Cheryl Hines (Waitress)
Johnny Pemberton (Bad Neighbours 2)
Tim Meadows (Mean Girls)
Jason Sudeikis (Masterminds)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Tony Revolori (The 5th Wave)
Mark Proksch (The Office)
Son Of Zorn has been gradually building up to an episode like this. “The War On Grafelnik” is ridiculous, taking a fairly mainstream sitcom plot and pushing it in extreme directions. It contains a number of darkly hilarious jokes, some of the show’s most ambitious animation, and the most outlandish plot developments that we’ve seen so far.
Zorn crashes into Edie’s house ready to celebrate the Zephyrian holiday of Grafelnik, a revenge-based holiday which origin sounds similar to the plot to Taken. I like the throw away line about how Zorn took up celebrating again after splitting up with Edie. It suggests Zorn continually trying to find ways to connect with his past within his lonely life, as John Hugar graciously pointed out last week. He does get to spend the early part of it with Alan though, who enjoys tossing ground beef at a restaurant in revenge for serving him the wrong burger. Zorn even gets to exact his revenge by sending Alan to a dank alley in a questionable neighbourhood, because he cried on all those flights as a baby. The first act isn’t particularly relevant to the plot. It’s just there to provide flavour and context to the kind of holiday Grafelnik .
The weirdest, and funniest, moment comes as Craig sits Edie down and tells her the story of why he’s afraid of Santa. It’s a ridiculous phobia made more absurd and dark as he recounts his father, dressed as Santa, beating down the person who his mother was sleeping with–told over childhood drawings of that very incident. Something about this just destroyed me. It was a fairly bold creative choice, executed with the ironic use of Christmas music and visual haze, and represents the most “Adult Swim” moment I’ve seen from the show thus far. This B-story doesn’t really go bigger than that–Craig just tries to confront Santa every chance he gets but still remains terrified of Saint Nick–but it’s just absurd enough to garner laughs without taking up too much time, or feeling like its padding.
The A-story kicks into gear when everyone discovers Grafelnik takes place on the same day at Christmas. First, Edie and Zorn talk about guilting Alan into choose one parent over the other in a nifty cross-cutting segment that not only showcases Son Of Zorn’s improved visual prowess, but also shows how mischievously alike the two really are. (We know Zorn will use people for his own selfishness but we got a taste of Edie’s manipulation skills in “A Taste of Zephyria.”) Then after Craig inadvertently drops the idea to Alan, he starts to pit Edie and Zorn against each other to snag the most presents from them. Then when Edie learns of Alan’s façade, she and Zorn team up to scare him in revenge, in the spirit of Grafelnik–pretending to get into an epic battle at Santa’s workshop at the mall. It the kind of crazy, go-for-broke ending that Son Of Zorn executed extremely well. It was hilarious and audacious. It’s a classic example of “dysfunctional family is still a family amidst chaos” trope that we’ve seen in shows like Married… With Children and American Dad, but Son Of Zorn has found a way to make it specifically their own.