Manbirds explained in latest Ugly Americans
The season 1 finale of Ugly Americans focuses on yet another undead-American phenomenon that makes this world’s NYC unique: the winter manbird migration.
The opening horror scene parodies The Birds when someone feeds the manbirds by dropping a dime in a waterfountain. After countless manbirds leer at her from wires and trees, they begin to swarm at her purse. This bizarre occurrence gets explained as commonplace soon afterwards when Mark Lilly forces his social work group to tour the manbird section of the Museum of Natural History. There we learn that manbirds were a strange bird breed that NYC cabby Vic Caminetti brought back with him from the South Pacific Island of Scrotcheese in the 1970s. Because they evolve super fast, the manbirds soon were able to subsist off of spare change. They also evolved to learn obscenities as their new manbird call, primarily the phrase “Suck my balls!”
Heading back to the office, Mark comes across Police Lt. Frank Grimes beating a manbird to death with his penis, only to learn that it’s a female, which is hard to tell at first since all manbird sexes have the same flap covering their crotch. She marks him with a black ink-like fluid. “Oh no, it’s 1987 all over again,” Grimes says as he determines that he needs to kill the manbird’s mate before Grimes gets killed by it himself. He sews himself up in a manbird costume and joins the underground manbird fighting circuit to fight and kill the mate with none other than Randall as his manager out to make a quick buck.
Meanwhile, Mark finds the baby/chick of the manbird Grimes just killed. He tries to raise the chick with chamber music instead of insults, and the chick takes to singing like a bird, err, manbird. To get the chick acclimated to Manbird speak again, Mark takes it to a manbird speech therapist who explains to Mark that the manbird baby needs to learn the languages within its birth. The therapist also shows Mark the the thousands of variations that “Suck my balls,” can be pronounced to mean mean different things in manbird language. Seeing the involved three-month process it would take to retrain the manbird, Mark gives up on trying to teach it the subtle ways of the manbird language.
When Grimes and the Manbird mate face off, Grimes takes it down, but before it dies the baby manbird flies down to sing it “Oh Danny Boy.” Thanks to subtitles we know that the father manbird’s final “Suck my balls,” call meant “What horrible sound is that? You’re no son of mine.” The show just leaves the baby manbird there, nestled under the dead father manbirds’ wings as the show’s mandatory cheesy epilogue rolls.
If you saw the first episode of the series, then you may remember seeing a manbird crapping on someone leaving Mark’s building only to shout back “Suck my Balls” as it flew away. Who knew this was the only phrase in the manbird’s language, that involved to include complicated statements depending on how it is pronounced. This tidbit is the only real clever development in “The Manbirds.” Some elements are still funny and incredibly weird, but the episode took a big turn toward the raunchy and unsubtle when it stuck so prominently to Grimes’s underground penis-fighter story.
The fact that we never truly get a resolution with the baby/chick shows how little attention this episode of Ugly Americans gave to elements that could’ve made manbirds more into characters rather than plot devices that in this case didn’t even lead to a “big city life lesson” in the end. With such a thin episode premise, I’m sorry to say “The Manbirds” is the weakest episode of the show so far, and what a shame since it’s the season finale.