Dan For Mayor, “Revenge is Swifty” (1.10)

“I’m not used to getting perspective from you. It’s a surprisingly mature outlook actually.” – Claire

When I prepped this review before watching “Revenge is Swifty”, I was prepared to finally let loose about how Dan For Mayor was a boring, unfunny show that I couldn’t understand why I still watched. Because our lead is such a dumbass, he has no chance at winning the election, and because he’s never been truly passionate about winning, I had no reason to root for him. Until now. Find out what writers Mark Farrell, Paul Mather & Kevin White and director Brian Roberts did right after the jump…

While not an awesome episode of comedy, “Revenge is Swifty” is the best episode yet of Dan For Mayor and rights two major wrongs that have plagued the show so far: it’s much funnier, and Dan actually scores a decent win by nailing Allan at the debate, which leads to him dropping out altogether.

What changed? The pacing, for one; more happened this time around, and by leaving out the Fern’s crew, and shaving Anita and Brianna to barely anything, the remainder had a chance to get some things done. The jokes were also better, allowing Paul Bates to finally get some laughs, as his dry shtick doesn’t quite work unless the material he’s working with is funny.

A main thing, though, was that Dan actually got a win that he engineered. At the debate, he saw a weakness in Allan that he could exploit and ran with it, charming the crowd and dealing damage to his opponent. He also got a chance to demonstrate some decision-making, when he’s given the information about the former mayor’s embezzling and decides not to tell. Few times have we seen Dan actually work at becoming mayor; he’s been all too happy to just show up, which has been one of the most frustrating things about his character. It also gives him stakes: until now, every decision only mattered in how it could help or hurt his campaign, which he was never invested enough in. Now it was a choice between his campaign having a shot, or not destroying Claire’s career, giving him something to actually care about. It finally gave Fred Ewanuik something likeable and engaging to do, and as he was doing great things with a flat character already, it means Dan (and Dan For Mayor) become a lot more bearable when he can actually be his charming self.

So, when Mr. Swifty pulls up the blank piece of paper that’s supposedly a campaign document and notes what a great slogan it is, those of us who know exactly how true that is don’t wince and feel embarrassed. “What a lovable ragamuffin I am! What am I doing running for mayor? I don’t know…” Dan responds, and his false self-deprecation means a lot more now that we know that he’s not 100% incompetent and completely unaware of it.

And though the ‘Claire thinks she broke Dan and Brianna up’ and ‘Dan thinks his muffin attack is more effective than it is’ plots sometimes flop (the former much more than the latter, as the muffin bit brings in most of the episode’s laughs), they also give the episode more sense of an actual plot: The only way to get Claire to the point where she tells Dan about the expenses is the escalation of their ‘who still loves who’ dance, and yet you never see where it’s going until its gone. It’s character-centric, which I respect, even as I thought Claire was being awful for the first half of the episode.

Well done, Dan For Mayor. Well done.


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