‘Please Like Me’ Recap – Season 2, Episode 10: “Margherita”

'Please Like Me' Recap – Season 2, Episode 10: “Margherita”

The following recap contains spoiler for the most recent episode of "Please Like Me," as one would suspect.

All good things must come to an end…or in the case of
“Please Like Me,” the good things are temporarily halted until the third season
premieres next year. The season finale of “Please like Me” is an exploration of
the anxiety associated with romantic labels (“boyfriend,” “girlfriend,”
“husband,” “wife,” “lover,” “friend,” etc.) and it showcases a wealth of
bittersweet reactions, narrative resolutions, and lingering questions.

READ MORE: ‘Please Like Me,’ the Best TV Comedy You’re (Probably) Not Watching

“Margherita”
opens with the Tom moping over the stagnant state of his life. As Josh throws
pita/bread/tortilla (I’m not 100% sure what he is throwing) at Tom’s face, Arnold
calls to confirm their date for that night. Josh confirms their plans, while
Tom laments that he can’t join them on another “safety date” (Tom’s loneliness
and depression are becoming palpable character traits that will, most likely,
bleed into the next season).

The opening
theme song plays against a montage of Arnold and Josh dancing, cavorting, and
drinking at a gay club (in stark contrast to the opening montage in the season
premiere, when Josh was dancing alone). While the two lie on a circular couch
and grope one another, a drunken Patrick (this was really unexpected, in my
opinion) pushes Arnold out of the way and lies on top of Josh. Josh manages to
get out from under Patrick and criticizes the motives of his drunken former
roommate (“He’s no good!”). Patrick blacks out. Once again, the Arnold-Josh
date is interrupted by some external force/event. In this case, Josh must carry
around this boozed-up, emotional baggage throughout the city, while still
trying to connect with Arnold (it’s quite a clever visualize metaphor for
Josh’s rather complex love life).

At the
apartment, Tom succumbs to his desperation and loneliness by contacting someone
from the past: Niamh. He calls her and tries to use her lost pair of boots as a
means of getting her to come by, but Niamh rejects his sexual advances and
hangs up on him. Running out of options, Tom succumbs further to his
desperation and contacts a prostitute named Candace (he gets a deal by asking
if they can only do “third base,” aka oral). Tom’s desperation reveals the
underlying problem inherent in his romantic entanglements: he wants physical connections
without the emotional investment. He wants to be able to sleep with someone
without hurting, or being hurt by, the other person. Yet once the prostitute
arrives, he cannot go through with the plan. He barricades himself in the
bathroom and ignores Candace’s phone calls.

 Back to the
date, Josh and Arnold talk and grab a bite to eat while Patrick passes out
against trees and on sidewalks. At a certain point, the trio makes their way to
the beach, where Patrick passes out (once again) on the sand. Josh offers
Arnold his services as a pro bono therapist by giving the basic advice, “just
stop doing that.” During their faux therapy session, a naked Patrick walks into
the water. Josh tries to save Patrick from potentially drowning, but Patrick
reads the situation as Josh trying to reignite their romance, and chaos ensues.
Patrick kisses Josh, which causes Arnold to have an anxiety attack, and Josh is
left trying to pick up the remains of his ruined date. Josh rejects Patrick and
runs after Arnold, but Arnold accuses Josh of still harboring feelings for
Patrick. Josh is unable to use his defense mechanism of physical affection
(which he has used in the past on both Geoffrey and Arnold), as Arnold needs
his space in order to stop hyperventilating. The two can only keep their
distance from one another as the dejected Patrick dresses, laments Josh’s
rejection, and walk back to his apartment. Patrick’s actions are akin to a
tornado ripping through a town then disappearing once all the destruction is
complete.

Arnold
wants to check himself back into the hospital, but since it is too early, Josh
has Arnold accompany him to Alan’s proposal in a hot air balloon. Arnold is
forced into babysitting Grace (babies aren’t allowed on hot air balloon rides)
while Josh, Alan, and Mae rise above the city. Alan finally proposes to Mae,
even though the noise of the fire and gas overpower his words. Mae smiles and
admires her ring, then gives her answer: No, she doesn’t want to get married.
Josh throws up, either from the high altitude, the events of the previous
night, or a combination of both. It’s definitely one of the stranger televised
proposals.

