If these two startlingly different takes on horror didn't air on the same night, I might have been able to appreciate one a little more than I did.
Such that they were, Stan Against Evil Season 2 Episode 3, "The Curse of the Werepony," a good, old-fashioned "monster" story with a touch of the personal, ended on such a moment of hysteria my sister thought I was crying uncontrollably. Not quite.
That left Stan Against Evil Season 2 Episode 3, "Girls' Night," to suffer a little in comparison, even if it was a fairly compelling commentary on The Bachelor franchise.
There wasn't a single sour note during the werepony. There are rarely missed beats from Stan and friends, but it was damned hard to peel back your lips from the giant, shit-eating grin on your face, don't you think?
Of course Evie married a clod like Kenny.
Of course Kenny would buy his daughter's love with a pony that Evie would have to take care of because he lived in a city apartment.
Of course Evie would fall for the pony and want to give him love, and OF COURSE, that pony that her jackass of an ex bought for her daughter would turn out to be one of the long line of sheriff hunters from Willard's Mill trying to kill her and Stan.
The unexpected came from Stan's unexpected need for male companionship and his misdirected thoughts he could glean said from a turd like Kenny. Sure, they bought matching cargo shorts, but don't all men buy cargo shorts? For shame, Stan, for not reading Kenny better straight out of the gate.
Stan: Exactly what is going on here?
Kenny: Just havin' a little me time. Things did not go well with Eve today. She just [begins crying]...she rejected me again.
Stan: Because you're gay?
Ken [still crying]: I'm not gay.
Stan: You're cryin' aren't ya?
Kenny [still crying]: You're right. I'm a baby. I'm a big, gay baby. Change my diaper.
Stan: Kenny, if these quarters are too cramped for ya, you are more than welcome to go live in the yard.
It also came from the werepony being a decent looking, but weird and well-spoken cowboy with a flair for understanding people. He fell for Evie and fell hard.
Honestly, if I'm going to have a dark creature on my side, I'd take the werepony for his keen sense of hating on my ex, his cute pony side for Grace, and his ability to get rid of the crap neighbors. He might have, in the long run, turned out to be a good thing for the family. It's too bad he didn't take out Kenny before help arrived.
The only person who's allowed to walk through that front door without knocking is Fonzie, and you are damned sure not Fonzie.Stan
The special effects of the cowboy turning into the werepony were some of the worst and most comical I've ever seen. They were utterly fantastic.
When Kenny was tied up in the barn, and the transition process started, and he started jostling around in his bindings, saying it was gross and that it wasn't something he didn't want to see, the delivery on those lines was perfection.
While Kenny is a horrid husband for Evie, David Koechner is an excellent choice to play him. From whining over the ice cream with Stan to that bizarre reaction to the werepony transition, he was, as always, utter perfection. I hope we see more of him.
As usual, Evie was so caught up in her own schnizzle that she never even thought to inform Leon of what was going on with the case.
To his credit, he determined what he thought was committing the murders and set out to find the ideal suspect. He'd drawn several sketches and shown them all to Evie who never balked at what he presented.
Even so, after Stan and Evie vanquished the werepony, I was not expecting him to show up with his man. When he did, I was choking back my breath.
I can't find the actor's name, but kudos to him for being a good sport. Character actors have to put up with some pretty humiliating stuff in the name of their craft, but I appreciated every moment of it.
Leon did, indeed, get his man.
So, after that exceptional episode, it was a little more challenging to get into The Bachelor side of "Girls' Night."
I understand we're in for a treat, seeing a lot more of Evie and Denise palling around and getting to know each other. It would be a decent beginning if Evie hadn't been trying to kill her, but those pesky "witches" keep wanting to kill the remaining sheriffs.
Stan had all the best lines, as always, and my favorite was when he discovered Denise now had a "waterbed."
Stan: Denise!! I think the bathtub is leaking.
Denise: That's weird. So is my waterbed!
Stan: Sweetheart, you don't have a waterbed.
Denise: I do now! I took my bean bag chair and emptied it, then I took the hose...[the doorbell rings]
Stan: Answer the door. Then step outside and lock it, and everything will be great.
Stan took the brunt of the evil in this one because he had to deal with the huckster which included the guy eating the biggest damned jar of pickled eggs anyone has ever laid eyes on. If Stan hadn't stopped him from drinking the brine, we both might have tossed our cookies.
That's just gross, even in play.
They huckster also gave Stan a "this is your life" tour, so we discovered a bit about Stan's proclivities as a child. Beating a man when he's down isn't the coolest thing to do, but I'm not going to go around pointing fingers in this day in age.
That's kind of how he learned what the hell was going on in his home, though.
Huckster: You know, I have an idea for a sparking wager.
Stan: Oh christ. I'll crawl right back into the goddamned hole.
I have to admit I was not following along well with The Fiance. Was it clear to everyone else that the huckster WAS the fiance? My first thought was he was making himself appear on screen and wasn't a part of the show at all. My second was he was the host.
It never occurred to me he was involved with the production of the show in any way. Isn't that an incredibly elaborate plan just to kill Stan and Evie? I suppose after all those years of being dead and gone, you gotta have some fun.
Or maybe it was the thought that he was pulling the ultimate shell game on millions of fans watching the show.
Evie: It's girls' night. Denise and I are going to watch the season finale of The Fiance.
Stan: That's how you know marriage is sacred. They give it away as a prize on a game show.
Isn't that was The Bachelor franchise does every time it's on? So many people buy into it, and then there are the poor women (or wannabe reality stars or future actresses...whatever they are) who buy into it as well. What a con.
Maybe someone would go through all of that just to draw it out in an evil, cunning plan. It almost seems too sophisticated for Stan Against Evil.
When Evie and Denise saw him with Stan and knew him as The Fiance, I realized it wasn't all a gag. Granted, they could have just recognized him from that night, but then the guy lost his face, too. Was his face the best he could do for The Fiance? Weird all around, I tell ya.
The happy look on Stan's face when he got home, though, knowing his girls hadn't let him down, was priceless. He gave it his all to pull off HIS wager courtesy of Denise's waterbed, and then pulled the Stan to watch Sports Center as if none of it mattered.
Nice try, Stan, because we know you better than that. It matters so much.
In a contest, I'd watch another werepony episode in a heartbeat. I'd wish the huckster to burn at the stake again. How about you?
What made you laugh the most during the two episodes? Which one did you enjoy more?
Hit me up in the comments and watch Stan Against Evil online if you haven't already gotten into this incredibly groovy show!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.