Mulaney is almost done with the first season, and the show seemingly has saved the best material for the penultimate episode. This episode included a ton of references to Blazing Saddles and Gene Wilder, famous celebrities, and teenage attitudes. The premise of appealing to teenage girls was a little strange at first, but “Ruby” was the most enjoyable episode of the season.
This episode, “Ruby”, revolved around John’s attempt to find any connection with his girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter named Ruby. Apparently, John was an unpopular kid back in junior high, so he is understandably worried about making a good impression on the child. John discovers during his first meeting that Ruby is secretly a fan of Blazing Saddles and Gene Wilder in particular, so he decides to help her prepare for an upcoming talent show. This talent show routine, as we find out, is actually one that John was supposed to perform with his creepy friend Paul, but he ran away before the routine started. In John’s mind, Ruby is the train to redemption that he has been seeking for twenty years.
Of course, John’s efforts to connect with Ruby take away from his day job with Lou Cannon, so he hires Jane and Motif to become Lou’s personal lunch dates for a week. Honestly, this job doesn’t seem to be too bad because it simply involves eating a very expensive meal while listening to Lou tell stories about his famous friends. However, the situation becomes difficult for Jane and Motif—who loses his voice while acting as a hype man—so they hire Andre to be the third member of their team. Strangely, Andre doesn’t care about the free food, only wanting to listen to Lou’s stories. Unfortunately, Andre irritates Lou, so he trades him to a sheikh from the Middle East.
“Ruby” was quite a strange episode because of the two main stories, as well as the other random jokes. There are little moments throughout the episode where John will make a small comment about his coat or his friend from junior high, and every other cast member will make the same joke at John’s expense. I expected irritation at the repeated jokes, but I actually found them quite amusing. Plus, the entire premise of avoiding a teenager’s mocking is relatable to almost everyone who wasn’t the most popular in school. John’s storyline was funny, but his girlfriend was terrible, which made this portion harder to watch.
While John’s story was funny with some drawbacks, Lou’s story was the most entertaining aspect of the episode. Lou’s entire focus during “Ruby” was finding someone who would listen to him blather on about famous celebrities and his unique experiences. On the surface, this premise seems boring, but Martin Short takes pleasure in playing this type of egomaniac. Short has a talent for stringing together huge sequences of words to create a random story about him in a ridiculous manner, and he plays it off with such arrogance that you actually want to punch his character in the face. The whole scenario is strange yet funny, and it’s made even better by Motif. Anytime that Lou mentioned a famous person, Motif would holler that celebrity’s name and try to get a response from the other restaurant-goers. After 12 episodes of Mulaney, Motif has become the best character because of his random jokes and innocence about anything involving white folks.
It was nice to see an episode of Mulaney that was almost entirely enjoyable. All of the characters (minus John’s girlfriend) played their parts exceptionally well, which resulted in a more fun episode. Even better, I wasn’t expecting a storyline that discussed Gene Wilder so frequently, so I was pleasantly surprised when the story happened. Finally, you can’t really go wrong when Motif and Martin Short are on point with their jokes.
“Ruby” was a great example of the show that Mulaney can be, and I hope that the finale holds up the same standard.