Once on the ground, Mae sees her
parents who were excited for the impending marriage, but soon criticize their
daughter for her rejection. This is the perfect example of the theme of the
anxiety of romantic labels: Mae is content with her relationship, and doesn’t
feel that she needs the labels associated with being married. Her relationship
to Alan seemingly continues, in spite of her rejection and Alan’s “emasculation.”

Marilyn
(Arnold’s therapist) meets with Josh and Arnold at the hospital. As she checks
Arnold back into the facility, Rose and Hannah are checking out. Rose, ever the
one to offer blunt advice, remarks on how Arnold is being institutionalized
after his date, how Josh needs to live his own life, and how it’s a “weird”
turn of events. Josh and Arnold say goodbye to Rose and Hannah, but Josh is not
pleased with the end result of this situation. He asks Arnold if wants him to
stay (a metaphor for the relationship), and Marilyn responds that Arnold needs
his rest (she is a really intrusive therapist). Josh looks directly at Arnold
and asks him if he really needs rest (a pointed metaphor for a break up), and
Arnold mimics Marilyn’s sentiments about needing rest.

At their
home, Rose and Hannah share a quiet moment on the couch. Hannah touches Rose’s
knee, then goes in for the kill by kissing Rose. Rose rebuffs her advances, and
Hannah excuses the kiss as a misreading of the signs. Again, this is another
transgression of the labels of a relationship. Hannah mistook homosocial bonds
for a romantic attraction, thus allowing her to (momentarily) transgress her
emotional/psychological detachment from her surroundings and to have a physical
connection with another person. But the friendship is still seemingly intact.

Back at the
apartment, Tom floats in the Jacuzzi while “Higher Love” (a reference back to
“Truffled Mac and Cheese”) blares from his phone. Josh joins his best friend
(not before turning off the music) and the two discuss the events of the
previous night. They realize that the longest relationship they have had is
with one another, although Josh doesn’t want to settle on Tom as being his “the
one.” Tom, on the other hand, comes to terms with his single life and embraces
the idea of being alone. The friendship between Josh and Tom is quite a remarkable
bond, and it is these quiet, subdued moments that give the series most of its
power. The whole world could be crashing down, but Josh and Tom will still have
one another.

The episode
ends with a perfect montage of the characters existing outside of the anxiety
associated with romantic labels. Josh pays a visit to Arnold and crawls into
bed with him. Arnold says he is “in no place to be boyfriends,” but Josh tells him
that they are just being “two buddies having a nap.” The camera slowly pans as
they fall asleep, then dissolves to a pan showing Alan feeding Grace while Mae
sleeps. This image dissolves to a pan of Hannah and Rose asleep on the couch,
then transitions to a pan of Tom masturbating to porn. The montage cuts back to
Josh and Arnold asleep in the bed, as the camera floats toward the ceiling
accompanied by a musical crescendo.

Though
there are still lingering questions, I’m impressed with Josh Thomas and Matthew
Saville’s consistent output of remarkable episodes. The second season lived up
to, or in certain cases surpassed, the first season. Characters grew and
developed, in spite of their emotional and psychological limitations, and they
grounded themselves with healthy friendships. In terms of “cliffhangers,” this
was one of the most satisfying season finales I have seen. “Margherita” was the
perfect ending to a fantastic season.

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Comments

Roger is not Braga

Do you know the name of the song that plays in The end of this episode? I love it, but I have no idea who plays it :(

Guest1479

I’ve loved this season, I agree with you, Josh Thomas and Matthew Saville have made an amazing season that surpass last season and what I’ve liked the most is the grown the character has showed over the episodes, the only question I have about the season and this last episode is if Josh really likes Arnold or he’s just with him because he don’t want to be alone? I’m not sure but hopefully next season, we will have some answers. I love this series and I’m happy that there will be a sea on 3 unfortunately we have to wait a 1 year for it, but I’m sure it will be worth it.

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