Thursday, July 20, 2023

REVIEW: 'What We Do In the Shadows' - Laszlo Conducts an Experiment While Nadja Makes a Sexual Conquest in 'Pride Parade'

FX's What We Do In the Shadows - Episode 5.03 "Pride Parade"

The vampires held Sean host a Pride parade. Nadja helps her doll achieve a long-held dream.

"Pride Parade" was written by Jake Bender & Zach Dunn and directed by Yana Gorskaya

This episode produces one of the weirdest sexual moments the show has ever featured. That's truly saying something given how frequently this show pushes boundaries. The characters are always doing incredibly outrageous things. They have no limitations whatsoever. Nadja can't believe her human spirit that now embodies a doll is a virgin. It makes no sense given the many sexual conquests she has had over the years. She has long forgotten about her human life. She never had sex before becoming a vampire. That's an experience the doll would like to enjoy. The destruction of her body has made her realize just how limiting this new life turned out to be. She has lingered much longer than the other human spirits of the vampires. She had more life she wanted to experience. This is part of that. The Guide knows a spell to swap the bodies of the two souls. It's hilariously referred to as a Freaky Friday ceremony even though none of these characters have any awareness of the movie that gets remade for every generation. That allows the show to be blatantly obvious with its references while enjoying the absurdity of these characters believing they are so special. Yes, they have incredible abilities and skills as vampires. However, they are wonderfully silly and full of themselves a lot of the time. This story also produces an incredible showcase for Natasia Demetriou's physical comedy. The other vampires can't initially tell that the two have swapped bodies. They are essentially the same person after all. The attitude Nadja displays as a vampire was always present during her life as a human. She simply had the freedom to express it after turning. The doll gets to experience that now as well. Her life is limited because of her existence in doll form. She gloats about how wonderful it is to simply have feet again. Those muscles have atrophied. It's glorious to watch. These two are so similar. And yet, their expressions over what ultimately matters are far apart. Demetriou gets to put that on display. She has played both characters for awhile now. This experience allows her to showcase both of them gaining a new perspective. Not everything works out either. Speed dating at a local bar is disastrous for human Nadja. She has no idea how to flirt. She is only after one thing. Plenty of people have sex on the mind. She's just bad at luring them in for the deed. Everyone in the vampire residence has already been ran though in this body. It's incredibly different when two souls suddenly share that body. Each start taking over the physical form. That's a horrifying image when Laszlo invites his wife up to the stage to be Grand Marshal of Sean's Pride Parade. It's far more traumatic than anything a drag artist performs onstage. It's brutal. So is the final image of Vampire Nadja ordering Laszlo around as he has sex with Human Nadja and Colin Robinson in the same body. It's so complicated. Guillermo immediately walks away. Everyone else is just intrigued enough to be turned on by all the people involved in this situation. It's hilarious and showcases the brilliantly twisted minds of the show's writers.

That is hardly the only glorious moment produced in this episode either. In fact, every story produces a beat like that. Laszlo views Guillermo as a freak experiment that needs to be solved. Guillermo's vampire transformation has been stymied in some way. It holds no logical explanation. As such, the pair set out to test various vampire myths the group knows. Some of them are actually true. Some are pure myths. Nandor believes he can fly higher than the lowest cloud in the area. He boasts that he has been to space before. It's an absurd lie. He sets out to prove the naysayers wrong. It's all a desperate attempt to impress Guillermo. Nandor hates that his familiar has suddenly shown more interest in Laszlo. That's only because Laszlo knows the truth and wants to spare Guillermo from a deadly fate. He's intrigued by the science as well. He gets to explore new terrain that has never been discovered in vampirism before. That plays to his ego. Every experiment is conducted to see the potential benefit it can have on his life. Laszlo collects Guillermo's sweat and turns it into a concoction to rub all over his body. He would burst into flames and disintegrate into ash should he ever walk into the sunlight. That's a skill Guillermo still possesses. He might be a day walker. However, Laszlo is intrigued by the promise of this being something new entirely. It affords him the chance to walk in the sun as well. It's terrifying as he emerges onto the lawn while Sean is simply getting the parade float built. It's ridiculous to see how pale Laszlo becomes. That plays into the absurdity of his appearance later on when he is severely sunburnt. That's a significant change for him. He's still alive though. That makes this a massive success. Plus, it's incredibly funny to watch. Laszlo gets to spend the day at the beach. He's incredibly carefree. It doesn't matter who else is there or what they are doing. This is his time to express himself in the light of day. It's a new experience for a vampire. One that he delights in even though it doesn't bring him any closer to understanding what's happening with Guillermo. Similarly, Nandor actually makes it to space. He isn't limited by the heights he might reach. He doesn't burn up in the atmosphere upon returning to Earth. He breaks free of orbit and floats in the majestic wonder of the world beyond this planet. It's a glorious sight. It's so whimsical and celebratory. He flew this high out of spite. What he actually gets to see though changes his perspective. The vampires delight in all of these moments. Meanwhile, Guillermo is left sadly holding a sparkler on a lackluster parade float. He has never been to a Pride event before. He doesn't believe Sean and Charmaine can throw one that actually celebrates the community. That doesn't matter though. He should have fun and dance along because this is a celebration of who he is. He may not have his identity fully figured out. He still has the chance to be proud of one aspect he knows for certain. That needs to be championed alongside the comedy prominent elsewhere.