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Visit to Hell on Halloween turns bloody in ‘holiday’ episode of Ugly Americans

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Mark Lilly takes his social services help group on an expedition to Hell. While there, he schmoozes with his half-demon girlfriend Cali’s family, who treat Halloween—or rather Samhain—as a Thansgiving-like holiday. As with almost every other episode of this charming little show, carnage ensues.

Arriving at Hell, we see that stores with names such as “Bloodbath and Beyond” and “Dante’s Infurniture” take up almost all of the pit’s business area, which is now called “New Hell.” Mark asks the group to ignore all the bustling consumerism in New Hell and leads them down to the demon-producing factory in the older part of the abyss. At the factory, we see conveyor belts of demon babies getting blown up into adult demons as well as inspectors making sure the demons are “Pure Evil.” We also learn that a Japanese shopping-mall magnate is responsible for the redevelopment of Hell, edging out the Devil’s bloodline as heir to the firey kingdom. After their group is dismissed to go shopping, Callie and Mark run into Callie’s dad, Satan himself, who invites Mark to Samhain dinner. Mark accepts the invitation, looking it as an opportunity to get to know other cultures, of course oblivious that Callie’s dad has different plans in store for him.

From then on, the story’s pretty chock-full of dismemberment, human cloning and weird traditional rites that Satan forces Mark to partake in to protect the Devil bloodline in Hell. The story just gets weirder and gorier, culminating in a brutal episode of sporagmos and omophagia for Mark in a death-match with Twain, who we learn is a damaged, preppy mama’s boy.

The episode “Hell for the Holidays” moves crazy fast and is packed with some of the best gags in the show. Even a quick shot of the factory’s demon’s sheet, for example, reveals a wonderful little DnD alignment in-joke. The side stories of Leonard’s social work case of a neurotic Amittyville-type house and of Randall’s movie-making venture pile on the dark comedy as well.

The shock of seeing Mark’s dismembered corpse is alarming at first, but his explanation for how he gets away serves as yet another brilliant illustration of Ugly Americans‘ bleak and silly humor.

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