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Dennis revels to the gang his own personal Tao of Steve: The titular Dennis Reynolds’ method (named, with characteristic narcissism, The D.E.N.N.I.S. System) of picking up and brushing off girls:
D – Demonstrate your value
E – Engage physically
N – Nurturing dependence
N – Neglect emotionally
I – Inspire hope
S – Separate entirely
His current victim is a comely young pharmacist (played by real-life Dennis’ real-life wife Jill Latiano) who too late realizes that neither does Dennis have a heavily medicated grandmother nor does the mysterious “Dr. Toboggan” who wrote the prescription actually exist. She’s not the only one: The gang takes Dennis’ system to heart and get right to work using it to screw up their own love lives. Charlie attempts to demonstrate his value to the waitress by clogging, then further attempting, to fix her sink, while Dee becomes more and more paranoid that her current boyfriend, The Soldier (Casper van Dien), is indeed DENNISing her.
Frank’s unique approach involves the ostentatious purchase of a box of Magnums.
Maybe my funny is broke, but while I admired the schemey goodness of Dennis’ sociopathic approach to dating and the pain and suffering it inflicted on others, I felt there could have been more. For one, the explanation of the system went on waaayyy too long (though the nod to Top Gun was welcome), and Dennis’ predations, Dee’s self-destructiveness, and the Charlie/Waitress stalemate is old territory that’s been better mined before. This didn’t yield any new or funny developments outside of the callback to Soldier’s jean-shorts and Charlie’s line, “I think I should stick to stalking; that’s my system.”
But like I said, there’s plenty of delightful moments—such as Dennis’ “grandmother”’s bizarre and unprovoked admission that her own grandmother had an affair with Susan B Anthony. It’s not among the best, but it keeps afloat.
Quick note: Sunny’s taking a break next week but will be back two weeks from yesterday with another all-new episode. In the meantime, check out the Sunny Christmas Special, or our review of it, or both.