On Ugly Americans this week, Mark babysits, Callie wants to adopt the baby, and Twayne wants to eat the baby. Also, Mark almost dies maybe a half-dozen times this episode. That's once every 5 minutes.

This week's episode of Ugly Americans - "Demon Baby" - works the show's immigrant metaphor to the hilt as Mark plays foster dad to a lil' hellraiser who's been abandoned to the system. The real father is arrested for selling the baby on the black market to desperate parents. The parents purchase the baby with their souls, which the court hands back to them in little plastic baggies. I'm really digging the courtroom scenes at the beginning of each episode. They give the show an apropos "monster-of-the-week" vibe and Beastman from Masters of the Universe cameoed in the background.


There's a lot Mark doesn't know about parenthood, let alone demonic parenthood - the baby (a.k.a "Choking Victim") eats rodents and birds, vomits acid, and contains an arcane vortex in his nappies. Contrasting Mark's problems is his boss Twayne, who's gone into heat and grown a barbed "mating bone."


Twayne's having adjustment issues - he wants Callie, who wants Mark's baby (and well, Mark). If Twayne were in hell, he would be able to disembowel Mark, impale Callie, and eat Choking Victim like any good underworld father would.

For all of his Satanic leanings, Twayne is paradoxically the most sympathetic character in this narrative. He's by law unable to embrace his urges and has a cock-shaped harpoon growing out of his torso. In Ugly Americans, Hell is just an allegory for the old country. Twayne may be clueless about his heritage (indeed, Leonard gives him "the talk" on how to use his chitinous penis-spear), but that doesn't mean he can escape his demonic roots or assimilate without issue.

On to the other co-stars. Callie's slightly better off than Twanye - her father may literally be the Devil, but at least she's got a caring mom. Having Callie's origin be "What if Rosemary's Baby grew up?" was a nice twist. Callie plays the individual coming to terms with a mixed ethnic identity (she's insecure that Mark likes human brunettes). Leonard was appropriately creepy and incompetent in this episode (he prefers half-assedly Googling information to spell-casting). The only weak link was Randall, who's become a vehicle for scatalogical, moribund zingers. Give this corpse of a character some backstory, pronto!


In sum, Choking Victim the demon baby elucidated the day-to-day dynamics of the Ugly Americans rather aptly. He also highlighted how fragile Mark's existence is, as our protagonist nearly kicks it like six times (i.e., the baby pukes acid when colicky). Hey, the big city is no place for normal folks.