Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.

Picket Fences: The Autumn of Rome!

This episode takes a decided turn for the more normal, though it’s hardly serious.  In this episode, the mayor, played by a wonderful Michael Keenan, is running for re-election when Wambaugh, the flamboyant lawyer played to perfection by Fyvush Finkel, decides to run against him.  Things get so ridiculous that a group of concerned citizens try to convince Jimmy to run as an outsider candidate.  Meanwhile, in a surprisingly violent subplot, Kenny investigates corruption among some local real estate dealers.  I found Kenny’s subplot to be pretty stupid, all things considered and he does some things that I found very out of character (even having just three episodes prior to this one to establish said character).  The election stuff works a lot better.  Keenan and Finkel have nice chemistry in their arguments.  Finkel is brilliant at the electioneering satire; his brass band is pretty great and he even performs Tom Lehrer’s brilliant Vatican Rag.  Why?  I have no idea.  Still great.  Also appearing for the first time is Dabbs Greer as the cantankerous town minister.  But the corruption subplot drags the episode down with its self-seriousness.  Weaker still, on the whole.  2 ½ stars.

tl;dr – political satire during a small town mayoral race is great, with wonderful supporting performances from Keenan, Finkel & Greer; but a grim crime subplot doesn’t work at all.  2 ½ stars. 

Picket Fences!