Charlie's Mom Has Cancer
Lynne Marie Stewart (Pee-wee's Playhouse) and Sandy Martin (Big Love) reprised their roles, respectively, as Charlie's mom and Mac's mom. I absolutely love these two ladies, especially now that they live together.
After luring Charlie and Mac to her home with the promise of doing their laundry, Charlie's mother informs them that she has lung cancer. Charlie and Mac return to Paddy's to share the grave news. Dennis makes an effort to appear concerned but, not surprisingly, he is having trouble getting in touch with his emotions. Dee is taking advantage of Frank, who appears to be having trouble with his memory. Mac announces that his mother has a doctor who can cure the cancer for $4200 so the boys head over to investigate.
Sean 'Diddy' Combs guest starred as Dr. Jinx, the self-described "Black man living in a garage, surrounded by houseplants". Needless to say, the boys were not entirely sold on the idea. At the insistence of Mac, the trio then turns to God for help and heads to mass. Mac immerses himself in the experience, participating and singing along with the rest of the congregation. Dennis goes through the motions, hoping to feel something. Charlie remains cynical and is confused by all of the standing and kneeling. One of my favorite scenes was when Mac and Dennis joined in the passing of the peace with a wholly unwilling (and somewhat traumatized) Charlie. For those of you unfamiliar with this Christian tradition, the passing of the peace is a ritual during church where the parishioners shake each other's hands and one would say "Peace be with you", while the other would reply "And also with you". Mac and Dennis, for whatever reason, decided to hug Charlie instead. After the mass, Charlie is infuriated when he sees the priest asking for donations to fix a broken statue, instead of helping raise money for his mother's cancer treatment. The boys decide to throw a "Beef and Beer" fundraiser to help raise the $4200 for Dr. Jinx.
Waves of nostalgia washed over me as they entered the doctor's office when I heard The Right Stuff by the New Kids on the Block and again when they were singing a familiar hymn in church. Apparently, I still remember most of the words to both The Right Stuff and On Eagles' Wings. It was a disturbing, yet oddly comforting, revelation.
While the boys are off trying to find a cure for cancer, Dee is using Frank to fund her newfound habit of visiting a psychic. Frank shows up and asks the psychic to "conjure the dead" and "get [his] dead whore wife back here so [he] can lay into her ". The psychic claims he is unable to because Barbara is still alive. After finding $5000 based on a tip the psychic gives them, Frank and Dee try to figure out where the rest of her money is.
Meanwhile, the Beef and Beer fundraiser is going well. That is, until Charlie's mom announces that she does not have cancer. It seems her and Mac's mom accidently broke the statue and were trying to raise money to pay for it. Pretending to have cancer for personal gain? Where did she get that idea? I did enjoy the delivery of her explanation when she looked right at Charlie and said "I learned everything by watching you". It reminded me of that old public service announcement where the kid is talking to the parent about doing drugs.
Frank and Dee stop by Paddy's to collect the rest of the gang to help them dig up Barbara's grave, insisting that is where the rest of the money is hidden. As one might expect, much to the twins' horror, the whole treasure hunt was nothing more than one of Frank's life lessons. On the plus side, Dennis finally felt something!