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Rules Of Engagement season two episode reviews

Season 2, Episode 1
. "Flirting With Disaster" I watch this for Patrick Warburton. Only he could carry it off. The format requires his character to be stubborn every week, refuse to go along with whatever his wife wants, make a fool of himself, and eventually cave in at the very end. It's as repeditive as House, but Warburton makes it work by not coming across as a jerk, no matter how mean he is with his wife. In this episode, he won't go for surgery to get his snoring sorted. It's not brain surgery, but it makes me laugh out loud.

Season 2, Episode 2. "Audrey's Sister" The first episode - I think - to completely deviate from formula. For once the laughs don't come from Patrick Warburton being stubborn, instead the writers pair David Spade romantically with guest star Heather Locklear and the laughs continue to flow. I don't really get why Spade's character hangs out with the others, but Spade is funny so I try no to think about it too much.

Season 2, Episode 3. "Mr. Fix It" The funniest episode so far. Hilarious. The stuff between Jeff and Audrey was straight out of "Men Are From Mars...", instead of contrived nonsense about t-shirts or snoring, and it was all the better for it. Meanwhile Bianca Kajlich looked hotter than she's ever looked on the show. If I get time, I'll watch this episode again this week.

Season 2, Episode 4. "Guy Code" I love this show's theme tune. I got it off iTunes yesterday and I've played it, like, 137 times today. It's great. This is largely irrelevent, but if you listen to my radio show next Sunday I'll be playing it. Probably twice. Cos I love it! Anyways, in this installment, Mircea Monroe guests as "A Hot Girl". She does this a lot. She did this in a Scrubs I watched a few weeks back, also. Every time I see her I think to myself: (a) "She's a hot girl." And (b) "I must watch those last two episodes of Drive. It was awesome." Monroe was part of the first workplace plotline we've had in the show. I've never really understood why these guys hang out with Russell, who is such a dirt-bag. It was probably explained in a line of dialogue in the pilot or somewhere, but I've forgotten it, or somebody in the room said something and I missed it. I was about to rag on poor cancelled Viva Laughlin (in Sunday's review) for not telling the viewer where Laughlin actually was, when I noticed - upon pressing Play to check something else - that it actually pops up on screen during the first 2 seconds of the programme, but I'd missed it because someone walked across my field of vision at just that exact moment.

Where was I?

Oh, Rules Of Engagement! Right. Well, Jeff and Audrey had a disagreement, which was basically another battle of the sexes as his world-view met with her world-view. And Patrick Warburton made me laugh several times. End of review. Next!

Season 2, Episode 5. "Bag Ladies" Oliver Hudson gets all the laughs when Jennifer gives Adam an embarrassing gift and he pretends to like it, because... that's what happens in sit-coms. Russell, meanwhile, dates a homeless girl in a storyline that is both unfunny and tasteless.

Season 2, Episode 6. "Old School Jeff" Oh dear. A second unfunny, tasteless, episode of Rules in a row?! Audrey goes to a wedding without Jeff, who goes drinking with his buddies. Before he comes to his sense and tracks her down in a (genuinely) sweet conclusion. Before that, however, we are treated to an unfunny ten-year old who keeps harassing Audrey to show him her boobs. Not funny. Sigh.

Season 2, Episode 7. "Engagement Party" After two duff episodes in a row, RoE delivers a winner. Jeff highjacks Adam and Jennifer's phony Engagement Party. The planned the party to get loads of gifts from non-friends. He found out. And blackmailed them into giving him stuff he wanted. Great fun. In other matters, the show correctly used wonderful returning guest-star Heather Locklear by virtually ignoring her. Which is correct. She got some good scenes, though, and David Spade's character fell in love with her. Then, the writers cleverly used that as a springboard to play him off the other regulars. And when the romance went belly-up, the pivotal scene was between Spade and Megyn Price. That's the way to do it. Big-name guest stars should drive the engine of the story, not hijack it. And, as cool as Locklear is in the role, it was cooler to see Russell and Audrey in conversation (since they basically hate one another).

