Nothing to complain about here.
The Bottom Line