This week’s episode didn’t start out up to the show’s usual standards of quality. The sex jokes at the beginning felt like they were there more for the sake of bringing the topic up than in the effort poured into making scenes independently funny. It was still fun, but it was succeeding less on creativity and more on audacity. That problem could really have just been a one-skit thing. With the way the punchlines started rolling in, though, the whole operation seemed to get back on the rails; the second half of that skit was full of decidedly basic slapstick material that worked really well. Odds are it succeeded because of its simplicity in contrast with the earlier grand delusions and cheap usage of the word “sex”. Maybe the writers knew from the start what they were doing.
My opinion of Takao Yoshioka’s is bolstered a bit by the fact that they grabbed hold of the reins after the ants got involved and just kept coupling new misunderstandings with Tomoko’s delusional personality. The scene at the end where she sprayed herself on purpose really lent itself to that sense of ridiculous climax.
The tone of the episode did change for a moment in the second half, focused more towards Tomoko’s loneliness after the predictably epic backfire of her plan to make friends before the fireworks. It laced in the serious sadness with the below ef-esque shot, a crazy effective tactic, and then went to playing with the camera for the next minute or two as things got back to comedy. It’s moments like those that make me really sorry for Tomoko, the ones when she hurts and is trying* but just lacks a basic grasp of the skills necessary to make things happen. This is one show that really puts me into a mood where even the twisted happy endings this series provides are worth rooting for.**
*Albeit in all the wrong ways.
**Being a peeper with middle school boys isn’t quite the same as going home at 1am on New Years’ Eve to pop a decent six-pack and marathon Magnum PI, but it’s got the same “Everything’s gonna be alright in the end” sort of feel to it.
I agree, this week’s episode just didn’t feel as good as usual. Maybe it’s because there didn’t seem to be anything particularly outstanding or intelligent in terms of the jokes – it’s not that they were bad per se, but simply that they weren’t on par with what we’ve been given in previous episodes. It was almost like the writer’s heart wasn’t really in it.