I would argue that “Parmigiana” is one of the more eagerly
anticipated episodes, primarily because of the return of Geoffrey (though
that’s not the only appealing aspect of this week’s story). Beyond the
Geoffrey-Josh plot line, “Parmigiana” explores the budding relationship between
Tom and Jenny, the investigation of Grace’s purple poop, and a game of hide-and-seek
between the patients in the hospital. It is a well-structured episode that
tackles the façades the characters create, especially the ones that ruined that
the relationship between Josh and Geoffrey.
begins with Josh and his roommates dressing John and Grace in kitschy
costumes. Josh suddenly receives a call from
Geoffrey, who wants to go out for dinner and catch up. As Josh splits his
attention between his phone and the people around him (a narrative/visual trope
that will play throughout the episode), the roommates start an epic photo shoot
starring Grace and John (played against the show’s theme song, of course!).
After returning his “tattooed”
baby sister to an angry Mae and an annoyed Allan, Josh goes to the hospital to
visit Rose. He stumbles into Arnold, who institutionalized himself in order to
avoid purporting a façade that he was getting better. Josh takes Arnold and
introduces him to Rose and her friends, all of whom are all discussing the
origins of Hannah’s mental state.
While preparing for his dinner
with Geoffrey, Josh begrudgingly gives into his roommates’/Jenny’s idea that he
should “trim [his] pubes.” During his manscaping session, Josh receives a call
from Allan and Mae who want to know what he did to make Grace’s poop turn
purple. In spite of Josh protesting that he didn’t do anything, Allan hangs up
on his son and continues his journey to the emergency room. Meanwhile, Jenny
receives a text from Tom (who is sitting two feet away from her) that contains
a picture of his penis and an invitation to “Fuck [her] face off.” Jenny
initially reacts in a hostile manner, but she slowly accepts this faux pas,
mentions that she is fine with them sleeping with other people, and even laughs
at Tom’s inability to send a proper dick pic (which was intended for Niamh).
Back at the
hospital, Ginger grows bored of her surroundings and wants to play a game with
her friends. Hannah lowers her head and starts counting, while Ginger and
Arnold run off to hide. Rose runs into another patient, Stewart, who wants to
join her in the game (they hide in the bushes outside).
At an unnamed restaurant, Josh
meets Geoffrey, who sports a shaved head. In spite of the aesthetic change,
Geoffrey still offers nothing in terms of enlightening conversation. The
awkward pauses are filled with Josh’s curious party tricks (touching his nose
to his eye and balancing a spoon on his nose), all of which are defense
mechanisms used to combat an inevitable fact: Josh and Geoffrey are not very
compatible as friends. They pay their check and Geoffrey passionately kisses
Josh, who returns the favor with enthusiasm.
The two return to the apartment
where Josh introduces Geoffrey to Patrick. Geoffrey attempts to narrate the
spoon trick to Patrick, but it is yet another futile attempt to create a
semblance of chemistry between the two. Josh takes Geoffrey to his room where
they undress and make out.
hospital, Hannah – who is bored with the game – tells Ginger – who is hiding
under a table – that no one is looking for her anymore. In the bushes outside,
Stewart and Rose accept that the game ended a long time ago, so they have sex
Back at the
apartment, Geoffrey cries over his father, who died earlier that week (this
mirrors the series premiere episode, in which the two first meet while Geoffrey
is crying over his father’s incarceration). Josh tries to comfort Geoffrey by
relating to the situation and discussing the emotions he had over the death of
Aunty Peg. In the other bedroom, Tom grows closer to Jenny due to her openness
with sex and asks her for a monogamous relationship. She accepts the offer.
Back in his bedroom, Josh answers
his phone while apologizing to Geoffrey for pausing their conversation. It is
Allan and Mae who realized the poop was a result of Grace eating beetroot. They
apologize, but Josh hangs up on them. Josh leaves the room to go get some wine,
but returns to an empty bed and a voicemail: it is Geoffrey saying he needs to
cry alone and that he realizes that Josh doesn’t want to be friends. After
listening to the message, Josh goes to the living room where Patrick is playing
a videogame. Josh admits the events that occurred in the bedroom (including how
he thought about his prickly pubes while Geoffrey was crying over his dead
father). Patrick tries to console him by suggesting that they watch a show
about “cupcakes” or “storage,” but Josh declines and says the bloody videogame
The episode wonderfully
counterbalances the lack of verbal communication with a desire for physical
intimacy. From Tom’s dick pic to Geoffrey’s voicemail, the characters all admit
their carnal/emotional desires from a distant vantage point. These themes
mirror some of the issues Spike Jonze brilliantly explored in Her regarding technology and
communication (only in this case, the characters aren’t disembodied voices).
I’m curious as to the fate of Geoffrey and whether he will appear in future
episodes, but I am more interested in the development of Josh’s emotional state.
He hides behind his phone, his jokes,
and his party tricks in order to avoid any meaningful connection with other
people. The first season explored Josh’s emotional detachment, which powerfully
climaxed with him crying over Aunty Peg’s death. I feel that the creators are
headed down this route, and I will await this emotional climax with bated