Season 2, Episode 8. "Fix-up & Downs" While not the best episode so far, this is probably the first where all the storylines were equally good. My favourite was Russell's: he stayed in an elevator for several days to meet a cute girl he had spied, everyone he met thought this was a really romantic gesture, but when he met the girl again, he was maced for his trouble. But, across the board, this episode generated a lot of laughs. And it's great to see a battle-of-the-sexes storyline that doesn't rely on Jeff behaving like a dimwit for the first twenty minutes to keep it in motion.

Season 2, Episode 9. "A Visit from Fay" When RoE delivered two dud (and offensive) episodes in a row I was a tad worried about my ability to sustain affection for it. Not any more. Three winners in a row and the show is opening up and getting better with every new installment. For once Russell gets a storyline that is not sex-based and, as a consequence, you can believe that Adam would want to hang out with him. Even better, Jeff gets a great storyline where he doesn't have to behave like an idiot. I loved that he shows some maturity at the very end when he doesn't tell Audrey the TV is fixed.

Season 2, Episode 10. "Time Share" Very funny. Jeff arranges a week-end away for the two couples (because he gets his own trip paid for) and Russell has to wear Audrey's clothes to a meeting (Trust me, it makes sense in context. Sit-com sense.) Audrey, meanwhile, is overly conscious of being naked in front of Jennifer. All the plots generate laughs, the cast are on top form and you could not ask for a better episode of an old-fashioned sit-com.

Season 2, Episode 11. "Jen At Work" When I sing the praises of this show, I always sing the praises of Patrick Warburton. No wonder. He is ├╝ber-cool. It started when he was on Seinfeld, but he cemented it when he went on to The Tick and The Venture Brothers. His performance as Jeff on this show cracks me up. Especially in this episode, easily the best episode in the series so far, when Jeff gets a great storyline about his and Audrey's attempted to have a child. Warburnton is hilarious, and his every line of dialogue had me in stitches.

But, in singing the praises of Warburton I tend to overlook the rest of the cast. Megyn Price is a perfect foil for him and their chemistry is one of the best things about the show. I love their (imperfect) marriage and they way she deals with his more idiotic tendencies. I guess, as an idiotic male myself, I take comfort from the fact that there are women as hot as Audrey who can tolderate/endure our stupidity and - in fact - love us depsite it. Jeff is clearly inept at most things needed to sustain a healthy marriage, but Audrey clearly loves him and sees past his faults. Price is as strong a screen presence as Warburton and he never blows her off-screen with his delivery/antics. It was inspired casting.

Season 2, Episode 12. "Optimal Male" The Russell storyline is a bit weak, but the other two plots are very funny: Jeff trying to lose weight for an insurance physical and Adam letting his ex crash at his place. "That kid is a special kind of stupid," says Jeff at one point. Very funny episode. As usual, Jeff is doing something stupid (fasting to lose weight) but - at the end - Audrey admits that for all his stupidity she kinda admires his singlemindedness. Aww. Sweet. One of my favourite couples on TV.

Season 2, Episode 13. "Russell's Father's Son" The more I observe Jeff and Audrey the more I love them. They are more playful and loving in this episode than in any other and it's great. And it's always great when the writers do a story that doesn't depend on Jeff being an idiot. This time out he's trying to look out for Audrey (in his own twisted way) and it's cute.

Season 2, Episode 14. "Buyer's Remorse" Fairly average episode. A fair number of laughs from typical sitcom plots. Highlight? Guest shot from Stephanie Lemelin!

Season 2, Episode 15. "Pimp My Bride" raises a few good laughs with one of the standard sit-com plots: two characters who normally never spend much time alone are forced to do so. At first things are awkward, but - in a 'surprise' twist - they find common ground and become great friends. In this story, it is Jeff and Jennifer who are forced to spend a day together. It works because Patrick Warburton is very funny as Jeff and the extremes of his character allow for some pretty silly comedy (like not knowing Jennifer's last name).

The other storyline pairing Audrey and Russell is less successful because I still don't 'get' why any of them would be friends with Russell. When the laughs flow freely it never bothers me, but when the comedy is thin on the ground I find it harder to swallow. Never mind, most of this episode is about the other plot and the way the show causes the two plots to crash into eash other at the end is inspired. And very, very funny.

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