I’ve never thought much about the class dynamic of the Gang—Dee and Dennis representing the upper crust of society and Mac and Charlie bringing up the dregs. God knows where Frank fits in. How did they all join up and decide to open a bar? What made Dennis break the barrier and allow himself to manage a business with two degenerates (I always figured Dee was a tag-along)?
It’d be prime territory to mine the origins of the group (and who doesn’t love seeing the early family lives of the four? One of the highlights of the Christmas Special was the glimpse we get into each one’s childhood memories). But “White Trash,” while it brings up the class differences, doesn’t explore it too deeply.
As the episode opens, there’s a heat wave in Philly, which gets the Gang itching for a dip in one of Philadelphia’s three pools, the first being at the local Country Club (which seems odd that they haven’t been banned from it yet).
Mac and Charlie show up, a six-pack and Charlie’s adorable little inflatable fish in tow, only to be rejected for not being members, and when they ask how to become members, are told that the Club’s already at capacity.
Back at the bar, they pitch a plan for fixing up one of the dilapidated old pools of their youth to Frank, who isn’t interested, while Dee and Dennis maintain that real reason the Country Club wouldn’t take M&C is because they’re white trash (hence the title).
Mac and Charlie head to the fixer-upper pool while Dee and Dennis try their luck at the Country Club…and meet pretty much the same response as Mac and Charlie. Crestfallen, they hit up the public pool, which is a massive step down (“They’re wearing sneakers in the pool!”), complete with broken glass, children throwing rocks, and Frank’s pool game of “Grease the Watermelon” (I also like how Frank borrows a towel from one bather by letting him take a bite from his hotdog).
Mac and Charlie haven’t made much progress on their cleanup and make even less when they toss out their only means of getting out of the pool—a squishy mattress that doubles as a ladder—while they’re in it. At a loss, they resort to a quick game of throwing rocks at each other until Charlie realizes he brought his cell phone (and you can’t not love his cut-off jean shorts).
Of course they can’t call Dennis for help because that’d simply validate his assertion that they are, in fact, white trash, so the two settle with ordering a pizza and hoping that the delivery boy will help them out. His idea (instead of tossing the mattress back in) is to lower down a garden hose, which promptly breaks and starts filling the pool when Mac tries to climb up it.
Dee, Dennis, and Frank are fed up with the public pool, so they try sneaking into the Country Club again but meet up with the same Cabana Boy who refused them before. Dennis makes a break for it but is brutally taken down by another Cabana Boy. Finally, they give up and decide to join Mac and Charlie, who are still stuck in their pool.
Mac calls Dennis out on not getting into the “Fancy Pool” and a quick-and-violent exchange ensues about who’s white trash and who’s not before Frank settles it all with a way to beat the heat Philly-style: wrenching a fire hydrant and playing in the spray.
In all, a pretty weak episode. The best moments are the small visual gags of Charlie’s fishy and cutoffs (though Frank greasing himself up to replace the watermelon is funny for the implication [the kids are supposed to grab him?]) and Dennis’s take-down was a laugh-out-loud moment, but this one’s coasting.
I spent more time noticing how they cover up Caitlin Olson’s pregnancy than anything else (which will be the subject of their Halloween episode). Still, I’m looking forward to next week, when Mac’s mother apparently burns her house down.